By Dan Carmody
Special to the Michigan Citizen
In June of this year, the Sunday market will debut at Eastern Market. The Sunday market joins these current markets that operate at Eastern Market:
The most widely known of our markets, this year-round market features as many as 250 different vendors and attracts tens of thousands each week during the warm months of operation. The Saturday market is a signature event that celebrates the bounty of regional food producers, the spirit of Detroit and the authenticity of the Eastern Market district.
Begun in 2011, this market runs from mid-June thru the end of October and is smaller in scale than the more sprawling Saturday market. Fifty vendors fill Shed 2 while an increasingly diverse set of exercise, nutrition, and healthy living programs operate out of Shed 3. The slower pace gives this market more of a neighborhood feel perfect for seniors as well a great place for workers to pick up lunch or fixings for dinner.
While most of us sleep, as many as fifty growers from Michigan, Ohio and Ontario gather at the market to sell to independent grocers, food service distributors, and produce houses. During the harvest season, June to November, Eastern Market is humming from 12-5 a.m.!
How will the Sunday market differ from these other markets?
In launching the Sunday market, we hope it becomes as compelling as the Saturday market but in different ways. Our local growers need time in their fields and time to rest so their participation would be limited even if we wanted to duplicate the Saturday market. But our intent is to format a market on Sunday that is as different as possible from Saturday because we want to provide new vendors with a high-traffic, low-cost selling space on Sunday as successful for them as the Saturday market is for food producers.
These three components will be woven together to create the Sunday market tapestry:
Selling place for stuff
Detroit residents create a wide variety of arts, crafts and make-it-yourself products. It is our hope that we can fill two sheds with a wide variety of these items as well as antiques, collectibles, and flea market items.
Display of prized possessions
Motor City has a great number of car clubs, motorcycle clubs and truck clubs that showcase the manufacturing legacy of the city — we intend to provide space for owners to show off their prized possessions.
Following completion of the Detroit Community Kitchen as part of the Shed 5 renovation project, the Sunday market will grow by adding a signature Sunday brunch. Besides showcasing the best spiritual music from several area faith groups each week, this brunch will feature special recipes of congregation members and locally sourced food from Eastern Market. Our hope is this brunch creates a community event that celebrates our rich diversity of food cultures and ferments discussion about the importance of healthier diets.
The jobless recovery from the 2008 recession has encouraged many residents to make things to generate new sources of income to support themselves and their families. Eastern Market seeks to increase economic activity in the city of Detroit by creating a better launching pad for both food and stuff entrepreneurs.
Dan Carmody is president of Eastern Market Corporation and a member of the Detroit Food Policy Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313.833.9300.