Det Eastern Market in Sept?
Anyone been lately; what produce or specialties?
Is it worth driving 40 mins to get there?
Thinking about a Sat or a Sun.
The Farmer's Market part is open on Saturday 6 AM-4 PM. It is packed. About 25,000 people every Saturday. The businesses there are open all week. I love to go there, but usually go during the week when its easy to park. I get my produce from smaller farmer's markets. My favorite store there is Hirt's Cheese. I drive 1 1/2 hour each way just to go to Hirt's. A couple doors down from them is a seafood place I really like. Great stores and restaurants.
go here to find out what's in season.
The new chair of, I believe, the merchant's association has been making an impact. There are new vendors, organically grown veggies from a school for teen mothers in Detroit, and Avalon Bakery is there now. I've always felt like it was an underused gem, and they seem to be trying to make it more diverse in its offerings. And it really is worth going for the people watching alone. Farmers markets have become such a yuppie "thing" but you still get all kind of people at Eastern Market.
Here's a tip: look at the signs behind each stall. They will say "dealer"--which mean they buy their stuff from the Detroit Produce Terminal just like a store, or "producer" which means they are a farmer. Also, DO NOT STOP to chat or marvel right in the flow of foot traffic. Drives me effing nuts.
I think September is a fun time to go--the weather is a little cooler and the hordes who apparently don't get out around people much are fewer.
So, Davebough, the seafod place is good? It looks kinda skeevvy from the outside, but you're not the first person to tell me they like it.
i just walked through the seafood place next to hirt's this afternoon. i have been in there several times over the years and once again it did nothing for me. save for one customer at the back of the store the place was empty. maybe 12:30pm had something to do with it. the feeling that i walked away with, and i may be totally off base here, is that their inventory does not turn very fast. and no matter how much ice you dump on top of the fish, that is a problem. i also found it odd that some of their fish is individually cryovaced. for my money and peace of mind, i buy seafood at nino's or superior fish in royal oak because i can rely on their quality and their prices are in line with eastern's. or if i need a salmon filet the size of an orca, i can get a great deal at costco...
after walking thru eastern and cost plus wine next door, i walked across the bridge to the gratiot central market. that place was packed with people at 1:00pm. four or five different meat vendors (ronnie's, dearborn, to name a couple) that had great looking ribs, strip steaks, pork loins, pork shoulder (awesome looking and $1.49/lb!!), brisket, corned beef, chicken, lamb, etc., all at good prices. there is a seafood shop on the gratiot side but most of their seafood is whole fish. their counter was swamped. definately worth walking through.
I can't vouch for the seafood at the seafood market, but they have great andouille. They serve tasty mixed sausage pitas at their deli counter as well. All the stores in Eastern Market do most of their retail business on Saturdays. The meat market is packed today because it is Labor Day Weekend and people are planning barbecues. They know that there will be so many people in there tomorrow that they'll barely be able to move. Gabriel Imports next to the antiques store has the best pistachios. Rafal Spice is a good place to buy coffee.
I agree that September is a great time to go. My pet peeve is people who insist on driving their cars into the heart of the market on the busiest days.
Thanks for that tip; I often ask about whether they grow their own or are resalers, I will look for signage. I am definitely going to go in late Sept when it is cooler.
I used to drive there from Cleveland. yes, it is one of the best markets in the region and ranks up there with Toronto's Kensington.
Eastern Market has about 50 permanent vendor and wholesalers. The market area includes many of the large wholesalers that service restaurants and institutions. The market attracts a lot of small farmers from SE Michigan and S. Ontario that bring their locally produced produce and herbs. They also have a few people selling surplus produce.
You get there early in the morning for quality, late in the afternoon for deals. You can get some really good deals as farmers are getting ready to head home.
I like Hirt's Cheese, Cost Plus Wines, and some of the meat dealers in the Gratiot Central Market. I also like Cattleman's which I believe is off Mack Ave. near the market.
If you don't mind crossing the border, Windsor, ON has a public market that is quite good. I used to buy a lot of lamb and beef over there and had good luck with it.
Ditto on the late-Saturday-afternoon observation at Eastern Market. It's like old-time street hawkers with everyone yelling out prices to get your attention. And the deals can be incredible. During Clementine orange season I've gotten them for a dollar a box.
To eat while you're down there, I recommend Flat Planet Pizza. Very thin crust, crispy, top-notch ingredients.