PO‘IPU — There is an unmistakeable draw to the aroma of good soup.
The aroma seemed to hook shoppers on Wednesday Kukui‘ula Gourmet Market, drawing them magnetically to the tent where Helen Laconas of Hanapepe Cafe was busy ladling from four big pots of soup.
The blend of the four special preparations wafted throughout Kukui‘ula Village, being more noticeable the closer you got to the tent and riveting people whose taste buds blossomed in the aromatic veil.
“She’s been here for about three weeks,” said Melissa McFerrin, Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau coordinator for the Wednesday market. “We were excited when she asked about being able to participate in the market.”
McFerrin said Laconas takes about three days to make each batch of soup, the selection on Wednesday being limited to carrot-coconut-lemongrass, Hungarian mushroom, a vegetarian preparation, chicken corn chowder and beef vegetable soup.
“She’s going to make her first appearance at the Saturday Kaua‘i Community Market this week,” McFerrin said. “And the good news is that she’ll have bread along with the soup.”
At the Kukui‘ula market, Laconas is conveniently placed next to the table offering a variety of baked goods, including bread.
But McFerrin said, there aren’t as many bread offerings at the Saturday market and Laconas made arrangements with her baker, now on his own as Pueo Bakery, to have bread available.
Daphne McClure of Moloa‘a Bay Estate Coffee, one of the vendors at the Kukui‘ula market said she had an opportunity to sample Laconas’ soup because at the end, whatever is remaining is offered to the vendors at a special price.
Ada Koene, a regular Kukui‘ula market shopper, said having Laconas on hand means you can shop and have dinner at the same time.
The Kaua‘i Community Market goes from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Kaua‘i Community College parking lot along Kaumuali‘i Highway.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.