The farmers market at Hilo Coffee Mill in Puna is one of the newest farmers markets on the east side of Big Island. Taking place in the back yard of Hilo Coffee Mill, the weekly market is still on the smaller side but offers a good array of crafts, produce and ready-to-eat food.
Located up Volcano Highway in upper Puna, Hilo Coffee Mill is a great stop for food, espresso and a bit of coffee culture. The plantation-era home has been revamped into a restaurant and factory. It's surrounded by a beautifully manicured lawn, fruit and flower trees and a collection of mother hens and chicks free ranging. They're usually running around the 24-acre piece of land.
Local honey at Hilo Coffee Mill's market — Photo courtesy of Hilo Coffee Mill
Every Saturday from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m., the mill's weekly farmers market offers a unique perspective into local life. There's usually live music and quite a social scene: the locals from the area come to meet and greet.
Look for ready-to-eat meals from the vendors, such as green papaya salad, burritos, baked goods and other food. There's always a wide selection of handmade goods perfect for gifts and souvenirs to take back home. Locally made jewelry, home decor, clothing and other accessories and household items are available, too.
Shoppers must bring a reusable shopping bag to the mill's market, since plastic bags have been banned in the area.
A busy market day — Photo courtesy of Hilo Coffee Mill
While browsing the market, stop into the mill itself for breakfast or lunch. They offer a full array of espresso, coffee, smoothies and other drinks. Food items include bagels with lox, cream cheese and tomato as well as waffles, sandwiches and other snacks. Indoor and outdoor tables offer places to eat and utilize the free wireless Internet.
Hilo Coffee Mill is just about a 15-minute drive away from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Encompassing more than 350 square acres, this national park is one of the most photographed locales in the Hawaiian chain. The dramatic landscape includes Thurston Lava Tube, still-smoldering Halemaumau Crater and majestic Mauna Loa's highly active Pu'u O'o vent, which has been spewing lava since 1993.
Kilauea Visitor Center sits just inside the park's main entrance. Visitors are free to explore the park's 50 or so miles of roadways, which wind in and out of the dense tropical rainforest that surrounds Mauna Loa. But stay on guard, since volcanic activity is commonplace.