We arrived at 7:45. Seeing this sign and no visible crowd, we laughed. We couldn’t imagine the need for a bell, especially on the chill Big Island.

However, once we got into the ring, we sensed that the sign was a fair warning. People were elbowing their way to the best eggplant, the heirlooms, the Hamakua mushrooms, the freshest blackberry turnovers (there was an oven at the stand).  When I seized (I can be inspired to get in on a competition too) the last bundle of spinach, I sensed the venom of the growing horde behind me.

I don’t think this is what they mean when they refer to the “aloha spirit.” That spinach and the rest of my ingredients were certainly worth the fight.

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