Yellow Green Farmers Market: Local Produce, Food Vendors, and More | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Taste Guide 2015

Yellow Green Farmers Market: Local Produce, Food Vendors, and More

Our annual food guide, Taste, hits newsstands Thursday, February 19. In this year's issue, you'll find guides to local food neighborhoods; interviews with local coffee roasters, chefs, and chocolatiers; and a handy roundup of South Florida's breweries. Readers of Clean Plate Charlie don't have to wait. Here's a sneak peek from 2015's Taste Guide, and you can follow this link to see other Taste Guide posts you may have missed.

Hollywood's Yellow Green Farmers Market is hardly a shrinking violet. Standing at a whopping 100,000 square feet, the sprawling building is marked by neon-hued flags, colorful banners, and a distinctive tin roof.

It's hard to miss -- once you know it's there. But located in an otherwise-residential neighborhood, the locavore landmark doesn't get much in the way of foot traffic. Many South Floridians are still unaware it even exists.

Despite that, the community market has grown rapidly since its launch five years ago. From Yelp reviews to Instagram shots to Facebook shares, social media and word of mouth have led folks from across the region to seek out its unique bounty of produce and products.

It's here that shoppers, often with dogs or children in tow, can browse for Venus flytraps and organic kale, nibble on oil-cured olives and gluten-free cupcakes, listen to live music, and sip fresh-squeezed juices -- even paint their own pottery -- all in an afternoon. There's nothing else like it anywhere in the area.

Since 2010, Mark Menagh has served as the market's general manager, overseeing operations and helping the space grow and evolve. First and foremost, he emphasizes that Yellow Green is not a flea market, a common misconception among South Floridians.

"It's a farmers' market, which means we highlight food and specialty food and reflect the culture of South Florida in the food industry -- not just agriculturally but specialty food as well."

Owned by the Lalo family (founders of the Invicta watch company), the market was launched as a way to give back to the community and help local citizens flex their entrepreneurial muscles. Retailers of all sizes and types occupy the space's booths, from a vegan deli to a homemade pickle purveyor to an organic farm stand.

When Menagh first took over, there weren't a lot of requests for organic, gluten-free, or vegan/vegetarian food. Since then, there's been an enormous shift in consumer demand, and a half dozen of the market's current booths cater to vegan and vegetarian diners, says Menagh, not to mention all the retailers who offer gluten-free prepared foods, organic produce, and other niche, artisanal products.

As the community has grown and evolved, the market has followed suit.

"We adapt and follow what the community is looking for," says Menagh.

The market is also about facilitating local economic growth. Menagh and the Lalos believe Yellow Green should serve as a launch pad for locals looking to try their hand at running a small business.

From licensing to production to regulations, the team helps vendors sort out their startups.

"All those things about starting a business -- we're here to consult and offer them advice," says Menagh. And while rent remains relatively low at $328 per month for an eight-by-eight-foot booth, the price will increase as the market becomes more popular.

Eventually, Menagh would like to see the market become a regional hub.

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Rebecca McBane is the arts and culture/food editor for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. She began her journalism career at the Sun Sentinel's community newspaper offshoot, Forum Publishing Group, where she worked as the editorial assistant and wrote monthly features as well as the weekly library and literature column, "Shelf Life." After a brief stint bumming around London's East End (for no conceivable reason, according to her poor mother), she returned to real life and South Florida to start at New Times as the editorial assistant in 2009. A native Floridian, Rebecca avoids the sun and beach at all costs and can most often be found in a well-air-conditioned space with the glow of a laptop on her face.
Contact: Rebecca McBane

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