There is always something to see when driving through the little towns of Maui. Every year my family and I stop in Kihei at a local craft fair and fruit stand to pick up souvenirs, trinkets and fresh fruit. Each booth seems to be held up by wood poles, has a draped cloth roof, and displays recycled wood planks for shelves. I love looking at the hand carved bowls, hand strung necklaces, and gorgeous flowered sarongs.
But my favorite booth is the tropical fruit stand. All locally grown exotic fruits ready for purchase; what better way to enjoy the island than with sweet, delicious slices of papaya and pineapple? I always ogle over their ripeness. Today was particularly exciting, the fruit stand had raw sugar cane! I had never seen sugar cane in person, and they looked like chalky bamboo sticks. The cashier told me you break off strips of the cane and chew on the pieces to extract the sweetness. I was a little too cautious to try raw sugar cane but I do love the packets of Maui raw sugar! Same thing, right?
Before moving on to other booths, I ordered a fresh coconut, picking out the best looking one from the pile. Using only a machete and a stump, the merchant hacked at the coconut, exposing the top just enough to stick a straw through the coconut meat to drink up the water. After finishing the coconut water, the rest of the shell was cut open and the meat carved out. The meat was so soft, tender and delicious.
As we wrapped up our shopping, I watched a local ask the fruit stand for a plastic bag. He then opened up his backpack and pulled out a live octopus! He told me he caught it this morning while diving and was more than proud to show me his catch. Whatever he makes with that octopus, I can’t think of anything more fresh!