I recently spent a very breezy, showery, week visiting O’hana (family) on Kauai. The first part of the week I spent catching up on what’s been going on, meeting my great nephew, Mason, driving to Hanalei for a birthday lunch with Mason’s Tutu (grandma), Lani and enjoying an incredibly yummy birthday dinner for Lani at Gaylord’s. On Friday, after coloring Easter eggs, Lani and I, accompanied by Darcie and Mason, made a quick trip to the Friday Sunshine Market held at the Vidinha Stadium parking lot in Lihue to pick up some papaya, bananas, and fresh greens for dinner. The trip was quick because even though the market started at 3, and we were there about quarter to four, many of the vendors were sold out and packing up. We did find a couple of vendors still selling and with a nice selection of greens and fruits. We bought some beautiful kale, an avocado, tomatoes and several papayas.
At some of the Kauai Sunshine Markets shoppers aren’t allowed into the selling area until starting time. In some you can browse but you can’t buy until starting time. Starting time can be signaled by the lowering of a rope, the ringing of a bell or the honk of a car horn. I’ve never really experienced this anywhere but on Kauai and the first time it happened I couldn’t believe that you couldn’t buy before the signal, which in that case was the ringing of a bell. So if you’re there early, be patient and wait for the signal and by all means if they allow open browsing before the start of the selling period, take advantage of it. It’s really quite interesting to experience.
Saturday morning Lani and I gathered our shopping bags and headed over to Kauai Community College where the Kauai Community Market, managed by the Hawaii Farm Bureau, is held Saturday mornings, from 10 to 1. When we arrived the market was bustling. There were locals shopping for garden fresh foods, enjoying delicious local foods, and “talking story.” There were also tourists enjoying the opportunity to see what’s local and to taste and buy.
We bought some more papaya, and avocados, and for Easter dessert, we bought the most incredible pie from The Right Slice. It was a Mango Passionfruit (lilikoi) pie. It was amazing to look at, about 3″ high, with sliced mangos mixed with lilikoi for a tangy zip, layered between a gorgeous flaky crust. All of the pies they offered that day looked incredible. But I love mangos and I absolutely love likikoi so making a choice wasn’t a problem. If you go to Kauai don’t miss trying a piece of their pie. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else.
Give some of the “local” fruits and vegetables a try when you visit the islands. Ask to taste. Many of the local vendors would love to help you experience their produce. I’ve had some amazing “tastes” and look forward to finding my favorites each time I visit.
There are Farmers’ Markets on all of the Hawaiian Islands. I have been to the one in Hilo and one in Honolulu and at least five different markets on Kauai and they all are terrific. You really get a feeling for the land and the people who bring its bounty to share. Another slow-paced way to enjoy your time in this tropical paradise.
Here’s a list of just some of the markets the islands have to offer: