Meet Hawaii’s greenest farmers market

Searching for local produce with a minimal eco-footprint? Look no further than the Hale’iwa Farmers’ Market, which claims — convincingly — to be Hawaii’s greenest.

Hale’iwa Town is located on Oahu‘s legendary North Shore, in the heart of the big-wave surf scene. Its market is open every Sunday from 9pm to 1am, and aims to be Hawaii’s first totally green, zero-waste market.When I visited, more than 40 vendors had laid out their finest fresh produce, crafts and prepared foods. Most came from the North Shore, though a few items came in from elsewhere on Oahu or neighboring islands. I cruised along the rows of stands and bought a mango and pineapple smoothie that had been blended using the market’s solar power. The smoothie and the avocado sandwich I went for next were both served to me in corn-based disposable containers — unlike their plastic cousins, my containers were biodegradable.

In the midst of the vendors I found the Zero Waste Station, where the market’s trash was sorted. Food scraps go to a local pig farmer, the disposable dishes get composted, glass and cans are recycled, and a last — hopefully unnecessary — bin takes any remaining garbage.

Hale’iwa’s market may not be on wheels, but its commitment to minimal waste puts it on the cutting edge of American farmers’ markets. If you can tear yourself away from the surf (and the surfers), it makes a great Sunday breakfast or lunch stop on Oahu’s North Shore.

Check out the gallery below for some shots from the market. Fresh produce fanatic? Gadling has more farmers’ markets recommendations for you.

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[Disclosure: My visit to the Hale’iwa Farmers’ Market was part of a trip sponsored by the Oahu Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Nonetheless, my opinions about the epic rightness of blending mango and pineapple together are my own.]

Traveling the American Road: introducing AOL Travel’s Road Trip Across America

[Editor’s note: Paul Brady has replaced Eva Holland as the pilot of the 2011 Explorer due to technical constraints. You can read his intro to the series here!]

There’s something powerful about the American road trip. It’s a travel tradition that’s steeped in history but re-made fresh every summer by families across the country. And it’s a standby in literature and pop culture – from John Steinbeck’s classic Travels with Charley to Smokey and the Bandit through to the recent foul-mouthed buddy comedy, Sex Drive.

In 2011, it’s time to refresh that tradition once again.

Times have changed since Steinbeck and his dog Charley made their way across the country 51 years ago. The interstate system has spread its web across the Lower 48. The internet age has arrived, complete with in-car GPS systems, a blanket of wi-fi and hundreds of travel apps. Gas prices have skyrocketed, and the country is clawing its way out of a brutal recession. But one thing hasn’t changed: A cross-country road trip is still the best way to get into America’s backyard, see its natural wonders and – most importantly – meet its people and tell their stories.Traveling the American Road will take me across the country in a 2011 Ford Explorer. I’ll visit national parks, historic sites, big-name tourist attractions and quirky roadside Americana, and meet the people who make them work. I’ll profile small towns and big cities in recovery, and write about life as a blogger on the road. With blog posts, video, photos, Tweets, Gowalla check-ins and more, I’ll aim to share America as I see it from the driver’s seat.

This is a dream trip for me. Even living north of the border in Canada, I grew up on stories of Route 66, Yellowstone and Yosemite, the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. I’m looking forward to exploring the country by road, and I hope you’ll join me. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and here on Gadling.

[Flickr photo via Wolfgang Staudt]

Happy 100th Birthday, Parks Canada

Parks Canada, the department in charge of Canada’s 42 preserved national parks, turned 100 years old this week. CBC’s Jon Hembrey explains the department’s origins:

Parks Canada can trace its lineage back to 1885, when the country’s first national park – at a tiny 26 square kilometres – was created in Banff, Alta.

The primary aim was to create a tourist destination close to the Canadian Pacific Railway and exploit the economic potential of the area’s hot springs, said Claire Campbell, editor of A Century of Parks Canada, a collection of essays looking at the history of Parks Canada.

In 1911, the federal government created the Dominion Parks Branch, as it was called then, to look after the country’s handful of national parks. It was the first of its kind in the world.

Today, Parks Canada administers parks spread out from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, covering grasslands and mountain regions and marine environments. They range from remote wilderness preserves to high-volume tourist draws.

Traveling to Canada? Be sure to check out a park near you. Here are some photos from my nearest national park neighbor: Yukon’s Kluane National Park.

[Hat tip to @thebanffcentre]

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Drink up, it’s American Craft Beer Week

Traveling stateside this weekend? You’re in luck: It’s American Craft Beer Week, and events celebrating the art of beer are taking place at brewpubs and microbreweries in all 50 states.

I’ve always been a big believer in seeking out the best locally-produced brews wherever I travel, and as the craft brewing boom continues in the U.S. I’ve found my beer travels in America to be especially rewarding.

I’ve sampled local beers from Alaska to New Orleans to upstate New York. Sometimes a trip to the local brewery offers unique regional flavors and ingredients — like in Skagway, Alaska, where the Skagway Brewing Co. offers a truly northern-flavored spruce tip ale. Other times, a visit to the brewpub just means a chance to kick back with the locals and enjoy delicious food and drink. Either way, it’s worth the trip.

American Craft Beer Week runs until May 22nd. Check out the ACBW site or the #ACBW hashtag on Twitter to find out more about an event near you.

Summer road trip guide: where’s the cheapest gas in America?


Come on, people, sing it with me: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” The summer road trip season is here – and that means photo ops at scenic viewpoints, snacks melting on sun-soaked dashboards, and nights in roadside campgrounds or fleabag memorable motels.

Unfortunately, this summer season also brings some nasty gas prices with it. So what’s the best region for an American road trip? I compared current prices state by state to find out.The Big Winner

The good news? The region with the cheapest gas is also one of the nation’s most scenic: the Rocky Mountains. Wyoming has the cheapest gas in the nation (hellooo, Yellowstone National Park) and its neighbors in Colorado, Idaho and Montana aren’t too far behind.

Coming in a close second is another area rich in road trip possibilities: the Deep South. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina were all staying well under the $4-per-gallon mark at the time of writing; Georgia, North Carolina and Florida prices are a nudge higher, and costs continue to rise through the Virginias towards D.C.

Finally, the desert Southwest remains a good-value region: Utah comes in cheapest in the area, while Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada prices are only slightly higher.

…And the Wallet-Killers

Most of the rest of the country hovers around $4 per gallon, but there are a few standouts where prices rise substantially higher. It’s a predictable set of villains: Alaska, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.

Of course, prices will change over time and they also vary between urban and rural areas, but the general trends tend to hold. Here’s the full list of price ranges I found using GasBuddy.com:

Alabama (Mobile): $3.68-3.89
Alaska (Fairbanks): $4.13-4.30
Arizona (Phoenix) $3.59-3.95
Arkansas (Little Rock) $3.49-3.89
California (Los Angeles): $4.08-4.69
Colorado (Denver) $3.55-3.89
Connecticut (Hartford): $4.07-4.35
Delaware (Wilmington): $3.89-4.16
Florida (Orlando): $3.60-3.99
Georgia (Atlanta): $3.74-4.29
Hawaii (Honolulu): $4.35-4.55
Idaho (Boise): $3.65-3.79
Illinois (Chicago): $4.23-4.79
Indiana (Indianapolis): $3.99-4.19
Iowa (Des Moines): $3.70-4.00
Kansas (Wichita): $3.72-3.79
Kentucky (Lexington): $3.85-4.09
Louisiana (New Orleans): $3.65-3.89
Maine: $3.85-4.21
Maryland (Baltimore): $3.84-4.29
Massachusetts: $3.85-4.19
Michigan (Detroit): $3.95-4.29
Minnesota (Twin Cities): $3.79-3.99
Mississippi (Jackson): $3.58-3.84
Missouri (St. Louis): $3.79-4.19
Montana (Billings): $3.61-3.64
Nebraska (Omaha): $3.89-4.09
Nevada (Las Vegas): $3.75-3.93
New Hampshire: $3.79-4.00
New Jersey (Trenton): $3.75-3.99
New Mexico (Santa Fe): $3.75-3.89
New York (New York City): $4.15-4.49
North Carolina (Charlotte): $3.79-3.99
North Dakota (Fargo): $3.79-3.89
Ohio (Cincinnati): $3.95-4.19
Oklahoma (Oklahoma City): $3.67-3.99
Oregon (Portland): $3.83-4.07
Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh): $3.95-4.09
Rhode Island (Providence): $3.95-4.15
South Carolina (Columbia): $3.64-3.89
South Dakota (Sioux Falls): $3.89-3.99
Tennessee (Memphis): $3.63-3.89
Texas (Dallas): $3.69-4.19
Utah (Salt Lake City): $3.59-3.79
Vermont: $3.85-3.99
Virginia (Richmond): $3.73-4.09
Washington (Tacoma): $3.91-4.15
West Virginia: $3.89-4.29
Wisconsin (Madison): $3.95-4.09
Wyoming: $3.36-3.76

[Flickr image via Wolfgang Staudt]