Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Happy Hippie here. I meant to come home early this evening and write up an amazing Table Tuesday blog that tied in my own current adventures with figuring out how to live local and healthy in Hawaii.

Instead, I got suckered into going on a hike (can I ever say no to a good hike? we'll probably never find out...) with some locals. It involved eating some fruits and goodies right off the branches! Guava? Mmmm yum. And this thing called a Moya...tastes like pineapple, passionfruit, orange, mango, strawberry and a whole bunch of other things all wrapped up in a funky green little package.

But, I digress. I will have to edit this entry for an add-on or do a nice brief follow-up entry tomorrow. The ole' eyelids are getting heavy as lead as I type this. My apologies for not being faithful to the task offered to me by my great friend, Sarah. I feel that dropping the ball is not exactly showing my gratefulness to a task that I truly do feel blessed for.

Peace, Love and Produce --- Hippie Dec 15, 09

The Real Table Tuesday

Ok, well, it seemed a little greedy of me to put in a second entry since this isn't my blog. So allow me to follow up from last night!

I dropped the ball this week, big time.

That's because I moved to Hawaii last week. Which is putting me in the position of having to take all of my own advice from scratch! There are so many foods I've never cooked with before (dandelion greens, for instance), even more foods that I've never heard of---like atemoya, breadfruit, cherimoya, daikon, jicama, liliko'i, lychee, moya, negi, soursop, won bok, and that's just to name a few. And yeah, they're in alphabetical order because I listed them straight out of a great new farmer's market cookbook I picked up to help me get started.

I'm really being challenged by things I've written to readers recently. The two that are the newest and most challenging to me are: eating locally and staying under budget.

The first is especially challenging because, well, I grew up on the mainland where the climate provided different types of food all together. To me, those foods are normal; they're what I'm used to. Foods down here tend to grow sweeter because they get so much sunlight that the plants produce more natural sugar.

The second one---staying under budget---seemed impossible at first. I got a Costco membership right away (and was pleasantly surprised to see that they're carrying more natural and organic products than they did when I was a kid). I stocked up on a few things, like pasta, eggs, butter, olive oil and the like. I need to go back and get some quinoa. So far, they're the best deal around for a big bag of quinoa.

Now, to paint a picture for you of the cost of food here: I went down the road a few miles to a place called "Sack n' Save"...sounds thrifty, right? Well, it's supposedly one of the most affordable big chains here in the islands. Hah. I was planning on getting a few staples and stocking up on spices. Well, milk was about $7.00 for half a gallon...on sale!!! One small jar (like the kind you keep in your spice cabinet) of cayenne pepper was $11.00 and cinnamon was about $9.00.

Those are not exactly the kinds of prices that make your money spread thin. It really makes it feel impossible to be a good steward of money and makes me feel like I'm spending the good fortune I've been blessed with poorly. I had to take my own advice about shopping around!

Fortunately, I found a great health food market here called Mana Foods a few miles west in a place called Paia. I was hesitant at first, knowing that most super "granola" all-organic health food places are spendy, but was surprised to find that they had the overall best prices on the entire island! I learned (by asking) that on most given days, at least 45% of their produce is entirely local. Even better: all the local stuff is way more affordable than the imported stuff. Suh-weet.

I've also discovered, by word of mouth, that there's a swap meet at the local community college every Saturday, and many a farmer show up for that with their goods. There are also lots of farmer's markets on the south side and west side of the island. They're not listed in a phone book or on the internet. It took some driving around almost aimlessly to find these produce stands, but I'm glad I did.

To answer Sarah's question about eating fresh during non-growing seasons: it's a hard one to answer! In the winter, if you want to eat produce, it seems that your best options are to forego non-local foods for imported ones that are still in season, or you can buy extra throughout the year for canning and freezing. Canned foods do have the sodium factor, and lose quite a bit of their nutritional value, but are better than no produce at all. In the winter, try looking for root veggies: turnips, potatoes, etc. Also, see if your local grocery store puts the place that foods came from on the labels in the produce section. Some do. You may be surprised! If you have a weekly swap meet, farmer's market, or similar event in your town, you may find local farmers selling things they've canned themselves. Those will have a noticably lower sodium content and no preservatives. I say go for it!

For this week's mission, I decided that I need to choose something that I need to do as part of this whole new food learning process.

Dear Sarah and mission-enthused readers: Try to do a NO High Fructose Corn Syrup week in your home. It's going to be much harder than it sounds. I've even had a really hard time with it here, because at first the only "affordable" foods I could find had it. I'm back on track, though.

The thing about HFCS is that it's just concentrated sugar. We're so used to seeing it that we forget that by putting so many products containing it in our bodies, we're consuming a LOT of sugar. Sugar isn't good for you. It weakens your immune system, and when sick, it's the thing you put in your body that viruses and bacteria eat the most of (which can keep you sicker, longer. Good thing to keep in mind this flu season, especially with things like H1N1 out there). It's no surprise that when HFCS went on the market through packaged foods that our nation's obesity and diabetes rates (especially in children) sky rocketed. If you're craving something sweet, some doctors suggest that your body may actually be demanding minerals. When we eat sugar, we sometimes trick our bodies temporarily into thinking we've met their mineral demand. So try some leafy greens or a mineral supplement instead!

Peace, Love and Produce --- Hippie, Dec 16 '09


  1. Actually Hippie, I loved reading this entry. I know it's been a crazy week for you, but I thoroughly enjoyed- and learned from- your post! Thanks for being so faithful. Love-Hippie in Training

  2. Well, shucks! I aim to please. Thanks, miss, and we'll see ya next week!