The familiar strains of "E Ku'u Morning Dew; Alia mai, alia mai" floated on the morning breeze, sung live by George Kahumoku. That may not be the first thing you'd expect to hear on a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. in a Kihei parking lot, but this was a special Saturday at the Lipoa Street Farmers' Market at South Maui Center and there were lots of pleasant surprises in store.
Along with a "Music at the Market" live performance by the Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian entertainer, Grow Some Good, the volunteer gardening group active in Kihei's public schools, was on hand to encourage kids and grownups to get involved in growing food at home. They brought with them some very attractive produce, seedlings and seeds. All of their products were available to patrons of the market for a voluntary donation (see "Grow Some Good").
Just as vegetable sales were winding down, Mayor Alan Arakawa arrived at 9:30 a.m. with his staff to conduct a session of County on Your Corner. There was a line about a dozen deep of those who wanted to have a personal word with his honor (see "County on Your Corner Comes to Kihei").
The Saturday farmers’ market at the South Maui Center on Lipoa Street is a small, pleasant and interesting event. At the market, residents and visitors can buy fresh vegetables and local products, meet the volunteers from Grow Some Good and express their concerns to Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and his staff. All this and live music, too, by George Kahumoku.
The regular vendors were also out in force, including Steve Knight, who sells organic produce for Okamura Farms. By 10 a.m., he was just about sold out, but he still had enough corn, greens and other produce left to pose for a snapshot with an armful of attractive Maui-grown produce. Knight, who trades his services with the farm for veggies, said he has a regular clientele at Lipoa Street.
Also finishing up a busy morning was miso specialist Satoko Yoshikawa assisted by daughter Lino, who staffed the Hinomoto Miso booth.
Off to the side, Maui Fire Department Capt. Paul Haake talked about the availability of free smoke alarm installations available to Maui homeowners. For more information, contact him at 244-9161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not far off, watching the ebb and flow of the morning traffic, were Mickey and Mel Ross of Kihei and their dogs, Hollywood and Bandit. They were seated on the comfortable lanai of Fabiani's Pizza & Bakery, relaxing in the open air and enjoying a bite to eat after finishing their shopping. The pair said they were frequent visitors to the event and that for them it was a "Saturday ritual."
Steve Rose, who produces the weekly event and rents the booth space, wore a bright orange aloha shirt as he darted around the market.
"I try to keep it fresh and lively," Rose said, as he adjusted sound levels on the amplifiers, chatted with the vendors, greeted Arakawa and rearranged the set up for the mayor's informal meet-and-greet.
Rose confirmed that there was a lot going on in the South Maui Center parking lot. He added there would be even more early-morning live music and other interesting attractions in the weeks to come.
According to Rose, the market had been operating about two years and that a variety of flexible booth arrangements are usually possible.
"Sometime it's full," he said. "But other times not."
He suggested those interested in participating call 357-4564 or email Lipoamarket@me.com.
He added that while the mayor has visited other community sites, this was his first appearance at the Lipoa market.