The Big Island of Hawai‘i is home to more farmers’ markets than most cities, each offering a different range of goods, but all providing at the very least a good place to pick up fresh produce, jarred goods such as jams and salsa, as well as homemade local Hawaiian treats. Not surprisingly, locally grown mango, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, coconut, and guava are available in abundance at great prices, but you can also find delicious avocados, organic peppers, fantastic goat cheese, and, of course, coffee.
Hawai‘i’s farmers are experimenting with dozens of varieties of exotic fruits such as poha berries, bilimbi, and mamey sapoy. Because of government restrictions, these fruits generally can’t leave the island, so this is your only chance to sample them.
On the Kona Side
Hawaiian Homesteaders Association Farmers’ Market: Check out the crafts sold here in the Kuhio Hale Building before you head to Waimea’s more expensive stores. Produce, flowers, plants, and baked goods are also available. Open 7 am to noon every Saturday.
Ka‘ ū Farmers’ Market: On a trip to the South Point, stock up on local produce and handmade baked goods at this market held at the Na‘alehu Theater every Saturday, 8 am to noon.
Under the Banyans Farmers’ Market: Fresh produce, seasonal fruit, plants, and craft items are sold at this market way up north in the village of Hāwī. It’s open Saturdays from 7:30 am until 1 pm.
On the Hilo Side
Downtown Honok‘a Farmers’ Market: This good old-fashioned farmers’ market in the midst of a charming old plantation town is a good stop during a drive up the Hāmākua Coast. It begins at 8 am on Saturdays.
The following markets are all south of Hilo:
Kea‘au Village Farmers’ Market: Fresh local farm produce featuring supersweet corn and flowers daily from 7 am to 5 pm; on Fridays, vendors also sell handmade Hawaiian arts and crafts.
Maku‘u Farmers’ Market: There’s food and produce here, but what differentiates it from the rest are the Hawaiian crafts, plants, jewelry, shells, ethnic and recycled clothing, records/CDs, and books. It’s along the Kea‘au/Pāhoa Highway, Sundays 8 am to noon.
Pāhoa Village Farmers’ Market: A great market, held in a large, covered outdoor space with local produce, prepared foods, coffee, clothing, and live music 9 am to 3 pm every Sunday.
Volcano Village Farmers’ Market: A favorite on the east side of the island. Local produce, flowers, prepared foods, baked goods, and an occasional clothing swap, in the Cooper Center, every Sunday 8:30–11 am.
For more information on the Big Island, see our destination guide.
Photo credit: istock/Missing35mm