Hawaii Island is the ideal locale for farmers market shopping. It is under these makeshift, tented markets that you will find the best-kept secrets of Big Island farmers and artisans. They include edible and artistic treasures to enjoy on the spot or take home to share with family and friends. From hot ethnic dishes to organic herbs and greens to coveted seasonal fruits like mangos, lychee and avocados, farmers markets on this island are a one-stop shopping experience. It would be easy to spend the day visiting the many vendors you will find in markets big and small across the island. Each one offers something different, though you will typically find similar produce items that are favorites with locals.
The Hilo Farmers Market — featuring more than 200 local farmers and crafters on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. — is one stop you will want to make if you venture to the East side of the island. Here you will find unique gifts to take home, including velvet seed jewelry, locally made soaps, pareos, t-shirts, and art. Visit the fresh produce section for Hawaii-grown exotic fruits like rambutan and papaya as well as fresh vegetables like organic kale and Hamakua mushrooms. Blooming orchids and anthuriums abound, as do specialty food items including freshly baked breads, raw honey, dried fish, Filipino pastries and Peruvian tamales. The Hilo Farmers Market is on the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in the heart of downtown Hilo.
The Volcano Village Farmers Market comes to life Sundays from 6 to 10 a.m. at the Cooper Center in Volcano Village. Find lots of tropical produce and flowers here, in addition to unique locally made breads, jams, grass-fed beef, poi, crafts, and art. It’s also a great spot to pick up hot breakfast and lunch items.
Come to Waimea Town Market, Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Parker School to see 30 food and craft vendors showcasing everything from artisan breads to homemade pies to wild Alaska salmon. Treat yourself to coconut candy, fresh coffee or bacon by the pound. There are picnic tables where you can sit and eat recently purchased goodies and enjoy live music or performances on occasion.
The Waimea Homestead Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon at the Kuhio Hale West Hawaii Office of DHHL. The focus of this market is locally grown produce, flowers, plants and other specialty food items. There are also a limited number of crafters. Pick up a hot food item or get some pastries, jellies, cookies or locally made beef jerky.
The Pahoa Village Farmers Market is every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Pahoa at the Akebono Theatre/Luquin’s parking lot. People come here for fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, crafts, clothing, and, of course, the kava bar and lively music.
Also in Puna is the Maku‘u Farmers Market, a local favorite, open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maku‘u Farmer’s lot on Keaau/Pahoa Highway. With close to 200 vendors, this market boasts lots of local and handmade crafts, organic and non-organic produce, specialty items, clothing, and live music. Grab any of the Thai, Indian, Filipino, Chinese or Hawaiian hot food items, sit in the market’s covered food court, and enjoy.
The Keauhou Farmers is Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Keauhou Shopping Center in Kailua-Kona. This market features only Hawaii Island products and does not have craft vendors. Instead, find local produce and plants, 100 percent Kona Coffee, macadamia nuts, freshly baked goods, jams, and potted plants. There are free demonstrations and events as well.
The South Kona Green Market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook. This farmers’ and artists’ market features lots of produce, 100 percent Kona Coffee, art, and handcrafted items. It’s a great setting to grab some hot grub, sit and enjoy some live music.
Na‘alehu Farmers Market in Ka‘u meets Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and also features a “Hawaii-made” day, Fridays, from 8 a.m. to noon on the grounds of the Shaka Restaurant. This market is best known for its locally made crafts and clothing as well as local beef, lamb, eggs, and fresh produce.
Hawi “Under the Banyans” Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring approximately 30 vendors showcasing lots of local produce, herbs, fresh flowers, eggs, honey, coffee, jewelry, clothing, crafts, used items, and local cuisine. This market is on the corner of Akoni Pule and Hawi Road in the heart of Hawi.