As we drove into Naʻalehu I spotted the tents ahead… Farmer’s Market!
We had no idea that the town boasted a regular market, it was just chance that we were visiting on a Wednesday. The market was a pleasant surprise, we were looking to buy a few things… Snacks to keep in the cooler for the trip were on the list. Fresh fruit? An excellent option. Even better, island markets often offer odd tropical fruit, unknowns to explore, new things that become part of the adventure of travel.
The Naʻalehu Market occurs on Wednesdays, with tents set up in the Ace Hardware parking lot, right along the main highway. Better yet, the Punaluʻu Bakery is right next door. You can park between them and pick up a few baked goods to go with the market offerings.
The produce was quite nice, the area offers excellent growing conditions, it showed in the quality of the produce. The usual apple bananas, papaya and pineapples were available, along with more unusual tropical fare. Soursops caught my eye… I have a newly planted tree just starting to bear fruit. It was nice to see a ripe soursop ready to eat, I need to learn how to harvest these odd fruit. Some nice green beans and garlic were added to the cooler, supplies for the kitchen at home.
Among the folks selling fruit and veggies there was also some jewelery, carved sandalwood, jams and jellies, and framed photography. It was a surprisingly good selection for a tiny town in the most remote corner of the island. I chatted with the photographer for a while, talking about the merits of canvas versus metal prints. The scent of sandalwood incense filled the air, creating an exotic atmosphere.
Markets offer a good opportunity while exploring the island. So much of what makes Hawaiʻi special comes to these events, ready to be sampled and taken home.