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Flowers at Hawaii farmers market
26 Jul

Hawaii Farmers Markets – A Bounty of Intoxicating Sights and Aromas

A trip to Hawaii just isn’t complete without a visit to the Hawaii Farmers Markets!

Last fall I went on a cruise to Hawaii. It was my first time to the islands and let me tell you it’s nothing like you dream about – It’s better! The plants are bigger and greener, the people are friendlier and the waters are more stunning that I could have imagined.

Flowers at Hawaii farmers market

Everyone talks about the beaches and world class snorkeling, or their volcano tours.
The thing that I was most thrilled by on this trip was the farmers markets.Greens at Hawaii farmers market

I’ll admit it, I’m serious foodie. But these farmers markets are enough to impress anybody. The markets are run by a governmental organization, the Hawaii Farm Bureau and are very well organized.  Schedules are widely available online and in local publications, and depending on which island you find yourself, you can find a market just about any day of the week.
Pineapples at Hawaii farmers market

Tropical fruit grows in abundance on the Hawaiian Islands and the markets are a veritable cornucopia. From the avocados to the papayas and pineapples, I was blown away by the size and variety of fruits available. Of course Hawaii is known around the world for its distinctive coffee. It’s grown on all of the main islands and is one of Hawaii’s largest exports. At the markets you can find coffees grown and roasted just a hop, skip and a jump away. The markets are a great place for visitors to fill up on fresh and inexpensive ingredients even if you’re only there as a stopover on a cruise.  We were there for just a short time but I managed to pick up snacks for our day of sightseeing, coffee for my kitchen at home, and even some presents for friends. Just like markets all over the country, the farm markets in Hawaii have evolved to include everything from homemade jam and baked goods to jewelry, clothing, visual arts and wood carvings.

Coffee at Hawaii farmers market

The absolute best thing about visiting the markets is having the chance to talk with the local islanders. If you’re lucky, you might be able to pick up a tip about a secret beach or, even better, an old family recipe. One woman who was working a fruit stand offered me a recipe that she told me was a long-time family favorite.  It’s called Po’e (pronounced POH-eh).  It’s a fruit pudding made with coconut milk. It was (and sometimes still is) traditionally wrapped in ti (banana leaves) and baked in a fire pit. It was so good I just had to share it – just don’t tell her I let the secret out!

Po’e Recipe

–          6-8 bananas (enough to make 4 cups of puree)

–          ½ cup brown sugar

–          1 cup arrowroot powder

–          2 tsp vanilla extract

–          1 cup coconut cream

1. Unless you’re baking this in the fire, the traditional way, heat your oven to 375F.

Puree the bananas.

2. Mix the sugar with the arrowroot powder. Add the vanilla and banana puree and blend well so that there aren’t any lumps. Add more sugar if desired.

3. Grease a baking dish and pour the puree in. Bake 30-40 minutes, until the pudding looks firm and the edges are bubbling. Cool at room temperature and then chill in the fridge.

4. Cut into cubes and serve topped with coconut cream and a sprinkle of sugar. If desired, you can whip the coconut cream.

This recipe can also be made with other fruits like pineapple or mango. I even tried it out with pumpkin and it was absolutely delicious. You may need to adjust the amount of arrowroot powder to thicken juicer fruits.

About The Author:  
Susan Tyler enjoys traveling the globe in search of new recipes. She has recently discovered the joy of group travel with YMT Vacations and continues her hunt for the perfect frites!
Photo Cedits – Flickr: #1 _e.t, #2 madmarv00, #3 syntheticaperture, #4 puuikibeach

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