Detroit, Michigan’s Eastern Market has to be one of the country’s older farmer’s markets. It’s in downtown Detroit and Saturdays is its largest draw. There are restaurant supply companies and little specialty markets in the district, but Saturdays is when it comes to life, and has been the only day of the week I’ve ever gone there. Now that I live in Florida, it’s been ages since I’ve been to Eastern Market. I’ve been reading this guy’s blog with fascination for his life in the city with his wife and kids (they live in a small historic district called Lafayette Park which is a pleasant area surrounded by decrepit Detroit (here’s an article about the architecture in the city in the Lafayette Park area); his elegant writing, his adventures and creative projects with his kid, and his trips to Eastern Market. He and his wife have made a rich and satisfying life within the city that my Michigan family think I’m crazy to want to visit. Hey, I used to work with kids in that city, back in the mid-90s. I went into the neighborhoods, into their homes, and saw dwellings so foreign to me that I had to feign nonchalance. Surely I stuck out like a white girl in a Pontiac Sunbird, but never did I feel threatened despite the fact of the locale, and the people I worked with who were (almost) always nice to me. I also spent four years in a different Detroit career, downtown, playing with the big boys, although I was callow and naive at that time in my life. Later, I drove to Wayne State University for my Master’s degree, and loved it. So I’ve been on these roads and walked the city streets, and I met my husband in a Detroit bar. I’m not exactly a Detroit virgin. I was born in Detroit, and grew up in a suburb that bordered Detroit. While I did not grow up in the city with the city experience, quite different from my own, neither was I immune to it.
So this blogger used to post weekly pictures of his fresh food haul from these Saturday trips to Eastern Market, and I was amazed by how much locally grown produce he got for such a small amount of money. Since I’m in Florida, I’m stuck, pretty much, at Publix, but during my past few summer trips to Detroit (well, a close western suburb) during the annual Michigan trip with the family, I’ve longed to go into the city and have a look around. Eastern Market was definitely on my to-go list. But my desires were met by family resistance (“Oh, forget about that. Why would you want to do that?” ”Oooh, you don’t want to go there,” and so I acquiesced, and sat on the couch, instead. Until this year. (Well, I still sat on the couch, but I went into the city, finally.) One Saturday I said, “I’m going to Eastern Market,” and took my foodie daughter and showed her the place. You should have seen her face when confronted with all that fresh, colorful produce. Here are some pictures from that day. On another day, I went into the city again…but I didn’t tell anyone until afterwards. Oooh, so daring! But here are some pictures from the best farmer’s market around, with a great Saturday vibe.