Everyone talks about Hawaii’s beaches, the snorkeling, and the active volcanoes. But very few people mention the farmers markets and local food that is so abundant in their tropical climate.

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a foodie, so this may be more interesting to me than it is to other people. But the farmers markets are one of my absolute top recommendations for people visiting the area.

I first visited Hawaii as part of a cruise package with YMT Vacations. I’ve done a lot of solo traveling in my life but this was my first cruise vacation. And I have to say, while I loved the experience, I missed cooking for myself. I guess a lot of people love a vacation because of the break from every day chores. But I don’t consider cooking a chore at all – more of a hobby that I just happen not to be able to live without!

The Hawaii Farm Bureau (a governmental organization) actually organizes these markets. They’re well worth checking out. A great benefit aside from the food, is meeting local Hawaiians and chatting about what island life is really like. And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet one who doesn’t mind telling you about their secret favorite beaches in the area!

Kona Coffee beans

You can find a market any day of the week, except for Mondays. Expect to find just about anything you need there. My personal favorite is the homegrown coffee (which they’re famous for). But you can also find fresh fruits and giant avocados, macadamia nuts, vegetables, seafood… everything you’d expect at a farmers market in such a lush region.

I wished that we were there for more than a couple of days so I could take advantage of these gorgeous ingredients but I did load up on some healthy, tropical snacks for our two days of trekking around. I also happened upon this delicious recipe that I tried out when I got home. Give it a whirl and tell me it doesn’t make you feel like you’re on vacation!

Pineapples

Rumaki (a Hawaiian appetizer)

  • Fresh pineapple chunks
  • Whole water chestnuts
  • Bacon slices
  • Teriyaki sauce (homemade is best)

Slice the bacon lengthwise into thirds. Wrap a slice of bacon around a water chestnut and piece of pineapple. Secure with a toothpick and place on a baking dish. Repeat until you’ve run out of ingredients. Marinate in teriyaki sauce for at least two hours. Place onto a baking sheet, drizzle with leftover sauce and broil until the bacon is crisp. Enjoy right away (as if you’d be able to wait!)