visiting Detroit’s Eastern Market

last weekend my folks were in town, and we got up early on Saturday for a trip to visit the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit.

At the heart of Eastern Market is a six-block public market that has been feeding Detroit since 1891. Every Saturday it is transformed into a vibrant marketplace with hundreds of open-air stalls where everyone from toddlers to tycoons enjoy the strong conviviality served up along with great selections of fruits, veggies, fresh-cut flowers, homemade jams, maple syrups, locally produced specialty food products, pasture and/or grass-fed meat and even an occasional goose or rabbit.

we all had never been there before, so we were pretty excited to check it out.  both my older boys had soccer games that afternoon, so we got down there early and found a very close parking space and started walking around.

the public market hours on Saturday start at 5:00am, and while we weren’t THAT early, I do think getting there early was a great idea, as by about 10:30am or so, you could tell it was already getting much busier.  I’m sure the afternoon brings other opportunities as well, though, as there was a place that had an outdoor barbecue that I’m sure was grilling up some great food later that afternoon.

there are several shelters or “sheds”, some with walls and some just a roof overhead, and you can just wander around soaking it all in.  many of the more experienced Eastern Market shoppers brought re-usable grocery bags and some even were pulling wagons to load up with whatever they found shopping that day.  my boys loved walking around and seeing all the market had to offer – they particularly enjoyed the warm donuts and fresh apple cider!

I snapped this picture of them posing by a giant apple – there were several of them strewn through the sheds, each decorated slightly differently, maybe with a unique theme?  this apple was highlighting one of Michigan’s greatest resources – the Great Lakes – with a lighthouse, the Mackinaw Bridge, a freighter, and a sailboat, too (on the side of the apple)!

there were several vendors selling locally grown produce from Michigan farmers (as well as the occasional vendor selling produce that looks like it was direct from a wholesale place or major grocery chain… I’m pretty sure the fresh pineapple we saw wasn’t grown locally!).  but plenty of fresh vegetables to be had.

you could tell that fall is in the air here in Michigan, as there were pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, gourds, and Indian corn at several of the vendors.

and there were gorgeous rows and rows of hardy mums, with a WIDE variance in price – these ones were really cheap, 4 pots for $5 maybe!

even though we didn’t stay down there too long, we had a great time at the Eastern Market, and we’re certainly going to have to plan for more time down there next time to explore the surrounding shops as well.




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