#10 of the Most Romantic Things to Do on the Big Island
Hawi Farmer’s Market Under the Banyan Tree
First, press ‘Play’ …
‘E O Mai Ku’u Milimili
… then picture this.
Your directions for the Hawi (pron. HA-vee) Farmer’s Market are:
under the banyan tree by the post office.
That’s it. It’s in a charming little town small enough to only need that kind of an address, the type of place where folks all know each other and take time to catch up on life’s events as they shop. And so you begin your adventure driving north on Akoni Pule Highway towards Hawi. It’s the same route the Iron Man Triathlon uses. You can almost image yourselves on the bikes. (Almost.)
This peaceful drive gives you and your love the opportunity to slow your pace as you see many miles of the beautiful undeveloped Hawaiian countryside. The royal blue ocean is directly on your left, with amazing vistas of Haleakala (pron. Ha-lee-ah-KA-la), the volcano on the eastern tip of Maui. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, its name means “house of the sun” (and it’s well worth a side trip to Maui to watch a sunrise there). The color of the ocean is unsurpassed.
The coastline is rocky, but lovely.
And on your right are the Hawaiian grasslands and glimpses of the observatories high atop distant snow covered Mauna Kea.
It’s about a 25 minute drive to Hawi once you head north on 270 through very beautiful country.
Once you arrive at Hawi, its funky charm is evident everywhere.
Hawi Farmers Market
For now though you continue through town on your treasure hunt to find the market. Then on the south side of the road you see a very large banyan tree. And arrayed peacefully under its spreading branches is a collection of white tents and stalls. You’ve arrived. According to the sign, the market is open from 8:00 AM to PAU (pron. pow – which, of course, means ‘the end’ or ‘done’).
There’s a wonderful variety of stalls, many operating out of the back of someone’s vehicle.
This one selling Passion Fruit Jelly and Curd is especially lovely. It’s taste is out of this world.
Everywhere you look, there are wonderful things to eat, like this local honey farm.
Or perhaps some coconut water.
Here’s some Aloha brittle and Aloha Island BBQ Seasoning Salts.
You try a sample of this amazing Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Butter.
And beautiful things to see. Aren’t these amazing?
You’re charmed everywhere you turn.
Isn’t this Hawaiian lei gorgeous?
And then you see the abundant produce.
It’s very hard not to buy some. You wished you had access to a kitchen to make a salad out of this.
And the ginger.
It’s wonderful to just watch the folks.
As you wander hand in hand you’ll find everything from homemade jams, jellies, and locally grown produce, to Hula Hands Soap (which comes in Vanilla Strawberry, Cherry Almond Oatmeal, Aloe, White Orchid, Shabby Chic, Tropical Fruits, Café Mocha, Lavender and Paniolo Country just name a few).
Also available are bagged, roasted and raw macadamia nuts as well as macadamia nut brittle and banana macadamia nut bread. Auntie Helen Roloff, one of the original founders of the Hawi farmers market, sells organically grown vegetables from her own Victory Garden and a delicious mango seed jam. While you’re there don’t miss the Chaba Thai Cuisine tent.
You’ll enjoy the many things to find and explore.
Hawi Farmers Market
Location: Under the Banyan tree near the post office
Directions: Turn right (north) at the entrance to the Ranch onto Highway 270. Take Highway 270 to Hawi. Turn right on Hawi Road (at Shige’s Gas Station). The Farmer’s Market is just ahead on your left.
Hours: Saturday Mornings 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, Tuesday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
There’s lots more to tempt you in Hawi.
There are several restaurants, of them Sushi Rock is my favorite.
Tropical Dreams Ice Cream
There’s also a marvelous ice cream parlor, Tropical Dreams. It’s a must-stop for super-premium flavors including, Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut, Tahitian Vanilla, Green Tea, Ginger, Salted Caramel, and Passion Fruit Cream to name just a few!
If you didn’t eat too much at the market, head on over to Sushi Rock for lunch or Tropical Dreams for a treat.
Getting to Hawi
And on the way home: share a Shave Ice for Two
After a trip through to Hawi, you and your love need a shave ice. And it just so happens, one of the best places on the island is right on your way home. Avenue Shave Ice is located in a tiny strip mall in the Kawaihae (pron. Ka-WHY-hi) Shopping Center.
If you’ve never had a shave ice (by the way, it’s ‘shave’ not ‘shaved’), you’re in for a treat. Shave ice is fluffy, which is what differentiates it from your garden variety snow cone. And Avenue Shave Ice has some wonderfully interesting flavor choices. Depending on the day and time, quite possibly there will be long lines. That’s ok, it’s worth it. While you’re standing in line, tell your love the top 5 things you most appreciate about them. It’s a great way to pass the time.
Did I mention, one shave ice is the perfect size for two to share!
They refrigerate their syrups so they don’t melt the ice when added. They have some dynamite flavor choices too.
Check out these fun shave ice flavor combos
Mango / Passion Fruit (also called Lillikoi (pron. lil-A-koy)
Lemongrass Ginger mixed with Lychee and Melona (Melona is a South Korean flavored ice pop. Although the product is called “Melona” and is identified by its melon flavor, the ice pop also comes in other fruit flavors.)
Mango, POG, Lychee, and Rainbow flavors
Pineapple, Mango, and Melona with a Coconut Snow Cap
They also have sugar-free syrups as well.
Check out their great Ice Cream Options too!
Kona Mud Pie ice cream
Purple sweet potato – which must be tried!
Avenue Shave Ice
Other Farmers Markets in the Kohala area
Kekela Farmer’s Market at the Farm
This farmers market is a bit different from any other on the Big Island for a couple of reasons. First, it is located on a farm; and second, there are only two vendors . . . but don’t discount it because it’s different. This market opens every Tuesday and Friday from 2 to 5 in the afternoons — perfect for both weekly and weekend shopping — and supplies an abundant variety of its own farm-fresh vegetables. You’ll also find goat cheese, coffee, honey, fruits and vanilla beans from other producers.
The other vendor at the Kekela Farm Market is Kay Cabrera of Sandwich Isle Bread Company. The Cabreras have been baking bread on the island for many years and refer to themselves as “the itinerant bakers.” Recently they decided to buy a dome shaped wood-fired masonry oven from France which they named “Matilda.” Matilda travels with the them to the farmers market on Saturdays, but doesn’t make an appearance at the Kekela Farm Market. That’s ok. The breads available at their tent are still warm from the oven!
Both Kekela Farm and Sandwich Isle Bread Company can also be found at the Waimea Town Market at Parker School on Saturday mornings.
Location: 64-604 Mana Road, Kamuela. (808) 887-2763
Directions: Turn onto Mana Road at 55 mile marker, Mamalahoa Highway; left at stop sign, 0.4 miles to red barn (first left after Koa Lane).
Hours: Tuesday and Friday, 2 – 5 pm Local, organic produce plus coffee, honey, goat cheese. Tuesdays only: stone oven-baked breads.
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