Four Fabulous Hilo-Side Farmers’ Markets
Looking for island fresh produce, exotic food or locally-made products? How about a massage, freshly baked goods or locally grown coffee? Want some entertainment thrown in? Then try an East Hawai‘i farmers’ market! Here are four of my favorites.
Hilo Farmers Market
The granddaddy of all Big Island markets and an absolute Hilo must-see is located on the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. One side of the street features produce, fruits and flowers; the other side has crafts, art and retail goods. You can get a massage, a cup of coffee and sample all kinds of food, or just sit and people-watch. Right in the heart of downtown hilo and across from the bus station and bandstand, it’s convenient and fascinating.
Hungry? There are loads of choices, like Thai, BBQ and Japanese; there are also baked goods and smoothies. You never know what you’ll find, but you will find plenty to eat right there.
There are also restaurants nearby, within walking distance, and the view of the bay is stunning. Check the timetable for the Hawai‘i County Band, which performs in the bandstand across the street. Visiting on a cruise ship? There’s a shuttle for that.
Tip: Parking is a challenge, but I can usually find parking on the upper part of Mamo Street, near Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine.
When: Wednesday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call or visit www.hilofarmersmarket.com for details and information about specials’ hours.
Where: Corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo.
Phone: (808) 933-1000.
Hilo Coffee Mill’s “Market at the Mill” in Mountain View
The Hilo Coffee Mill’s “Market at the Mill” wins the “location, location, location” argument. Although located right off of Highway 11 (lots of signage; you can’t miss it), the owners have done a marvelous job of making it feel like a botanical garden. Exotic fruits and flowers are abundant, as well as their verdant coffee plants. Chickens and cats co-exist on the property; both were curled up on the porch at my most recent visit.
Breakfast is served both inside and out (the frying bacon got my attention right away) every Saturday. The mill also offers live music and disc golf.
It’s very family-friendly and laid-back; the staff inside the shop is helpful.
Tip: The ambiance at the coffee shop is wonderfully distracting: ohhh, nice plants, oooo pretty lilikoi… So, my advice is: coffee first, then cruise the goods.
When: Market is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: 17-995 Volcano Road, (Highway 11, between the 12 and 13 mile markers), Mountain View. Hawaii.
Phone: (808) 968-1333.
Kinoole Farmers’ Market in Hilo
The Kinoole Farmers Market, located on (where else?) Kinoole Street, has the best parking, hands-down. Free and plentiful, you can get right into the market easily and shop to your heart’s content. It’s one of my favorite places to find new local products to try.
On my last visit, a newish bakery (Daily Kneads) had set up shop, and I powered down a fabulous cinnamon roll and some walnut-cranberry bread.
There is also lunch-type food (my husband found some freshly-made spring rolls stuffed with chunks of avocado and some delicious chicken skewers).
Rusty’s Ka’u Coffee also sets up a booth (if you haven’t had Rusty’s coffee, do yourself a favor and get some).
Tip: Get there early. They close at 11:30 a.m. Shop, and then have lunch at Hilo Rice Noodle, which is right there on site.
When: Saturdays, 7 to 11:30 a.m.
Location: 1990 Kinoole St., Hilo.
Phone: (808) 557-2780.
Maku‘u Market in Pāhoa
I have been asked to describe the Maku‘u Market several times—and it ain’t easy. It is part farmers’ market with loads of fresh produce, part flea mart, part retail—and it has amazing food. It is more like a festival, complete with live music. There is a ton of parking ($1) but be prepared to walk a little way, because it fills up quickly.
I’ve bought items ranging from produce, to soap, T-shirts, vintage dishes and vegan cookies. Need a concrete decorative Buddha? They’ve got those. Need a new kitchen gadget? Got you covered. How about a massage? Sure. The food is eclectic and exotic. We love the burritos, pumpkin curry, crepes and green papaya salad. There are also fantastic hot dogs and local plates.
Tip: There is an area with covered picnic tables, but it fills up quickly. We like to toss our camping chairs into the car so we have a place to sit.
When: Sundays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: 15-2131 Kea‘au-Pāhoa Highway, Pāhoa.
Phone: (808) 896-5537.