To Market, To Market

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 6.  Kaumualii Street (*POM)

*See an explanation of the types of markets.

The Saturday Kaumualii Street People’s Open Market in Kalihi can pack thousands of customers into its brief but glorious 75-minute run.

This is the largest of the POMs, with 40 or more vendors on any given day. If you’re looking for fruits, veggies, fish or seafood, it’s all here.

There’s a variety found nowhere else on Oahu (coupled with the frequent lack of labeling, this is one market where you may have to ask, not just where it came from, but what it is). We encountered at least five varieties of banana, immense and creamy-fleshed avocados, birch flowers, fresh bamboo shoots, purple-stemmed taro leaves and fiddlehead ferns gathered wild in Waim-analo. Even familiar favorites had a new twist: the Blossoming Hope booth offered hard-to-find, delicious black Japanese eggplants. There were also—equally rare here—good local tomatoes selling for about $1.50 a pound.

Kaumualii is the best market on the island for fresh seafood, which can include live Kahuku shrimp, live blue crabs, just-caught octopus, all kinds of fresh fish and Maui seaweed. Although the market gets crowded, the vibe is never frantic.

DON'T MISS: Maile-based D&E Vegetable Farm and Produce, where you’ll find Eddie Domingo, a reliable and enthusiastic guide to D&E’s bewilderingly large array of fresh fruit and vegetables.
WHEN: Saturdays, 8:15 to 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Intersection of Kalihi and Kaumualii Streets.
PARKING: Can be tight. Park on the street, or at the neighboring Kal-akaua Recreation Area.


The granddaddy of Oahu farmers' markets, at KCC, attracts thousands of shoppers each week.

Photos: David Croxford

7.  Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market (*HFBF)

It’s hot. It’s packed. You can circle the vast parking lot for 10 minutes before scoring a space. Why go to the original HFBF farmers’ market?

Simply put, this market on the slopes of Diamond Head is ground zero of Hawaii’s contemporary local food movement. In terms of user-friendliness and the variety and quality of both artisanal products and produce, KCC Farmers’ Market is unparalleled on Oahu. Its long, brilliantly curated vendor list offers up the bounty of the state, from Maui onions, to Big Island lychees and hearts of palm, to Kahuku corn and grass-fed beef from the North Shore. The all-local produce is often clearly marked for provenance to within a few miles of its origin. If you can catch a busy vendor’s attention for a minute or two, you’ll find they are passionate and knowledgeable about what they do.

A third of KCC’s clientele are tourists who have heard about the market in places like Travel & Leisure. It can get hectic—wait times for a North Shore Cattle Co. burger can reach 45 minutes—and prices can occasionally raise an eyebrow.

DON'T MISS: Blue Lotus Farm. It’s easy to overlook this humble booth, but farmer Greg Yee offers several products unique to the market, including certified organic figs (see page 14) and Oahu-raised, free-range chicken, 366-6756.
WHEN: Saturdays, 7:30 to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Kapiolani Community College.
PARKING: On site.


8.  The Big Island

There’s no question that the sprawling Hilo Farmers’ Market, located near the Big Island’s fertile H-am-akua Coast, is one of the finest farmers’ markets in the state. The produce is renowned for its variety and quality: not just lychees, but Kaimana lychees. If it’s a new commercial crop (a recent example: mangosteens, Southeast Asia’s “queen of fruit”), it will often appear at this market first. If it can be gathered wild, fished or farmed on the Big Island, it will eventually show up here—and there’s a huge selection of organic and locally made food products. Officially, they’re there “every Wednesday and Saturday from dawn till it’s gone,” but, in practice, a few booths stay open every day of the week.
For more information, visit

DON'T MISS: Paradise Pops, fresh fruit popsicles that are made from 100 percent fruit, most of it locally grown. Flavors can include coconut, guava, pineapple, solo papaya, and lilikoi—depending on what’s in season and what the owners feel like making. 
WHEN: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street, in Hilo.


9.  Kauai

The vendor restrictions for county-run Kauai Sunshine Markets are the strictest in the state: You’ll find only unprocessed produce and fish, farmed and harvested on Kauai, period—which means no processed food (read: lunch) or crafts, and nothing from off-island. What you will get is the most intensely local, straight-from-the-soil experience of any farmers’ market in Hawaii; on the Garden Isle, that can be a rush all its own. This market moves to a different location each day from Monday through Saturday. For details, check

Last but not least, toward Hanalei and Kauai’s agricultural North Shore, the independently run Kilauea Quality Farmers’ Association Market specializes in locally grown, organic produce. Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. behind the Kilauea Post Office.