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food from the market

February 16, 2012

As I noted in this post, almost all our fruits and veggies come from “the market.”  There are a few different markets, but the one below is the Central Market and the one we go to most often.

There aren’t shopping carts at the market, so shoppers bring their own baskets to carry purchases.Probably two hundred different vendors sell a variety of fruits, veggies, eggs, peanuts, and more. It’s hard for me to tell where one vendor’s products end and another’s begin. A few times I’ve tried to pay the wrong person.  This picture was on our first full day in Solomon Islands, so I’m apparently a bit overwhelmed.

what I must look like at the market

There are different areas in the market. On Saturday mornings there’s a row of flower vendors along the street. Inside the covered building shown below, the rows closest to the street are second hand clothes, and next are a few rows of jewelry and wood carvings. Then there’s a leafy green vegetables section. Then there’s a huge area of assorted fruits, vegetables, nuts, and eggs. Toward the back of the building there are “fast food” vendors that sell fried fish in paper bags, chicken curry and rice from buckets, donuts, and other ready-to-eat foods.

Behind the building, on the ocean side, there’s an area with chicken, fish, and seafood. I’m not too familiar with that section yet. Outside the building are sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapple, watermelon, mangoes, and coconuts.

In the lower right side of the picture below, you can see what looks like a sheet with white things on top. That’s one vendor’s area with piles of sweet potatoes (different than the orange sweet potatoes in the US). There’s also a group of three umbrellas in the picture. The ladies beneath them are selling green coconuts.  Green coconut vendors near the exits will cut a hole and insert a straw in the top of a green coconut so the buyer can drink the coconut water as they leave. It’s the equivalent to grabbing a can of soda from the little fridge by the grocery store checkout line.


outside the main market building

This coworker often lets me tag along with her for errands, and she explains what the different foods are. She manages two baskets plus a baby in the carrier. We usually leave the two toddlers at home, but they certainly draw a lot of attention when they come.

smile for the camera

A conversation goes something like this, but in Pijin:

Me: “Good morning. I would like to buy two heaps.”

Seller: “Ten dollars. Which ones?”

Me: “these two” [point at the two small piles I want]

Seller: [picks up the heaps and puts them in my basket] “Thank you.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Once in awhile I ask what something is, but the answer doesn’t mean much.  A few times I’ve asked what to do with a vegetable, and the vendor has told me to eat just the leaves or cook it in coconut milk or some other preparation hint.

Let’s take a look at what I bought on one market trip. What’s beneath all those bananas?


The largest thing is a “pumpkin,” some sort of squash. The long green things are green beans, and on top of them are two oranges. The oranges are green, yes, but ripe. Then there are three mangoes, two dark purple avocados, several eggplants, and a few green peppers peeking through. Can you spot all of those?

Total cost for everything I bought, all in this photo: about $9 US.  Which is why we’ve been eating even more fruits and veggies than usual. So cheap and so good!

Oh, is that a little hand sneaking into the left side of the photo and grabbing a yellow banana?

Why yes it is.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mom C permalink
    February 16, 2012 4:27 pm

    Loving bananas, that’s our Champ, all right.

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