Chances are you have either been to or seen the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market on the side of the highway. Every Sunday one of the biggest and most well known Farmer’s Market’s in Hawaii is alive and bustling with shoppers and vendors. Everything from fresh fruits and veggies to homemade food is available. However, this will all come to an end very soon, as the State of Hawaii is forcing the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market to shut down.
Market officials had been consulting with the state on plans to change their arrangement from month-to-month to yearly when they were told abruptly that vending is prohibited from public highways.
Although the parcel is no longer used as a roadway, it is covered by the law, according to the attorney general’s office. Initially the department ordered the market to close or move by April 10, but it extended the deadline until the end of the month. Why they allowed the market to even start in this area in 2009 is confusing. Were the same laws not in place then?
Many local Haleiwa and surrounding area residents are not taking the news very well. As you can imagine, many people depend on the outdoor market once a week for all their food purchases, or at least most of them.
The market averages 2,500 visitors every Sunday, which is a huge amount of people for an outdoor market in this setting (if you have seen the setting you know what we mean). This past Sunday, around 3,400 residents and visitors headed to the popular market, according to an estimation by the owners – which is around 900 more than average for the weekly event.
The Abercrombie administration has said it will help the market find another site, but owners Pamela Boyar and Annie Suite say they want to stay.
“We don’t want to move,” said Boyar. “This is our home.”
As of 5 p.m. Sunday about 1,600 people had signed an online petition in support of the market continuing at its current location until another site is found.
Since the market’s inception the Transportation Department allowed rent-free use of the site in support of local farmers.
What happens next remains to be seen. It is unlikely tat the state will allow the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market to stay where it is, no matter how many people sign the petition. Reason being: if the state allows the market to stay, then they are going to have a very hard time trying to enforce this law on others who are violating it.
The main question remains though, Why did the state allow the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market to start in this area in the first place? We will have to see what happens, but for all intents and purposes it looks like the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market is going to have to find another venue, one that they will probably have to pay rent on.