Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eating Local... Hawaii Style!

Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats and I just returned from a week together in Hawaii... celebrating 10 years of dating each other! We had a great time - and even had a community of giant sea turtles living in the water right outside the condo we rented. So cool!

We were staying in Napili Bay, on the island of Maui. Vegan food was a bit of a mixed review... though I certainly never starved. By and large, I found it pretty easy to get by, and even found a few real winners for eating out. But there is one area where Hawaii really, really excels for a vegan:

TROPICAL FRUIT!
You all know how devoted I am to eating locally grown produce. Here in Santa Cruz, that means eating a lot of apples and pears this time of year... soon the citrus arrives and also the pomegranates. So it's hardly a hardship. But, all the same, I almost never allow myself the indulgence of buying bananas or papayas flown all the way from Central or South America...

So, you can image how stoked I was on this gorgeous display of what passes for local fruit in Hawaii:
Guava, Papaya, Rambutan!, Apple Bananas, Pink Dragonfruit, and Pineapple.

Oh man, I was in heaven. Not to mention the lovely view from our place.

One of the most amazing things is how you just see this fruit growing EVERYWHERE. In fact, I picked these guavas up off the ground on a hike we took. Everywhere you look are coconut trees, guava trees, banana trees, papaya trees, sugar cane, mango trees (sadly, it was not mango season)... for a food-crazed freak like me, it's positively distracting!

These wonderful little bananas called apple bananas were available at the farmer's markets and they were so delicious. Little and sweet, but with a little tang of tartness, I was totally in love with them. One day I just ate 7 of them for lunch.

Also, these little rambutan were a big highlight for me. I've had fresh rambutan a couple of times before - but these were absolutely the most delicious ones I've ever had. They were juicy and moist, sweet and soooo delicious. Rambutan is similar to a lychee nut ... Mr. VE&Ts says they are like a juicy little coconut. I'm not sure about that... They are sweet, but not sugary, a firm but juicy flesh, a little hint of lemony flavor, with an almond sized pit in the middle. I ate as many as possible!

Another big star for me was this gorgeous pink dragonfruit. Like Rambutan, I'd had fresh dragonfruit before (when we were in China), but MAN this was a whole different story. The flesh is delicate and melts in your mouth. It's full of seeds, but they are not a nuisance at all - they are like little sesame seeds or quinoas as far as texture. The flavor is light, delicately sweet, and lovely to eat. And that stunning color... totally cool.

Sadly, we learned that in January, Maui will no longer be growing pineapples for export. What a shame. One of the gigantic landholders in West Maui has developed into massive golf courses, condos, villas, hotels, and so on ... and it all used to be pineapple farms. Apparently it is a difficult and demanding crop, and it's not as lucrative as more Ritz-Carlton hotels. Sigh. We made a special point to eat and enjoy as much pineapple as possible.

Here is a crazy little picture of me celebrating the local Apple Bananas, still on the tree. Future Yum!

Well, you can bring home as many pictures as you take, but you can't bring home rambutan and dragonfruit. You should have seen me, gluttonously scarfing down 1/2 a pineapple, an entire papaya, 2 bananas, and six rambutan on our way to the airport!!! I was determined to maximize my tropical fruit consumption to the very end!!!

However, I did bring home a few special little treats from Maui to share with you, my faithful readers. In honor of ten years of Mr. VE&Ts and Me, I'm offering a little piece of Hawaii to one lucky winner: Hawaii Candy Coconut Wafer Cookies (they look sorta like fortune cookies), totally delicious Dried Mango (no sugar), Dry Roasted Unsalted Macadamia Nuts, a mini jar of Maui Pineapple Jam, and a mini jar of Hawaiian Mixed Fruit Jelly (Lilikoi, Guava, Pineapple, & Orange). If you want to win, just leave a comment - and be sure to leave your email address if you don't have a blog where I can reach you. I'll pick the winner next Wednesday, one week from today!

Now I'm happy to be home, cuddling with our furbabies again, and hard at work in the kitchen getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow!

43 comments:

  1. Amey, you're awesome!

    The fruit was totally the highlight of my Hawaii trip too. And looking outside to cold, pouring rain, I'm pretty jealous at the thought of you scarfing rambutans on the way to the airport. :)

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  2. Anonymous6:36 PM

    I felt the same way about the local fruit when I lived in Hawaii! I miss it so much. Thanks for offering us a taste of your trip, and congrats on 10 years!
    Kate

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  3. Amey, do you know if other islands are still growing pineapple for export? I cannot imagine life without pineapple!

    You two make a great couple. Congratulations and hope the next 10 years and beyond are simply magical.

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  4. Woo-hoo, one in three chance of winning the hawaiian goodies!

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  5. Oh that's so cool!
    Your dedication to eating locally is impressive...around these parts its a little difficult :(

    This post just made my mouth water, that fruit looks so good!

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  6. Oh man I love rambutan... so jealous!

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  7. All that fruit looks SO delicious! And the view of the beach from your condo? Jealous! You're sweet for thinking of such a neat giveaway! I would love to try some of what Hawaii has to offer! :) -Eve

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  8. DO WANT! I'm so jealous, I love tropical fruit, I'm dying for my best friend to take me to visit his family in Hawaii so I can eat it all. :3

    And mmmmm pineapple jam!

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  9. Looks like a great trip! There is nothing better than the fresh fruit in Hawaii.

    Congratulations on 10 years together. That is quite an accomplishment!

    Alicia

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  10. Oh my goodness! Sounds like tons of fun! And all the fruit looks and sounds delicious. I'm a bit jealous. But maybe I could win some tasty Hawaii treats! The dried mango, jam and jelly sound especially tasty!

    Fingers crossed!

    Blog: http://thelifeofavegan.blogspot.com/
    Email: JamieWilcox@Comcast.Net

    Email will probably be more efficient, but feel free to check out my blog!

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  11. Oh MAN, I would have lived off that awesome fruit! SO cool. Less imported pineapples?! oh noes.

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  12. Looks awesome, when I went to Costa Rica the fresh fruits were one of the highlights! Congrats on 10 years!

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  13. Congratulations on ten years! Your trip to Hawaii sounds amazing. I doubt I will ever get there as my boyfriend HATES to travel. Sigh. Maybe, just maybe, I will be the winner of the treats and get a chance to savor Hawaii without having to leave home. First visit to your blog...looking forward to more visits!

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  14. Happy Anniversary! What a great way to celebrate! I was laughing about your description of your way to the airport. I love all kinds of fruit so much, I would have done the same! I whish I can visit hawaii some day.

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  15. Thanks for thinking of us--I'd love to be included in the drawing!

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  16. Super jealous of all that fresh and local fruit! I hope you had a fabulous time together :-) Dried mango?! Yes please!

    Courtney

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  17. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style
    ps check out the cookbook giveaway on my blog

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  18. Oh, lucky you! I agree that fresh fruit in Hawaii is the best. Makes me want to get back there soon!

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  19. I am so jealous of your trip! Maybe winning these snacks would make me feel better?? Thanks for the chance.

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  20. Yep, a little slice of heaven right here on earth! You lucky gal (for going to Hawai'i and for Mr. VE&T!)

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  21. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Oh, darn, I wish I knew you were going to Maui. We go just about every other year to stay with friends who live in Kihei, and I would have some suggestions food and otherwise for you. But you are right - the fruit is definitely the highlight. I could really go for that papaya and lime right now...

    congrats on 10 years!

    jen e.

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  22. Wow! I'm so jealous. All that awesome fresh fruit literally at your fingertips!
    So sad to hear about the pineapples. Makes me so angry when places like that get torn down or replaced by hotels, shopping malls, etc.
    Glad to hear you guys had such a good time.

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  23. Maren9:45 AM

    sounds like you had a great trip! the fresh fruit looks delicious!
    i'd love to win this great giveaway :)

    mstav517 at yahoo dot com

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  24. That dragonfruit is so freaking gorgeous! I have never wanted fruit so much before. Mmm.

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  25. oh wow! those rambutan look amazing!

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  26. That fruit looks amazing, I want some pink dragonfruit! :) I have a fledgling vegan/environment-related blog, feel free to follow at bigchiefdairyfree.blogspot.com

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  27. Happy Anniversary! Hawaii sounds like it was an amazing time.

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  28. Congrats! and WOW, those colors are amazing- I've never been to Hawaii, but you made me wanna go for the fruit along.

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  29. I have been thinking about your post all week. Those tropical fruit shots have just stuck in my mind, and all I can do is long for an all-expense-paid-trip-for-two to Hawaii.

    Congratulations on your 10 years of good lovin! Wish you many many many many more! ♥

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  30. Goldie /lalli_8384@yahoo.com2:25 PM

    Congrats on the 10 pearly years of togetherness...A silent reader of your blog but had to delurk and wish you...and maybe win a few goodies.:)..

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  31. Aw, congratulations! Glad you had a great time in Hawaii.

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  32. Sounds like a wonderful trip. I would like to go to Hawaii sometime! All that fruit looks amazingly good...

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  33. Pat G1:16 PM

    Fantastic photos, Amey! Almost makes me forget winter is soon upon us.

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  34. sorry I missed this- happy 10 years to you two!!

    man. I could live off of tropical fruit, and nothing but tropical fruit, forever.

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  35. You are my favorite blogger and i was sad while you were away...but you are back and that is exciting! What a fun trip it looks like you had! I'd love to be in the running to win the nifty prize package! :)

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  36. Congrats on 10 years! And what a trip! The place looks stunning, and all those fruits are just amazing. Would love to go there just to eat some of the same fruit!

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  37. I always wanted to go to Hawaii! Me and my husband are looking into that possibility as our long-overdue honeymoon trip. I know I'll at least have a happy belly while I'm there! =D

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  38. Happy ten years, lovely lady. That fruit looks heavenly!!!

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  39. I may be too late but the image of you eating all that fruit on the way to the airport made me laugh! It sounds amazing and happy tenth!

    rachelkeranen@gmail.com

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  40. Waking up to a buffet of local fruit in Costa Rica was one the highlights of our vacation. Thanks for posting these pictures:)

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  41. I'm a bit late, but happy anniversary! What a wonderful way to celebrate 10 years together and congrats to your friend Jen E. for winning the goods!

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  42. YUP! there is definitely no better way to celebrate togetherness, than in a paradise like this...I love the photos, by the way.

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  43. I'm so glad I found this post and your blog! I sooooo miss Hawaii... it's all the way around the globe from where I live (12hrs timezone!). I'll go back one day :-) And I absolutely agree, being able to eat local fruit that is so delicious is a gift from heaven!!
    P.S. I used one of your pics on my blog :-)
    Ciao! Giulia (from Italy)

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