“The scary house” Turned Fresh Gem
What once was “the scary house” is now home to a small neighborhood food hub that mentors local youth as interns, grows a large permaculture-style market garden, and hosts a weekly Waimea farmers market on Thursdays.
The group not only runs the farmers market, but is actively restoring the historic Gulick Rowell Mission House – or Hale Puna as it is now known – one of the oldest houses built in Hawaii (1828). Their mission is to perpetuate the rich history of Kauai’s westside while promoting cultural and economic resilience within the community. Once restored, the house and working farm aims to provide for the conservation and study of the historically significant property.
They have already planted (with the help of local students) over 75 fruit trees and many other crops including papaya, ʻulu (breadfruit), avocado, maiʻa (banana), liliko’i (passionfruit), ‘olena (turmeric), ʻuala (sweet potato), kō (sugar cane) and kabocha. The traditional forest garden will focus on presenting classes and workshops around food, sustainability, permaculture and the history of west Kauai agriculture.
The house itself will be used as a community center for events and performances that contribute to the cultural fabric of west Kauai life and celebrate the building’s unique place in the community.
The market is small, with the vibe of a community-based roadside farm stand. They allow any local farmers the ability to sell their products or host a market booth completely free of charge! While small, this Waimea farmers market offers a diverse array of foods – fresh eggs, lilikoi jelly, teas, chocolate, and a variety of fruits and herbs. Several teachers from the nearby schools are common regulars that can be found shopping, supporting many of their students who intern at the site.
This Waimea farmers market also offers SNAP processing – the first on Kauai since the islandwide program was canceled in 2016. This provides an opportunity for low-income community members to use their EBT cards to purchase fresh produce directly from their local farmers at the market.
NOTE: There are two Waimea Hawaii farmers markets – one on Kauai and one on Big Island; this Waimea Hawaii farmers market feature is for the one on Kauai. For more info on either markets, check out our Hawaii Farmers Market Directory.
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