By Peyton Roberts
On any given day on Guam, you don’t have to drive far to find yourself face to face with the island’s freshest produce. During these months of pursuing freshness, I’ve figured out a little system of where to go for fresh produce based on what day it is. It dawned on me that this little calendar I stick to in my head might be useful for others who, like me, find themselves continually in search of all things fresh on Guam.
Stop by Dona’s produce stand off Rt. 1 in Piti for bananas, pumpkin, avocados, and papaya (green, ripe, and pickled!). If there’s a special type of fruit in season, chances are Dona’s got it, and she’ll tell you how to prepare it. She’s also open other days of the week, but I haven’t figured out her schedule yet. So I just stop in when she’s got the sign out, which is almost always on Monday.
Tuesday is my favorite fresh day on Guam. The Fishermen’s Co-Op is typically stocked with its best and freshest selection of the week. They have freshest salmon you can get on island. Their salmon shipments (no, not local, but wild caught and still delish!) come in Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I also like to pick up some fresh poki for lunch. It’s the freshest fast food on island!
Tuesday night, swing through the Agat Market and get some cooking tips from Lida at her produce stand, then peruse the varying selection from the other vendors. This is the only place I’ve found to buy pineapple grown on island. Treat yourself to banana donuts and meat on a stick. And don’t miss the awesome view! I like to go around 6 p.m. and stay to watch the sun set over the water.
Head to Chamorro Village for a farmer’s market during the day and a range of specialty vendors once the fair sets up in the afternoon. The farmer’s market gets going around 10a and goes well after sunset. The produce stands in front are typically stocked with long beans, star fruit, all kinds of bananas, ginger root, eggplant, boonie peppers, and calamansi. Inside the fair, look for boonie pepper jelly, locally procured coconut oil, and homemade calamansi pies, all of which make great Christmas gifts for off-island friends and family.
Mangilao is home to the Thursday night market. Located next to Santa Teresita Church, the market starts setting up around 3 p.m. and goes through the evening. There is a great selection of produce from local farmers and plenty of smiles to go around too.
On any given day you can also stop by Guam Lock and Key to restock your inventory of Boonie Bee Honey.
Head to CostULess and Island Fresh for scrumptious varieties of Grow Guam hydroponic lettuce, which is harvested and packaged on Thursday nights. But even if you don’t buy your lettuce on Friday, each head is still attached to its root system, so it will stay fresh for up to two weeks in your fridge. Best of all, Grow Guam recently dropped their prices by a dollar or more per head, so fresh lettuce is more affordable than ever!
Rise and shine and head to the Dededo Flea Market for one of the best stocked farmer’s markets of the week. Located two miles north of Micronesia Mall, tables set up as early as 6 a.m. Take a stroll through the market for other good finds. As always, the earlier you go, the better the selection.
Hey, we’re on island time. How about a day of rest? I so appreciate how many businesses on Guam close on Sundays. While the rest of the week is great for shopping, Sundays are perfect for hanging out by the beach, going to church, and catching up with friends and family.
Sure, there are times when I stop by a produce stand and they don’t have what I’m looking for. And I know I can always go to Payless Supermarket or Island Fresh on any day if the produce stands aren’t convenient. But there’s something special about getting produce directly from farmers. As a gardener myself, I know how much time and care goes into making things grow well here. I can vouch that there’s no better value on island than the fresh fruits and vegetables entrusted to you by the very hands that plucked them from the earth.
Sadly, this will be my last Fresh Factor post before I have to move away from this little paradise of ours, so I leave you with one final treat. I had no idea what a soursop was until Dona insisted I buy one. Turns out they blend into a smoothly that is distinctly tropical.
Adapted from The Deep Dish
1 ripe medium-sized soursop, peeled and seeded
1 cup coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
1 cup ice
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with lime slices. Serves two.
Thanks to all of you for reading along and to The Guam Guide for creating this space to share so many fresh ideas. This little island will forever hold a very special place in my heart.
Peyton Roberts is a military spouse who moved to Guam from the States in July 2010. She started her blog, Peyt’s Island, as a way to keep friends and family informed about what island life is like. Over time, that space transformed into a forum for writing about her experiences discovering Guam’s beauty, and more recently its flavors. Peyton loves all Guam adventures, whether land or sea, and has a passion for sharing ideas about incorporating local produce into regular family cooking. At the Fresh Factor, Peyton shares recipes, interviews, and information about all things fresh on Guam.