Aloha Market launches at NTBG South Shore Visitor Center

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Guests savor the aroma of oven-baked pizza while enjoying the performance of Taiko Kaua‘i Thursday during the launch of the Aloha Market at the National Tropical Botanical Garden South Shore Visitor Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Greg Askew of Ono Pops encourages a guest to try a frozen treat Thursday during the launch of the Aloha Market at the National Tropical Botanical Garden South Shore Visitor Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Usa Meephol of Sakda Farm at Grove Farm explains how to enjoy a mangosteen Thursday during the launch of the Aloha Market at the National Tropical Botanical Garden South Shore Visitor Center.

KUKUI‘ULA — Sounds of the kumi-daiko Taiko Kaua‘i carried on the wind to draw spectators from the many nooks and crannies of the National Tropical Botanical Garden South Shore Visitor Center Thursday morning during the launch of the Aloha Market.

“We have around 20 vendors here, today,” said Toby Koehler, the Visitor Center director. “Normally, we want to have between 15 to 20 vendors, including farmers. That way, there is a little profit for everyone.”

The Aloha Market is Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and features farmers and vendors offering a variety of products, from farm-fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, value-added items, jewelry, art and various crafts.

Launching the weekly Aloha Market represents an expansion of services and hours of the NTBG Visitor Center, and a chance for small retailers and farmers to strengthen their respective economic bases.

“This is the first time I’ve been out in more than a year,” said Madi Jimenez of Mailelani’s, a vendor offering sewn products ranging from face masks to handbags in different sizes. “Most of the time during the pandemic, I’ve been sewing. Now, this is my first time out.”

Farmers were also kept busy, as Risa Clemmons answered questions about mangosteen she had available. She also offered small snacks of Thai food using products produced on her farm.

“I don’t know about the entertainment,” Koehler said. “We used to have hula before the pandemic. We have Taiko Kaua‘i here because this is our first market, but I don’t know if we can have entertainment every week.”

The NTBG is open and accepting bookings for its tours of Limahuli, Allerton and McBryde gardens.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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