Kilauea Farmers Market at Anaina Hou: Hiki No!

Saturdays bring a crowd of die-hard locavores that rely on the farmers market at Anaina Hou for their fresh supply of nourishing fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, and local beef and pork. In the few short years since its birth, Anaina Hou Community Park has become a popular escape for the North Shore community. This Kilauea farmers market, also known as Namahana, is an added bonus to the countless amenities this park has to offer.

A beautiful, new children’s playground was built right across the farmers market field. A project that was completely built by volunteers and now enjoyed by keiki of all ages. Hi5 redemption service is set-up on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 am – 4 pm in the parking lot. A 4,000 sq ft pavilion complex was erected, offering a covered space for events including its own parking lot, gate and check-in point with the added benefit of a certified kitchen and restrooms. Surely wedding receptions, first birthday parties, and community performances were in mind when designing the elaborate space.

Near the pavilion is an air-conditioned classroom equipped with tables, chairs, and nearby water fountains that is also available for reservations. If the kids get bored in class or on the playground they can head over to the Hawaiian botanical garden that surrounds an 18 hole mini-golf course for some novel fun.

Unfortunately, since the pandemic, all but the recycling center has been put on pause. But plans are currently in the works to resurrect the features that make this community park the grand gathering place it was intended to be. Luckily, the other event still continuing is the Kilauea farmers market.

The day the County of Kauai announced all farmers markets would be shut down, word moved swiftly throughout the island and unsettling forecasts were on everyone’s mind. Where will we shop? How will I buy local food to stay healthy? Why does a sunshine-filled, open-air market have to close yet other stores can remain open? The livelihood of Kaua’i farmers was on the chopping block and everyone was in disbelief.

The newly appointed market manager, Joel Kauffman, was hired a week before COVID hit and immediately had to do damage control. Fielding calls from frightened farmers while staying abreast of the ever-changing guidelines was the tip of the iceberg. And yet through all the upheaval this farmers market was able to hold fast and emerge as one of the few surviving victors.

At first, they attempted a drive-through format with two of their top vendors. When that didn’t work out they decided to reconfigure the entire market layout to add generous space for people to move around freely. They invited back six vendors and kept their fingers crossed. Utilizing the entire berth of their grassy field the vendor count steadily began to grow along with their customer base. As the market regrew the community returned with renewed hope for the future.

The first half hour of the Kilauea farmers market is reserved exclusively for kupuna (our elders). The line wraps around the parking lot and is a big hit. It’s ideas like these that have kept the Namahana farmers market popular and inviting to residents.

It’s a total success! The kupuna love it!

Joel Kauffman , Farmer’s Market Manager

Pleasant strumming drifts through the morning air and greets you upon entering. The guitarist stands under his own shaded tent and adds to the cheerful ambiance of this venue. Each vendor pitches in to ‘pay’ for his playing with gifts of produce and products that they sell. The sun shines on an assortment of tents graciously spread out across the lawn. Shoppers mill about taking in the plentiful array of fruits and vegetables, food and gift items.

The avocados and eggplants are plump and rich in color. Sweet citrus sit in baskets marked .75 each. Papayas painted like sunrise are strewn on tables next to their companion lime squeeze. Speckled pomegranates and fresh herb bundles of mint, lemongrass, moringa, and thyme sell quickly. Ripe pineapple and mango are served whipped and frozen into a delightful morning treat.

A market for the hungry — two bakeries bag up golden brown and delicious baked goods. Kokoleka Collective offers an ancient remedy to drink your worries away with hot chocolate paste from Guatemala . You can brew large batches of hibiscus or chai tea at home with one of Olana Organic Farm’s tea kits. Healthy, organic starter plants are available for purchase from Heaven on Earth. The owner freely offers sage advice on the proper care of each plant you pick out.

Farmers donate whatever is leftover from the market to the Kauai Food Pantry as a way to stem food waste and further serve those in need. Volunteers arrive around mid-day to pick up donated produce and set-up the free food pantry in the adjacent parking lot from 1 – 3 pm.

Friendly reminder: No Mask, No Market.

The Details:
Namahana Farmers Market Field, Anaina Hou Community Park
5-2723 Kuhio Hwy, Kilauea 96754
Saturdays, Kupuna 9 – 9:30am, General Public 9:30 – 12pm
Vendor Contact: Joel Kauffman, market@anainahou.org
www.anainahou.org

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