Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? Do you know how long that perfectly ripe tomato sitting on an open shelf in a grocery store has been sitting there, or how long ago it was plucked from the vine? Or better yet, which state or country it came from and how long it traveled to get to your hands and into your shopping cart?
These days there seems to be a disconnect with understanding where our food comes from; sure, we know that chickens come from farms, but do we know how those chickens are treated? Are they free to roam on acres of land with good feed, or are they pushed into a kennel never to see the light of day and being over-gorged with cheap food and antibiotics, rotting in their own feces feather-to-feather with thousands of other chickens? That’s not a pretty picture.
The good news is, there seems to be a rising interest in supporting local farmers, connecting with the land, and ultimately, feeding our bodies wholesome, nutritious food. During a recent Cacao Farm and Chocolate Factory Tour, I met Sarah Burchard, a fellow food blog writer of Healthy Locavore and former private chef with a background in holistic nutrition with 12 years in the restaurant industry. Sarah leads a Kaka’ako Farmers Market food tour every Saturday from 9 – 11AM, and last weekend I had the pleasure of attending her tour.
*PIN THIS POST*
The Kaka’ako Farmers Market Food Tour caps at only six people, keeping it intimate since the vendor stalls are small. When Sasha and I travel, one of our favorite things to do is visit a local farmers market because we feel it’s the best way to learn about the culture, local cuisine, and any hardships that a town or state might be facing in the way of food. For only $30 per person, this tour is a great value. Sarah is passionate about food and sustainability, and she doesn’t just walk you through the market; she personally introduces you to each farmer, brewer, business owner, etc. and you’ll get to talk to them one-on-one and ask any questions you may have about their practices. I’ve been an Oahu local for more than 12 years, and I learned so many new things on this tour!
In two hours you’ll learn about farming practices from local farmers, how to brew the perfect cup of coffee, where fishermen are sustainably catching their seafood, and how local ranchers are organically raising their cattle.
While you’re in Kaka’ako, check out Oahu’s Vibrant Arts & Foodie Scene for all those gorgeous street art murals, cafes and breweries!
Why It’s Important to Shop Locally
Here’s an interesting fact about Hawaii’s food security: Hawaii imports around 90% of our food, and we only have a one-week supply if there was a natural disaster and our boat supplies were cut off. These are just two of many great reasons to support locally; to help sustain the local economy and to build relationships with the people who are supplying our food.
On the Kaka’ako Farmers Market Food Tour you’ll visit around a dozen vendors and get to sample coffee, tropical fruits, a mouth-numbing palate cleanser straight from the plant, local fish, local beef jerky, pizza, slushies and many more goodies, so be sure to come with an appetite!
Vendors and stops may vary based on who is at the market that day, but here are the stalls we visited:
Daylight Mind Coffee Company
Located in Wai’anae, Ma’o Farms has a program for students where they pay for them to attend University in exchange for working on the farm. Students also work at the farmers markets where they learn social skills, salesmanship and entrepreneurship. Here you’ll get to sample carrots harvested that day, and learn about ulu (breadfruit). Ulu is considered a “canoe crop”, meaning it was one of the original crops brought over on Polynesian canoes. It is one of the most sustainable vegetables grown here on the islands, and is in the starch family.
Fatto a Mano
Meaning “made by hand” in Italian, this sourdough pizza is gluten-free and revolutionarily delicious. The owner is so passionate about pizza he even has a tattoo of it on his arm! He uses local and organic ingredients and has a brick oven right on site!
Juega – Tamales and More
Here you can get tamales to enjoy while you’re walking around, or their famous Mango Tajin Flan (made from cayenne, dried lime and salt).
De La Mesa Farms
Specializes in hard-to-grow Latin American produce, and micro greens, which are extremely high in nutrients and proteins, and excellent in salads.
At this stall you’ll sample all kinds of local tropical fruits that are in season. In July we got to try: mountain apples, dragonfruit, apple bananas, papaya, mango and lychee. (Don’t worry, Sarah’s got you covered with hand wipes so you don’t walk around with sticky fingers for the rest of the day.) 😉
This is the only USDA certified wild venison in the country, so it’s wild rather than farmed. The ranch uses hydroelectric power, which converts protein from food waste into feed for the cattle using expired produce, barley from beer production, etc., so that the food comes full circle. Here you will find local fish, beef, chicken, lamb, venison and antelope.
Owner Etsuko saves local fruit from being wasted by turning them into delicious jams. A true recycling effort that yields sweetness.
Mid Late Summer Ice Cream
Tofu-hibiscus? Honeydew curry? Yes, please! This small batch creamery fearlessly presents intriguing and unique flavors using local ingredients.
Local I’a Catch
Local, sustainably caught fresh fish. Be sure to try their poke (some of the freshest poke you’ll find around here!) and the smoked marlin.
Counter Culture Organic Farm
Have you ever wanted to talk to a banana expert? Well you can at this stall! Learn about ferments, flowers and fresh produce, including a strange yellow puff-like edible flower that, when eaten, numbs your entire mouth, causing a surprisingly delightful tingling sensation for about five minutes. This is a palate cleanser, perfect after eating raw fish from the previous stall. Oh, and he’s also a vegetable artist. 😉
Wicked HI Slush
Fresh local fruit slushies made with raw honey and natural ingredients from the Earth. The lavender was outstanding.
At the end of the tour, Sarah hands out a double-sided sheet of paper outlining each of the stalls that you visited that day, including the owner’s name and their email if you want to stay in touch, ask any follow-up questions or purchase directly. She includes an entire page of her restaurant, bar and shopping recommendations, which will come in handy whether you’re a visitor or a local!
Check out Sarah’s website to book your Kaka’ako Farmers Market Food Tour. And be sure to follow her on Instagram and subscribe to her blog for insights, recipes and up-to-date information on what’s going on in the Oahu foodie scene!
@yearofingredients to learn about Hawaiian ingredients and how to cook with them
*PIN THIS POST*