Guest post: Kauai Coconuts in Hawaii
My name is Amory and I am a third year nutrition student at Simmons College interning with Janel for the spring semester. This past winter break, before starting my internship, I traveled to the Hawaiian island of Kauai for the first time and was absolutely blown away by its abundance of fresh and exotic food!
I think that one of the best things to do while visiting Hawaii is going to the small farmers markets. The vendors display many foods we see everyday here on the mainland including tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and the occasional bag of native greens. Though it is the foods we are not used to seeing being sold that makes these farmers markets much more vibrant and exciting. You can buy avacados of all types and sizes, fresh bananas, a type of banana called the “apple-banana” (it looks like a banana but has the slight tart taste of an apple), pineapples, grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, mangos, star fruit, ginger, ugly fruit, rambutan (a red-orange colored fruit with little hair like projections), mangostein (looks like a plum with a green stem but inside it has garlic clove shaped fruit) galore, and of course, tons and TONS of fresh, ripe coconuts!
On the island and here on the mainland, you can usually find coconut water in the grocery store in juice-box like containers from Vita Coco, Zinco and other brands. While the meat of the coconut is somewhat high in calories and has a lot of good dietary fiber, the water is fat-free, very low in calories and carbs and low in sugars. It is often referred to as the “fluid of life” because it is rich in electrolytes to keep you hydrated and healthy.
On Kauai, you can get coconuts almost anywhere, and I do mean ANYWHERE! Coconuts are sold at coffee shops, stands on the side of the road, juice trucks, ice cream shops, and of course the farmers markets. The signs are everywhere for “fresh, ice cold coconuts.” Normally when you get one, it is usually chopped down to a manageable size with a hole on top, a straw and a little tropical umbrella. But the best way to experience a fresh coconut is from the petite, blonde woman who travels the famers markets on the Northern side of Kauai with the old beat up tan truck covered in red dirt and a bed filled with huge, uncut coconuts.
Now don’t be fooled when I describe this woman as petite because she has arm muscles like I’ve never seen and is quite strict when it comes to selling the coconuts. She yells at the group people around her to form a line behind her truck and asks each person how many coconuts they want. Then, while pretty much barefoot and in yoga clothes, she takes a coconut and a huge machete and with one swing, slices the top of the coconut off. Once the top portion is removed, she takes this little metal tool and digs a hole into the top to make an opening for a straw. Once you have finished the coconut water, you can take it right back to the woman and she will cut it again in half so you can also enjoy the yummy coconut meat that is hidden inside. So, for about two dollars you pretty much get the biggest and freshest coconut on the island and at least an hour worth of entertainment (depending on how many times you go back for more!).
Amory is a junior at Simmons College in Boston majoring in Nutrition. She is busy student but always has one thing on her mind: food. With such a strong love for food and eating, she enjoys seeking out new foods, trying different dishes and cooking fun and healthy meals when she has the chance. Besides eating, Amory loves traveling, being active and is addicted to fashion magazines and thrift store shopping!