Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Organic Farmers' Market at the Star Ferry Terminal

With about 100 Government-run wet markets in Hong Kong, traditional street markets sprinkled here and there and outstanding "western style" supermarkets, the average food shopper in Hong Kong is spoiled for choice with 'round-the-clock access to fresh fruits and veg.  Oh, how I envy them!

Hong Kong's official certificate of organic produce
Finding organic, sustainable produce grown locally on the other hand, is a different story.  

Over the years, I've sought them out like a hound and visited two in Kowloon, Mei Foo and Tai Po.  I'd have to say though, that the Star Ferry Terminal Market on Hong Kong Island stands out in my mind as the most engaging, family friendly and by far the easiest to find.  After paying 34¢ each to ride in first class, we jumped on the ferry in Kowloon, snapped a few pics while we bobbed up and down in the harbour, and "poof," we were there.

The market is run every Sunday by LOHAS Square or Lifestyle-Of-Health-And-Sustainability.  Simply put, their mission is to educate people on ways of sustainable living.  Organic farming, networking within the community and recycling being three of many.

About 10 or so certified local organic food vendors were gathered in the centre of the terminal. Around the perimeter, a few other vendors were selling non-food items made from recycled materials.  I bought a charming cat key chain made from recycled fabric.  There was also a soap making demonstration under way. 

While we were wandering around the market munching on carrots and strawberries, I stopped at one of the booths where they were making little lanterns and candy dishes from used red  Lai See packets so of course I had to jump in and give it a try.  

I sat next to an adorable 5-year-old girl and together we followed detailed instructions from the teacher while the little girl's mom generously translated for me.  I made a gold fish.  She made a beautiful candy dish.  Clearly she'd done this before.

A second life for Lai See packets
After trying my hand at that, next to the Lai See booth was another craft booth, this one, Chinese paper cutting or JianzhiThe Jianzhi instructor pulled out samples of the different patterns you could make.  Some of them were incredibly ornate and skilfully done.  After a brief consultation, he suggested I give "Double Happiness" a shot and traced an outline in pencil where I was to cut with my tiny, sharp scissors.  With yet another young girl beside me and Hubby encouraging me from the sidelines, we got down to it.

Like the other Farmers' markets, the vendors here were passionate about the food they grow, offered us samples of their products and were very gracious and patient even though we had no hope of ever conversing with each other. 

But the calm and communal atmosphere of the market and the lovely vendors drew us in and left us with a warm and lasting memory.  And a nice Lai See gold fish.


Heather Robinson said...

I loved all of this. :)

Gustia said...

Thank you! It was a rally memorable, heart warming day for both of us.