farmers market · Hawaii

Where it all began…

         ~The brainchild for my blog was during a family vacation in Hawaii, on the beautiful island of Kauai. On the second day of our trip, we ventured to the northern part of the island to a town called Hanalei, where we had planned to go to a sandcastle building competition. It didn’t start for about another hour or two, and were intrigued by a gathering crowd across the street from where the competition would be held.
~Lo and behold, we encountered a farmer’s market, later known to us from the locals as the best farmers market on the island. At 9am the gates opened wide and was soon flooded with people. My senses were assaulted from all angles: first from the sight of all the colorful fruits and vegetables displayed on the stands. Second from the sounds of rustling feet in the grass, the man playing ukulele on the stage, and the countless chickens squawking all around us (Kauai is known for the hundreds of chickens that roam around the island, thanks to a freak hurricane many years ago). Next was the feel of the sun beaming down from the mountain, which would later add to my developing tan. Afterwards followed by the smells from the grill which were intoxicating, roasting chicken, beef, and fish.
~And last, but certainly not least, taste. My mother had visited a booth ran by a couple selling this fruity concoction of acai berries, banana, honey and granola. To me it looked like chunky purple sludge with a crunchy coating of granola. Doesn’t sound that appealing, does it? I had never tried acai berries before, but I knew they were supposedly good for you because they contained lots of antioxidants. She offered me a spoonful and it was unlike anything I ever imagined. The bananas were sweet and creamy, while the acai berries were earthy and slightly tart like a blueberry. The granola/honey mixture was a perfect crunch. This was so good that I ended up buying my own and persuaded my sister to buy one too.
~Along with sampling the local produce, I browsed around the various artisan booths. I lingered at a booth displaying handmade seashell jewelry. Anyone that knows me knows that I love seashells and anything to do with the ocean, and have collected seashells for most of my life. I came across these earrings that were crafted into flowers with small white petals and a pink center. I told the woman running the booth that I admired the craftsmanship of the pieces and was interested in buying the earrings. Thirty dollars later, they were mine. I wore them the entire two weeks of our vacation, and had gotten several compliments from the locals.
~One comment I particularly remember was from a woman we met on our way back from visiting the Waimea Canyon. She admired the beauty of the earrings and had recognized that the shells used to make them were gathered from the Hawaiian island of Niihau, better known as the “forbidden island”. History tells us that the island was purchased to protect the native inhabitants, and that only people born on the islands of Hawaii are allowed to visit. She said to me, “Guard those with your life, dear! Those are worth a lot of money!”. Instinctively I grabbed my earlobes, which made the lady laugh. That was my first experience at a farmer’s market, and it was a damn good one.

 *The Hanalei Farmer’s Market is held on Saturdays at the Hanalei Community Center from 9am-12pm.*

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