On the third day of Hawaii, my true love gave to me...
One of our favorite things to do while traveling is to make a stop at the local farmers market, to search for local crafts, tropical flowers, and more so, local eats. Hawaii, blessed with rich volcanic soil and a tropical climate mixing brilliantly sunny days and warm rains, offers so much to see and eat at their farmers' markets. What I love is trying all the produce and agriculture that I can't find at home.
Our favorite market to go to in Oahu is the Diamond Head Saturday Farmers' Market at Kapiolani Community College. The market is sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at the KCC. Located up near Diamond Head, the Saturday Farmers' Market runs from 7:30 am to 11:00 am. It's best to get in early, as that the parking lot fills up quickly, and the best picks of the day disappear. That said, still come regardless of what time -- we've visited at all hours and still found plenty to fill our bellies and our suitcases.
When you enter, you'll receive a "TIP SHEET" for the day pointing you to the day's specials and also a list of all the day's vendors. This past Saturday's specials include: Breakfast cooked up by Grandma G, the Wailea Agircultural Group's Hawaiian hearts of palm, avocados, and fresh nutmeg, Gourmet Island's Hamakua mushrooms, and Big Island Bees' local honey products. After purusing the Tip Sheet, just enjoy your morning wandering through the stalls, picking up free samples, chat with local farmers and eaters, and pick out your favorite treats.
The range in items is incredible -- Kona coffee, braising greens, tatsoi, lowfat fruitcake with gogi berries, mango, pumpkin, and pecan oatcakes, sea asparagus, holiday music, fresh roasted Kahuku corn (mmm), marinated fresh seafood, Waialua Big Wave Tomatoes, pineapple and macadamia nut cakes, fresh strawberry mochi, jams, jellies, salad dressings, Maui kaki (persimmon), bok choy, papayas, roses, orchids, hibiscus plants... and that's only "Row A."
Some of my favorite places include:
PacifiKool: Fresh Island Ginger Ale
Two Hot Tomatoes: fried green tomatoes, sweet Maui onion rings
North Shore Cattle Co: naturally raised hormone free beef from Haleiwa (North Shore), all beef Portuguese and andouille sausages
What better way to explore a new (or an old favorite) place than visiting their farmers markets?