Saturday, April 30, 2011
I have been looking forward to the Saturday market at the Eastern Market for months now. I remember that the first time we went was one of the last weeks before they shut down for the winter, but I didn't remember when they started up again. I thought it would be sometime in the spring, but I couldn't figure it out because I couldn't find the information on the website anymore. The Saturday market is special because that's when the local farmers, bakers, cooks and artisans bring their produce into the city (or to the market from other parts of the city), and they set up their tables in the six "sheds" in an area that stretches over several blocks.
On Thursday, at my knitting group, another lady told me that there is a huge annual flower show at the market every year before Mother's Day. Today, I looked up the date because I thought the flower show might be this week. It turns out that the show is the weekend after Mother's Day this year, but it got me thinking that something might be happening at the market. I still couldn't find the information about the beginning and the end of the season dates. I decided to simply go down there and see if it was open yet. I knew that even if it wasn't, several of the surrounding wholesalers also sell retail, and I could at least pick up some good deals on meat at one of the butchers, and local cheeses etc. at R. Hirt Jr. As it turns out, the Saturday market is now year-round!
The image at the beginning of the post is of Shed 2, the oldest shed, and the image above is of the "interior" of this open-air, cruciform structure. Most of the vendors here sell produce, though you will find a little coffee shop and patisserie, plus bakers and people selling cured meats, sausages and cheeses. Even though most of the produce vendors are selling stuff from out of state at this time of year, I still managed to pick up some Michigan root vegetables, shallots, and asparagus.
Shed 3, above, is similarly shaped, but newer and glassed in. Like Shed 2, this shed is primarily filled with produce vendors. Some vendors that sell produce later in the season were selling herb starts and gorgeous house plants. I contemplated a huge jade plant for $7. There was also a vendor selling local, organic flour of several different types along with their breads and dried beans.
Shed 4, above, Shed 5, and Shed 6 are all filled with plants. I purchased an iris in bloom today (for $5), and oogled the fabulous orchid selection that one vendor had in Shed 5. There were several people selling pots of blooming tulips and Easter lilies for $1 each. I was drawn to the ranunculus and heuchera.
As I mentioned before, the market sheds are surrounded by wholesale and retail places that both tend to sell to the public, at least on Saturdays. I got myself two pounds of chicken and a pound of beef for my remaining $5. I also went into Savvy Chic, which sells all sorts of neat stuff, and the proprietor is so nice. I was really excited about the insulated bags she sells that would make really cute lunch bags or -- even better -- little coolers to allow you to buy your meat at the market and keep wandering around without worrying about it going bad. I didn't get one just then, so it was back home for me!
Time to work on that dress again.