Secret Hawaii: Kalapana's Night Farmers' Market on the Big Island

Updated on July 12, 2018
punacoast profile image

The author lives in a quiet rural community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler and photographer.

From the author: Uncle Roberts Market has been reopened and is back on Wed nights 5-10PM, even with the ongoing eruption from Kilauea volcano in lower Puna. (Updated as of July 12, 2018)



Source

Residents of the Big Island's lower Puna love Wednesdays. Why, you ask? Because that's when the weekly farmers' market at Uncle Robert’s happens! Uncle Robert Keli'iho'omalu is the legendary and beloved patriarch of the old Kalapana village, and the market takes place at his family compound, located at the south end of the Red Road near the New Kaimu Black Sand Beach. Normally it’s a quiet neighborhood of quaint beach shacks and lush coconut groves, but on Wednesday night it transforms into a huge open-air market bustling with people eager for fresh produce, tasty food, and live music. It’s a lively market full of wonderful sounds, sights, and smells—not to mention lots of friendly aloha spirit—and everyone is welcome.

Hours

The Kalapana farmers' market runs every Wednesday night from 5 PM to 10 PM.

There are many delicious treats offered at the night farmers' market.
There are many delicious treats offered at the night farmers' market. | Source
Wood-Fired Pizzas made to order.
Wood-Fired Pizzas made to order. | Source

Kalapana's Big Social Event

The night market is the biggest social event of the week, drawing people from as far as Hilo and Volcano. It’s a place where friends and neighbors meet up to “talk story” and listen to live music. Everyone seems to know everyone, but it’s also a place where you can easily make new friends. Recently, tour agencies have started bringing tourists down to Kalapana so they can experience this one-of-a-kind market. Some visitors have compared it to other festive night markets in Thailand or Hong Kong!

Wednesday is also the one night that people don’t have to worry about making dinner, as almost everyone goes to the market to eat! There’s a great variety of delicious (and cheap!) foods prepared and cooked on the spot by local vendors.

In addition to it's edible offerings, the market also has plants and jewelry.
In addition to it's edible offerings, the market also has plants and jewelry. | Source
You can even find clothing!
You can even find clothing! | Source

Shopping and Eating

Besides fruits and vegetables from local farms, you can also find all sorts of clothing, arts and crafts items, herbal remedies, and hand-made jewelry for sale. You will find grandmas selling pies, gardeners selling plants, and hippies peddling fresh eggs and raw honey. The most crowded area in the market is where all the food vendors set up their makeshift kitchens. Just follow the sizzling and popping sounds and the mouth-watering aroma of food being cooked, and you will find what you want to eat!

There are many choices of wonderful ethnic foods for you to choose from, such as Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Russian, Mexican, Italian, Samoan, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and of course the popular Hawaiian barbecue: huli huli chicken and kalua pork. There’s even pizza made to order and baked in a wood-fired oven on the back of a pick-up truck! People enjoy their dinners at dozens of communal picnic tables amidst strings of twinkling lights. Meanwhile, a band of local musicians sings beautiful Hawaiian songs, old folks get up and dance, kids run around, and people relax under the warm night sky.

A busy night for the food vendors!
A busy night for the food vendors! | Source
Mmm curry!
Mmm curry! | Source

Market Tips

  • Drive slowly and watch out for people walking along the narrow road that leads to the market.
  • Come early to get a seat at one of the picnic tables in front of the music stage. The tables will fill up quickly as more people arrive throughout the night.
  • If you’re thirsty, there are all sorts of drinks available from many vendors, including veggie juice, fruit juice, and smoothies, as well as fresh coconuts.
  • Get a kava-kava drink from the tiki bar near the market’s entrance. It’s a traditional Polynesian drink made from the ‘awa root that is known to make people feel all groovy and mellow!
  • Try the wood-fired pizza! But expect to wait 20-30 minutes since they make it fresh on the spot (dough, toppings, and all!) and baking times vary. I recommend placing your order and walking around the market while you wait for your pizza.
  • If the crowd and noise of the market are too much for you, get your food and drinks to go, and walk down the trail to the new Kaimu black sand beach for a beautiful sunset picnic. Please don’t litter! Just take your trash back with you and throw it away at the market.

Fresh and delicious coconuts.
Fresh and delicious coconuts. | Source
Tasty fruits for sale.
Tasty fruits for sale. | Source
A
Night Farmers' Market at Uncle Robert’s:
12-5038 Kapoho Beach Rd, Kalapana, HI 96778, USA

get directions

Directions

  1. From Hilo, head south on Hwy 130 (Keaau-Pahoa Road) toward Pahoa village.
  2. After passing Pahoa, continue on Hwy 130 and drive 10 miles down the hill toward the ocean.
  3. At the stop sign at the T-intersection, turn right onto Kapoho-Kalapana Road, which leads straight to the market in less than a mile.

There will be hundreds of cars parked along this road and some backed-up traffic as market-goers try to find a parking spot. There is also a big parking lot on the lava field between the market and the new Kaimu black sand beach at the end of this road (look for the sign).

Smiles all around.
Smiles all around. | Source
Goodies packed up and ready to go.
Goodies packed up and ready to go. | Source

All photos were taken with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.

© 2012 Viet Doan

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      4 months ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Aloha Emily! The market will be on during Merrie Monarch week. May be a little less crowded than usual but will be as festive as ever! And if you're in luck, there might be some hula dancing performance at the market that Wed night to celebrate Merrie Monarch.

    • profile image

      Emily 

      4 months ago

      Hi Viet - do you know if the market will still be going on during the Merrie Monarch fest this year - Apr 4? Thanks!

    • profile image

      Jason 

      2 years ago

      Mahalo @punacoast! so looking forward to April, I've got only Sunday-to-Sunday to spare on big island, can't wait!! planning the whole trip so that I can check out the night market Wed night, hope to see you there =)

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      2 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Aloha Jason, the night market is on everyday Wed evening. There's is a smaller day market, at the same location, on every Sat morning. Have fun at the market!

    • profile image

      Jason 

      2 years ago

      thanks for the great recommendation! but I've come across conflicting sites, some say the night market is Wednesday, some say it's Saturday?! is it on both nights??

    • traveleze profile image

      Lee John 

      3 years ago from Preston

      Hi punacoast

      Great hub! Voted up :) I love Hawaii, and i want to revisit very soon, I write travel hubs check mine out and any feedback or comments you give will be highly appreciated

      Thanks

      Lee

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 

      3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Loved this hub!

    • profile image

      Jeffery Hawkins 

      4 years ago

      This is a great weekly event. Lots of family feelings and a great time.

    • punacoast profile imageAUTHOR

      Viet Doan 

      5 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Much mahalo for the update! I was wondering when the market will re-open. The residents of lower Puna miss it terribly!

    • profile image

      WTF 

      5 years ago

      closed till Jan 9th 2013

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)