Hawai‘i's Farmers' Markets: So Much More Than Just Produce
By Richard Melendez, Digital Editor
Lychee and avocados and dragon fruit—oh my! [Photo: Zach Villanueva]
When I first moved to my current neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was a weekly farmers’ market just two blocks away. There are so many reasons why this excited me, but let me run down a few reasons.
Produce: Lots and lots of produce! If fruits and vegetables are a regular part of your diet (as they should be), then the farmers’ markets are the place for you. If you’re trying to eat right (or just better than you have been), produce is a great way to start. You’ll find an abundance of fruits and veggies here, including varieties you may not see at your supermarket.
Price: The produce at farmers’ markets is affordable! If you’ve ever gotten sticker shock shopping for produce at the supermarket, you’ll want to check out a farmers’ market.
They support local farms: Whereas much of the produce found at supermarkets comes in from the mainland, farmers’ markets tend to support the little guy, sourcing their goods from small, local farmers around the state.
More than just produce: Farmers' markets are also home to many pop-up shops that sell fresh-baked goods; jams, jellies and nut butters; snacks, sweets and even hot food items! Many people swing by to grab their lunch or dinner, without even checking out the produce (guilty).
Some of the food items that you might find at your farmers' market
They’re everywhere! Chances are that where ever you are, there’s a regular farmers’ market somewhere near you. You’ll find them at schools, churches, shopping malls, parks—pretty much any open space that’s centrally located is a prime spot for a farmers’ market. And their popularity continues to grow so they’re becoming even easier to find and get to.
Small business incubators: Farmers’ markets are also a sort of unofficial business incubator for budding businesses. Many successful restaurants and stores got their start at a farmers’ market before becoming household names, like The Pig & The Lady or Burgers & Burritos Hawaii. After perfecting their craft and building a loyal following at the farmers’ markets, they eventually opened their brick and mortar shops, to the delight of their fans. They still maintain a presence at the markets, serving as an inspiration to newer businesses who follow in their path.
The bustling crowd at the KCC Farmers' Market
More than just food: Some farmers’ markets even include arts & crafts and entertainment! Enjoy some music while you shop for your mangoes.
So if you’ve ever happened upon a farmers’ market and thought it wasn’t your thing, give it a try—you just might be surprised at what you find.
To find a farmers’ market near you, visit these sites:
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