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Saturday morning at the Big Island's Waimea farmers markets

The grounds of Parker School, a few miles west of the Waimea Homestead Farmers Market but also just off Māmalahoa Highway, is home to the Waimea Town Market. A circle of vendor tents surrounds the movement of people congregating here, much like electrons circumnavigating a nucleus. It’s difficult to keep one’s hunger in check while passing picnic tables full of patrons munching on fresh-baked bread, croissants, fragrant pumpkin curries, coconut popsicles, soufflés, tamales and homemade macadamia-nut pies. On my visit, even tail-wagging, bandana-clad pooches were sated by dog treats from Kalakoa Kookies, crafted with locally grown produce such as pineapple and lilikoi.


The Waimea Town Market launched in 2008 with seven vendors as a fundraiser for Parker School. Like the older Waimea Homestead Farmers Market, it has grown to host up to 30 vendor booths each week.

“The Waimea Town Market was started with the hopes of Waimea becoming the market capital of Hawai‘i, and to make a market habit of Saturdays,” says Paul Johnston, owner of Kekela Farms. Johnston’s family-run Waimea farm annually sells more than 120 different varieties of its fruits and vegetables at its Town Market stand.


Johnston’s words remind me that at least one of the Town Market’s founding goals definitely rings true for me.

As Melia and I continue to source the majority of our weekly provisions from Big Island farmers and producers, visiting the Waimea Saturday farmers markets is now our Saturday habit.

Waimea Homestead Farmers Market & Waimea Town Market
Open every Saturday. Homestead Market: 7 a.m.-noon, lawn of the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands West Hawai‘I District Office, off Māmalahoa Highway (near mile marker 55), www.waimeafarmersmarket.com. Town Market: 8 a.m.-noon, on the grounds of Parker School 65-1224 Lindsey Road (off Māmalahoa Highway), www.waimeatownmarket.com.

Photos by Josh Fletcher

(This feature was originally published in the May/June 2013 issue of HAWAII Magazine.)

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