Calling Detroit’s Eastern Market a simple ‘farmers’ market’ is a disservice to a place with 175 year history. This isn’t the kind of market where a leisurely stroll can be taken on a calm Saturday morning, coffee, dog leash and baby stroller in hand. Leisurely is for the suburbs. This sprawling urban market is serious business, a place where shoppers elbow their way through the crowds, loaded with giant cauliflower, colorful gourds, beautiful bread, fish and everything else on offer.
Primarily a wholesale market, the doors open to the public on Tuesdays, June through October, and Saturdays year-round. On those days the commercial brokers mostly pack their tables, giving way to family owned farms, local food producers and Detroit’s urban farmers, bringing a mix of food and community-minded efforts with them. Part of the Eastern Market Corp. mission is to help foster the development of new food-based businesses. Working in conjunction with FoodLab Detroit, budding vendors have access to affordable commercial kitchen space and business training.
Beyond the sheds, the Eastern Market district offers some of Detroit’s oldest food purveyors, with butcher shops, fishmongers and cheesemongers in the surrounding streets. Or visit late in the day, when the sounds of jazz mix with the city’s best soul food.
Detroit’s Eastern Market is located at 2934 Russell Street, and is open to the public on Tuesdays from 9 am till 3 pm, June through October, and Saturdays 6 am to 4 pm, year round. The public is welcome during wholesale market days if purchasing in bulk.
Minerva Orduño Rincón is a chef and freelance writer. Her work has been recently published in the Phoenix New Times. She is a native of Mexico, and writes about Mexican food and cooking at www.cucumbersandlimes.com.