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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Kapolei Market Marks Two-year Anniversary

Cultural expert Shad Kane talked with shoppers about his feathered kahili at a recent Makeke Kapolei Farmers and Green Market. Makeke Kapolei celebrates its second anniversary during its Oct. 24 market. Photo from Kari Nettel.

Makeke Kapolei Farmers’ and Green Market is turning 2 years old, and to celebrate it will throw an anniversary party from 3 to 6:30 p.m. during its weekly market at the high school.

The marketplace will feature its usual vendors – more than 30 of them offering local fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, jams, organic beef, native and landscaping plants, vegetable plant starters, arts and crafts, food trucks and more.

It also will have live entertainment by Halau O Kaululauae and Kapolei High’s Polynesian Club, door prizes, healthy trick-or-treating for keiki and a Halloween costume contest.

For Makeke Kapolei operators, there is a lot to celebrate, according to marketing manager Cassandra Ohelo.

“Some of our favorite experiences have been witnessing the unique and diverse market offerings by our vendors, such as small business owners and farmers,” she said, “as well as an increase in demand for locally grown food from people in our community.”

Ohelo is a University of Hawaii-West Oahu student who runs the market alongside representatives from Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and Kapolei High School.

“We enjoy getting calls from people in our community just getting started with their businesses and wanting to give it a go via our market.”

In addition to vendors, Makeke Kapolei also serves as kind of cultural learning center – an aspect of the market that Ohelo said she is most proud.

“Our partners and vendors put a lot of hard work and perseverance into educating the community by offering a learning experience, such as demonstrations on making healthy baby food, or making pa’i'ai from freshly cooked kalo,” she said.

“We strive to create a gathering space where both practitioners and participants leave feeling valued.”

The market’s next monthly cultural demonstrations will feature Kumu Verne Kiaha on Nov. 7. He will make inamona, a condiment concocted from roasted kukui nut and salt and used in Hawaiian cooking.

Makeke Kapolei recently launched a new feature – Malama Aina Market (MAM), a sort of “market within a market,” Ohelo explained, for vendors who don’t have the time or resources to set up their own booths, MAM provides a space for small businesses, artisans and cultural practitioners to sell their products.

MAM currently is accepting additional vendors who promote healthy eating, sustainable lifestyles and local handcrafted art and goods.

Throughout its two-year run, Makeke Kapolei has experienced a steady growth in attendance – from an average of 791 each week during 2011-2012 to an average of 887 during 2012-2013.

To apply as a vendor or for more information about the anniversary event, contact Cassandra Ohelo at 692-8200, ext. 2267 or email cassandra@malamalearingcenter.org.

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