Big Island is almost certainly considered the epicenter of Hawaiian produce and farmers’ markets. It may have something to do with its sheer land mass and climate zone diversity. Our island is almost four times larger than any other Hawaiian Island and has 11 of the 13 world climate zones. This provides perfect conditions for growing and cultivating various crops, from signature coffee beans to macadamia nuts to tropical fruits and flowers.
Even though you can grow crops in Hawaii year-round, September and October are the best months to enjoy the fresh local produce. The abundance of tropical fruits, fresh local organic veggies, and other goodies is simply amazing and can be best experienced by visiting our local farmer’s markets.
This post will feature the best farmer’s markets on the island and what you can find there.
Waimea Town Market
Waimea is a small town on the island’s west side, just a 20-minute drive from the Kohala Coast resorts. Higher elevation with plenty of rain, a cooler climate, and abundant fertile agricultural land make this area a farmers’ paradise. Besides fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of cattle farmers, including the famous Parker Ranch, flower growers, artisans, bakers, and other local craftsmen in Waimea.
Waimea Town Market at Parker School is open every Saturday from 7:30 am to noon and is home to over 50 vendors who offer a wide variety of terrific produce, food, and other unique items. You will find locally grown, farm-fresh vegetables, fruit, macadamia nuts, meats, cheeses, bread and pastries, Big Island-grown coffees and teas, plants and flowers, and many locally produced artisan wares.
You can also find delicious breakfasts and lunches from the world’s most exciting cuisines, plus sandwiches, snacks, and treats for all appetites there, so if you decide to visit the market, go hungry!
Waimea Midweek Farmers Market
If you missed the Saturday market, no worries! Waimea Midweek Farmers Market is open every Wednesday from 9 am til 2 pm and offers the same, if not a better plentiful array of produce and goods. Plus, it can be less crowded there on Wednesdays.
The market is situated on Parker Ranch, at the historic Pukalani Stables, which were the center of the ranch’s horse breeding operation for over 50 years. It now houses a museum, The Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) Heritage Center, and is managed by the Paniolo Preservation Society, dedicated to preserving the Paniolo heritage of all of Hawaii. The museum is always open, free of charge, during market hours.
Waimea-grown fresh vegetables and greens are always in demand there, and if you want to get the freshest lettuces and herbs, go early. Local strawberries, which are also grown in Waimea, are definitely worth trying, as well as Waimea-grown beets and tomatoes.
You will also find fresh local grass-fed beef, eggs, cheeses, and seafood there. A must-try is the artisan bread from Mamame Bakery, one of the best bread you will find on the island.
Keauhou Farmer’s Market
Keauhou Farmer’s Market takes place every Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm at the Keauhou Shopping Center and is sponsored by the Kona County Farm Bureau (KCFB). This is a true farm-to-table market, as most of the vendors there are actual farmers and growers of the produce. A bit more rustic than the markets in Waimea, Keauhou Farmer’s Market is abundant with fresh vegetables and greens at very reasonable prices. This is where you find a more exotic variety of tropical fruits like sweet cotton beans, rollinia, rambutan, dragonfruit, mangoes, soursop, and sometimes even pitanga cherries.
Be sure to visit the Mermaid Mushrooms stand, the local grower of the highest quality mushrooms. They offer different types of oyster mushrooms and even lion’s main mushrooms, known for their medicinal qualities.
In addition, the market offers honey, flowers, Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, meat, seafood and eggs, handmade bread, jams, and so much more. All are 100% grown and produced in Hawaii.
Hilo Farmers’ Market
If you ever venture out to the island’s east side, stop by the Hilo Farmers’ Market. This bold, colorful roadside market is open seven days a week and has been visited by countless locals and even some celebrities. Tons of local produce, fresh fruit, crafts, art, and more are to be found here, at the corner of Kamehameha Ave and Mamo St. Hours are from 8 am to 3 pm.
You can also find plenty of exotic fruits and vegetables here, great local raw honey, local chocolate, and many more exciting things. You could spend hours walking through the aisles and wondering what some of these things are. Don’t shy away from trying something new – many vendors will offer free tasting of their products.
The prices are more than reasonable compared to the island’s west side, and you may be pleasantly surprised with how much you can get for your money there.
Kings’ Shops Farmer’s Market
If you are staying in one of the Kohala Coast Resorts, the Kings’ Shops shopping center at the Waikoloa Beach Resort holds a farmers’ market every Tuesday from 9 am to 2:30 pm. The market features locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh jams and jellies, macadamia nuts, breads and pastries, and more! The selection is more upscale here, and you can find high-quality Hawaiian sea salts, specialty honey, locally made natural skin care products, and other artisanal fares.
All in all, these represent only a fraction of what is available all across this magnificent island. The Big Island is a wonderland for those interested in farmers’ markets, and there isn’t a roadside stand you can stumble into that won’t be worth stopping by and checking out.
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We hope to see you soon – a hui hou!