Let’s face it, we’ve all been to a “farmers’ market” where a “farmer” claims they grew everything locally using organic methods. At first you’re excited about the abundance and variety of all the delicious produce. But then you take a closer look and realize that not only is everything perfect but it’s also displayed in cardboard boxes with logos of big businesses. Hmmm… You then pick up an unblemished orange in the most magnificent hue, turn it over, and spot the dreaded sticker of a commercial company. Sigh.
Upcountry Farmers’ Market
This won’t happen at the Upcountry Farmers’ Market, located near Long’s Drugs, on the border of Pukalani and Kula. Voted “Best of Maui” for 2015 and 2016, this market is over 40 years old and prides itself on locally grown produce, prepared foods, fresh flowers, and live plants.
This way for locally grown food
Held on Saturdays from 7:00-11:00 am, it’s greatly grown in popularity, not just for the food, but for the atmosphere. Here you actually get to meet and talk story with the people who are responsible for growing your food! Most farmers grow a small number of crops or will specialize in one harvest, such as bananas or coconuts, but all will prominently display a sign stating their growing methods, be it organic or conventional.
Farmer Norma and her fabulous lavender
Farmer Tane and his onolicious apple bananas
While shopping for a week’s supply of groceries, many individuals enjoy a morning snack of homemade pastries, Thai/Indian food, or simply stop for a coffee or coconut water straight from the source while enjoying live Hawaiian music. Needless to say, the Upcountry Farmers’ Market has grown in popularity over the years. You will definitely see various types of people at different times, yet all share a love of quality food and aloha.
Colorful character and friends
Regardless of what time you plan on attending (the earlier, the better), make sure you bring canvas totes/baskets for your purchases, small bills, and don’t forget to leave the dogs at home. (Not to worry, there are plenty of dog/cat treats to buy.) If you can’t make it to the Market, many farmers also supply Mana Foods in Paia and Whole Foods in Kahului.