Yellow Green Farmers Market
1940 N. 30th Rd., Hollywood
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Welcome to the Taj Mahal of farmers markets. By far, the Yellow Green Farmers Market dominates all other South Florida markets in a competition of grandiosity.
Upon first entering the 100,000-square-foot complex (it was once a sheet metal factory), it almost feels like you’ve walked into a strange kind of upscale flea market. Vendors sell clothes, flowers, arts and crafts — a woman’s voice blares over the loudspeaker, announcing deals of the day. One can easily get lost in Yellow Green, but likely won’t complain about it. Nearly every necessity and luxury is only few tents away. The message is clear: come pamper yourself.
Vendors offer a diverse array of goods and services, including: skin detox treatments; massages for a dollar a minute; candies; baked goods; quail eggs; remote control cars; hummus; Louisiana dips; sushi; vegan soaps; hula hoops; and organic pet treats. At a tent called Piaza Italia, a large candy and snack tent, vendors showcase countless cylindrical tubs filled with salty Cajun and sesame seasoned salty snacks and naturally dried fruit snacks, including flavors like ginger and grapefruit.
Nearby, the Olive Station Bar offers flavor-infused, tasty olive oils with red and green scotch bonnet; wasabi; red pepper; shiitake; dill; cilantro; cilantro; honey, cinnamon, and herbes de provence. The company diffuses all of its oils locally.
Sit-in dining is also an option at Yellow Green. The Chill Bar boasts an impressive menu of organic foods and a pleasant outside seating area.
Inside, Amber’s Tropical Escape provides shoppers with a chance to relax, grab a beer, and watch the game for a while. Owner Amber Knesz makes most of the food she sells. She started out in 2010, selling only lemonade and boiled peanuts. Now, menu items like hummus, kosher hot dogs and fish dip with wahoo and mahi-mahi, make for great snacks. Knesz says she is famous for her frozen sangria.
“I wouldn’t serve anything here that I wouldn’t eat,” she said.
Despite the market’s pomposity, Knesz manages to create a small-market feel at her space. Her 7-year-old son, Louis Donofrio, takes guitar lessons at the market and Knesz uses fish and other foods from Yellow Green vendors to prepare her foods.
Knesz knows many of her customers by first name. Jenni Sklar, 24, and Jesse Fournier, 30, had their first date at Amber’s. Loquacious and all smiles, Knesz did wonders to ease their initial tension, the couple recalls. Now, Amber’s Tropical Escape is their go-to bar to cure Sunday morning hangovers.
“Amber made our first date a lot less awkward,” said Fournier, a recently transplanted Bostonian with a thick accent. Sklar perused the $10 beer cap earrings for sale on Knesz’s counter and settled on Blue Moon. “This spot is my favorite. It’s just the best.”
General Manager Mark Menagh notes that this sense of community was the goal of Yellow Green.
“What we’re trying to do is create a farmers market that’s appropriate for South Florida,” he said of the challenges. “A farmers market really does reflect the community. We can’t have an all organic market here with all local farmers when we have about 160 vendors; that is, until we have worked to develop a small farming community in Broward.”
Yellow Green also rakes in the customers — about 1,200 a day, Menagh said. During the winter season, there are about 3,000 daily customers.