Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fort Street Open Market

This morning I had an early breakfast seminar on a not so exciting topic downtown. Because the commute is often pretty bad, my co-worker and I left our houses plenty early to meet up at the office and head downtown. Defying all laws of traffic logic and coming from both sides of the island we ended up at the seminar site a full half hour before registration even started. After some grumbling about the extra sleep we could have had, we found ourselves walking around Downtown Honolulu and at the Fort Street Open Market which is apparently held Tuesdays and Fridays. We had caught it once before and were excited to see the stalls of fruits, vegetables and other wares set up--a great way to pass the time and drop some cash. It's pretty much a small hodge-podge of booths mixed with some locally grown and produced foods and some not so locally grown or produced. There are some organic things and some not. (Interestingly there were two bins of beets in one stall--one bin saying "Organic Beets" and one saying "Healthy Beets"--apparently downtown at least healthy wins over organic as the healthy beets were all gone when we got there!). 15 minutes, three bags and about $27.00 later, I was loaded up--I have no willpower at farmers markets.

So what does $27.00 buy you at the Fort Street Open Market?
  • 3 small sweet Maui onions
  • one Rainbow papaya
  • a bag with one red and one yellow pepper
  • a locally grown heart of romaine lettuce
  • two Japanese cucumbers
  • 15 locally grown tangerines
  • one bunch each: mint, dill, rosemary and Chinese parsley (aka: cilantro)
  • one plastic container with sliced strawberries and a few blueberries for color that looked so good I couldn't resist
  • one small Ziploc of trail mix the sign said had "one dozen ingredients" and it did! I bought it because it had pieces of dried kiwi in it which I have never tried or even seen before (Interesting texture but the salt from the trail mix distracted from it's flavor)
I have no idea how that would compare on the mainland as I have become numb to the sticker shock after living here long enough. A picture of my bounty is below:

I ate the berries and shared the trail mix before I could get them home so I used my camera phone for a quick picture at my desk:

Also at one table at the market was a pile of odd looking fruit (at least I guessed it was fruit) that looked like a cross between a potato and a kiwi fruit with a hand lettered sign that said "Chico $1.50 each". I had never heard of Chico's before and there was not anyone available to ask about it--what is it, what do you do with it, etc. so I didn't purchase one. When we got back to the office we Googled it and this is what we learned:

It is actually called a Sapodilla a.k.a. Chico, Sapote, Zapote or Chicle and the description is "a uniquely flavored fruit, the soft brown flesh of the sapodilla tastes a bit like a sweet mix of brown sugar and root beer. The sapodilla tree is also the source of chicle, a chewing gum component. Native to the Yucatan, Guatemala, and Belize, it is now grown in much of the tropics and is usually eaten fresh as a dessert fruit."

Now I am disappointed I didn't get one to try, I'll definitely pick one up next time.

Here's a picture from the web. The ones at the market were slightly smaller and not quite as round. Interesting!

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