Nosh on crisp fried green tomatoes, succulent grilled abalone, delicate pickled sea asparagus, sublime taro hummus and purple sweet potato chips. Mouthwatering mango, sugary pineapple, melon-like papaya and sweet apple bananas, all picked at their flavor peak, are there for the asking.
Hawai‘i has seen an explosion of farmers’ markets; here are some highlights and special foods to seek.
The Kaua‘i Community Market on Saturdays that boasts more than 40 vendors with a variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers and prepared foods.
The 70-vendor Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) market has spawned a number of offshoots on O‘ahu that subscribe to the “locally grown” theme.
Maui farmers’ markets are a combination of produce and crafts; but in Kahului and Pukalani, items like Portuguese sausage, Thai and Indian food and homegrown vegetables and fruit are the draw.
Dole Park in Lana‘i City is the venue for produce from backyard farmers where you can taste local Filipino specialties, Mexican food and whole grilled fish.
Moloka‘i offers grass fed beef and venison; papaya, banana, pineapple, avocado and tomatoes are the staples of the market.
Tropical fruits and warm weather vegetables are abundant; but root vegetables, cabbages and delicate greens are plentiful in the cooler elevations of Waimea, an historical food basket for Hawai‘i.