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A Saturday Morning Stop at Hilo’s Kino‘ole Farmers Market

September 4, 2010

Kinoole Farmers Market in HiloThe Kino‘ole Farmers Market celebrated it’s 3rd anniversary last month. And, when we’re in Hilo, I only live a couple of blocks away. So I’m a little ‘shamed to admit that today was my first visit to this weekly East Hawaii market.

All Local, All the Time

The market at Kino‘ole Plaza  is a little different that the larger downtown Hilo Farmers Market.

Besides offering much easier parking, the Kino‘ole Market is sponsored by a partnership of the Hilo, Hamakua, and Kohala County Farm Bureaus and vendors are only allowed to sell locally grown produce and plants and only locally made products — nothing imported is permitted.

The vibe here is different too –it’s quiet and friendly and the vendors’ displays are neat and clean. Banners let you quickly see where the products are coming from. (I’ll be honest and say that trips to the downtown market aren’t high on my list of favorite ways to shop. I know that renovations are planned, so hopefully that will change some day, but in the meantime, the Kino‘ole Market now tops my list of easily accessible markets on the Hilo side.)

Today at the Market

orchids

I arrived today in time to catch part of a talk about sweet potatoes that was just getting started in the covered area where weekly presentations (or tai chi classes) are held.

Alton Arakaki, an Extension Agent from Molokai, demonstrated how to plant sweet potatoes and discussed some of the challenges to growing healthy plants.

I learned a few other new things too:

1) There was a display about the different varieties of UH/CTAHR tomatoes and I discovered that one variety tends to “run” in contrast to another that tends to be “bushy.” This explains why the prolific plant growing out of my compost box has now reached the roof of the carport. Next time, I’ll go for the “bushy” variety!

2) I now know that a shoulder-high Ohia tree costs about $45 dollars. Ever since someone at a Hawaiian Paradise Park house party gave me a baby Ohia, I’ve been meaning to check on the cost of more mature trees. (My little tree is a few years old and is only about two feet high.)

3) I also now know that you can combine two of my favorite things:  lilikoi and mochi! And, I can say with near certainty that if you buy lilikoi mochi before brunch, you’ll probably have dessert first.

4) I learned that you *can* grow artichokes on the Big Island —  at a cool elevation like Waimea. One of the vendors had starts available. Once I’m settled on the Waimea side, if we’re at a high enough elevation, I plan to try growing artichokes!

5) Did you know that Honomu Jams & Jellies makes Waimea Strawberry Jam — and that it’s cheaper to buy it at the market?

6) And last, I discovered that Hamakua Springs bananas only cost $1.00 for four bananas at the market.

Sweet!

More info on the Market below this slide show (12 photos).

If you have favorite things to buy at the Kino‘ole Market, please let me know in the comments!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2010 2:11 pm

    Great job. I too like Kino’ole better than downtown….seems friendlier and as you point out, the parking is much easier… I do demos there every once in a while and I love it…people are always so receptive! Maybe I’ll run into you there sometime in the future…
    PS…is it Patty & Bob who have the artichoke plants?

    • September 4, 2010 2:22 pm

      Hi Sonia – thanks for taking time to read my post! 🙂 From what I noticed in your article, it is Patty – of Makea Nursery. She had other customers so I didn’t get to chat with her very long, but she did tell me a little about where the artichokes would grow best.

  2. September 7, 2010 12:04 pm

    Thanks for all these tips! Love the Honumu Lilikoi Butter and now I have the link to catch them directly! Good luck in getting your artichoke garden going, too!

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