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.
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Leave the babies and dogs and home. Elbow to elbow customers during peak morning hours inside Shed 3 of Detroit's Eastern Market.
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Grown in Detroit, a program of Keep Growing Detroit, partners with urban farms throughout the city to bring their products, grown chemical free and without the use of pesticides, to Eastern Market and area restaurants.
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Sweet dumpling squash from Jentzen Farms, a four-generation family affair 40 miles south of Detroit, asking for 'Hats off for Michigan farmers.'
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Chickens are an integral part of the delicately balanced farm ecosystem at Jentz Farms. The feathered farm residents provide fertilizer, insect control, eggs and meat.
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A program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, On the Rise Bakery helps rehabilitate newly released inmates by providing housing, counseling and job training in the culinary field. The bakery operates a cafe at 8900 Gratiot Avenue, a few minutes northeast of the market.
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An alumnus of Eastern Market Corp. and FoodLab Detroit's business incubator initiative, Slow Jams sources produce from local growers to create their jams.
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Living Zen Organics kale chips made by the monks of the Detroit Zen Center, a Buddhist center in Hamtramck offering pop-up weekend brunch, meditation and yoga retreats.
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Grown in the Corktown neighborhood, nasturtium flowers and leaves bring a splash of edible fall color.
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Get a spoonful of Detroit's very local flavor with John's Detroit Urban Prairie Honey, the product of thousands of bees spread throughout Detroit's urban farms, providing much needed pollination as well as their nectar.
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Hailing from South Haven, on the west side of the Michigan mitten, Ridley's Orchards bring apples, cider and pies.