No shortage of New Year veggies at farmers’ market

LIHU’E — There were a lot of vegetables used in the preparation of traditional local New Year foods, and despite the fact that several vendors sold out early, there was no shortage.

“She was so busy, I just started helping her,” Haruko Abe said as she worked along-side vendor Sun Hee Hayashi in dispensing mizuna and another variety of mustard.

Still wet from cleaning, customers could get the green vegetable fresh from the farm, along with other vendors who offered up daikon, green onion, and a host of other vegetables used in the preparation of New Year dishes, at the Vidinha Stadium Sunshine Market Friday, one of the last ones of 2005.

The mizuna is one of the ingredients used in preparation of ozoni, a soup that features mochi, a rice cake, and a variety of other foodstuffs that symbolize good health, wealth, happiness, and longevity.

Glenna Ueunten started selling mizuna a few weeks ago, at the Koloa Sunshine Market held under the auspices of leaders of the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, as she thinned out her fields in anticipation of the big-sale days this week.

Ueunten also had a variety of other produce, but had a carton of tangerines, orange and leafed, for people looking for the citrus and who had to have leaves for the traditional offering with mochi.

“The crowds are a little bigger than normal, but that’s all right. Whatever I have left over, I’m taking to my mother-in-law on O’ahu,” Ueunten said. “That way I don’t need to go back to the farm.”

Vendors offering daikon, a long, Japanese radish, were quickly emptied of their wares, and supplies of green onion, too, quickly dwindled.

“But, don’t need to worry,” Abe laughed as customers interrupted her routine. “She has one more container underneath.”

Members of the Dela Pena family of Wailua Homesteads, who are among the vendors at the Vidinha Stadium market, had already gotten into the flow of handling the initial surge of customers, and were out shopping for their needs.

“Plus,” Ueunten added, “This is late already. Most people only work half day today.”

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