Five Hawaiian homestead families with the help and guidance of UH Cooperative Extension agent, Andrew Kawabata, started the farmers market held Saturday mornings in Waimea at Kuhio Hale in 1992. Hartwell “Ollie” Olsen, Bernice Berdon, Tommy Aiona. Blanche Kaniho Batchelder, Marie McDonald, and their families put up their tents on the first Saturday in February of 1992 and began the business of bringing farm fresh items to the Waimea community.
Since that time they have been joined by other homestead families and then widened the participation to include agricultural, horticultural, and nursery producers islandwide. The group changed organization in 2009 by incorporating. The Board consists of Cynthia Spencer, Corrine Weller, Jane Aganus, Joletta Cordeiro, Roen Hufford and Lorraine Kaono.
The focus of the market is fresh locally grown produce, flowers, plants and value added food items. A limited amount of crafts are allowed. All vendors apply in advance to participate in the market pending approval from the Board. They must meet all the requirements of the State of Hawaii to do business here, be certified by the Department of Health to produce food products in certified kitchens if necessary and carry general liability insurance. The market has an agreement with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to set up tents every Saturday between 7 am and noon on the lawn fronting Kuhio Hale.
The stalwart families who committed to be there each Saturday have made friends with their Waimea neighbors and visitors to the island working hard to grow and make the best products they can. Of the first families, three were protea and flower farmers. They quickly polled their customers and began growing other items for sale. Now the list of products include not only flowers and fresh vegetables and fruits …but Goat Cheese, smoked meat and fish, handmade soap and skin care products, Hawaiian herbal medicines, malasadas, kettle popcorn, Thai food, French crepes, Peruvian tamales, pies, freshly baked breads, croissants, fudge, macadamia nuts, butters, cookies, jams, jellies, musubi, anthuriums, orchids, fruit trees, bedding plants and potted herbs and succulents, mushrooms, cookbooks, lollipops, Kona coffee, Ahualoa grown tea, veal, lamb, barbeque plates, Korean kimchee and delights, omelets made to order, tropical flowers, leis, beef jerky, organic salading, lettuce, kales, tomatoes, bananas, papayas, oranges, lemons, lilikoi, mangoes and lychee in season.
If you are headed to the East or West side of the island on Saturday mornings, don't forget to stop by our historical Homestead Farmers Market in Waimea, Hawai`i.