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The cosmopolitan nature of Suva and her people is perhaps nowhere better exemplified than in the marketplace. Men and women from nearly all segments of Fiji’s multiracial population gather here to offer their various wares to the public. Like marketplaces everywhere in the world, the spread-through atmosphere is one of the most lively and energetic with enthusiasm and cheerfulness, along with bargaining and negotiating, both good-natured and otherwise, the order of the day.
Shoppers with time and patience can usually find what they are looking for at just the price they feel is reasonable, for competition among merchants is always lively. Products available in the markets in Suva vary according to the clientele to which they cater. The market and the mini-markets offer a wide selection of fresh, sun-ripened fruits as well as taro (dalo) and cassava (tavioka) and other vegetables with a variety of seafood more familiar to visitors in western countries.
The markets are not only Suva’s major fresh food supplier, it is also a means of livelihood for thousands of people, but is also a celebration – a six-day fair for those that use the market daily.
Mini Market (Tavakubu)
With the demand from our community within Suva City, the Council provided for mini-markets to cater to the daily demands of the community and its visitors. These mini-markets are within walking distance of the residents of Suva.
There are four Mini markets within Suva City:
Source | Suva City Council
The Lautoka City Municipal Market caters to vendors, farmers and wholesalers from all regions of Vitilevu. The market has an exotic blend of fresh local and imported fruits, vegetables, spices and root crops, handicrafts and sweet sellers, selling fresh seafood and kai. The market also houses a Fishermen’s market where a wide variety of fish can be found.
The Market is a “One Stop Shop” near the Supermarket, Bus Station, Taxi Stand and Carries stand, Wheel Borrow Boys are there to assist customers and Parking space at the Mall. Can move freely as the Police Post is within the Market Space and the Market has CCTV.
Main Market Opening Times | Monday - Friday 7am - 5:30 pm | Saturday 6:00 am -4:00 pm
Mini Market (Tavakubu)
Lautoka City Council also owns and operates a mini-market outside the CBD, located at the junction of Tavakubu Road and Sukanaivalu Road. This market is known as the Tavakubu Satellite Market and was constructed in 2017.
Tavakubu Satellite Market has 34 stalls and has opening hours as follows:
Mon-Sun: 07:00 – 17:00 Hours.
Source | Lautoka Council
Staple Root Crops Of Fiji
Fijian, along with most other Pacific Islanders, have never been cultivators of cereals potatoes, rice, sago or any of the other more staple foods. The bread and butter of the fertile islands Fiji has been in time since immemorial, and continues to be, a small selection of tropical foods, including fruits such as breadfruits and cooking bananas, as well as root crops, of which the most important are yams and taro. These have recently have been more supplemented by some introduced root crops, notably sweet potato and tapioca, or manioc. This set of stamps celebrates five of the most important of these “staffs of life” of the Pacific Islands.
Kawai Dioscorea esculenta
The kawai (sweet yam) is a species of yam with smallish tubers containing white flesh with a sweetish taste, not unlike those floury potatoes. Like all yams, it is planted in mounds and the growth of the tuber is matched by the growth of a spiny vine with broad, deep-green, spade-shaped leave. It is planted around September and matures in the cool season (around June or July), thus providing a continuous supply of root crops when the main yam crop is exhausted. Kawai is particularly common in the drier parts of Fiji, especially the Macuata area of northern of Vanualevu.
Tavioka Manihot esculenta syn. Manihot utilissima
Tavioka (tapioca, manioc, cassava) is a native of Central and South America, and was introduced to Fiji in the mid-nineteenth Century by Catholic priests. At first, it was considered an inferior root crops, suitable only for pig fodder, but eventually Fijians developed a taste for it, not to mention a liking for its ease of planting and rapid maturity, so that now its probably Fiji’s favourite food, though experts warn that it is of very low nutritional value. In some parts of Fiji, especially the eastern islands of Lau, the leaves are also eaten, after being suitably treated to remove the poison in them.
Kumala Ipomea batatas
The kumala (sweet potato) holds a special place in the history of the Pacific, being one of the few cultivated plants that was introduced into the Pacific from South America before the advent of Europeans. Even its name seems to have a South American origin, deriving from its name kumar in the Qurchua language of Peru.
The celebrated scientist and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (of Kon Tiki fame) believed that it was introduced by South Americans themselves using balsa rafts, but more recently some authorities have argued that it was the Pacific islanders themselves who, unparalleled navigators that they were, sailed to South America and returned with the kumala. The tubers are like largish potatoes with, as the name indicates, sweetish taste, and the leaves of the scrambling vines are also eaten in some parts of Fiji as green vegetables, boiled in coconut milk.
Dalo Colocasia esculenta
Dalo (better known in English by its Polynesian name, taro) has a tasty but unremarkable looking tuber, which is crowned by a bunch of large, glossy heart-shaped leaves which give a luscious green hue to any dalo plantation. Dalo is very versatile but grows best in swampy conditions, or where there is very high rainfall. Sadly, the great irrigated dalo terraces of yore, built on slopes like the rice terraces of South-east Asia, are becoming increasingly rare. The young leaves are also eaten as green vegetables, often with coconut cream, and are highly nutritious. Dalo is often pounded and made into a kind of sweet pudding with caramelised coconut cream. Fijians and other Pacific islanders who have migrated to New Zealand, Australia and North America still yearn for their dalo, so that it has now become an important export crop.
Uvi Dioscorea alata
Uvi (yams) are the aristocrats of Pacific root crops. In Fiji, as in many other Pacific Islands, the months of the year are largely determined by the planting. growth, harvesting, and ritual presentation of yams, and indeed the Fijian word for year, yabaki, originally meant ‘yam-harvest’. They are planted in mounds in the cool season (June-July) and mature in about nine months. For best results, the vines are trained on real trellises. It is considered a great compliment to a man to say he is a good yam cultivator. Yams last well, as long as they are protected from rodents and other pests, and are often kept in specially built storehouses, called valevale or lololo. There are many varieties in all shapes and sizes, but the typical yam is long and knobbly, with white flesh which can be relatively hard. Yam competitions are run annually in many parts of Fiji, and tubers can measure over six feet (2 meters) and weigh up to 45 kilograms. The visible part of the plant is a spiny vine that spirals to the right as it climbs, with small leaves shaped like rather pointed heart.
This calendar has been designed to help you get creative in the kitchen AND support local Fijian farmers throughout
the year by buying fresh, seasonal produce.
|FRUIT AND VEGETABLES||TRADITIONAL & TROPICAL||FIJI GROWN & PRODUCED||FIJIAN SPICES|
|Citrus (Limes)||Bele||Cheese (hand made)||Cardamon|
|Corn||Cassava||Herbs (basil, coriander, mint, parsley etc.)||Chilli|
|Noni fruit (Kura)||Dalo||Lettuce and hydroponic vegetables||Curry leaves|
|Papaya (Pawpaw)||Dawa (Longan)||Mushrooms||Ginger|
|Avocado||Avocado||Banana||Banana||Bilimbi Fruit||Bilimbi Fruit|
|Banana||Banana||Bilimbi Fruit||Bilimbi Fruit||Breadfruit||Breadfruit|
|Bilimbi Fruit||Bilimbi Fruit||Breadfruit||Bok Choy||Bok Choy||Bok Choy|
|Dalo||Granadilla||Okra||Granadilla||French Beans||French Beans|
|Granadilla||Long Beans||Plantain||Long Beans||Lettuce||Lettuce|
|Guava||Melons||Rice||Mung Beans||Mung Beans||Melons|
|Long Beans||Okra||Wild Coffee||Plantain||Peanuts||Mung Beans|
|Okra||Plantain||Wild Coffee||Pineapple||Pigeon Pea|
|Plantain||Wild Coffee||Yams||Wild Coffee|
|Bilimbi Fruit||Bok Choy||Banana||Banana||Avocado||Avocado|
|Bok Choy||Broccoli||Bok Choy||Bok Choy||Banana||Banana|
|Broccoli||Cabbage||Broccoli||Cabbage||Bok Choy||Bread Fruit|
|Cowpeas||Cucumber||Duruka||French Beans||Jack Fruit||French Beans|
|Granadilla||French Beans||French Beans||Jack Fruit||Lettuce||Lettuce|
|Cucumber||Kumala||Jack Fruit||Kumala||Mango||Long Beans|
|Melons||Mung Bean||Melons||Melons||Peanuts||Mung beans|
|Mung Bean||Peanuts||Mung Bean||Mung Bean||Pineapple||Okra|
|Peanuts||Tomato||Pigeon Pea||Pigeon Pea||Tomato||Plantain|
|Pineapple||Wild Coffee||Wild Coffee||Plantain||Tomato|