I recently spent some time in Florida visiting my parents. One weekend we traveled to Hollywood (between Fort Lauderdale and Miami) to the Yellow Green Farmers Market to see what they had to offer. Pulling into the parking lot with the fronds of the palm trees waving in the breeze everywhere I looked, it was obvious that we weren’t in Indiana any more. After parking in front of one of the many cow sculptures that surround the perimeter of the open-air, but covered market, we ventured inside to see what we could see.
One of the first things I noticed was the same type of produce we find in Indiana in the summer — but the calendar said January! There were tomatoes, strawberries, summer squash, mushrooms, peppers, corn, and much more that visitor’s to the BRFM would find familiar. I also saw a fresh natural juice vendor (much like Natural Born Juicers), an ice cream vendor (similar to Lick Ice Cream) and a Greek food vendor (with many items like Lena’s Mediterranean Foods). But there the resemblance ended.
Everywhere I turned, there were exotic items for sale that I have never seen at the Market in Broad Ripple. For starters, there were numerous citrus fruits that grow so abundantly in Florida, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. There were bananas, plantains, and pineapples. There were dozens of big plastic vats of different varieties of olives. There were grains and spices I had never heard of before (and I thought I was pretty well-versed in foods!) The flowers were even different than what we see here. There were beautiful orchids and bamboo plants for sale in several booths around the market.
I decided it was time to get adventurous and try some new things. A friendly vendor cut a notch in a coconut with his handy machete and passed me a straw to drink the coconut water out of it. When I had finished the water, he cracked the whole thing open and chopped a a small disc from the shell with which I scooped out the delicious and uniquely energizing “jelly” from the inside and consumed it. That was an experience I could repeat often! I was sure I could feel the electrolytes buzzing about in my brain and bloodstream!
Next I found a blonde-dreadlocked young man whose sign said something about Druids. He was selling some of the most unique fruits I have ever seen and I tried loquats for the first time (also knows as the Japanese or Chinese Plum). The tiny golden yellow fruits, still on the stems, were sweet and yet tart and contained anywhere from 1-4 fairly large seed/pits. I bought 1/2 lb. of them to snack on later, and gave him back the seeds I had spit out in my hand. He was collecting them to grow more of the fruit.
We also checked out the fresh fish seller who had lots of scallops, shrimp, clams, and beautiful, clear-eyed red snapper! There he was right in the middle of a large market, and selling raw fish, and there wasn’t even a fishy smell! That tells you it must be really fresh!
In addition to all of the different foods, the market also had beer, wine, a small Italian import seller, and lots of jewelry, clothing, and Stir-Fry and Empanada booths. Take a look at my photo gallery here, to see all the amazing things I found. And for more information about the Yellow Green Farmers Market (just in case you are visiting the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area anytime soon), just click here.