If you are looking for those alternative pau hana vibes visit the Kailua Farmers Market. This pet-friendly farmers market is a weekly and seemingly celebratory event that takes place in the parking lot at the Kailua Town Center every Thursday evening. Here amongst fresh food and live tunes, a sense of community spirit is renewed.
Local restaurants, including Pig and the Lady, Up Roll Cafe, Luau Bombs, and Honolulu Burger Company dish out ready-to-eat meals using fresh, Hawaii-sourced ingredients. Papi’s Empanadas creates Argentinian empanadas assiduously stuffed with pork belly, watercress, pickled onion, calamansi, and Hawaiian chili pepper. Try spring rolls from Sasa Gourmet then pick up ingredients like cabbage, carrots, and cucumber from Thoune Hongphao Farm to make your own at home. Kailua Farmers’ Market is truly a weekly foodie festival made complete with the music, diversity of food options, and the congregation of families and friends gathering around to talk story and share food.
“The variety of food being showcased, new things to try and the culinary artists being revered and recognized” is one of the facets she liked most about this market.Chanel Kaleikini, a farmer from Waianae
Buying from farmers that continue to cultivate Hawaii-grown produce is one of the best ways as a community member to help build the much-needed infrastructure for our food system’s future. Farmers here are proud of their livelihood, and when they know their community is backing them, they will continue to passionately provide fresh, abundant produce. It is hard to find in grocery stores the locally grown carrots, Manoa head lettuce, or bittermelon that Alex Products provides. Vilath Farm, a multi-generational farm based in Mililani, provides fresh cilantro, lemongrass, garlic chives, and parsley as well as Asian vegetables like choy sum and bok choy.
Finding locally sourced honey from Nalo Meli makes it easy for shoppers to confidently buy freshly harvested honey. Committed to high-quality raw honey that is balanced and flavorful, the vendor mentions that because they keep bees on small farms and in backyards, and harvest seasonally, each honey keeps the taste of its place and time in the islands. Nalo Meli’s main apiary is on Olomana Ridge in Kailua, but they also keep their bees in Pupukea and Kahala. Stocking up on kitchen pantry essentials like Big Island espresso from Tide’s Coffee, chili pepper-infused pineapple vinegar from Vintage Vinegars, and sweet potato ulu chips from Ulu Mana Inc is no problem at Kailua Farmers’ Market.
There are many lessons that the world learned in 2020 from COVID-19, and one of those lessons is the need for resilient farmers’ markets such as the Kailua Farmers’ Market. These farmers’ flexibility, dexterity, and synergistic character radiate in these times. When restaurants, grocery stores, and schools closed, farmers acclimated. One can honor and celebrate this ingenuity by shopping at, not only Kailua Farmers Market, but any farmers market in Hawaii. As anchors in local food systems, farmers markets can catalyze resilience through engagement, networks, and community outreach programs. Kailua Farmers Market reminds the community to embrace innovation and get connected, learning that revolution in the form of food resiliency is a paramount key to evolution.
Kailua Farmers Market
Kailua Town Center (ample free parking)
609 Kailua Rd. Kailua, HI 96734
Thursdays, 4 – 7p
Vendor Contact, Megan Kono, 808-848-2074
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