Palengke

Maui’s “Farmers’ Market” Smorgasbord

A host of fresh produce await you at Maui’s numerous “palengke!”
Do you like going to farmers’ markets? I do! It reminds me of palengke. I have many warm memories of Nanay (my mom) and I going to palengke back in the Philippines.

Palengke is the Tagalog word for market. Not the supermarkets that we are familiar with here in the U.S. but more so like a farmers market or swap meet where local produce and homemade goodies are sold by the farmers themselves—or at least most of them are.

Do you have a “go to” farmers’ market on Maui—one where you regularly go to and buy your fresh produce?
I do!

Rowena Moen (shown right) stands proudly in front of her market in Kīhei.

I live in Kīhei so I naturally am inclined to go to the farmers market in this area. I am glad that I don’t have to drive far away to avail of some of my favorite fruits and veggies. Part of my Saturday morning ritual is to go to the farmers’ market at Aloha Market owned by Rowena. Aloha Market is located across from Kukui Mall and next to the Kīhei Public Library.

One of the many great things about grocery shopping at Rowena’s is that I find the produce I am looking for that I rarely find in other places—like atis, lanzones (when in season) and guyabano. I also like their variety of green leafy vegetables where I can purchase malunggay, dahon ng ampalaya or saluyot. There is a wide selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. In addition, they have baked goods, pastries, and other cooking ingredients.

Shopping at farmers’ markets here on Maui allows you to get produce that you won’t normally see in most mainstream supermarkets, and then some…

Another wonderful thing about going to Rowena’s produce market is that the staff is very friendly and helpful. Rowena’s team all speak Tagalog so I get to speak Tagalog when I am there. Fun! Kwento-kuwentuhan while shopping.
I got to know a bit about Rowena’s background and it is quite fascinating.

Besides getting fruits and vegetables that I could only find in the Philippines before, visiting Rowena’s market also allows me to speak in Tagalog with their employees Esmel, Viner, Marcy and Ai; kwento-kuwentuhan while shopping!

Rowena started helping her mother in-store in the Philippines when she was eight years old. She earned a degree in Chemical Engineering at Far Eastern University. When she moved to Maui, she was hired as a Senior Analyst at HC&S toanalyze the differences in sugar cane quality. In 2001 she and her husband, Guy Moen, started a farm in Ha‘ikū and since then they have been selling their produce from the farm at various farmers’ markets on Maui. Aside from their farmers’ market in Kīhei, there is also a Rowena’s Produce & Packaging Supplies in Kahului, located at the corner of Wākea Avenue and 230 Hāna Highway. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Do you want to know where the Farmers Markets are on Maui?
Let me highlight some of them.

Upcountry Farmers’ Market at the Kulamalu Shopping Center near Long’s Drugs just off of Kula Highway—open Saturdays, 7 to 11 a.m. The diverse community of over 50 vendors that frequent this Maui market is what makes it unique to others.

Farmers’ Market at the Maui Swap Meet is popular among locals and tourists alike. Located at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College, the swap meet is located at the backside of the U.H. Maui College across from the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). This swap meet is every weekend and has just about everything you would want, not just fresh produce. Hours of operation are Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Farmers’ Market in the central court of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center is convenient for locals and tourists. Not only is there fresh tropical produce but many vendors feature handcrafted sweets and treats to choose from. It is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I am not very familiar on the Westside, but our friends there recommend Honokōwai Farmers’ Market located at 3636 Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd. in Lahaina. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 to 11 a.m. and the Nāpili Farmers’ Market located in a parking lot at Honoapi‘ilani Highway and Nāpilihau St. in Lahaina, near Maui Prep, opens 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

This list of farmers’ markets on Maui is by far not complete and ever evolving. The farmers’ community on Maui is growing and that’s pretty exciting. I asked this question earlier on in this article, and I want to ask it again: Do you have a “go to” farmers’ market on Maui—one where you regularly go and buy your fresh produce? Share with us at Fil-Am Voice Facebook page. You can post some photos too! Mahalo and a hui hou!

Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbows; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui.

Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.