My three favorite parts of Hawaii are the beautiful beaches, the Aloha Spirit and the delicious and bountiful amounts of tropical produce and flowers. When I think of a Hawaiian vacation, my mind goes immediately to sweet succulent papayas, fresh mangoes and tree-ripened bananas. Luckily, these tropical treats are not only easy to find in plenty, but are also affordably priced thanks to the many farmers markets throughout the islands.
On the island of Kauai there are a variety of both public and private markets tourists can enjoy. The county of Kauai sponsors weekly Sunshine Markets throughout the island, which sell a full-range of fresh, local produce and flowers at low prices. These markets are often packed, however, and sell out fast, usually within the first hour the market is open. There are also a variety of Green Markets, which sell organic, local produce. At these markets, you will find local Hawaiian farmers selling Kauai sunrise papayas (the sweeter, juicer and deeper red cousins of regular papayas), mangoes and avocados in the summer, wingbeans and longbeans (Filipino vegetables), exotic squashes, melons, bananas, fresh pineapple and a variety of other exotic fruits and vegetables. With the low prices and tree-ripened fruit (sometimes you can find several papayas for only $1), you’ll find yourself quickly filling your bag and later stuffing your face with the sweet, delicious fruits from the markets.
My favorite markets are on the North Shore of the island, further removed from the more tourist and resort centers near Lihue. Kilauea (on the north shore) is also the agricultural heart of the island and has two weekly green markets and a Sunshine Market. Come early; bring your own bag and plenty of one-dollar bills.
The Kilauea Sunshine Market is one of the county sponsored markets and is located at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center and is open every Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
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The Kilauea Quality Farmers Association Market is one of my favorite markets. While it is slightly pricier than the Sunshine Market (though still not expensive by any means), it has almost all-organic produce and is not quite as crowded as the public market. It takes place every Saturday from 11:30 am-1:30 pm behind the Kilauea Post Office.
The Hawaiian Farmers of Hanalei Market is located a quarter mile past Hanalei in Waipa. This market is a gathering of 12-25 local farmers who sell a variety of fresh, local and budget friendly produce. You can also sometimes find fresh fish at the market, which if you are staying someplace with kitchen, can compliment the fresh vegetables for a truly Hawaiian home cooked meal.
Here is a list of some of the other farmer’s markets in Kauai:
Koloa Farmers Market: Koloa Ball Park (Knudsen), Maluhia Road. Monday 12:00
Kalaheo Farmers Market:Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, Papalina Road off Kaumualii.. Tuesday 3:00
Kapaa Farmers Market:Kapaa New Town Park, Kahau Street. Wednesday 3:00
Hanapepe Farmers Market:Hanapepe Park. Thursday 3:00
Lihu’e Farmers Market:Vidinha Stadium, Hoolako Road. Friday 3:00
Kekaha Farmers Market: Kekaha Neighborhood Center, Elepaio Road. Saturday 9:00