Another farmers market made its debut on Oahu Sunday morning. The latest one is at Ala Moana Center with 30 vendors and it’ll be open every Sunday.
It’s the latest in an increasing number of farmers markets on the island. So what’s driving their success?
The Hawaii Farm Bureau said the demand for more farmers markets comes not only from customers, but from vendors, too.
Whether it’s fresh produce, honey, or everything in between, we’re told farmers markets are what consumers want more of.
“I think it tastes better because we’re from here and we want to eat fruit and vegetables from the island,” Kevin Dai said.
“You get to meet with people and talk with people. That type of interaction is sometimes lost. You can go on the internet and buy anything, but here you get to see people smiling. You have live music. It’s just a totally different experience,” Krystal Lin said.
The Hawaii Farm Bureau told KHON2 that Ala Moana Center reached out to them about starting a weekly market.
Since 2003, the bureau has expanded to nine farmers markets across Oahu.
“It’s people understanding the importance and significance of local agriculture and wanting to support it,” Brian Miyamoto, exec. director of the farm bureau said.
“People are becoming much more aware of the cost of shipping something in from California as opposed to something being grown here and they’re kind of demanding it,” Matt Bowden, a vendor at the market, said. “They’re demanding better quality, they’re demanding fresher.”
The KCC farmers market started with only 10 vendors and has now grown to 70.
“We look at farmers markets almost like an incubator. It allows them to test some products. It allows them to do it on a smaller scale, reach different demographics,” Miyamoto said.
The farm bureau said the goal of farmers markets isn’t to replace supermarkets but rather fuel the local economy so everyone benefits.
“One of the best things or proudest moments that we have here at the farm bureau is when we have a vendor who started at the farmers market and they reap success, maybe go into brick and mortar, they expand,” Miyamoto said. “We want Hawaii residents and tourists, everyone to support local. Buy local, it does matter.”
The farmers market at Ala Moana Center will be hosted every Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon on the second level of the mall, mauka side.