App enables credit card payments at farmers markets

PO‘IPU — Aletha Thomas of Monkeypod Jam is no stranger to working at “pop-up” locations. Her line of homemade jams is sold at two regular farmers markets on Kaua‘i.

On Wednesday, she was busy monitoring her table at the Kukui‘ula Gourmet Market while customers paused to sample her latest creations on crackers.

Those samplings often lead to purchases, she said, but not everyone has cash.

“There is an app for that,” Thomas said, her iPad conveniently close. “We found this app which accepts credit cards and electronic transactions on an iPad.”

Thomas said when she first purchased the software which makes electronic transactions possible from her portable table, the company sent her a whole box of adapters which plug into one of the iPad outlets and enable her to process credit cards.

“They said to just pass it out to other vendors,” Thomas said.

However, she said beyond that convenience of customers at her two “pop-up” locations — the Kukui‘ula Gourmet Market on Wednesdays and the Kaua‘i Community Market on Saturdays at Kaua‘i Community College — the app allows her to comply with state initiatives.

“I can print out a whole report whenever they need one,” said Thomas, who also works as a school teacher and tutor.

When the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank initiates its Electronic Benefits Transfer program at select farmers markets later this year, Thomas said she will be ready and capable of handling this.

She said the KIFB EBT program will be using tokens instead of the electronic cards and the Kaua‘i Community Market will be one of the sites where vendors will learn how to work the EBT program.

On Wednesday, she was thrilled to have the return of her Ginger Jelly, utilizing products from two local farmers.

In addition to marketing her line of jams, jellies and butters created from a small commercial kitchen she rents in Lihu‘e, Thomas spends the time scouring other vendors, usually buying out their remaining products as the two-hour market winds down.

Jams are seasonal, so customers who find something they like can either check back or stock up.

“We like them to keep coming back because there’s always something new, and we can do credit cards too,” Thomas said.

Visit www.monkeypodjam.com for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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