Farmers Market Update: Detroit

by | Aug 21, 2011
Eastern Market District

Eastern Market District

I’m so excited to finally have a farmers market update from Detroit. Thanks so much to Mallory Jade for putting this together.

From Mallory:

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

You can follow the Detroit Easter Market on Twitter @easternmarket and Facebook.

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.

Historic Sheds

Historic Sheds

This beautiful summer Saturday I couldn’t wait to see what sort of treasures the vendors have brought to their tables.

Beautiful Greens

Beautiful Greens

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.

More Beautiful Greens

More Beautiful Greens

All sorts of herbs in all forms light up the senses from paces away, their delicious aromas were begging to be taken home.

Fragrant Herb Plants

Fragrant Herb Plants

Fragrant Herbs

Fragrant Herbs

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.

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

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.

Eggplant and Redskins

Eggplant and Redskins

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.

Michigan Beans

Michigan Beans

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.

Green Organics Garlic

Green Organics Garlic

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.

Peaches

Peaches

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.

Busking and Michigan Gladiolous

Busking and 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.

Grown In Detroit

Grown In Detroit

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.

Potted Plants For Yards

Potted Plants For Yards

Potted Plants

Potted Plants

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.

After Market Beats and Eats

After Market Beats and Eats

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.

Purchases (~$17):

  • 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)

Factoids sourced from detroiteasternmarket.com and the Detroit News.

Places are listed by county, city, season, days and times of market, for quick reference. I’ve included links if you would like more information.

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7 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: Detroit”

  1. Chris de Haan says:

    Don’t forget:
    Allen Park farmers market 1pm-7pm
    Dearborn farmers market 10am-2pm

  2. Chris de Haan says:

    iPod forgot to say they are both on Fridays

  3. malloryjade says:

    Thank you! I meant to apologize if I had forgotten/missed any :)

  4. Valerie says:

    Nice article – Great to finally see a piece on Detroit! I’m a weekly visitor on Saturday mornings to Eastern Market (and sometimes Tuesdays), and it’s definitely a place I love to bring out of town visitors or friends who haven’t experienced it before. I just wanted to also mention there are so many great, independant restaurants in the district as well that all utilize products from there – Supino’s, Vivio’s, Russell Street Deli, Farmer’s Restaurant, etc. It’s such a great community that all supports each other!

    • Darya Pino says:

      Awesome! You’d be surprised how many emails I get from people claiming they can’t eat healthy because they live in Michigan. Glad to know it isn’t true.

      • Valerie says:

        I can believe it because I also hear the same sentiments from some people that live in Michigan too! :( I think it can be difficult at times to find fresh, affordable, local produce certain times of the year here (mostly winter), especially when the markets aren’t in season…..but, it’s not impossible. You should check out Eastern Market if you’re ever in Detroit!

  5. Sidney says:

    Northville Farmers Market Thursday 9-3

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