Every week I make it a point to add fresh produce to my fridge and pantry. I love discovering new farmers’ markets and returning to visit ones that I’ve loved in the past. Today I drove out to Waimea Valley for the Haleiwa Farmers’ Market, held every Thursday from 3-7pm. This is not my first time at this market, and I love returning to it – on an empty stomach – so that I can fulfill my weekly vegetable shopping list and grab a savory lunch or sweet snack while I’m at it. The vendors are kind and engaged, the produce fresh and salivating-delicious, and the locally prepared jams, dressings and spices make every meal a unique treat.
I love this market. For one thing, it’s situated in a gorgeous grotto of indigenous and endemic plant life and occasionally over the thrum of live music you will hear a wild rooster calling. Since the weather here is prone to “liquid sunshine”, the covered patio and porches that house the market are ideal for a peaceful, browsing atmosphere where you can graze and sample the local fare at your leisure without worrying about those pesky storm clouds overhead. And for those of you who like to plan ahead, there are both covered and outdoor seating areas to dine on the vendors’ fare or bring a packed lunch of your own. Public restrooms also make this a convenient stop on any North Shore tour.
The welcome center, which hosts the farmers’ market, is the entry to the Waimea Valley park where hiking trails, running rivers, and cultural displays can engage all ages. You are also steps away from the ocean and some of the most famous surfing beaches in the world.
Today I really just wanted to pop-in to take some photographs of the market. But, as usual, I ended up shopping for anything that caught my fancy. I walked out with a custom necklace order for my best friend’s Christmas present, a packaged sampler of locally made salts and seasonings for a Secret Santa present, a bottle of local lilikoi preserves (passion fruit) for a stocking stuffer, and a bottle of seaweed-salted salad dressing (for my own fridge) that is one of the most delicious, creamy dressings I have ever tried. What technically left with me, but was already in my belly, included a freshly made chicken and goat cheese crepe with walnuts, local honey and fresh spinach leaves and two halves of a mango and an apple turnover (I had to bring something back for my husband…). On previous visits, I’ve had a gourmet ice-cream sandwich, sugar cane juice, lemon-iced tea and various other desserts and savories. Everything is declines and satisfying.
If you are visiting, I highly recommend bringing your own basket or reusable shopping bag (remember this place is known for local, organic and green products, so show your support!), but most vendors will provide you with a plastic shopping bag upon purchase. Most vendors do accept major credit cards, but have some cash on hand. I recommend coming with an empty stomach and grazing your way through the vendor stations, but if you are trying to stick to a budget, perhaps try and limit your straying eyes to just the local produce stands. It is an open air, but covered market, so sunblock isn’t necessary unless you plan on taking a rest on one of the various park benches throughout the property’s lush landscape.