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NELHA’s inaugural market reels in a crowd

Residents and visitors pack the Gateway Building at NELHA for the inaugrual farmers fish market Friday, March 26. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

The first of four Farmers Fish Markets kicked off to a great response Friday, March 26 at the NELHA Gateway Center.

Guy Toyama, executive director at Friends of NELHA, said, “Farms are looking for new markets and new ways to market themselves. That is one goal. Another is to educate our local community about the quality and safety of island aquaculture.”

The inaugural event drew 14 vendors, the majority from NELHA or from West Hawaii. “It’s totally, all 100 percent Big Island,” Toyama said.

Toyama said he was not sure what to expect for the first attempt at a local farmers fish market.

“I’ve never put on a farmer’s market before. I had no idea what we could expect,” he said. “But to see this attendance is really beyond our expectations.”

Sponsored by the county Department of Research and Development, the fish market features a variety of eco-friendly aquaculture products grown at the Natural Energy Lab. Big Island residents can purchase seafood directly from the fish farms, including Keahole Lobster, Dungeness Crab, Kona Kampachi, Big Island Abalone, and sturgeon.

Other products produced at NELHA also are featured, such as desalinated deep seawater, Kona Sea Salt, and algae products BioAstin and Spirulina Pacifica.

The next farmers fish market at NELHA is Friday, April 30.

Organizers used funding from the county Research & Development Department to start the farmers fish market, but hope the vendors and public will continue to support the monthly event beyond the four months.

Locally-grown produce vendors are also invited to participate. For information on booth rental, contact Toyama at, or 938-1017.

(Hawaii 24/7 photo special by Colin Gould)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo special by Colin Gould)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo special by Colin Gould)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

One Response to “NELHA’s inaugural market reels in a crowd”

  1. We were there March 26 and were surprised at the attendance. We bought lobster tails, sea salt and some veggies from another vendor.
    I used some of the lobsters for our Easter dinner; an adaptation of a popular Southern recipe for Shrimp and Grits using lobster tails for a “Lobster & Grits Benedict” – if anyone wants a photo and recipe I can provide it. It was delicious!


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