More than any other state in the U.S., farmers’ markets in Hawai‛i are a smorgasbord of tropical produce and international cultures and foods. They are not your run-of-the-mill farm-to-table events. Honolulu farmers’ markets are teeming with exotic fruits and vegetables. Dragon fruit, passion fruit, papaya, apple bananas, mango, guava, lychee, and star fruit, to name a few. Scrumptious aromas of freshly cooked delicacies fill the air: lumpia and adobo from the Philippines; malasadas and pao doce from Portugal; sushi and tempura from Japan; laulau, poi, and poke from Hawai‛i; and locally-blended foods like huli-huli chicken and spam musubi. Buckets of tropical flowers like orchids, anthuriums, ginger, bird of paradise, and heliconia are everywhere. You can count on seeing bottles of Mānoa honey, Hawaiian vanilla, organic eggs, super sweet Kahuku corn, North Shore beef and coffee, aqua-cultured prawns, and the irresistible Waialua chocolate. You might even be treated to a cooking demonstration by local celebrity chefs or a hula performance by local hula hālau.
For visitors staying in Waikiki, some of the hotels and shopping hubs host farmers’ markets. Kings’ Village at 131 Kaiulani Street has a market open from 4-9 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Waikiki Hyatt at 2424 Kalākaua Avenue hosts a market on Thursday evenings from 4-8 PM. But there’s nothing like getting out of Waikiki and going to where the local people host farmers’ markets. Here are a few of the farmers’ markets around Honolulu that you won’t want to miss:
KCC Farmers’ Market
Where: Parking Lot C, 4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu 96816
Schedule: Saturday, 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM
At Kapiolani Community College in back of Diamond Head, this is the Grand-Daddy of Honolulu farmers’ markets and easily the biggest on the island. It’s even become a stop for tour buses. Parking can be hard to find if you don’t get here early, but TheBus and the Waikiki Trolley both have stops at the site. The KCC Farmers’ Market website even has a map of the market layout so you can see which vendors are regularly there.
Pearlridge Farmers’ Market
Where: Pearlridge Uptown along Moanalua Road. Parking near Kaiser Permanente and Macy’s
Schedule: Saturday, 8 AM to 12 PM
The Pearlridge Farmers’ Market is one of the best markets on the island, and is out towards the west end of O‛ahu. It features over 40 vendors and is always adding new sellers who offer locally-grown fruits and vegetables, oven-fresh breads and baked treats. Live Hawaiian entertainment is usually featured at this farmers’ market. A pop-up café that seats 70 allows shoppers to enjoy music throughout the morning. Along with produce, you will find local butter, cheeses, honey, salsas, as well as other artisan foods and plant and flower booths. There are even organic dog treats for your furry friend Don’t forget to try the WOW Waffles that usually sell out early. Since this market is at a mall, there is plenty of parking, and plenty of shopping after the farmers’ market!
Kailua Farmers’ Market – There are TWO!
This lovely little town by the sea hosts TWO farmers’ markets each week. Seems like they can’t get enough of fresh, locally-grown foods. Kailua is also a haven for tourists, since the beach here is one of the nicest in the state.
Where: 609 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
Schedule: Thursday, 5-7:30PM
This market is like the old-fashioned community social. Every Thursday evening many locals come to buy dinner from one of the vendors. The live music is a treat and gives the market a street festival atmosphere. For the organic and vegan aficionados, this market is your chance to get the best items from local sources. Look for the Nalo Meli booth for raw honey and soaps made from it!
Address: Kailua Elementary, 315 Kuulei Road, Kailua, HI 96734
Schedule: Sunday, 8:30AM – Noon
A delightful way to start a Sunday and your week, it’s best to start early to get the best produce along with organic eggs. You’ll see a lot of locals coming here to buy freshly-baked breads and pastries. This market is especially aware of the delicate island environment. Organizers have asked their food vendors to use only bio-compostable plates and utensils. Some of them will even wrap your purchases in palm fronds or ti leaves.