At the first stall I visited I spoke to manager Cheryl Marsters who told me about the benefits and health properties of noni juice, which she sells at the market every Saturday, together with locally bottled Te Kou water.
Cook Islands Noni Marketing Ltd is owned and was founded by Brad Stafford. The fruit has an unpleasant bitter taste, but it is useful to treat liver conditions. It can be mixed with other foods to mask its flavour.
It’s traditionally used to cleanse and purify, as a remedy against illness, as a wellbeing tonic, to aid digestion, to heal abrasions and to reduce aches and pain.
Believed to be high in antioxidants, noni is also said to be good for a variety of diseases and is anti-inflammatory, making it useful for pain and cardiovascular disease.
All the company’s noni juice is processed using traditional Cook Islands aging and fermentation methods. The juice is fermented and pressed in small batches with careful consideration to Cook Islands traditions and protocol.
The second hut I visited was Rito Cook Islands, owned and managed by Susan and Robert Wyllie. Rito is a premium range of locally made coconut oil and skin care products. I spoke with Susan, a Cook Islander, who told me they had operated the business for seven years, manufacturing and packaging the products locally, working only with the finest cold-pressed coconut oil. It’s extracted on their family property in the coastal village of Tikioki.
They sell an impressive range of skin care, which includes cold-pressed coconut oil, facial cleanser, day cream, hydrating body moisturiser, body butter and coconut scrub soap.
I can totally endorse the products, having used them myself, as I have very sensitive skin. I also discovered that they sell culinary cooking oil coconut with lime and chilli. Cooking with coconut oil is very healthy and it has a high smoke point.
The Rito hut is open every Saturday at the market and their products are also available from their premises at Tikioki. The products are also sold at the several spas on the island and at CITC Pharmacy in central Avarua.
The market is open from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturdays and a few stalls and huts are also open during the week.
The BSP bank has ATM there on Saturdays and Bluesky has a stall where you can top up your mobile phone.
The market features an island show every Saturday morning, sponsored by Highland Paradise.