My family is always up for a good adventure – especially if food is involved. In 2016 we’re making it our personal mission to try and visit new-to-us Michigan food destinations. We hope you’ll enjoy tagging along. This month we traveled to Detroit’s famous Eastern Market and we were not disappointed.
Winter is kind of a bizarre time to plan a trip to the farmer’s market when you live in Michigan. But I love farmer’s markets and the opportunity to support farmers and engage with people as they bustle around, picking up produce and asking questions about the foods brought to market that day.
Unlike grocery stores, where I do continue to do the majority of my shopping, there is no doubt that fresh produce is the focal point of a community market. And a place where that’s the case is going to feel more like home to me than most others.
Because going to a market in Michigan during the winter season is a little peculiar, it became my family’s own personal challenge to find one and explore. I asked around and it was suggested to me that I check out Detroit’s Eastern Market since I had never been.
The Eastern Market is larger during the summer months when more produce is in season; however, the winter market still proved to be a place where one could support people from their own communities and discover both classic and innovative ingredients, fresh and delicious for incorporation into a variety of meals.
Three Must-Go Reasons
As my boys, husband, and I explored, I realized that there are many reasons to seek out a winter market in your local area. And if you keep an open mind, I think you’ll love what you find.
Need help finding a local market? Local Harvest is a great online resource to find food in your community.
As we walked our way through the two open indoor sheds at the market, it was difficult not to be swept up by all the excitement happening around us.
Young people bustled by, freshly roasted coffee in hand. Conversations provided a melodious hum in the background as patrons asked merchants questions about the foods presented before them.
My boys were drawn in by the pastries and donuts, while I noticed a cooking demo taking place behind a window near the opening of the first shed.
At the very least, I hope you’ll consider going for the following reasons:
Food becomes fun. Unlike trips to the grocery store (which can be down right dreadful with the boys!), they were so engaged by what was happening around them. Food actually became fun and they started looking for foods they recognized, asking questions about those they didn’t.
Eli, my oldest, was particularly intrigued by the kale growing in one of the corners. We had the opportunity to chat with the team there that day and learned that they were experimenting with soil-free growing techniques to produce kale. After taking a peek, my son quickly quipped that this was how astronauts must eat their veggies in space. It just might be.
Everyone becomes an explorer. When you shop at the grocery store regularly, the excitement kind of fades. Although many foods at a farmers market may remain relatively consistent, odds are good that things will change along with the seasons. This keeps things interesting not just for you, but for your entire family. My boys were very excited to go on “seek and find” missions. I asked them to look for foods that they hadn’t seen before. What did they find?
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms!
This was new to me too and guess what? They were so excited that they found something unique that they even gave it a try when I cooked it up back at home. That’s what I call a kitchen win!
Enhance your cooking skills. Knowledge is power, and that rings true in the kitchen. As you move about the market, be sure to talk to the farmers and vendors there. They have great insight on how to prepare the foods they brought with them and can answer tough questions you may have about where the food you’re buying comes from.
At today’s market, attendees also had the opportunity to attend a cooking demo on site. This can be another great way to learn from professionals and enhance your expertise in the kitchen.
Farmer’s markets in the dead of winter may seem odd, but I assure you, its a great way to have fun with your family as you explore foods together.