Chatter of students, pop music, laughter, orders for lunch and sounds of cash registers opening fill the Aloha Center Ballroom from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m for BYU-Hawaii’s bi-monthly Farmers’ Markets.
Ethan Landgraf, a freshman from Honolulu studying biomedicine, loves the unifying feeling the event brings. “Even though we all have differences, it is great to see how we can all come together to buy cheap stuff. It is beautiful to see similarities like that every time the Farmers’ Market comes.”
In the center of the ballroom rests tables full of fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, and other foodstuffs, while vendors for jewelry, essential oils, shirts, and even potted plants surround the outer edges.
For some, the Farmers’ Market is more than a place to simply buy groceries because it has a rich cultural and community significance. Mindy Harter, a junior from California, shared, “It brings more variety to our food choices. It’s just a fun way to get new cultured, authentic foods. A lot of it was Asian, Indian or even Hawaiian.”
Harter, who is studying hospitality and tourism management, loves to travel and explore new things. She continued, “There are so many cultures here so just to have a taste around the world. It’s a great way to experience the cultures of everyone you meet here on campus.”
Trella Schlutsmeyer, a freshman from California studying art, shared, “I love to see the community. It’s pretty fun to talk to and get to know the vendors. It’s good for students and community alike.”
According to students, an added benefit of the Farmers’ Market is having it so close to their homes. Schultsmeyer said, “It’s easier to access and is a safe place because it’s on campus. I enjoy being able to shop with my friends. We shared each other’s food afterwards. It was kind of like a little Thanksgiving because we shared cinnamon rolls, watermelon, and I shared my moon pie. It was fun.”
However, convenience and culture aren’t everything to Harter. While she likes the unique purchases she can make, Harter said, “I would prefer shopping at Foodland because they have everything there. The price for fruits and vegetables [at Farmers’ Market] were a bit more expensive.”
Landgraf also would like to see the market offer “a larger variety of freshly made foods for lunch. They should have more of a food court thing going on.”
For updates on when the next events will be, look out for signs around campus or follow them on Facebook at “BYU-Hawaii Farmers Market.”