If Yellow Green Farmers Market doesn’t have its own zip code already, it should.
This isn’t a mere market anymore, really. Once, south Broward locals bought their produce here (and maybe got a bite to eat). Now it’s a small, friendly village that springs to life on the weekend, where fragrant, smoky barbecue wafts across the parking lot to greet you and eager people bearing trays invite you to sample what they’re selling.
Miami residents are notoriously unhappy about crossing the Broward County line, but they can’t resist the siren song of the kid-and-dog-friendly market. Customers drive from Kendall and West Palm Beach on Saturdays and Sundays to spend hours browsing and eating and drinking and shopping and eating some more. And then taking home dinner.
Telling you what you can’t find at Yellow Green Farmers Market might be easier than telling you what you can find. Aside from fresh fruit and vegetables, you can basically buy anything edible.
Here’s a short but by no means comprehensive list (the market has 358 booths, with plenty of room to grow): Fresh herbs or tea or fancy salt. Homemade pickles (we recommend the honey mustard kind). Shea butter and sushi and ceviche. Fresh fish and smoked fish dip. Cheese and homemade pasta and every olive (and olive oil) known to mankind. Donuts with a shot of nutella, peanut butter, caramel or condensed milk. Bao buns and bubble tea. Thai specialties or Ethiopian dishes or Indonesian delights. Jamaican patties. Cuisine from Puerto Rico and Colombia and El Salvador and Venezuela. Vegan arepas and vegetarian Haitian food. Every kind of barbecue. Chinese Venezuelan fusion firewood barbecue, even. You may never want to see smoked meat again.
If so much bounty is too overwhelming, you can always cop out and grab a hot dog.
There’s a bar and a massage studio and a mini barber shop. You can buy a new watch battery, car key fob, goats’ milk soap or cement garden furniture. There’s live music. You can’t get a mammogram or a passport there yet, but that’s probably only a matter of time.
“Every weekend you can try something new,” says Jose Sanchez of Miami Gardens, who operates Pasabocas De Colombia booth with his wife Cielo. “And the vendors, we help each other. We don’t serve beer, but the guy next door does, so we send customers there. And other vendors send customers here.”
The market has evolved since its opening in 2010. General manager Mark Menagh says what makes the market unique is its goal of supporting small businesses.
“It’s an entrepreneurial proving ground,” he says. “It draws community involvement. The diversity of South Florida is so fantastic, we can bring diversity of food and culture into one location. That’s taken time, but now the draw is word of mouth. Our goal is not to be a tourist destination but a local community market. But we’re so unique we’ve become a tourist destination.”
As an incubator, Yellow Green Farmers Market has been good to its vendors. Last year, the 23-seat Indonesian restaurant Krakatoa restaurant, operated by John Anthony and Abe Muis, opened a standalone restaurant in downtown Hollywood after starting at the market.
Jason Hadley, the proprietor of The Bang Shack – which makes a cheesy dip so addictive you’ll slap your mama for more – opened a booth in January of 2017. Now he’s heading to an open casting call of “Shark Tank” to pitch the business.
Being part of the market “has been excellent,” he says. “We started with two crockpots. Now we’re at eight!”
The biggest issue for this swarming mini-city is parking, especially since the market has turned one of its parking lots into more space for vendors. (Don’t complain: Those outdoor spots now allow vendors to barbecue, which was restricted inside). The parking spots fill swiftly, and long lines often form at the Taft Street entrance by noon. (For $5, you can park just outside the Sheridan Street entrance, which beats getting towed. Or take TriRail to the Sheridan Street exit – there’s a private road that leads straight to the market).
But on April 30, the market’s Facebook page announced a plan for an 880-spot parking garage currently awaiting City of Hollywood approval. The market also reports it has acquired space for 1,500 spots that will be paved and available before construction starts in addition to the parking already available.
Expect more booths once the parking garage is up.
“We have lots of ideas and lots of directions to go,” says Menagh.
Five spots not to miss
Pasabocas De Colombia
This relatively new booth is your first and possibly most important stop, especially this time of year. This small outdoor booth features Colombian-style arepas and empanadas, but what’s most important is the refreshing coconut lemonade. Proprietor Jose Sanchez tried the drink the last time he was in Cartagena and fell hard for it. Try it. You’ll never look twice at regular lemonade again.
At this funky open-air restaurant, brunch is an art form – but not a fussy one. Try the giant mimosas ($10); our favorites were the tart lemon basil and barely sweet ginger pineapple. Those don’t sound good to you? Try one of the other flavors – lavender? pear lychee? – or one of Chillbar’s specialty cocktails. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu – blueberry pancakes, shrimp and grits or Chesapeake crab hash and eggs. But we can’t stop dreaming of the Dahlberg Blackened Salmon Sandwich served on challah bread with lemon zest, mango chutney, fresh basil, white cheddar ($16). Chillbar is a busy spot, but you can make reservations by calling 954-647-8505.
The Bang Shack
The personable Jason Hadley offers five types of dip: mild, medium and spicy cheesy chicken dip; a vegetarian version made with zucchini and a vegan version with “cheese” made out of cashews. But don’t wait until the end of the day to buy your Bang Dip. On a recent Saturday he was sold out by 2:30.
Spices, scrubs, herbs and loose tea of every variety – that’s what you’ll find at Spice Junkie. We’re addicted to the chamomile mint tea but like to try something different every time we stop by. Our latest find? ZZZ’s, an herbal blend that helps you fall asleep.
Carne En Vara Llanera
Our barbecue expert proclaimed the smoked meat here the best in the market. If the line for takeout was any indication, she’s right.