Greens Are Kapolei’s Superpower

One of my very favorite things about Kapolei—it’s going to sound stupid—is how amazing the salad greens are.

Commercial greens are grown in sunny, warm places. I’ve lived nearly all of my life in cloudy, temparate places. So that means that nearly all of the salads I’ve eaten have been made with greens that sat in a refrigerated truck for a few days while they were shipped from California, Arizona, or Florida up to me.

In Kapolei—warm and sunny year-round—I can get greens picked just a few miles away—maybe picked that same day.

Greens for sale at Ka Makana Ali'i Wednesday Farmers Market Greens for sale at Ka Makana Ali’i Wednesday Farmers Market

The fact is that anyone in Kapolei can make a better salad than the most talented chef in the most expensive restaurant in New York or London.

Foodland sells Manoa Valley Greens. These are mix of greens that are amazing in salads. I usually also pick up a bag of fresh local arugula, fresh local Thai basil, and Kamuela tomatoes to chop up and add.

Tamuras sells a wider variety of greens, I like just poking around and seeing what looks good. A few years ago I made an amazing batch of mustard greens for a Christmas party.

The most recent addition to my greens mix is due to the Wednesday farmers market at Ka Makana Ali’i. That’s where I discovered the greens mix from Kahumana Farm.

Their mix—which they also sell to fancy restaurants—includes wasabi greens, arugula, and other, less pungent greens. They wash and dry it at the farm, so it will stay fresh in your fridge—though I find it impossible to do anything but eat it that night.

I’ve made a major change in how I eat salad now that I can get fresh greens. In the past, I’d make a tangy vinaigrette using plenty of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mustard, to bring flavor to my bland greens.

Now, in Kapolei, I’ve realized that the greens have such flavor I don’t need powerful ingredients—a less pungent dressing like olive oil and lemon juice lets the natural flavor of the greens shine.