It had the feel of a very large family reunion as dozens of long-time vendors welcomed back hundreds of customers — many of them regulars — to the Yellow Green Farmer’s Market in Hollywood on Saturday.
It has been roughly 13 months since the pandemic forced the shutdown of the popular weekend destination with its unique varieties of food, drink, music and culture. So, when the soft opening was announced, the fans came flooding back. The grand opening is next Saturday.
Javier Haugabook said he drove from Port St. Lucie for a mango smoothie.
“It was definitely worth the money,” he said. “I used to come down here every other weekend. I love coming here.”
Loyal customer Rich Gausman continued to support these local businesses during the pandemic so he’s glad to see them back at the market.
“We sought out some of the vendors during the lockdown to get some of their stuff,” he said. “We kept supporting them outside of this [and] it’s nice to see them come back.”
With temperatures reaching the high 80s, Angela Vargas was serving up cool fruit drinks mixed from her grandmother’s secret recipe at El Rey del Tamal, an authentic Mexican food stand located just inside the market’s entrance.
“We didn’t know how it was going to work the first day, but we are so happy and excited,” she said. “I get a little emotional.”
About half of the 300 businesses did not survive the shutdown but some of those that did are just as excited and optimistic as Vargas.
Natacha Armbrister has run Iced 7 Teas at the market since 2016 and she says everyone is just happy to be back.
“The vendors are excited to be home again,” she said. “Before the pandemic, don’t get me wrong, we still had the good vibe but now it’s like the Super Bowl.”
The downtime allowed for some renovations including the construction of four 30-foot-high Seminole chickee huts with new outdoor patio seating.
Amber Knesz has run Amber’s Tropical Escape for more than a decade and says the improvements give the market a new look and feel that will keep customers coming back for more.
“We’re the Taj Mahal of farmer’s markets,” she said.