Holoholo Weekend: Kea'au Village Market
16-0550 Old Volcano Road
Open daily 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This little, partially covered market is right across the street from the Kea'au Shopping Center and next to Puna Hongwanji. Look for the Sakada sculpture commemorating the Filipino immigrants that came to Hawaii to work on the plantations. Kea'au, formerly known as Ola'a, was a plantation town controlled by the Shipman family. The Shipman family continues to own most of the land in Kea'au and many other places in Puna.
It seems like the village market tries to help an eclectic group of vendors, so within a small area, there are about three vegetable vendors, one couple selling malasadas, one or two flower vendors, a couple of small boutiques, a hairstylist, a massage therapist, and a few food kitchens (Mexican, local and Filipino, bread and barbeque). On this day, in the large middle area that has little tables and umbrellas for people to eat and talk story, there was also a "garage sale" set up to help a U19 select soccer team.
The food vendors really make this place a reflection of the community. Check out BK's Country Favorites menu: blood meat, pincabet, pork and squash with mustard cabbage soup.
We found that the prices are a little cheaper than in Hilo, so our bounty is a little larger. It also helped that at the bread store, they had a rack of day old bread, so we were able to get a day old baguette for $1.
The malasadas were a good deal. You get a large malasada for 50 cents, or coffee and a malasada for $1. Ken really liked it because the edges are crispy. For me, I like my malasadas more Leonard's Bakery style with more air pockets. This malasada was definitely crispy on the outside, but the inside was a little too dense for me. If you like it more dense, almost andagi style, then these are the best deal in town for malasadas. I think if Ken had his choice, he would have bought a dozen.
This may be the only farmer's market that's open daily, so if you're passing by Kea'au town, check them out. The parking is conveniently located behind the market and I haven't seen it so crowded that there's no parking.