Hidden Hawaii: Funky SPACE farmers market in Puna on the Big Island
NOTE: This market has been renamed to Outer SPACE Market and moved to a new home at Uncle Roberts Awa Club in Kalapana (same location as a Wednesday Night Market). From Pahoa, drive down toward the ocean and where Hwys 130 and 137 meet, take a right and drive about 1/4 mile to the end of the road. Open every Saturday from 7AM to 12PM. All local Big Island produce, arts, crafts, food vendors, and entertainment. EBT accepted.
Most farmers markets around the country are usually closed for the winter season. But here in Hawaii, thanks to the year round crop-producing warm climate, farmers markets on every island are open and bustling with activities. One of the most lively (and most unique!) farmers markets is in the lower Puna district on the Big Island. Located in the middle of a rural residential neighborhood called Seaview, this market is held every Saturday under the roof of the Seaview Performing Arts Center (SPACE) building. This large open-air structure (powered with solar energy) sits on a beautiful 12-acre property that belongs to BellyAcres – a circus training camp where talented performing artists from all over the world live and work in a sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly communal environment. Circus workshops (aerial acrobatic, stilt walking, mime, etc.), community arts and cultural events, yoga classes, as well as special education programs for school children are also held inside this building.
SATURDAY AT SPACE MARKET
This market is where lower Puna residents sell and trade their home-grown produce and homemade goods. Beside the great variety of organic fruits and vegetables, there are also arts & crafts, jewelry, tie-dyed clothing, herbal remedies, plants, and all sorts of recycled household stuff for sale. You will also find food vendors who offer fresh made veggie juices, smoothies, gluten-free baked goods, and delicious hot and cold multi-ethnic foods. It’s a place where a diverse collection of neighbors and friends, gays and straights, hippies and clowns, young and old come together every Saturday to have breakfast and lunch, to talk story, to share a laugh, and to get fresh groceries for the week. It’s a place where everyone seems to know everyone yet a place where it is easy to make new friends! Going to the SPACE market you might feel like you are at a circus show. It’s a great spot for people watching, with quite a cast of eclectic characters! Some people dress in funny costumes. Some hardly have any clothes on! A coffee vendor might burst out singing Broadway tunes (adapted for Puna of course!) at the top of her lungs. Another vendor may start juggling papayas (and trying to eat a banana at the same time!) to entertain the crowd. Kids shriek with delight and grown-ups clap their hands. A lot of laughter, smiling faces and fun. It’s easy to lose your sense of time and place and enjoy yourself when you see how happy people are at SPACE market!
A BIG ALOHA COMMUNITY
With such a unique location, as well as the positive energy and warm 'ohana spirit, SPACE market is becoming quite popular by word-of-mouth. It can get very crowded, especially on the second Saturday of every month when there’s also a community garage sale/flea market happening at the same time on the back lawn of the SPACE building. More and more tourists are also showing up as they hear about this one-of-a-kind local market and want to experience it. When on the Big Island, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to buy a fresh cut coconut and learn a new magic trick at the same time at this great farmers market!
TO GET HERE
From Hilo, head south on Hwy 130 (KeaauPahoa Rd) toward Pahoa village. After passing Pahoa, continue on Hwy 130 and drive about 10 miles down the hill. At the stop sign (where the road ends) turn left onto Hwy 137 (Kapoho Kalapana Road, also called the Red Road) and drive 5 miles along the coastline. Look for Seaview residential neighborhood (with the large oceanfront park and lush grove of coconut palms), turn left and just follow the signs along the main road to SPACE market.
- SPACE farmers market opens every Saturday 8AM to 12:30PM. Free parking.
- No pets or animals allowed at the market, except for service dogs.
- Cash only and small bills are appreciated. Food stamps (EBT card) are also accepted by many vendors.
- Go early for an excellent breakfast: omelets (made with fresh local eggs) or fried eggs and potatoes, as well as muffins and coffee are available from various vendors.
- Look for exotic local fruits (jackfruit, breadfruit, eggfruit, abiu, mountain apple, etc.) for sale by some of the fruit and vegetable vendors!
- Get an affordable massage or a haircut.
- Don’t forget your camera: plenty of picture perfect moments and people love to smile for you!
ABOUT THIS HUB
The author lives happily in Seaview and goes to SPACE market often. He’s hoping to learn how to juggle papayas. All photos were taken with a SamsungDigimax 301 3.2MP Digital Camera.
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Copyright © 2012 Viet Doan (punacoast)