By Kanani Wills
Honolulu CC journalism student
Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall is known for hosting many artists, musicals, and as where the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra plays. What people may not know is that every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. Honolulu Farmers’ Market takes over the lawn out front. With fresh produce, locally made desserts, and made to order meals, this little Farmers’ Market has something for everyone.
Right smack dab in the middle of Honolulu, this farmers’ market is convenient for anyone looking for a different kind of dinner experience. Buses stop right outside of the grass area letting out hungry and excited people who are ready to see what this week’s market has to offer. While the Blaisdell parking lot normally charges $6 for parking, during this time, there is no parking fee. For those who use other means of transportation like Biki Bikes, there is a docking station right in their parking lot.
For more information on the Honolulu Farmers market visit the Hawaii Farm Bureau website https://hfbf.org/farmers-markets/
While there are many different vendors, the most popular, hands down, is The Pig & The Lady. Their primary location is downtown often has a wait to dine for most of the night. This market location is no different when it comes to popularity. Uniquely The Pig & The Lady tent has an extension that acts as an outdoor eating area and it’s almost always a full house. Rain or shine, people flock to the market to get their fix.
An employee at Hawaii Style Chili Co., Kekoa Makua, said that he has been working at different Farmers’ Markets for almost a decade.
Makua shared that he has worked at a few different vendors, all of which have had a tent at the Honolulu’s Farmers’ Market. When asked why he thought the vendors liked that location he said, “I think it’s because we get so many different kinds of customers. We have our regulars who are out here every week, and we’ve built relationships with them, but we get a lot of customers who had no idea that there was a farmers’ market in town, on a Wednesday. They happen to be driving by and just turn in.”
Makua added that his favorite markets to work are the Honolulu Farmers’ Market, and the KCC Farmer’s Market, saying that the KCC one is so popular with tourists and he gets to meet people from all over the world.
Being that this is a smaller venue, there is a sense of closeness and community. Little kids can often be seen dancing in front of the live singer who is always positioned under the cover of the building right on the steps. Cody, a dad of one of the kids dancing, shared that they try to come to the market every week, stating, “it’s become ‘our thing’ every Wednesday we come over after school, get dinner, dessert, and just hang out. It’s our time to just relax.” Cody also added that it doesn’t hurt that there’s open space for his son to run around and let out all of his energy.
Even though it was raining on a recent Wednesday night, there were still many people out enjoying the food, music, and socializing. Their website shows that they will have the venue until January 2020 which is right around the corner. Hopefully, for the employees and customers alike, this an event that will continue for a lot longer
At this time, Honolulu Farmers’ Market is the only market that accepts EBT/SNAP. Current recipients need to simply find the SNAP table, indicate how much they plan to spend at the market, and the worker will swipe their card and give them “Market Money” to use there. If they do not use all of the money, they return it to the table, and the remainder is refunded back to their EBT card. The same rules apply limiting purchases to “cold” items, meaning no hot food or anything that is ready to eat. Using SNAP benefits at the market allows people to buy local, and to try small businesses that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to get at a grocery store.