Monday, July 28, 2008

organic farmer's market

since moving to Hong Kong 5 years ago, I have noticed more and more talk about the environment (especially about the bad air pollution here) and the increased popularity of organic fruit and vegetables.
when I first came here it was very difficult to find organic foods (maybe I didn't know where to look...) but in recent years I have heard of a few organic farms located in the New Territories (新界) (an area close to the China border) that sell their produce in more convenient locations around Hong Kong.

having no garden in here, but with a sunny apartment I thought I could make use of this sunshine and grow some herbs.
I found this poster advertising an "organic farmer's market" in Central, so I braved the 34 degree heat and made my way to the Central Star Ferry pier where the market is set up every Sunday. I was a bit surprised at how small the market was (I was expecting something a bit bigger with a larger variety of produce) but if you are after some fresh organic greens it's a good start. Good variety of vegetables but not too much in the way of fruits or herbs. I only found potted lettuce and Thai basil. I also found some Japanese basil or "shiso" (しそ)which I love but it wasn't for sale.... apparently the leaves were being used to make stamps for the kids.... such a waste!
so no luck in starting my herb garden... but I did manage to buy some okra which I also eat a lot of.
I was introduced to okra in Japan and had never heard of it before then. this vegetable originated in Africa (Ethiopia) and is from the "mallow" family (same as cotton and cocoa) and is valued for its green fruit. it is often used in a soup or stew but in Japan it is commonly eaten blanched then sliced and served with "katsuobushi" (鰹節)or dried bonito flakes with a dash of soy sauce.
abundant with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and and rich in folate, it's a very healthy vege and a great dish to have in the heat of summer. due to its properties it is also said to help reduce cholesterol.

oh yeah, if you do happen to go to this farmer's market, don't do what I did and forget to bring a bag... no bags are supplied (good for the environment!) but a disaster if you want to stock up on some fresh produce!

Organic Farmer's Market
Every Wednesday: 1pm to 6pm
Every Saturday: 11am to 5pm
Venue: Central Star Ferry Pier

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