Hawaii Island is nicknamed “Big Island” because it ranks largest in the Hawaiian Island chain.
The island is also big on flavor as a home to growers and producers of fruit, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, mushrooms and more, and as a collection of small towns — each with a farmers market, farm-to-table restaurant or farm tour worth discovering.
1. Farmers Markets
Join the chefs who shop the Hilo Farmers Market to bring the freshest produce to their restaurants. (Be prepared for big crowds Wednesdays and Saturdays, when hundreds of vendors set up shop.) Embrace the local scene of Waimea at the Waimea Homestead Farmers Market on Saturdays, where you’ll be treated to the freshest produce, cheese, smoked meat and fish. Or visit the Waimea Midweek Farmers Market on Wednesdays for local produce and a traditional plate lunch. On Sundays, enjoy live music while loading up on farm-fresh goods at the Maku'u Farmers Market in Pāhoa.
Hit any Hawaii Island farmers market for cut flowers, fresh produce and prepared foods.
2. Farm-to-Table Restaurants
Discover what brothers Tedd and Mark Pomaski, chefs of Moon and Turtle, are doing with their daily haul from the Hilo Farmers Market — they might be combining farm-fresh vegetables and Hawaiian prawns into a red curry. At Village Burger in Waimea, ask for creamy, locally grown avocado atop a burger of pasture-raised Hawaiian beef. Chef Edwin Goto posts a sign at his establishment listing each farmer he works with and the farmer’s distance from the restaurant.
The finished product at Village Burger, which always begins with pasture-raised Hawaiian beef.
3. Farm Tours
Immerse yourself in the workings of a Hawaiian farm with an interactive farm tour. Learn about traditional Hawaiian agriculture and meet the farmers of North Kohala on a tour that takes you from fruit orchards to botanical gardens to acres of lush vegetables. Or, start your day at one of Hawaii’s biggest flower farms on the Hilo Grown Ag Tour. The tour continues to other stops, showing you how the island produces such vibrant heirloom tomatoes and bananas.
Take a farm tour to immerse yourself in Hawaii Island's rich agricultural heritage (and amazing views).
4. Local Delicacies
Hawaii island is filled with spots for ultra-local quick bites, from food trucks to picturesque cafes to corner delis. You’ll find delicacies such as malasadas, poi balls and more. Visit the Aunty Peaches trailer for golden-fried bites of poi, made with taro. Grab an island-style hot dog on a sweetbread bun at Kona Dog. Pay a visit to the Tuk-Tuk Thai Food Truck in Volcano for farm-fresh Thai dishes such as pad thai and green papaya salad.
Malasadas, adopted from Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii, are a favorite sweet snack on the island.