These Farmers’ Markets Will Save You Money!

By: Melanie Grinnell | June 8, 2022

Photo courtesy of Eastern Market Partnership

There are things in life that tend to be boring and are seldom anticipated with any excitement. These are the things that linger on your checklists or beg to be started next week instead of this week. 

A common checklist lurker is grocery shopping. A big put-it-off-till-next-week item is eating healthier. But what if you could take both of these dreaded tasks and combine them into one fun activity? 

The answer here is the farmers’ market. And the Metro Detroit area has plenty to choose from. So pack up your cutest tote bags and get out there because the benefits are numerous and there’s a ton of fun to be had! 

Why should you go to a farmers’ market? There are a hundred reasons. Here are 5:

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  1. You can save money. In these days of ever-increasing prices, this is a big bonus. Prices are usually cheaper AND food is much fresher. Instead of being shipped from across the country—or from another country—things have often been picked within the last day or two so they last longer. Plus, they often taste better so they’re more likely to be consumed and not pitched in the compost bin. 
  2. You’re helping a small business or family farm. Farms are struggling these days. It’s hard to compete with big corporations so lend your support and go straight to the source.
  3. It’s a great way to try new things. You can bet if a local farmer has grown something, it’s going to be good so even if you have no experience cooking Brussels sprouts or Lion’s Mane mushrooms or kohlrabi, it’s a perfect opportunity to branch out and be adventurous with your food. Just ask the seller how to prepare something and they’re usually happy to provide ideas and tips on how best to enjoy their product. 
  4. Make eating healthy something you actually look forward to. Produce at its peak is a joy to eat. Peaches, greens, peas, blueberries, tomatoes—even celery—grown locally will generally blow your mind. Plus, when your grocery shopping is an adventure and has a little story behind it, you look forward to cooking it even more.
  5. Turn a mundane chore into something fun! Take a couple to-do items on your list and turn them into can’t-wait-to-do items. This is an opportunity to bond with your kids while teaching them to make healthy choices and appreciate fruits and veggies. Use it as a way to get some cute shots for your Insta. Use it as a fun game to find and use something new. Or use it as a time to get out by yourself, get some fresh air, and be in the moment.

Here are a few markets in the area for you to try:

Eastern Market

This is a gem of Detroit. In operation since the 1800s, it’s the largest historic public market district in the country. With over 200 vendors packed into its 4.5 acres, you can find produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, wine, coffee, clothing, jewelry, home goods, lunch, or libations. And the vibe of 40,000 people all shopping for food and things that make the heart happy is palpable. Don’t forget to explore the shops surrounding the market. Check the directory for a list of vendors in the market and surrounding district. It’s open Saturdays all year long, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. On Sundays, June through September, they have vendors selling food and items made in Michigan, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Also, June through September, on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., you can find a scaled-down version of the Saturday market in Sheds 2 and 3. Plus, free fitness classes are offered. Check the website for details.

Royal Oak Farmers Market

This is a much smaller market, but has the appeal of being a faster, easier trip—especially in the colder months as it’s mostly in an enclosed, heated space. This market has run since the 1920s and boasts a strict “farmer must grow” rule for vendors so expect to find no commercial produce in the mix of offerings—just Michigan-grown goodness. In addition to veggies and flowers, you can also find a variety of homemade and hand-crafted goods. The market is open on Saturdays 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through Thanksgiving, the market is also open on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Sundays throughout the year, the space is used for the Royal Oak Flea Market, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free parking surrounds the building, but if there are no spots there, you can park in the 11 Mile structure half a block away and the first two hours are free. 

Farmington Farmers Market

This market has been running since 1993 and offers a small-town community atmosphere. It offers locally-grown produce and homemade items from all around the state, but in addition to the produce and food items, it also schedules live music and activities like walks, health fairs, Strawberry Shortcake Day, and more. See their website for details. And, dogs are welcome! Check out their Good Dog Policy to learn more. This market is located outdoors at the Sundquist Pavilion in downtown Farmington on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. now through Oct. 29th.

Spend a little less time walking through aisles under fluorescent lights and waiting in check-out lanes. Learn to appreciate the food you put into your body a little more by making a direct connection with the people who grew it. You might find that this small activity adds something wonderful to your life.