Salt & Wind Travel

Why A Visit To The Hilo Farmers Market Is A Must

We’re obsessed with diving into all things local when we travel, and eating local is no exception. It’s practically obligatory for food-first travelers like us to stop at Hilo Farmers Market when visiting the Islanad of Hawai’i.

This beloved local farmers market is a perfect opportunity to enjoy naturally-ripened tropical fruit, local grinds, and more. This farmers market has been around for more than 20 years and has a lot to explore.

Hilo Farmers Market
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If you’re visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we consider the Hilo Farmers Market another must-see experience. Here, we’ll explain the market’s ins and outs to help you navigate when to go, where to find it, and what to get to make the most of your visit.  

As a travel writer and editor focused on food and travel, I’ve spent over a decade researching and writing about travel. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and have traveled there extensively, including to explore the state’s various farmers markets.

About The Hilo Farmers Market

Before we unpack all the fresh local produce and more available at the Hilo Farmers Market, first, some logistics; as the name suggests, the Hilo Farmers Market takes place in Hilo.

The town of Hilo is on the lush east side of the Big Island of Hawai’i. It has a history as an agricultural, fishing, and sugar industry hub. Today, the downtown area offers a handful of small independent shops, art galleries, historical spots like the Haili church, architectural finds like the Art Deco Palace Theater, and buildings constructed in the revival style. Hilo Bay is nearby and frames what is considered the island’s biggest little town.

The Hilo Farmers Market began in 1988 when four local farmers sold their produce out of the back of their trucks (note that you’ll still see this throughout the islands). It has since grown into one of the largest outdoor markets in Hawai’i. Tents and tarps were a defining market characteristic until 2022 when a permanently covered structure with stalls was built.

Hawaii Local Food

What’s Sold At Hilo Farmers Market?

If you’ve been to several farmers’ markets before then, you’ll know that not all markets are equal. In the case of Hilo Farmers Market, if you’re wondering what’s sold here, the better question is what’s not sold here, as this market has more than 200 vendors:

Baked Goods And Prepared Food

You’ll also find a variety of ingredients and handcrafted foods. Vendors like Natural HI Honey, while others make jams and jellies or baked goods like butter mochi, kūlolo (made with taro and coconut milk), and banana nut bread. 

Thanks to several prepared food vendors, you can have lunch at the market. Get local plate lunches like garlic shrimp with rice and poke bowls from Poke N Sides, Thai and Japanese options from Dragon Kitchen, Peruvian tamales, and vegan dishes. 

Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, And Flowers

Hawai’i’s mild climate means fruits and veggies grow year round though the islands do see some seasonality. 

For example, when you visit during the summer, you’ll likely see lychee, mango, and liliko’i (passion fruit). Whereas dragonfruit is more of a fall thing, longan and rambutan are winter produce, and avocados are more common in the spring. You may have had these fruits on the mainland, but they’ll likely taste better since you’re getting them straight from the source.

Papaya, pineapple, breadfruit, and coconuts are available year-round—and often taste sweeter since farmers harvest them at peak ripeness. Some of the many vegetables you’ll come across include bok choi, eggplant, and leafy greens. You’ll also see flowers and plants, including mini bonsai plants, orchids, and tropical flowers. 

Clothing, Accessories, And More

Hilo Farmers Market is also a place to shop for colorful pareos (or sarongs) from Sarongs Hawai’i, jewelry, bath and body products, listen to live music, and sit for a tarot card reading. And for the ‘gram, a 30-foot-tall mural of tropical fruits painted by local artist Kristie Kosmides makes a nice shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more fruits, veggies, and plants around Hilo, the Kino'ole Farmers Market happens on Saturday mornings.

On Friday evenings, Hilo Town Market (also known as Hilo Town Night Market) adds food trucks, crafts, live music, and art to the downtown mix. Or head here for the schedule for farmer's markets across the Island Of Hawai'i from Puna to Kona.

The Hilo Farmers Market is open daily from 7 AM to 3 PM. Wednesdays and Saturdays are considered "Big Market Days," when you'll see most of the 200-plus food and retail vendors and crafters.

Visitors seeking the Hilo Farmers Market will want to visit historic downtown Hilo. The market is on the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue, a 10-minute drive from Hilo International Airport (ITO). Parking is available at Mo'oheau Park or on the street.

What Is Kona Coffee

All About Kona Coffee

Talk about delicious food and drink from the Big Island; sooner or later, you’ll hear talk of Kona coffee. But what is Kona coffee, and why is it so famous? Get the full story before you travel to Hawai’i.

Have Us Plan Your Hawaiʻi Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in Hawaiʻi vacation planning? If you want to plan a trip to Hawaiʻi, our Hawaii trip planner services can help you craft your perfect itinerary.

Photo Credit: produce photo by beeboys; photo of anthurium flowers by Jennifer Larsen Morrow; Hilo Farmers Market  photo by Tommy Munoz on Unsplash  

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