The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Sunday, August 03, 2008


Back at the market feels good

Red Bell Pepper We skipped the Bishop Museum shindig last weekend, but that meant no farmers’ market shopping. Instead, we took a step back and shopped a little at Kokua Market (which has some of the same local produce that’s at the KCC Saturday Market) and at Costco.

This weekend the market is back at KCC, and so were we. And it feels good. Here’s why.

Costco has a bag of mixed color bell peppers that we used to buy back in the old days, as soon as Costco arrived on Oahu. The price break felt good. Times Supermarket wanted both an arm and a leg for a few limp peppers, and although Safeway produce was more affordable, it was no better quality. We did better in price and in quality at Costco.

But munching on Costco peppers last week was a disappointment. They were not as crisp as the ones we’ve become used to from the Saturday market, and they had little flavor. Less snap, less taste.

At Kokua we bought a bag of greens. A big difference was that the bag was not as fresh as the same greens bought at the market, and that really matters. Some leaves were already soft and almost done for. The next day, they had that slightly slimy feel that lets you know it’s time to cook them or lose them.

The mangos looked good in the display at Kokua. I reached for one, and my thumb sank in. Oops. All of them were ‘way overripe. Those would not sell at the Saturday market, and it wouldn’t be worth it for farmers to lug unsalable produce there and just throw it away later.

KCC Market

So we bought greens, mangos, papayas, radishes, lychees, and all kinds of other stuff at the market. Some prepared Thai bentos also, to eat for lunch. We tried duck confit crêpes made by Le Guignol (excellent!). Scored the best garlic boiled peanuts at Blue Lotus Farms. Chose an olive whole wheat bread at Ba-Le Bakery.

The week is off to a great start.


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