I’m so excited to finally have a farmers market update from Detroit. Thanks so much to Mallory Jade for putting this together.
I am a writer, graphic designer in Rochester, Michigan. I am a foodie and this has been a gateway drug to the thrill of experimenting in the kitchen and the jonesing for more than an apt balcony to garden. I am a beer enthusiast and travel when I can—which is never enough.
Detroit’s Eastern Farmers Market
by Mallory Jade
It’s no secret that Detroit has endured a tumultuous lifespan and survives today as a skeleton of its pre-riot heydays. Politics, economics, and its capacity for violent social rifts have painted Detroit its notoriously gritty reputation.
Detroit’s Eastern Market is just one true testament to our city’s fight to hang on—a historical site less than two miles from the city’s downtown. Since 1891, the market has expanded into the historical district it is today, remaining as one of the oldest and largest continuously operating market districts in the United States (the largest in the world in the 1920’s). Today’s beautiful weather will draw tens of thousands in from the city, the suburbs, and even other states.
This beautiful summer Saturday I couldn’t wait to see what sort of treasures the vendors have brought to their tables.
Immediately I was floored by the happy abundance of beautiful greens. Fresh collards, kale, cabbage, spinach, chard, and broccoli, with vibrant rhubarb and stems of chard to break up the color. Even the beets looked bright in the vastness of green. Needless to say, it took a fair amount of willpower to avoid choosing one of each.
All sorts of herbs in all forms light up the senses from paces away, their delicious aromas were begging to be taken home.
The tables of summer squash hosted their newest arrival, the pattypan or “white flesh” variety. Even though it’s a summer squash, I can’t help but let it remind me that fall is in transition.
I’ve never tried eggplant before, but with such an abundance of these mystery veggies, I definitely picked one up to grill later. Roasted redskins in olive oil and sprinkled with lemon pepper is one of my favorite potato dishes.
A stand from Snover, Michigan, had a wide variety of beans sourced from all over the state. Regardless of season, I can’t resist soup! A 1.5 lb bag of bean soup mix is the prize I took with me for plenty of hearty bowls to last me well into the cold months.
One of my favorite vendors of the day was Green Organics Farm out of Lapeer, Michigan. The friendly Green Organics man was very knowledgeable and eager to explain the subtleties of each variety (much appreciated when garlic-lover meets indecision). I am now, gratefully, a more informed garlic consumer and very excited about my selections.
Because Eastern Market is host to nearly 250 vendors from local farms and retailers/wholesalers, be wary of product origin if your concern is buying strictly local and farm fresh. These peaches looked delectable, but I will wait because Michigan peaches will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Enduring an unsavory climate this season, Michigan seems to be at an awkward standstill for fruit. Peaches are still being brought in from California to hold us over until they are direct from Michigan orchards.
This resident busker is delighted to serenade you while you browse some Michigan gladiolous.
Grown in Detroit is as local as it gets, coming from community gardens and urban farmers on the fringes of the city. This Cooperative supports local growers by bringing their harvest to local markets.
The flower sheds, potted plants, and floral items lining the sidewalks make me wish for the space to plant and hang them all. And perusing the colorful blooms is an exciting opportunity to explore more of the history-rich district.
Unknown to most is that the district remains open six days a week. Plenty of ethnic and local tastes, specialty shops, and fresh meat distributors encompass the main market. There’s a little Ethiopian on the corner I’m anxious to try.
At the end of the shopping, the smell of open barbeque and the Motown karaoke is a likely temptation to rest before heading back home. It’s hard not to stop and grab a bite with the droves of other market patrons sitting around tables and enjoying another beautiful summer Saturday in Detroit.
Even though Eastern Market is now open for business on Tuesdays, it’s totally necessary to come out for at least one Saturday as it’s a Detroit staple. Don’t get me wrong, there is a smaller roster of vendors on Tuesdays, but still so much to choose from and enough goings-on to make the trip worthwhile.
If you can’t make Tuesdays at Eastern Market, Wayne State holds a public market on Wednesdays from 11-4pm, July through October, across from the public library.
It’s true, freshness has the capacity to thrive in Detroit; the city and its metropolitan areas are absolutely peppered with farmers’ markets and other fresh food options. From Garden City to Rochester, going east to Mt. Clemens and cities in-between—all within an hour radius of downtown Detroit. That doesn’t even include the uncharted gems and roadside stands you might drive by in areas with less urban development. If you love to taste and support the freshness of local harvest, finding a farmers market is not only a great way to dive into metro Detroit’s local food culture, but the quality for the quantity on your dollar is undeniable.
So, if you’re in the Detroit area and interested in discovering new things in small travels, I’ve included a list of metro Detroit farmer’s markets at the end of this post.
- 3 cucumbers
- 2 bunches of kale
- 4 garlic bulbs (approx .25 lb): German White, Music, Siberian, Spanish Roja
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 eggplant
- ? dozen corn
- 1 loaf of cherry walnut Flemish desem (sourdough)
- Eastern Market: Sat 5 -5pm and Tuesdays 11-7pm; July – September (although district itself is open six days a week)
- Wayne State University: Wed 11-4pm; July – October
- 8 Mile Farmers Market: Thurs – Sun 10-9pm; Year-round
- NW Detroit Farmer’s Market: Thurs 4-8pm; June – Oct
- LINCOLN PARK Farmers Market: Thurs 11 – 4pm; May – Oct
- WYANDOTTE Farmers Market: Thurs 12 – 6pm; June – Oct
- REDFORD TWP Market at the Marquee: Sun 10 – 3pm; June – Oct
- LIVONIA Farmers Market: Sat 9 – 2pm; May – Oct
- NOVI Farmers Market & International Street Fair: Sun 10 – 2pm; May – Oct
- GARDEN CITY Farmers Market: Wed 11 – 6pm; May – Oct
- PLYMOTH Farmers Market: Sat 7:30 – 12:30pm; May – Oct
- OAKLAND COUNTY Farmers Market: Sat 6:30-2pm year-round, Tues and Thurs May –Christmas
- ROYAL OAK Farmers Market: Fri 7-1pm, May – Christmas; Sat 7-1pm, year-round
- BIRMINGHAM Farmers Market: Sun 9-2pm; May – Oct
- SOUTHFIELD Farmers Market: Thurs 3-7pm; June – October
- AUBURN HILLS Farmers Market: Thurs 3-7:30 (6:30 in Oct.)
- ROCHESTER Farmers Market: Sat 8-1pm; May – Oct
- FARMINGTON Farmers & Artisans Market: Sat 9 – 2pm; May – November
- WIXOM City of Wixom Farmers Market: Thurs 3 – 7pm; May – Oct
- LAKE ORION Lake Orion Farmers Market: Wed 2 – 7pm; June – Sept
- SHELBY TWP Farmers Market: Sat 9-2pm; July – Oct
- MT CLEMENS Farmers Market: 7 – 1pm; May – Nov
- CANADA Downtown Windsor Farmers Market: Sat 8 – 1pm; June – Oct
- Ann Arbor Farmers Market: Weds and Sat 7-3pm; May – December; Saturday only 8-3pm.