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Feb 24, 2008 03:10 PM

Buying "Local" - Detroit area, SE Mich

Hi there hounds! I've been reading a lot about the local food movement and am wondering if anyone has found good ways of supporting Michigan farmers in cooking at home and restaurants that buy local? I know that Eastern Market is a great source, but wondering what other co-ops, ect are out there. I'm just at the beginning of this - so feel free to educate me!

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  1. Hi, check out They are a local organic farm with a CSA (community supported agriculture). You join on a yearly basis and for 20 weeks, receive a share of whatever is harvested that week. They have drop off/pick up points all over the metro detroit area, and you are always welcome to visit the farm and get your hands dirty weeding or harvesting. It's a bit pricey, ($700) but well worth it if you belive in the idea. And, you can always split a share with friends!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferndalefood

      I was just going to post Maple Creek Farm too. I moved to MI last spring and had my first CSA season with them. I've rejoined for another. I don't know what I'd do without it. I can't think of a better way to have weekly organic veggies throughout the growing season, without going to the farmer's market early and often.

      I hear they will be selling salad greens at the Royal Oak Farmer's market starting mid to late March so I will probably visit until the CSA starts a few months later...

    2. Thanks to both of you! I need to get into the habit of checking out the RO market and Eastern market on more of a regulary basis. I am very new to this but am a strong believer in supporting local business - which this clearly is. Has anyone been to the Eastern Market in the winter? What can I expect?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ludlows23

        If there is local produce available in Michigan during the winter, you will likely find it at the Eastern Market, which has a good number of local farmers. Do realize that many farmers in the Detroit/Windsor areas also utilize greenhouses 12 month a year.

        Also, Windsor has a public market (check with the Windsor, ON city website for location) that brings in fresh produce from Southern Ontario which is one of largest agricultural centers in Canada. It is well worth the trip across the border for the food alone.

        1. re: Ludlows23

          The same commercial crud that you find the rest of the year. I know I won't win any brownie points for saying that but IMO the Eastern market is a very poor place to shop. 99% of the stalls sell commercial product purchased from the warehouses. There are very few "local" farmers seasonally. However even theese are commercial operations and lack the flavor and connection you get from dealing with some of the smaller farmers available at other markets. There are much better farmers market choices in season. In addition to the ones already mentioned Rochester has one on Saturdays that is very nice. All local farmers mostly focising on organic not huge commercial operations. A very nice change.

          Crooked Creek Farm dairy is local as well as Gurnsey's. The main web link has lots of MI products.

        2. You can expect to find mostly California produce this time of year at Eastern Market. Root vegetables and apples are about it, though we did find some beans grown in a Michigan greenhouse last week. Local honey, maple syrup, eggs, and locally processed meats are always available. Prices in Royal Oak tend to be two and three times higher than Eastern Market.

          Home canning is a great way to eat local produce in the winter. We started with applesauce and fruit jams, and eventually got into tomatoes, salsa, BBQ sauce, chili, and spaghetti sauce w/meat. I don't have time to can all the things we use in a year, so I typically buy labor intensive things like corn, beans, and tomato paste at a Spartan store. (Spartan is headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI.) I also buy Spartan brand cereal, crackers, olives, cooking oil, baking supplies and frozen vegetables. Faygo, Dairy Fresh, Jiffy, Pioneer Sugar, and tortillas made in Mexicantown are also staples in our house.

          The Ypsilanti Food Co-op stocks Michigan grains including brown rice in bulk.

          The condiment aisle is a good place to look; just check the labels. I was surprised by the number of Detroit products on the shelves, and in nearly every case, they were as good or better than the products I had been buying out of habit.

          Our local buying efforts eventually led us to move to Hamtramck where we buy bread at locally owned bakery, a variety of ethnic meats from butcher shops, and pierogi made by people in the neighborhood.

          It's exciting to hear that another person is trying this. It was hard at first, checking every label at the grocery and finding new recipes. Five years later, our food quality is higher and we have relationships with many of the people who grow and prepare our food. I hope you'll post updates.

          1. Ann Arbor Farmer's Market is local produce. Also, Contact Eve (the restaurant) in Ann Arbor. They support local produce and would be able to provide you with a list of local sources. Hmmm, I'm gettin' hungry.

            1. It bears noting that if you are a meativore , there are two wonderful pork farms who are only available at Eastern Market from about Thanksgiving to Easter ( i.e. winter ) . Local , excellent pork very fresh and very tasty . I have a batch of belly well on it's way to being bacon in the fridge right now . I love the produce too , don't get me wrong , but the meat must be spoken for . The RO market also has a very good chicken farm , cured meat guy , and usually a great dairy farm that makes awesome ice cream , all local . Both RO and Eastern Market are good choices in the winter for local stuff , but summer is when this area shines .

              2 Replies
              1. re: GoalieJeff

                Are these farmers operating from trailers inside the sheds? We bought a great rack of ribs from one a couple of weeks ago.

                1. re: GoalieJeff

                  Can you let us know the location/ name?