Newly named the Monday Pau Hana Market, this Lihue farmers market is a collaborative creation of Kukui Grove Center and the Kauai County Farm Bureau. Relaunching of this 20 year old Monday Market, that used to be held in the Kmart parking lot, has a new time that’s perfect for after work and after school shopping, and also hosts a good deal of new and returning vendors.
This market is equally cozy and spacious, set up on the corner of the South facing parking lot in front of the old Sport’s Authority. Uncle Peter and his nephew/trainee help to direct traffic and keep the flow of cars and customers moving safely. The benefits of a parking lot market is, well, the parking! There’s room for everyone and the front rows lining the market are always reserved for kupuna.
The asphalt gets spiffed up with tents bursting with color. The impressive array of fruits and vegetables decorate tables, baskets, buckets, and boxes. Everything looks fresh and bright! The Monday Pau Hana Market boasts a large number of top-notch farmers from Kekaha to Hanalei. Being in such a central location allows these Kaua’i farmers from far and wide to gather and sell the best of the best from their farms.
Costco may be right across the street but the big box store can’t hold a candle to the food that is exclusively being grown, harvested, and sold here. Radishes and rambutan are piled high next to bananas, papayas, and pineapples. Winter seasons’ citrus harvest brings tangelos, oranges, pomelos, grapefruits and tangerines bursting with juicy flavors. There are also pomegranates, kumquats, and bags of peanuts available. Full heads of delicate lettuce and bags of mixed greens take their place next to bunches of herbs and aromatics. Cucumbers and tomatoes, ginger and turmeric, fresh eggs and more can be found here!
“There’s something about shopping at the farmers market. The abundance of beautiful vegetables and imagining what you’re going to cook for your family with them. I recently went to the Monday market at Kukui Grove and gathered things to make pinakbet. Walking through the market with that on my mind, live music from local artists Cruz Control playing, and just so many welcoming faces and colorful fruits and veggies. Knowing you are purchasing locally grown products to help support local families while feeding your own is amazing. Eating that pinakbet that night was that much more satisfying.”Kawai Pascua, Local Musician and Farmers Market Shopper
The die hards come early but for those who want a little entertainment with their afternoon shopping can arrive at 4pm and enjoy local band, Cruz Control, who serenades the market with everything from classic island jams, paniolo country, to Hawaiian music. Their beautiful harmonies are mesmerizing and their easy-going banter between songs makes you laugh and want to sing.
Among the abundance of fresh produce are grab-and-go meals made by Kauai Family Cafe. The tastiest Filipino food can be found in their hot pans filled with adobo, pork and peas, and marinated chicken skewers. Do not leave their tent without getting a few lumpia, they are hands-down the best! Pick up a few pork and veggie lumpia with chili pepper dipping sauce or banana lumpia for a crispy, sweet dessert.
One of the original vendors to first join the market 20 years ago is Moloa’a Bay Coffee. A family-run business offering small-batch, handmade chocolate and award winning bags of Kauai grown and roasted coffee. They have also partnered with long-time vendor Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. and sell the ever popular slabs of fresh kulolo and taro mochi at their booth! If you have never tried these luscious, local-style treats they sell the perfect family-sized sampler square for $5. For “those who know” they sell larger portions too.
Salty Wahine also joins the vendors with their Hawaiian salt rubs, spice blends, brines and award winning island curry. Sustainable Boost has a wide assortment of powders made from low impact, high yield crops like taro, green banana, turmeric, moringa, and orange peel. It’s the perfect gluten-free, nutrient dense boost for everyday eating.
“Eat the Season” is the motto here at the Monday Pau Hana Market. Kukui Grove restaurant chefs and market vendors work closely together to supply the food court in the mall with fresh, seasonal produce. Kukui Grove is the place to find local plate lunches made with real local food!
Being a part of this market also means repping the Kaua’i Grown seal of approval that promotes local food systems, products, and produce while recognizing the farmers, ranchers, makers and bakers that bring these very special products to customers.
Another collaboration with merit is the connection to the Kauai Culinary Arts Program at Kauai Community College. Through the Kauai Grown program, fresh produce is bought from the market vendors for culinary chef and instructor Steve Nakata. His students then learn how to cook with the local, seasonal harvest. Fresh ingredients from the lush Garden Island to feed and nourish her community is the foundation of this market who does a great job of partnering and supporting local farmers and producers.
Safety is always a priority at the Monday Pau Hana Market; before setting up management checks the temperatures of all the vendors and asks them the standard COVID related questions to assure that everyone selling at the market is in good health. Check out the yellow information booth on the corner closest to Times Supermarket if you forget your mask, they always keep extras on hand.
A town run almost always includes a trip to Kukui Grove. Time to start planning your “pay bills and do errands” day on Monday. The traffic is light and the market is open.
Monday Pau Hana Market
Kukui Grove Center, 3-2600 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, HI 96766
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