Find the Spirit of Detroit at the Eastern Market

Pewabic tile made for Detroit Mercantile shop near the Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Pewabic tile made for the Detroit Mercantile shop near the Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

When people think of Detroit, a farmers market is probably not the first thing that springs to mind, but maybe it should be.

The city’s historic Eastern Market (listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places) is close to downtown; it’s a great way to connect with locals and feel the pulse of a resurgent urban core. I stopped by the busy Saturday morning market that operates year-round, but there are seasonal markets on other days, depending upon the time of year.

The market is separated into multiple large buildings called “sheds.” In the winter, almost all the vendors are inside or in enclosed walkways, but in summer the action spills out all over the open areas surrounding the sheds.

Once you’ve seen the Market itself, don’t be in a hurry to leave, because there are interesting shops and restaurants tucked in all around the surrounding blocks. It took me hours to see it all, and I barely made the last tour at the Motown Museum.

Here is some of what you’ll find….

Flowers for sale at Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Flowers for sale at Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, flowers and other products from all over Michigan. Vendors are happy to tell you where they’re from and the stories behind what they sell.

Love's Custard Pie in Beer Nut flavor at Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Love’s Custard Pie in Beer Nut flavor at Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

How can you lose with beer nuts?

Lots of variations of Love’s Custard Pies; it was such fun to meet Allen and Donnie Love at their booth. Warning – Allen can talk ANYONE into buying one of their pies. He did not want to hear my excuse of being in a hotel room.

Gorgeous red rhubarb at Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Gorgeous red rhubarb at Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I have no idea how to cook rhubarb but these were so pretty, I’d be tempted to figure it out.

Wheelhouse bike shop in a shipping container at Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Bike shop in a shipping container at Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Some American-made pride at this Wheelhouse Bike Shop outpost housed in a shipping container at the Market.

The Malcolm Tradition shortbread at Detroit's Eastern Market, this one with Traverse City MI cherries (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The Malcolm Tradition shortbread at Detroit’s Eastern Market, this one with the famous Traverse City, Michigan cherries (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The Malcolm family recipe for shortbread only has about 49 sticks of butter….but it is delish!

Friendly mounted police officer on the beat near Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Friendly mounted police officer on the beat near Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Keeping watch on the festivities near the Market; the horse was all about getting some carrots from a nearby restaurant.

Detroit Hustles Harder by Aptemal Clothing at Division Street Boutique near Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

You’ll have to climb a few stairs to reach all the Detroit Hustles Harder merchandise, by Aptemal Clothing at Division Street Boutique near Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

All kinds of “Detroit Hustles Harder” apparel by Aptemal Clothing in the upstairs Division Street Boutique.

Automotive letterpress image at Signal Return Print Shop near Detroit's Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

A Motor City-related letterpress image at Signal-Return Print Shop near Detroit’s Eastern Market (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Unique letterpress posters, cards, shirts, and more at Signal-Return print shop.

If you find yourself hungry even after seeing acres of food, I highly recommend the Russell Street Deli which is just across the street from the Market. They source as many local ingredients as possible, the menu is quite imaginative, and you can get breakfast anytime – my personal requirement for diner places. It’s communal so you’ll share a table, but you don’t have to be chatty unless you feel like it.

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