Last weekend, Laura and I stopped by the local farmer’s market in Haleiwa, which is about 20 minutes north of where we live. It’s fairly small, at least compared to the big farmer’s market in Hawaii-Kai, down by Diamond Head, but there’s always a pretty decent selection. We had planned to go to the big one on Saturday morning. It opens at 7:30 am, but everybody gets there around 6:30. There are a lot of vendors there, and although no sales can be made before 7:30, the vendors are allowed to pre-sell their items, as long as money isn’t exchanged. Hawaii-Kai, being about an hour away, proved to be too ambitious for a baby that decided to fuss all throughout the night before, so we settled for Haleiwa on Sunday.
Farmer’s markets around here are great, because it is always growing season, and only a few harvests are seasonal, such as mangoes. We can always get really good tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, yellow zucchini (which is different than summer squash), spring mix, arugula, mushrooms, and all sorts of other things. There are a variety of local and tropical produce as well, like a type of avocado that is the size of a grapefruit, dragon fruit, ramatan (which is very similar to lychee), and fresh coconut. The selection is really quite nice.
There’s really nothing like super fresh and local produce, compared to what we get at the commissary. Most of that stuff comes from California or Mexico. The downside, though, is that the farmer’s markets around here are super expensive. Truth is, most of these local farms are tiny and either sell directly to restaurants, sell at farmer’s markets, or have fruit and vegetable stands on the North Shore to attract tourist dollars. Most of the produce doesn’t leave the island because their production is relatively low to that of a small New England farm, who can supply to small local produce purveyors to sell to restaurants. So the prices end up being higher than stuff you get in a grocery store so that they can still make a buck. It’s a trade-off for the consumer; buy super fresh produce and support local farmers but at a premium price.
There was an organic meat purveyor that was selling organic eggs for $9 a dozen. I mean, really? I’ll pay $4 for organic and cage-free eggs at the commissary, but $9 is just over the top. And I’m sure their meat is very high quality, but I can’t justify paying twice as much ($4 a pound and up) for that either.
So, Laura saw some beets, and was reminded of a soup I make on occasion. Of course, I bought some beets, in addition to other tasty produce, so that I could appease my darling wife! When I first made this soup many years back, it was actually inspired by a Thai red kuri pumpkin soup that was served at a restaurant I used to work at. Red kuri pumpkin has a nice earthy and nutty flavor. The soup, coincidentally, had Thai red curry in it, so I thought replacing the pumpkin with beets would create a nice, albeit different, soup. I had seen coconut beet soup recipes before, so a little addition of Thai curry couldn’t be so bad.
Needless to say, it’s a hit every time I make it, so I thought I would take the time to share. The end product is a vibrant pink color, perhaps making a good addition to a Valentine’s Day themed menu?
fish sauce is stank, but tastes good in food
More or less Thai red curry seasoning can be used, to your preference, but be keep in mind that if you let this sit overnight in the refrigerator, the curry flavor will get stronger and spicier. That can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your tastes.
I garnished with a little sour cream that was thinned with milk and some scallions.
Enjoy this on it’s own as lunch, or as a nice starter to an Asian themed meal. Let me know what you think!