Sunday, February 26, 2012

KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

When vacationing in Hawai'i, my priorities are twofold: 1) food and 2) beach time. In that order. While I normally busy myself with visiting old favorites, over this Christmas vacation, I added a few new stops to my "To Eat" List. The KCC Farmers' Market was at the top of that list.

Hosted every Saturday, the farmers' market takes place at Kapiolani Community College, in the shadow of the iconic Diamond Head. Hawai'i is home to some incredible local produce and unique food items, and I was eager to see and taste the market's ono (delicious) offerings.

KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

We arrived promptly at 8:00AM in order to get the best picks and to beat the crowds. Given the early hour, I had breakfast on the brain and quickly began to take stock of my options.

Big Wave Country @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

My best friend, a KCC Farmers' Market veteran, recommended the Pesto Grilled Pizza from Big Wave Country, a boutique grower that harvests hundreds of varieties of tomatoes year round. My friend also advise me that the line can often get quite out-of-hand. No need to tell me twice. Pizza for breakfast, it was!

Big Wave Country @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Big Wave Country @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

On top of a thin, crunchy crust sat vibrantly colored tomatoes from the town of Wailua on the North Shore, fresh basil pesto and hand-stretched mozzarella. This simple slice beautifully showcased all of its delicious local ingredients.

J, however, craved something "more breakfast-y" and stumbled upon Chef Hardy's, a stand run by Chef Eberhard "Hardy" Kintscher, the executive chef at Michel's at the Colony Surf. Chef Hardy's title isn't the only impressive thing about his farmers' market offerings; everything is prepared with the help of his food-safe electric car, modified to include gas grills and a flat-top.

Chef Hardy @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Chef Hardy @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Chef Hardy @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

For his breakfast, J opted for the Chef's Special-- a chewy flatbread topped with ham, kalua pork, gouda cheese, local pineapple, glazed onions and roasted garlic and capped with a fried egg. Although the flatbread to topping ratio was a bit off, the smoky flavors of the meat played wonderfully off the sweetness of the pineapple and onion, and the fried egg added a tasty and textural note.

We also scoped out North Shore Cattle Catering...

North Shore Cattle Catering @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

North Shore Cattle Catering @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

...but decided that we were too full for their hearty-looking plate lunches.

After all of our grubbing, our group turned its attention to finding something to wash our breakfasts down.

PacifiKool Ginger Cooler @KCC Farmers' Market Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

PacifiKool Ginger Cooler @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

My best friend and her boyfriend stopped at Pacifikool Ginger Cooler and ordered a Gingercooler and a Passion Fruit Cooler, both of which were fresh and fizzy, with his Gingercooler just slightly edging out its competition as the tastier of the two.

KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Jonesing for some caffeine, I slurped down a Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

With drinks in hand, we continued wandering around the market to visit some specialty stands.

Naked Cow Dairy @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Naked Cow Dairy, the only dairy on Oahu, offers a variety of flavored butters and cheese spreads. Admittedly, I sampled all of Naked Cow's butter flavors and loved each more than the last. If not for my concern over how they would handle the flight back to LA, I would have bought them all, too!

Naked Cow Dairy @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

After seeing a sign for fresh strawberry mochi, I made a beeline for Made in Hawaii Foods. Unfortunately, they were all sold out, but I took a look at their other items and purchased a jar of unbelievable liliko'i (passion fruit) cream cheese that I'm torn between devouring and hoarding.

Made in Hawaii Foods @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Made in Hawaii Foods @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Made in Hawaii Foods @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

As we began to waddle our way to the exit, I caught sight of OnoPops, which I had read about only the day before in Honolulu Magazine's "Sweet Treats in Honolulu" issue (perfect beach reading!). OnoPops uses local, organic ingredients to create completely unique flavors of popsicles that pay tribute to both the Mexican paleta and Hawaiian flavors.

Onopops @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Onopops @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

Pineapple Li Hing, Guava Tamarind, Liliko'i Cheesecake and Mauna Kea Green Tea...these are not the boring popsicle flavors of your childhood summers!

Onopops @ KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

On this day, OnoPops also had a selection of special flavors, including Plantation Iced Tea (iced tea infused with pineapple), Almond Float and Rambutan Kaffir.

KCC Farmers' Market (Honolulu, HI)

As a guava fiend, I chose the Guava Chiffon as my parting farmers' market bite and was blown away by the creamy, true to taste flavor of the pop.

For all those visiting Hawai'i, the KCC Farmers Market provides a wonderful and ono opportunity to taste some of the island's best at its most pure. I only wish that I had visited more when I lived there!

KCC Farmers' Market
7:30AM-11AM, every Saturday at Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816
www.hfbf.org

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