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Join the local food movement at the Napili Farmers Market

By Staff | Jan 19, 2017

The Napili Farmers Market opened five years ago and offers produce from over 50 local farmers. The market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon mauka of Honoapiilani Highway at the intersection of Napilihau Road.

NAPILI – Buying local produce is all about community, a downhome recipe for a global fix.

The advantages are multiple and remarkably common sense.

Eating local reduces the carbon footprint on the planet; it’s green. It doesn’t travel long distances guzzling fossil fuels, thereby promoting better air quality.

With a shorter time from farm to table, local food has more nutrients; crops are picked at their peak, and it’s safe.

The quality of life increases; it helps to support our local families, preserve open space and grow the economy.

West Siders can join the local food movement at Napili Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon mauka of Honoapiilani Highway at the intersection of Napilihau Road.

“The Napili Farmers Market was created in 2012 with the purpose of building the local food supply on Maui and providing West Maui residents and visitors with fresh, locally grown produce,” the website (napilifarmersmarket.com) reads.

Steve Phillips, the operator of the market, is a strong advocate of the buy/grow local philosophy.

“I’d like to see Maui provide 80 percent of our own foods grown and made locally,” he advised. “The more we can produce and make ourselves, the more we can recycle the money here on our island, and it’s not all going off island somewhere.”

Becky Speere, the dining editor of Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, agrees. She and husband Chris Speere of the University of Hawaii Maui College Food Innovation Center “farm four grassy acres planted organically with citrus, bananas and greens and raise layer hens for eggs,” in Huelo, she said.

“Supporting our local farmers is the first step towards our own food security. The more we buy locally, the greater our local economy. It’s a win-win!”

The Napili Farmers Market opened five years ago and offers produce from over 50 local farmers – some, of course, only seasonally. Participants are noted on their website.

Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian entertainer George Kahumoku Jr. is one of the market’s vendors. He can be found there on Wednesdays, selling the produce he grows at Kahumoku Farm located on the northern slopes of the West Maui Mountains, Kahakuloa side.

The list of produce he raises is impressive, as well as massive.

“We have 80 varieties of kalo or taro; 40 varieties of bananas; 16 varieties of Hawaiian herbal teas such as Mamaki, Koko’olau and Waipine-lemon grass; 40 varieties of citrus; 35 varieties of sweet potatoes; 12 varieties of breadfruit; seven varieties of awa; 12 varieties of avocado; 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes; butter nut and other squashes; lilikoi; guava; 20 varieties of grasses and legumes for our livestock; 35 varieties of ti-leaf; plus six kinds of spinach; hot chili peppers and green peppers; four varieties of kale; lettuce; green beans; six varieties of mints; 12 varieties of sugar cane; lauhala; two varieties of edible hibiscus; four varieties of celery; coconuts; the fruits and plants of the canoe people; blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; and figs.

“I get to play music with friends Damon Parillo, Mosso Hulii and Healii Kauhane and fiddler Kirsten. We can play all kinds of music, not only Hawaiian,” Kahumoku said.

The local artist-musician-farmer also sells at his table at the market a delicious, diverse mix of products, including duck and chicken eggs “when we have extra;” homemade bread and butter pickles made from Cheyote Squash; homemade kim chee; guava and lilikoi jams and jellies; and guava-passion fruit-Tahitian lime juice sweetened with honey from local harvest.

Den Koro and his wife, Aloha, are an integral part of the raw food scene.

A family-owned business, their brand is “ALOHA RAW.”

“This company we registered in summer 2016, less than a year. Before we had first Gourmet Lifefood and Raw restaurant in Moscow, Russia,” Den said.

“We started with three types of Maui Probiotic Krauts,” Den added, “based on my wife’s grandmother’s recipes, natural and unpasteurized. In a few months, we come with line of condiments based on our Maui Probiotic Krauts: Kraut MastArt, Krautchup, Mauinaise. These condiments play role of probiotics as well as very unique and gourmet items on everyday table.

“Recently we came out with macadamia nut chocolate butter made by using stone ground process – Macnut Chocolate.”

Livia Bajor is Phillips’ second in charge. She announced the launching of a produce delivery system, referred to as The Box on their website.

“We would love to make this beautiful produce available for those who have other commitments at the time of the farmers market. We now offer a weekly delivery of locally grown, seasonal, non-GMO fruits and vegetables, at all locations from Kapalua to Launiupoko, right to your doorstep,” the website explained.

The public is encouraged to stop by. “They can get a very wide selection of locally grown produce, which helps the farmers and the local economy,” Phillips said.

“They can enjoy live music. It’s a very nice community atmosphere. People bring their kids. It’s like a big gathering; everybody meets and talks with each other,” he added.

Den was more specific: “Steve is very special and unique person to work with. He organizes market in very friendly and abundant way, so we all feel like a family and offer best of Maui locally grown and made produce and foods. He supports farmers and make a very important connection for sustainable living – farmers can sell what they grow, and tourists and local population can get healthy, naturally grown foods at very reasonable prices. Everyone is benefiting, and we have great musicians and local crafts as well.”