Hawaii has a rich agricultural history. Sugar cane and pineapple were the two primary crops, and plantations imported workers from around the globe to harvest the bounty from our rich soil. It is the resulting mix of diverse cultures that makes Hawaii so special.
These days, since the last Hawaii sugar mill closure a few years back, farmers have diversified their crops, proving that the iron-rich soils and hundreds of microclimates across the islands are conducive to growing all kinds of fresh produce. Nowhere is this more evident that at our farmers’ markets–pop-up events that take place across the islands. They are typically social affairs, too–a place where people meet to grab a bite or a coffee together, in addition to serving their functional purpose of filling the fridge with fresh, delicious local treats.
Many local markets feature live music. Almost all of them serve up value-added treats like savory or sweet crepes, ginger lemonade, wood-fired pizza, and breakfast burritos. In addition to the freshest local produce, you can often find delicious offerings like homemade kombucha (served on tap in multiple flavors), Hawaiian honey, baked goods like fresh from the oven croissants, authentic and freshly made salsas, and even a raw dog food brand for the furry members of your family. Local farmers’ markets also showcase the talents of local artists, who sell their handmade jewelry, gift items, dog accessories, knitwear, mu‘umu‘mu, and more.
The North Shore of Oahu is dotted with farmland and is a heavenly slice of country living, except it also has the conveniences of the big city in nearby Honolulu. Being so close to the farm action, this picturesque stretch of coastline is home to a laid-back lifestyle and surf culture. But something has to fuel all that activity and fitness, and you’ll find lots of locals at the North Shore markets throughout the week, picking up their ono grindz to fuel their active, healthy lifestyle.
Many Hawaii residents and farmers are determined to build a more sustainable food culture, since at this writing, an estimated 90% of Hawaii’s food is shipped to the state from other places. Supporting your local farmers’ market with your dollars is one way to support this growing movement towards a sustainable Hawaii. If you’re looking to buy local, here are some of the North Shore farmers’ markets to catch, whether you’re a new resident, you’re on a day trip to the North Shore, or you’re looking for a fun place to stock up the fridge while you’re on vacation. (Trust us, the farmers’ markets are more lively than the supermarkets, and way cheaper, too!)
Haleiwa Town Market takes place right in the heart of Haleiwa on Sunday mornings, so it’s a ritual for local residents to grab a coffee and fill up on yummy treats while getting their weekly shopping done. When: Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Where: Hawaii Farm Bureau Markets, located on Cane Haul Road next to the North Shore Market Place
Waialua People’s Market is located at the old Waialua Sugar Mill, a favorite among locals that’s packed with 30 or more shops, vendors, artisans, craftspeople and makers. When: Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Where: Waialua Sugar Mill, located at 67-106 Kealohanui St., Waialua
North Shore Country Market is a great place to bump into pro surfers through the winter months. It’s also a non-profit market, so you’ll be supporting local farmers and a sustainable Hawaii food culture. 🙂 When: Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Where: North Shore Country Market is located across the street from Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach Park) at Sunset Beach Elementary School
Waimea Valley is truly one of the most beautiful valleys on the island, which makes for a great side trip before the Thursday market. Or, grab a pau hana drink afterwards at on of our favorite happy hour spots. When: Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Where: FARMLOVERS Markets, 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa
Kahuku Fruit Stands is a permanent structure and part of Kahuku farms, who also offer farm tours. Please check their website for details. When: Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Where: Kahuku Farms, Kahuku Fruit Stands is located on the mauka side of the road, across from road from Kawela Bay in Kahuku
Red Barn Farmstand is a permanent (and adorable) structure that serves as both a market to sell local farmers’ produce, but also is a great place to grab a bite, a coffee, and more. When: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Where: Red Barn Farmstand, 66-320 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712, (808) 753.4350