On Kauai, the Kapaa farmers market has the largest selection of produce. There are nearly 100 farmers at this market, which is two to three times more than any other market. Vendors set up on a black top lot that provides parking for Kapaa Town Park. Every Wednesday, promptly at 3 p.m., the market opens with a whistle blow. Residents wait in line in front of their favorite farm stand and there’s a mad dash when the market opens. Farmers have told me that customers have argued over who gets their small, white, tender fresh-eating turnips. It’s best to come with a plan, bags and plenty of cash. Popular vendors at this market sell out within 10 to 15 minutes of opening.
The market is a mix of backyard farmers and professional farmers, most of which are certified organic. Backyard farmers sell whatever their trees produce and have small gardens full of Asian vegetables. Professional farmers cultivate exotic fruit trees with great care, so their product is always sweeter, plumper and juicier!
There are two types of farmers markets on Kauai. Private and county-run Sunshine Markets. private markets sell everything grown and/or made on Kauai, while Sunshine Markets only sell products grown or made at the farm. The Kapaa farmers market hosts two farms who grow food and sell value added products such as certified goat cheese and taro burgers.
The Kapaa farmers market is where I guide my farmers market tour. It’s the perfect combination of chaos and abundance and a real treat for the first time visitor. Though our work, Dan and I have been to more than 80 farms and many of these farmers are at the Kapaa farmers market. To learn more about the taro burgers, read our Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. listing in Tasting Kauai: An Insider’s Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island, or you can meet the owners and sample traditional Hawaiian food during our North Shore, South Shore, East Side or Short Order Kauai Food Tours.