If you love to shop local, jet on over to the Kona Farmers Market whenever possible. The market opens for the week at 7 am on Wednesday and runs until 4 pm each day. Sunday closes out the week beautifully with a few more vendors arriving on the weekends than on the weekdays.
Although the market opens early, the vendors often take their time in getting their booths set up and ready to go. So, skip the urge to arrive right when they open the gates. Otherwise, you’ll arrive to only find a few of the many vendors prepared to sell their wares. A 10 am arrival time or later is best most days. But don’t go too late in the afternoon or you could end up missing out on the most popular items, like fresh Maui Gold pineapples.
You’re likely to only find a dozen or so vendors onsite at every visit. But each one is well worth taking the time to explore all on their own. Each vendor specializes in a certain type of product, ranging from fresh produce and artisanal snacks to clothing and jewelry. While visiting each booth, take the time to ask the vendors about their stories and share their love for their products. As you do that, you’ll wind up with a collection of amazing tales plus the inside scoop on all their best items.
If you’re not sure if you want to buy any of the food items, ask for a free sample. Although not all vendors give out samples, the ones that do are usually quite generous. Speaking of being generous, many vendors will even throw in a bit extra to enjoy on the road if you make a big purchase.
Their top items include:
The ultra-fresh produce is the true star of the show at this market. If nothing else, come by to see what you can find. At any given time, you’re bound to discover Maui Gold pineapples, papayas, starfruit, guava, breadfruit, and so much more. The vendors may even slice up the fruit for your enjoyment right then and there if you ask nicely.
The candy store located at the back of the market often brings in people from far and wide. The mac nut brittle is their top offering, although every last thing is as good as the last. If you ask for samples, they’re happy to give them out, plus everyone gets free cookies with their purchase. Buy extra if you’re not going to stop back in later because you’ll definitely want another taste once it’s all gone.
For truly memorable souvenirs, look for handmade jewelry as you shop through the market. Artisans regularly arrive onsite with their handcrafted bracelets, necklaces, rings, and other gorgeous pieces. They tend to use local materials and time-honored practices passed down through the generations. Ask them about the backstory for each piece to bring home an amazing tale alongside your beautiful gifts.
The vendors rotate out often, so make this market a frequent stop as you travel around Kona. With each visit, you can find new products to buy and build strong relationships with the regulars. You might even end up with better deals as a result. Plus, you’ll have a chance to gain lasting friendships with the vendors and your fellow patrons.
-Bring plenty of cash plus your own bags, so you can shop all the vendors to your heart’s content.
-Although parking used to be free, it’s now a paid lot. So, be sure to pay for your spot before going to the market or risk getting towed.
-If you arrive to find a full parking lot, just loop around a few times until a spot opens up.