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The term “sunshine market” is used in the US state of Hawaii to describe a farmers' market, emphasizing the idea that the market is held in the open air in a pleasant climate. This term is also sometimes used in other tropical and subtropical regions, depending on regional preference and custom. As a general rule, information about local sunshine markets is available from a variety of sources, including places like City Hall and tourist offices.
At a farmers' market, farmers from the surrounding community sell their wares directly to the public. A sunshine market often includes local fishermen as well, since seafood is such a common feature of island living, and locally sourced meats may be available in some cases. Sunshine markets are usually held on a specific day of the week, with the temperate island climate ensuring that produce and fruit are available year-round.
Sunshine markets typically set up on village greens or in other large open spaces to ensure that there is enough room for all the vendors. Vendors may cover their stands with tents, pavilions, or umbrellas to protect themselves and their goods from the direct sun, with guests wandering between aisles of stands to select the foods they wish to purchase. A sunshine market may include prepared food, music, and a space to sit and socialize, turning it into a community hub.
The advantage to shopping at a sunshine market, rather than the grocery store, is that you get to meet the person who produces your food. Farmers can often tell you what they recommend each week, and they may have recipes for unusual foods, or recommendations for how to eat specific foods. Produce, fish, and meat at a sunshine market also tend to be extremely fresh, often harvested that very morning, which can mean that the food is of higher quality, since it has been harvested at its peak and subjected to minimal time in storage and transport.
Rates at a sunshine market can be a bit higher than the grocery store, because the farms tend to be small, and they often try to pay workers a living wage and to grow their food in a sustainable way. Some people feel that the slightly higher rates for food are worth it, because they are supporting local businesses and promoting sustainable agriculture. Sunshine markets can also have the occasional great deal, for those with sharp eyes.