At Hawaii farmers’ markets, visitors can sample the local flavor. // © 2013 HTA/Tor Johnson
Like their counterparts in other destinations, Hawaii farmers’ markets sell fresh produce, meats, fish and flowers as well as specialty products like cheeses, jams and works of art. But stop by one of the markets around the 50th state and it’s easy to see that these gatherings march to their own drum.
For starters, Hawaii’s daily sunny and warm weather makes the outdoor market experience pleasant year-round. The people behind the booths share a spirit of aloha unique to the destination, and visitors can mingle with locals while perusing handmade crafts and taking time out to sample island foods. Some markets even feature cooking demonstrations and live music.
At Hawaii farmers’ markets, visitors can feel good knowing they’re supporting the local economy while purchasing regional fruits and veggies. In addition, farmers’ markets provide a great option for Hawaii travelers whose accommodations come with kitchens, allowing them to buy recently-harvested ingredients — often at better prices than in grocery stores — and cook their own meals.
If possible, visitors should arrive at the start of the market for the best selection. How do they know when the selling starts? Sometimes it’s as simple as the honk of a car horn, a friendly shout from the market organizer or the drop of a rope.
Hawaii farmers’ markets are growing in popularity as fast as pineapples in the tropical sunshine. Everyone has a favorite based on his or her own preferences, proximity and priorities, but here are 10 worthy options for visitors.
Hilo Farmers Market
Over 200 local farmers and crafters gather in a plantation-style atmosphere.
-400 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo
-Daily from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Keauhou Shopping Center
Check out the farmer-chef presentations on the last Saturday of each month.
-78-6831 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona
-Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon
Hanalei Neighborhood Center and Ballpark
This north shore hub features lots of organic produce and sometimes fresh fish.
-Hoolako Rd., Lihue
Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-noon.
Kapaa New Town Park
From Kuhio Hwy., follow either Kukui, Ulu or Lehua Rds. and look for the crowds.
-Kahau St., Kapaa
-Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m.
Lipoa Street Farmers Market
South Maui visitors can stop here for organic edibles and hand-pressed lemonades.
-95 Lipoa St., Kihei
-Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon
Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center
Holding forth at Center Court, this market has local produce, flowers and baked goods.
-275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului
-Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Upcountry Farmers' Market
Clients can savor prepared Thai and Indian dishes while browsing the many booths.
-Kulamalu Town Center on Hwy. 37 near Long's Drugs, Pukalani
-Saturdays 7 a.m.-noon.
Kapiolani Community College
Each week a different restaurant sells hot breakfast plates, a plus for shoppers.
-4303 Diamond Head Rd., Honolulu
-Saturdays 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall
A fine representation of Oahu’s diverse agriculture scene, from specialty cheeses to local beef.
-777 Ward Ave. in the parking/lawn area, Honolulu
-Wednesdays 4 p.m.-7 p.m.