Every Saturday, I head down to the beating heart of Detroit. It technically is made up of just Sheds 1-5, but the area known as Eastern Market extends for blocks in either direction with restaurants, bars, street performers, food trucks, cafes, and butcher shops – you’ll know when you’ve hit the perimeter when the street art ends. It offers the best the region has to offer, and farmers arrive as early as 5 in the morning to set up. I’m a little lazier, and usually make an appearance around noon.
This is my favourite time of year to visit, as everything is bright and colourful, and the sun is just warm enough with a brisk northern breeze. I try to pick up everything I want the first time around, and then have a coffee break before having a second wander through scouting last-minute deals just before the farmer’s pack up for the day at the 4 o’clock closing.
This beautiful but “ish” weather called easy layers. I wore a light silk blouse and wrapped up in a cozy wool scarf, that is really just a blankie I’m allowed to respectably wear in public as an adult. And, of course, flats. You’re doing a lot of walking and the area is pretty industrial, so any kind of heel is just asking for trouble.
I’m actually really excited about this purse, which was only $16 from Target. It looks super expensive, and although it’s faux leather actually wears beautifully with time. I’ve been wearing mine all summer, and like that I don’t worry about someone scratching or spilling something on it when I’m in more crowded places.
This colour is sold out, but Target just came out with it in grey for the Autumn, so I’m hoping they keep it each season so I can collect one in every colour.
I also was toting a couple of cloth bags and a cooler with a shoulder strap, which I really recommend taking for not only carrying things around but also being able to leave in the car later while you explore the rest of the area so all of your great finds don’t get spoiled.
Today, the place was full of squash and tomatoes. So many tomatoes. Green tomatoes, baby tomatoes, and all of them at dirt cheap prices before the first frost hits.
But if you are looking for a florist, Eastern Market is also the place to go. There are a couple scattered about, but my favourite is a place called Unique Bouquets by Rosey. All of the flowers are grown locally and are seasonal, so it’s much more sustainable than having those tropical beauties shipped halfway around the world or grown in greenhouses.
She has a flower farm in New Boston, which I’m still dying to visit, but you can also find her every week in the arm of Shed 3. There, you can buy a gorgeous premade bouquet, but if you ask nicely she’ll whip one up for you right on the spot.
And you’ll never guess how much this cost. Ten dollars. Yes, ten dollars. Can you believe it? I still can’t, which is why I go back every week just to make sure.
This week was also extra special, because in Shed 5 the boys from Hampshire Farms Organic brought their entire bloody farm all the way down from Kingston. Okay, maybe not the entire farm, but it was pretty close.
They brought mama cow and her two adorable daughters, just three weeks old!
Along with this three month old merino goat.
And three of these little guys who really enjoyed sniffing any camera pointed in their direction just incase it’s maybe a little bit edible.
By the time we finished with these guys, our arms were practically falling off from the weight of our bags (three of which may have been filled with tomatoes), so we packed up the car and headed for coffee. Along the way we stopped at one of my favourite stores, Detroit Mercantile.
It’s right on Russell Street and only a short hike from the main market, and is filled to the brim with all things Michigan.
The best part, they keep piping hot fresh roasted coffee from Germack for everyone browsing through!
You’ll find everything you never knew you wanted in here, so consider yourself warned.
We also stopped by Signal Return Press on Division. They’re right next to the Detroit Hustles Harder store, and have a big hand pointing you on in, you can’t miss it!
They make a lot of their own prints in store but import some outside artists (like Martin Mazorra!) as well. They’ve got everything from framable prints to postcards to custom wedding invites. We didn’t get anything this time, but the mister had never been so I wanted to drag him in.
We eventually did go for a coffee at Germack itself, which is a coffee shop but also sells teas, and are famous locally for their nuts. My school used to partner with them to fundraise every year and we would scramble around trying to sell bags of those things, so just seeing them lining the walls gives me the nostalgic warm and fuzzies.
They sell their own coffee, and import baked goods from local heros like Sister Pie and Avalon. I had their Fall Spice Cap and a pumpkin whoopie pie from Sister, which were as delicious as you’d imagine them to be. They’re obviously both seasonal, so run down and get them while you can.
After resting up a bit, we headed back to the frenzy of the sheds to get some steals, which included a bag of tomatoes for just one dollar. Yes, another bag of tomatoes.
With the closing of the day we headed down to La Rondinella for dinner. It’s right at the end of Russell Street with bright blue awnings, you can’t miss it.
The place is gorgeous, and the food reflects it. We were both driving, so we didn’t have anything to drink, but they’ve got a fantastic cocktail list at the bar too.
They’ve got a concise little menu, with rotating seasonal specials (some of which aren’t always on the menu, so make sure you ask!).
I got the seasonal pasta, which was tagliatelle in a homemade tomato sauce topped with pancetta and shrimp. The sauce was delicious, with chunks of tomatoes throughout (yes, more tomatoes!) and the slightest spicy kick. The mister happily slurped more than a couple of noodles off my plate.
For dessert we split a not-on-the-menu seasonal treat. It was a hazelnut panna cotta, topped with glazed hazelnuts and cocoa nib brittle.
See, this is why it’s totally worth asking about those sneaky seasonal specials here.
The service here is always friendly and prompt, the food is not only delicious but beautifully presented. And best of all, it’s really reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a romantic place for date night, as you can get in and out spending just $20 each with tip. It’s a small place that fills up quickly though, so if you get there too late you could also check out Roma Cafe, another slightly larger Italian place not too far away.
After dinner we stretched our legs and had one more walk around the neighbourhood in that beautiful magic hour just before sunset to try to find some of the work that debuted last week.
There are so many murals hidden down alleyways and tucked behind corners, I couldn’t possibly begin to take photos of all of them. But they really are beautiful in their sun soaked glory. Although we didn’t go, the new Red Bull House of Art on Winder Street is also totally worth visiting if you have the time.
I know this was a really long post, and I’ll try not to ramble so much in the future, but Eastern Market really does have some the best this state has to offer and I’ve only just talked about a teeny tiny slice of it.
During the summer Eastern Market is open a couple of days a week with varying themes, and throughout the winter just Saturday. Don’t let the cold weather scare you off. Just bundle up and have a gander through the streets, you’ll be sure to find some gems.