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Driving through Upcountry Maui just never gets old to me. On my last trip home, my dad took us up the back roads where we usually go running. Driving through the old Haleakala Dairy lands, I rolled down my window to take in the smell of eucalyptus and the moist scent of the rain the night before. The jacaranda trees were just starting to bloom, the purple flowers always remind me of the big tree we had in our yard growing up…
We took the scenic route for sure, but we were on a bit of a mission: to check out the new Upcountry Farmers Market.
It seems like lately it’s become trendy/hipster to shop at farmers markets and some debate the authenticity of all the “local” produce – especially when you see booths offering garlic or mainland cauliflower, things that just don’t grow we’ll in Hawaii – people start to wonder just how much is truly local. Some will also turn up their noses at the handcrafted items or the booths selling cooked to order meals and wonder where are all the farmers?
But I think there’s room for all of these things. If I can get local produce, and also the garlic I won’t have to go to the grocery store for at the same time as I pick up a beautiful ham and egg basket for breakfast and a snack for later – why not?
I grew up at my moms table at the swap meet. She was a crafter and made all kinds of things – I remember Christmas ornaments, Hawaiian print bags, cute little rubber stamps. I saw her having that rapport with her regular customers, I’ve heard people haggle. So I have an utmost respect for anyone making their living at these markets.
Sure, shopping at a farmers market can be more expensive at times (although many times its cheaper and also fresher so there’s less spoilage) but I will happily pay a couple of extra dollars for something that someone puts their heart and soul into. That’s what I’m supporting.
The Saturday Upcountry farmers market was a great example of this.
As we walked down the aisle of booths, it made my heart happy to see the camaraderie – people catching up with neighbors and friends, and passionate vendors selling their goods. A little girl squeals with delight as a baby chick is placed into get hands. A musician sets up a blues piano while another plays “When You Wish Upon A Star” on a violin.
I lingered over a beautiful lineup of pastries and the women running the booth chimed in that the lemons for their lemon tart were all from their backyard, as were the edible flowers. Isn’t it lovely?
Kula strawberries were only $3 a box, though I was tempted to go for the 2 for $5. That’s cheaper than in-store!
Farm fresh eggs…
…and Easter bunnies!
Fresh ravioli with homemade ricotta, pastas, and sauces starting at $5
My favorite new snack: fresh seaweed strips that are hand painted with a flavored macadamia nut paste (this one is shiso/ume) and then dried. Vegan, gluten-free, and delicious!
There were fresh wheatgrass shots, massage tables, feather earrings, fresh juices, and beautiful flower arrangements too. All in all, a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.
Upcountry Farmers Market
Kulamalu Town Center (behind Longs)
Saturdays 7am – noon