Kauai is overrun by chickens. To say “overrun” is probably an understatement; as far as I can see it, there are so many of them that they probably have seats in the local government.
The other islands on Hawaii do have feral chickens, but not to the degree that Kauai does. Apparently, back in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki blew through, it destroyed a whole lot of coops and released quite a few domesticated hens, and rumor has it that some roosters bred for cockfighting also escaped, leading to the emergence of some kind of strange mutant super-chicken over following decades.
But that’s just rumor.
Whatever the cause, there are LOTS of chickens around our otherwise idyllic cottage, waking Ray up at 3:45 every morning (oddly enough, even though I am usually a lighter sleeper than Ray, I can sleep right through a rooster crowing), irritating him to the point where he will accelerate and drive straight at a chicken if it is crossing the road.
Seeing as how there is an overabundance of chickens, I thought for sure that eggs would be pretty cheap, especially if I bought local.
In point of fact, the prices for local eggs are almost twice as much as the ones that come from the mainland. THERE IS SOMETHING EXTREMELY MESSED UP ABOUT THIS SYSTEM, especially since all the other food products that are shipped here from the mainland costs way more than food produced locally.
I am sure the main reason for this price difference has to do with the horrible (yet extremely efficient) chicken farming practices on the mainland, and for that reason, I felt really strongly that we should buy local eggs from a farmer’s market while we were staying on Kauai.
Luckily, there is a farmer’s market right up the road from where we are staying, and Ray and I pulled in this afternoon to get some fresh fruit and eggs. Even though the sign said the market was open, when we drove past, we only saw one guy sitting under a tent. “Maybe there’s more up ahead,” I suggested. “Keep driving.”
There was nothing up ahead, though, except another lonely stand on the road with a sign that declared “FRESH EGGS.” I squealed excitedly, and we pulled over.
Nobody was manning the stand, but we saw a jar next to the eggs, so we figured it was one of those “pay on the honor system” farm stands. I picked up half a dozen and put my money in the jar. That’s when I read this:
HONOR SYSTEM. Please put monies in here. Whoever stole the last container, you stole from the kids. Please don’t take it again, God is watching!!!
I’m so glad I found this place, not only because I am getting some local, fresh eggs, but that this is essentially the Kauai equivalent to a lemonade stand. I paid $3 for 6 eggs, which is still more expensive than the mainland eggs, but far cheaper than the local ones they were selling at the grocery store. And this money is for the kids.
See? Chickens can be tools for good, at least sometimes.