It goes without saying that a visit to the Big Island is synonymous with fresh food. The dream of going out and catching a trophy fish and honoring one’s catch with a beautifully crafted meal is alive and well on the island. Or perhaps discussing and learning from native Hawaiians the different elements of a meal that paint a traditional Hawaiian dish. Dining experiences in Hawaii can be as traditional or as sophisticated as you choose, however, the consistent element across all meals here is the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
Big Island Farmers Markets
For those seeking a grassroots connection to the food and the people who cultivate it, the farmers’ markets are the best route. Let’s start with the Hilo Farmer’s Market. An open-air market located in downtown Hilo that showcases traditional cuisine and probably the freshest poke bowls filled with fish that has a buttery consistency. Added treasures can be found here as well, locally grown tropical flowers, handmade crafts, and of course the people seeking to share their creations and culture with anyone willing to listen.
Hawaii’s Local Staples
To eat as the locals in Hawai’i requires that one shy away from the clichés such as coconut or pineapple on everything and instead embrace a plate of Polynesian culture that made Hawaii its home many years ago. Farmers’ market and local staples include poke made with fresh fish off the pier, crack seed, and laulau to name a few. Crack seed is a sweet and savory preserved fruit with Chinese origins that is almost like a candy native to the island. Laulau is a must-try dish that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere other than Hawai’i due to the unique cooking technique employed. Pork or fish is wrapped in Taro and Ti leaves and put in an underground Imu oven to steam. The result is a meat with a pillow-soft texture and herbal flavor to accompany the saltiness. For a rewarding farm-to-table experience where you can try rich Laulau head to Kona with its world-class growing climate.
Big Island Growing Climate
Kona’s growing climate produces some of the most world-renowned soil for farmers and growers. What naturally follows this is a community supportive of the local farmers, growers, and markets. The farmers’ markets in Kona feature locally produced honey, coffee, flowers, nuts, and even locally raised meats. A must-see is the Keauhou Farmers’ Market located at the Keauhou Shopping Center, this market is managed by the Kona County Farm Bureau whose tag line is “Know your Farmer. Know Your Food.” The truth in this line is never more evident at the markets of Kona and Hawai’i as a whole.
Want to Know More?
For more information on all of Hawaii’s Farmers Markets refer to this schedule.
Please give me a call at 808.938.3910 and let’s talk story about the farmers’ markets here on the Big Island.