5 Ways to Shop Smart at Eastern Market

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Have you ever dreamed of going on a game show? Of course you have. I always wanted to go on Supermarket Sweep - arguably one of the best game shows of the 90’s. I remember going to the grocery store with my parents as a kid, and when my Mom would ask me to grab something we needed in another area of the store, I’d fly up and down the aisles like the contestants on Sweep - feverishly piling the cart with Lunchables, cheese and Diet Pepsi. I swear I would have KILLED IT on that program - I knew where everything was in the store!

Fast forward to today and I’m still speeding through the markets to get my food. Emily and I are weekend warriors at everyone’s favorite Detroit food palace - Eastern Market! We still speed through the aisles like kids - not because it’s fun, but because our Saturday’s are usually full of to-do’s. That, and the market is packed with the bane of our existence - slow walkers (UGH they are the worst).  

If you haven’t bought produce and locally sourced goods from Eastern Market this summer, you’re missing out! Shopping the Market is one of Detroit’s most authentic and enduring city traditions. But if you’re in a hurry like us, here are some handy tips for breezing through Eastern Market like you’re on Supermarket Sweep!

1.  Arrive early. Like, EARLY early.

We’re talking between 6:30-7:30am.  You may need to slam some coffee to get through that hangover from last night, but you’ll be in and out of the market in 20 minutes or less.  Many of the market’s vendors are still unloading their products, and normal people (not you) are still as snug as a bug in a rug.  You’ll have no problem finding a parking space at this hour of the morning, and you’ll feel accomplished that you filled your fridge with goodies before crawling back to bed. Oh, and before you even THINK about buying those brussels sprouts, make sure you have cash in your wallet! Cards are not accepted by most vendors at the market.

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2. Write a list.

A little preparation makes your Eastern Market sweep that much faster.  Make your Saturday adventure quick and easy by creating a grocery list.  As the weeks go by, you’ll begin to notice which vendors have your favorite types of fruits, veggies and meats.  A grocery list will allow you to be in and out before you know it!

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3. Park, walk and shop strategically.

Eastern Market takes up 43 acres of land.  You’ll save a few minutes of precious Saturday time by parking your car at one end and walking down Russell or Riopelle street.  Start your shopping on the other end and work your way back to the car.  If you missed a tomato here or an onion there, you’ll be sure to find another vendor who will have what you need.  As all of that produce piles up, make sure you...

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4. Bring a wagon!

Your hands can quickly get full at Eastern Market.  Place all of those fruits, veggies, or flowers in a wagon to keep your hands free.  We learned this tip the hard way by setting bags of produce on tables when talking to farmers, and forgetting to pick them up!

5. Enjoy it!

You won’t have this much fun buying groceries anywhere else in America.  The Market is an open and inviting space for people of all ages.  Local musicians fill the air with sweet sounds, and savory smells waft from the collection of food trucks on Russell Street.  Eastern Market proudly welcomes people from all backgrounds to enjoy one of Detroit’s most beloved traditions.  

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Here's a photo of our produce haul from last week.  18 dollars can bring you a fridge full of goodness! Take note of our 5 tips to make your trip to the Market an easy, speedy experience.

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How our $18 breaks down:

  • 6 tomatos

  • 1 bunch of green brussels sprouts

  • 1 bunch of purple brussels sprouts

  • 6 multi-color peppers

  • 1 punch of garlic

  • 1 large red onions

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce

  • 1 bag of spinach

  • 4 avocados



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