Here in the islands, supporting the “Shop, Dine and Buy Local” philosophy is a high priority for many local residents. When visitors share in that experience, it not only helps Hawaii farmers and craftsmen, it also helps our guests better appreciate Hawaii. One opportunity to connect with the local community here on the Big Island is to visit one of our smaller Farmers Markets.
My favorite market, the Parker School Farmers Market, is held each Saturday, from 8 am to 1 pm at the Parker School campus in Waimea (also known by the US Post Office as “Kamuela”) just off Lindsey Road.
This market features only locally made crafts or locally grown foods. Two of the main vendors are the Sandwich Island Bread Company and Kekela Farms. Doing your shopping at their booths means you can go home with all the vegetables and bread you need for a week (or a weekend, if you’re just here to visit)! There are also vendors selling Kona coffee, Honomu Jam, orchids, natural skin care products and much more. One of my current favorites is the Tropical Fermentations booth operated by a co-worker of mine who, in her “spare” time, creates unusual tropical sauerkraut recipes with locally grown fruits and vegetables.
My stop at the market this morning was a quick one. However, the last time I visited the market, my friends and I claimed one of the picnic tables and spend an hour or so “talking story” in the center of the activity. We met a family vacationing from Alaska who had made it a point to get off the beaten tourist path and come up to Waimea to shop at the local market. We exchanged “how we came to love Hawaii” stories and spent a few minutes comparing travel notes. We appreciated their genuine interest in our community; they appreciated talking with people who really live here. A win-win for us, them and our local economy.
When you visit, if you can, take time to seek out one of our local markets. And, as opportunities arise, let us know you’re here!