New farmers’ market sprouts in Lihue

LIHUE — Dan Fort, the county’s sunshine market monitor, said it was a good thing some of the farms of the growers were close by on Tuesday.

“Several of the vendors sold out early,” Fort said. “They sent people back to the farms to get more product.”

Nine vendors lined the road fronting the Historic County Building on Tuesday during the inaugural Rice Street Farmers’ Market established through the county’s Office of Economic Development.

“We had an initial blast (of shoppers),” Fort said. “But it’s leveled off, and now it’s just steady.”

Vendors will maintain a schedule of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“We are pleased to offer a new farmers’ market in the heart of Lihue,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “Our residents and visitors will have another venue to shop for locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and the vendors will be able to expand their business. This is part of the vision for the Lihue Town Core Mobility and Revitalization Plan.”

Margarita Tapucol of Ednilao Farm said she sold out of her papaya early.

“This is good,” she said. “I didn’t have enough, so I sent Leo back to the farm to get more.”

The return trip to Tapucol’s table yielded additional product.

“I got the cabbage when she came back,” said Mel Rapozo, the Kauai County Council chair. “Patsy gave me a list of what she needed. Boy, she loaded me down. This is good, though. I want to see this continue for as long as it’s able to.”

Jonathan Chun shared in the cabbage bounty.

“I knew it was coming,” Chun said. “But I forgot. This is definitely a good thing.”

The mayor noted the convenience of the market would enable county employees to purchase their healthy foods during their lunch break.

“Our Get Fit Kauai Worksite Wellness team has been trying to come up with different ways to encourage the county ohana to make healthy choices,” Carvalho said. “This will support their efforts.”

Eddie Topenio of the Council Services Office came down to grab a papaya for lunch.

“This is good,” said Jenna Dunn, an employee with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conversation Service. “It’s hard to get to the markets because of my work schedule. Having this market is good to be able to just walk from the office. We were busy with other items, but needed to talk to some of the farmers. This way, we can talk to them and have lunch.”

Fort said the selection of vendors also included vendors with value-added items: Dave and Lynn McLernon of Hawaiian Spirits offered Wild Kauaian Raw Jungle Honey and Bee Extractions, while Isobel Storch of Lanipo Farm also had produce.

The newest farmers’ market is open to the public. Patrons may park in the Lihue Civic Center parking lot across from the Historic County Building.

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