I was recently in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu where my husband, daughters, and I were visiting my son and his wife. He’s in the army and is based there. We were very lucky! We got to combine a visit with him and his wife with being in paradise at the same time! We hiked Diamond Head and Moana Falls and trekked up CoCo Head at a respectable pace. We also went to a luau and on a moonlight catamaran cruise—all the normal tourist stuff. It was wonderful! I can say with certainty that other than spending time with my family, one of my favorite things was going to a local farm market on a couple of Saturdays during our stay. I had seen a sign for it early on during our first week and it was within walking distance from our hotel. Whenever I travel I like to try the locally grown food, really immerse myself in the local culture, learn about the farming practices and see what types of things people create in the area. My daughter and I took a walk down there, excited to explore what we might find. It was held at a local elementary school and a portion of each vendor’s proceeds supported the community and the school, a mission that warmed my heart! The market had a few farm stands with a variety of exotic locally grown produce, some local artisans displaying handmade jewelry, quilt squares, delectable body scrubs, some food venders and some local musicians providing relaxing background entertainment with a Hawaiian flair. It was fun to get acquainted with some of the venders and hear their stories. My daughter selected some unique earrings from one and a cute crystal necklace in her signature color (pink) from another.
I came upon a table of locally made, all natural personal care products created by Sarah Osborne, owner of Swak Naturals and sampled her coffee and peppermint scrubs. I went away with some refreshing peppermint foot scrub on my first trip and went back the following Saturday and got the coffee one! Our sweet tooth got satisfied when we met Chef Kate Wagner, owner of Not Just Desserts. Chef Kate specializes in clean baked goods free from processed sweeteners as well as free from dairy, gluten and soy—right up my alley! Chef Kate was friendly and engaging and we left with a bag full of sweet treats! I finished off at the produce stand where the farmer helped me select the perfect locally grown mango, dragon fruit, star fruit and exceptionally sweet pineapple. I’d say it was a morning well spent!
Whenever I travel, I enjoy perusing the area gift shops and admiring all the souvenirs and trinkets they offer, but when it comes to really getting a flavor of the locale that I’m visiting, it’s much more fun to find a local farm market or craft fair and talk to the people who are actually making the items. Those are the things that make a strong impression on me while helping support the local community, and I remember their priceless stories long after I return home. So whether you’re vacationing in an exotic place or just exploring your own community, I encourage you to shop local too, you never know what treasures you’ll find!