Ala Moana Farmers Market: Country Meets City

The third and newest member in a trio of green markets on Oahu opened last month with the celebratory conch blowing and blessing. On opening day, event coordinators cut the rope of twisted maile leaves. Marketers were already headed down the two rows of local vendors to get coffee, freshly made food, produce or even a hand-woven basket.

Check it out tomorrow. Located on the second floor parking deck in front of Sears, the market closely resembles its sister markets – the extremely popular and ever-growing Kapiolani Community College market and the Haleiwa market. The vendors from the established markets hope to “branch out” by setting up at multiple locations on Oahu.

Market coordinators do not allow vendors to have any produce from the mainland or other Pacific countries. And they require the use of biocombustible utensils and the Zero Waste Stations for separating used throw-aways. All of this is part of their vision to help with sustainability in the Islands. On opening day, they gave out free reusable bags to the first dozen shoppers.

(Above) Market coordinators encourage people to use the Zero Waste Stations. (Below) Vendors help crowds of customers.

You can learn even more about the market, and see videos of opening day at its site. The market opens at 9 a.m., half an hour before the mall, so you can stop there for fresh fruit or Kona coffee before hitting the shops. I was happy to see tents set up over the eating area since it can get pretty hot. I would still recommend wearing a hat or taking an umbrella, especially during the summer. Complimentary water coolers were also set up. The organizers said they will plan special seasonal events and cooking-related activities in the future.

Hand-woven baskets, fresh produce and pesto pizza offer mouth-watering options for customers.

As I walked around, it was very obvious that these vendors are passionate about their products – maintaining high quality and using the land as intended. I loved seeing the booth that sold Oahu’s Pure Hawaiian Pineapple, which are grown in the fields you see as you drive up to the North Shore. I can only eat low-acid pineapple; This one is not only low in that but amazingly sweet as well. It was delicious and affordable and one of the few items allowed on an airplane.

Another vendor made a fresh basil pesto pizza, claiming that their secret pesto recipe was the best. Informative booths were also set up, mostly about agricultural initiatives around the Islands. One product I found interesting was an additive made from Hawaiian rock that restores the mineral balance lacking in most of Hawaii’s agricultural land (due to its volcanic origin.)

Mayor Peter Carlisle welcomes people on the market’s opening day.

I see lots of visitors at my own local Thursday morning farmers market. They seem to really enjoy seeing exotic produce and tasting our wonderfully homegrown bananas, papayas and other produce. Adding a market like this to a venue as popular as Ala Moana Center will offer this experience to many more visitors. It’s a good idea!

ALA MOANA FARMERS MARKET • Second floor Sears parking lot • Saturdays, 9am-1pm • • 808-388-9696 • Free parking available; Near bus route

Posted by: Bruce Fisher