Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Is market shopping trendy, or what?
There are all kind of fads and diets out there, most pretty short-lived. What can we say about shopping at farmers markets? Is the Saturday Market a flash-in-the-pan thing, or will it last and perhaps grow?
Sun-dried tomatoes have lasted, and Rice Crispie Treats have come and gone for years and years. Salad greens your parents never heard of seem to be here to stay. Thai and Vietnamese restaurants are spreading and growing in popularity on the Mainland. Sushi is by now a permanent part of the American diet. But do heirloom tomatoes, Nalo greens, and all the products and produce found at farmers markets having staying power, or will they simply be short-lived trends?
I think the success of the markets is firmly linked to the slow food movement, and that looks like it's here to stay. Fast food won't necessarily go out, but slow is coming up strongly. It seems that Old is now New. With this renewed respect for cooking and eating comes a natural appreciation for the farmer and for heirloom products.
I notice that when I am in the supermarket, I don't feel any connection to the farm. It is a supermarket experience, not a farm experience. I can relate to the neatly stacked piles of apples and artificially colored oranges as fruit, but there's no thought to how they were produced or where they came from.
Going to the Saturday Market is an entirely different experience. Although one could shop and run, treating it as though it is just an outdoor supermarket, there's also the opportunity you never have in a supermarket -- to take more time and speak with the farmers. Doing so, one learns what it is like to look out the window at a storm washing away the crop, or to slog through the mud to see if anything can be salvaged after a heavy rain. One can learn about raising cattle or keeping bees, or how to satisfy the demands of Hawaii's chefs for fresh, clean, fancy salad greens.
Though it's now in the forefront of foodie chic to shop at farmers' markets, they deliver real value in many ways. They are both traditional and nouveau. They feed the body and the soul. Slow food and farmers' markets -- I think they are here to stay.
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Official web pages and Tip Sheets for Saturday morning KCC Farmers' Market, Wednesday night Honolulu Market, Sunday morning Mililani Market, and Thursday Night Kailua Market
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