Sunday, February 24, 2013

KCC Farmers’ Market: healthy and fresh

Photo by Kelly Sloan Ka Leo Hawai'i
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 5:00 am

In addition to living in one of the most agricultural regions in the world, we at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are a ten-minute drive from Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market. Happening every Saturday, this market is the only place featuring all locally grown and made foods and products.
Check out these two notable vendors, Ma‘o Organic Fruit and Vegetables and Tropic Fish Hawai‘i. Both provide healthy, locally grown food and produce for affordable prices.

At this vendor, you’ll find 100 percent organic produce, including bananas, kale, beets, carrots, eggplants and mangoes that are grown at Ma‘o Farms in Wai‘anae. Organic food is defined as those grown without chemicals and processed without additives, under standards adopted by the US Department of Agriculture. It is claimed to be more nutritious, safer to eat and tastier because it contains no synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, medicated feed, antibiotics or chemicals used in food processing.
Tropic Fish Hawai‘i is known for its freshwater and saltwater fish. However, the diversity of this vendor has it selling more than just fish – it also sells produce. Although not organic, the produce items are popular among farmers’ market shoppers. Some of the top products include Maui Gold pineapples, rainbow papayas, bananas, ginger, radishes and peppers. Tropic Fish Hawai‘i also creates a new item each week to sell, such as the popular marlin poke and yellowfish ahi.
One pineapple typically costs $3 here, but can be up to $3.50 at a grocery store. These small price differences can add up – especially to a college student on a budget – so paying less for a product that is fresh and locally grown makes for an attractive and worthwhile deal.
Buying at a local farmers’ market has benefits, including supporting the local economy and initiatives – such as those set up by Ma‘o Farms to reinvigorate the Wai‘anae coast and its population – and helping the environment by cutting down on gas and labor from products brought from the mainland. Farmers’ markets also provide healthier, fresher food and produce options other than those offered at a grocery store, with similar or lower prices. The farmers’ markets represent the uniqueness of Hawai‘i and the best local food, so instead of purchasing produce from the grocery store, head out to the KCC Farmers’ Market and see what you can find.

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