Visiting the Hanalei farmers market is a lovely way to immerse yourself in Kauai’s beauty, aloha and abundance. Every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, a large grassy lawn off Malolo Road is covered with more than 50 stalls. The market is surrounded by majestic peaks, a brilliant sun lights the grass neon green, the cloudless sky is baby blue, and Hawaiian music charms the heart. There are about 25 farmers to the right of the entrance and most of them use organic farming techniques. Some are certified organic, some are working their way towards certification, and none of them use chemical sprays. Each stall spills with just picked produce sparkling like jewels in the tropical sunshine. This private market allows the vendors to offer samples, so if you’re offered a slice of apple banana, mango, or papaya, try it! There is an amazing array of tropical fruit, especially during the summer months.
To the left of the entrance, you’ll find food and craft vendors. We especially like Akamai Juice Co.’s Cucumber Mint Slushy, a delicious blend of cucumber, mint, lime, honey, pineapple and ice. Owner Cas Lutton only uses organic and/or local ingredients and is a raw chef to movie star actors. Sal Ochoa of Sal’s Salsa uses local chili peppers for his award-winning fresh salsa. At the Newman Fall Festival in California, there are two categories in the salsa competition, “Traditional” and “Exotic.” In 1998, Ochoa took first place in the traditional category, and won the overall competition. Kauai made arts and crafts include lauhala (woven) baskets, shell jewelry, Niihau necklaces, hand-made children’s aloha wear, tiki carvings, Ocean Designs canvas hats and more.
For an exceptional day, stock up on food and walk across the street to Hanalei Bay. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a picnic table in the shade of a towering iron wood tree as you watch the mesmerizing rise and fall of waves. It’s a feast for the senses!
Learn more about Akamai Juice Co. in Tasting Kauai: An Insider’s Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island. To familiarize yourself with exotic produce and meet local farmers, join Marta for an intimate farmers market tour, which happens every Wednesday at the Kapaa farmers market.