We are here on this little island for a total of seven and one half weeks. Just long enough to get a feel for what it might be like to live here. Three weeks in and we have developed a nice routine. Most days include a walk into town to pick up groceries, a walk on the beach, and a swim in the pool in addition to cooking and cleaning up after 2 or 3 meals. On some days I will whip up a fruity blended drink- no recipe, just fresh fruit, ice, coconut milk , a little orange juice, a squeeze of lime, and a jigger of rum. Papaya-colada, anyone?
Food is expensive here. We expected that, it is an island in the middle of a very large ocean. Foods that are not grown here have to be brought in from far away places. My plan was to eat mostly locally grown foods. Shouldn’t be a problem. My research showed that Molokai has at least 2 organic farms, a coffee plantation, a macadamia farm and a ranch that produces quality grass-fed beef.
The problem is that the stores in Kaunakakai don’t seem to carry much of the local products. Eggs, cheese, milk, and most of the dry goods and produce are brought in from the mainland. The stores in Kaunakakai carry Maunaloa brand macadamia products (grown in Hawaii, but not on Molokai) at prices that are very close to what they sell for on the mainland. To buy Purdy’s macadamia products, you have to drive out to the farm or order them online. most of the meats and produce items are from the mainland, but a few locally grown items are available. The stores do have a delightful line of jellies , and a selection of pancake mixes that are produced in Hawaii. I really like the passion fruit jelly and the pineapple coconut pancakes. Trog likes the chocolate macadamia pancakes.
I always try to eat locally. Buying locally produced items is a good way to give back to the community that is hosting you. Local produce is generally fresher, which means that it usually has better flavor and texture and is more nutritious than fruits and vegetables that have traveled long distances. Being a locavore is also a good way to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
Kaunakakai does have a lovely Farmers Market every Saturday morning. A great place to buy tropical fruits, fresh greens, and delicious cinnamon rolls and home-baked cookies. Some of the prices are refreshingly low and some are shockingly high. Not all of what’s on offer is locally produced, at least one vendor is reselling commercial produce, but I buy my pineapples from her and she has given me papayas from the tree in her parent’s yard.
To save money on food, it is important to check prices, shop around, and eat like the locals. Foods that are staples of the islanders (like noodles, bean sprouts, teriyaki sauce) are priced very reasonably.