Napili Farmers Market: Highway to Health

The Napili Farmers Market hosts a small yet diverse group of farmers, bakers, and makers who set up their goods in a lot off Honoʻapiʻilani Highway, where a row of tall Norfolk Pines shades market goers from the West Maui sun. The Local Harvest stand carries a plethora of vegetables, while other vendors offer a range of goods from fresh focaccia to green juices, nut butters, organic dog treats, and handicrafts. 

Market founders Steve and Ana Philips started the Napili Farmers Market seven years ago as an offshoot from Local Harvest, the Maui food distribution hub they’ve run since 2011. “We were trying to buy as much product as we could from the growers to support them, and we knew there was a pressing need on the West Side for more locally grown produce and products, so we opened the farmers market,” Steve says of the market’s origin story. 

On the first Saturday in March, the market was buzzing gently with foot traffic while musicians played from a tented stage beside a stand selling empanadas and art made by two teenage sisters who took to the stage to play ukulele and sing throughout the morning. Saturdays are open mic days; now and then Steve even plays a song or two. 

Ana says she loves that the market is “all vegetarian, all farm to table, and all super fresh—and we have the best customers in the world” she adds. Steve says that the market is generally “very health oriented. There are no products with artificial flavors or colors or anything like that,”  he says. 

The Local Harvest stand carries a wide variety of produce sourced from Maui farmers in addition to products from the Philips’ prepared foods brand, Sattvic Kitchen, including raw nut butters, vinegars, and Molokai sea salt. Their staff make fresh sugar cane juice and smoothies and there is a certified kitchen on site that their team and some of the other vendors make use of throughout the week. 

The Aloha Raw brand sells pono bread, a vegan, gluten free snack made from dehydrated sauerkraut, alongside fresh beet and turmeric krauts, and other probiotic-rich foods. Kai’s Cookies are dog treats made with local organic produce. “I use apple banana, papaya, pumpkin, sweet potato—seasonal ingredients that are great for dogs and that I can get a good amount of locally,” says owner Deb, who refers to her dog Kai as “CTO: Chief Tasting Officer” and to herself as “founder / Kai’s mom.” Deb and Kai have been at the Napili market for two and a half years. “We’re a little family here,” she says of the close-knit market community. 

Most weeks there are around 20 vendors at the Napili Farmers Market. Each business is required to either make their products themselves and / or use local ingredients or materials to make them. Mantra skincare makes their products in nearby Kahana using Hawaiʻi macadamia nut oil and kukui oil. Hua Momona Farms brings vegetables in from their farm just down the road in Napili, and other West Side vendors sell all a range of handcrafted items; from beachy jewelry and reusable bee wraps to authentic Israeli food by Hamsa and gluten free and vegan pies. 

Asa and Lhosa Malafu have sold their Tongan Tuli wood carvings at the market since it started. Lhosa is a tree trimmer who collects local woods including coconut, monkeypod, kamani and milo for his brother to carve into whales, turtles, and other sculptures that Asa and Lhosa sell exclusively at the Napili market. Most weeks they also sell cold coconuts to drink. 

Steve estimates that 300 people — about half locals, half tourists — usually come to the market, and Steve and the vendors say they can tell how much people appreciate having it. 

“It’s so great to be able to shop outside and eat outside after all this time,” said market goer Mariah Miller, who was visiting from Anchorage with family. Mariah and her mother Dena bought vegetables to grill that evening and bananas for the toddler in tow, and Israeli food for lunch.  “And this market is excellent,” said Dena. “The people are really helpful and I love how organic it is.” 

The Details:
Napili Farmers Market, Wednesday & Saturday, 8AM – 12PM
4900 Honoapiilani Highway, Lahaina
Vendor contact, 808-633-5060

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