It’s now spring farmers market season, but for those markets in southeast Michigan that are open year round, fresh produce season never stops. Detroit’s Eastern Market is one such venue, and at the beginning of the month, it debuted a newly renovated space.
After three years and over $8 million, Shed 5 of Eastern Market is completely rejuvenated.
Of its several new features, Shed 5 includes heated concrete floors, which makes for excellent year round browsing. The renovations also include a community kitchen, kitchen commons and the DTE Energy Fountain Plaza in front of Shed 5.
While these many improvements are likely to bring even more attention to Eastern Market, let’s not forget the many reasons why Metro Detroiters flock to it in the first place. Eastern Market is open on Saturdays year round, and Tuesday and Sunday markets start up again in June. Dan Carmody, president of Eastern Market Corporation, said that the focus of Eastern Market is to make sure both the people and economy of Detroit are healthy.
“As we have for our first 120 years, we’re always seeking ways to nourish Detroit more thoroughly,” Carmody said, noting that everyone at Eastern Market strives to create an environment that provides a great attraction where locals can bring out of town guests to enjoy a nice afternoon.
On any given Saturday market during peak season, there are likely to be upwards of 150 different vendors in attendance, and as many as 45,000 visitors per day. The market is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, when you’ll find everything from flowers to fruits and vegetables to crafted goods.
“It really is the best urban exploration you can have in the United States on a Saturday morning,” Carmody said.
This Sunday marks Eastern Market’s 49th Annual Flower Day event, which is unlike a regular market day. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., you’ll find every type of flower, shrub and tree imaginable bursting out of every last shed at Eastern Market. Wagons will be provided, and there is an optional pick-up/drop-off service so you don’t have to lug a six-foot tree around all afternoon. If you have any questions whatsoever, folks from the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association (MDFGA) will be on hand to help. Russell Street will be closed for the event, and there will be food and beverage options available for the whole family.
“It’s one of the most powerful and largest events of its kind,” Carmody said of Eastern Market’s Flower Day.
Eastern Market has plenty more to offer than just the markets themselves, including nearby restaurants and stores. If you find yourself in Eastern Market for any occasion and your stomach starts grumbling, head to Supino Pizzeria, 2457 Russell St., Zeff’s Coney Island, 2469 Russell St., or Russell Street Deli, 2465 Russell St., all of which are excellent choices. Local and independently owned shops include Germack Pistachio Co., 2517 Russell St., and Mootown Ice Cream & Dessert Shoppe, 2461 Russell St., both of which are worth checking out.
If you’ve never been to Eastern Market before, or simply would like a knowledgeable guide to show you the ropes, consider signing up for a market tour! While tours are not provided through Eastern Market, local organizations including Preservation Detroit, Wheelhouse Detroit and Feet on the Street often lead tours.
This time of year, most of us are breaking out of our routines to explore new things—let one of yours be a new section of Eastern Market! Whether you’re planning your first trip or fiftieth, Eastern Market has plenty to offer. As Carmody said, shopping at a local market puts more money in the pockets of Michiganders, provides a wider selection of products, and allows you to pay a better price for the products you’re purchasing.
“We love farmers markets of all sizes… It’s really a neighborhood experience,” Carmody said.
For more information on Eastern Market and all its offerings, visit the official website.