5 Reasons to Shop and Eat at the New Wednesday Night Kaka‘ako Farmers Market
Stock your fridge and stomach with everything from a rainbow of veggies to jumbo, deep-sea shrimp.
Photos: Martha Cheng
The Wednesday night Kaka‘ako Farmers Market debuted last week, giving townies another outlet to buy local produce and meats as well as on-the-spot meals.
Here are some of the vendors to check out:
Based in Lualualei Valley on the west side, Kahumana Farm is just one piece of an organization that provides transitional housing for homeless and programs for adults with disabilities. This is the only farmers market in town where you can find Kahumana Farm (it also sets up at the Mākeke market in Wai‘anae), so this is your best bet to score vibrant produce, from purple carrots to candy stripe beets to purplette onions. You’ll also find rare items like ‘ulu flour and all sorts of superfood capsules, including moringa and soursop.
A shrimp plate ($15) from here will make you forget the North Shore shrimp trucks with imported shrimp. Patrick Malone of Amaebi Hawai‘i carries local deep-sea shrimp—so sweet that you can eat them raw—but they also benefit from a quick turn in the pan with butter and garlic. These jumbo-sized ocean shrimp make their freshwater cousins look, well, shrimpy, and they are a fantastic mess to eat. It’s best to enjoy these with friends who will not judge you for attacking the juicy heads and the savage noises that ensue.
Aloha Salsa Co.
Aloha Salsa has staples at the market—such as a mild, cumin-y tomato salsa and spicier habanero pineapple—and then there’s usually one wild card salsa, like blueberry basil or artichoke or even BLT, made with, yes, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Owner Fabio Kerr says he’s up to 19 different flavors. Sample them on a fresh-fried tortilla chip, on a taco plate ($10), or buy a container to take home.
Alejandra Alexander started making tamales to reconnect with her heritage, but the flavors she concocts mix traditional with modern. There’s the choriqueso aka “el cheese pool” (how could you resist a name like that?), with chorizo, cheese sauce, mushrooms and black beans, and vegan tamales with roasted bell peppers, mac nuts and pomegranate molasses ($10 for two tamales). Don’t miss the creamy salted caramel flan ($5).
For those of us unwilling to spend the time hunting for our own meat—not to mention the skinning and gutting—but still love the taste of game meat, there’s Forage Hawai‘i, which offers wild Maui venison, Ni‘ihau antelope and Hawai‘i Island boar. Jessica Rohr, a fisherman and hunter herself, started Forage to make local meats more accessible (she sources her products from larger, USDA-certified operations around the state). She also carries farmed, pasture-raised meats including Wai‘anae pork and Kaua‘i grass-fed beef. You won’t find a better selection of local proteins anywhere else.