There’s a farmer’s market taking place somewhere on the island of Kauai every day of the week. The one not to miss unfolds at noon on Monday at Anne Knudsen Park in Koloa, at the island’s southern end. The line forms well before midday, retirees and visitors in the know eagerly waiting for the official start so they can bolt to the stands selling the coveted Manoa lettuce. That always goes first. Then there’s time to cruise for the biggest avocados, the best price on pineapple (one stand features a low-acid varietal), the firmest Chinese long beans. Much of the visceral delight is in the unfamiliar colors and textures of the tropical specialties that are so rare in mainland markets – the bumpy breadfruit, the bright purple dragon fruit, the pale yellow of truly fresh ginger. The farmers share methods of cooking at the slightest prompting. Bring your own bags; many of the farmers offer nothing with which to carry off their produce. The savings are significant, none more so than the bouquet of ginger, birds of paradise, and other tropical flowers that would cost beaucoup bucks in the States but that you can bring back to your condo for a mere $10.
Photographs by David Bienvenu