Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 10, 2011

If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Brussels Sprouts

Patty pan squash, destined for dinner

Eastern Market, Detroit’s farmers’ market and central source for fresh produce plus poultry, fish, meats and other food stuffs, has been a gathering spot in the city since 1891. Restaurateurs, food producers and retail grocers visit the market six days a week, and Saturdays have been the public’s big shopping day.

During the prime growing season 40,000 folks swarm the market each Saturday looking for good prices on locally grown and made goods from up to 175 vendors who set up stalls under huge indoor/outdoor sheds. In addition to the farm stands there are about 100 permanent shops and eating spots at the 120-year old market, including Roma Cafe, Detroit’s oldest restaurant.

This summer Eastern Market added Tuesdays to its public schedule, and Paige and I checked it out. Eastern Market is one of her favorite places in Detroit and she wanted to visit before heading off to college next week (!).

Members of the Detroit Youth Food Brigade

While there aren’t nearly as many farmers on Tuesday as on Saturday, we found plenty of variety and could have hauled home even more than we did: a big bunch of broccoli for a buck, plus tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, blueberries, and a half dozen cute little patty pan squash.

A lot of the sellers were with the Detroit Youth Food Brigade, 70-plus 14 to 20-year-olds who sell goods from farms and businesses and learn about business and entrepreneurship in the process.

Much of the fun of the market is chatting with the owners of the companies as they hand out tastes or enthusiastically push their products. We sampled locally made foods and Paige bought a flavorful fruit smoothie whipped up by Roz Cordova, creator and owner of Crushed Healthy Smoothies. The all-natural Berry Blast, a blend of five fruits with a little milk, was thick and delish.

Roz pours Paige a freshly made smoothie; the entrepreneur left the corporate world to launch her own business

There were lots of shoppers at the Tuesday market, but it was nowhere near the elbow-to-elbow crowd you find on Saturday.

Parking was plentiful and parents could push their kids around in strollers without a problem. It’s nice to have the weekday option at the market, and we were glad to see so many others taking advantage of it. Hope it’s a success.

Market Tuesdays will continue through September 27. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m.—perfect for after work shopping. Eastern Market is located just east of downtown Detroit. Saturday hours are 5 a.m.-5 p.m.

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