Saturday mornings will always have a special place in my heart. Not only is it a day off to do whatever I please, but it also means FARMER’S MARKET DAY! I’ve been to countless markets in hundreds of cities in a handful of states, but luckily some of the biggest and best markets are right here in the Mitten. My hometown favorite is the Meridian Township Market in Okemos. The market is currently in its 40th season and has four market seasons: spring, summer/fall, Thanksgiving and winter. The summer market is definitely their biggest season with the most variety and is also my personal favorite. Not only does the market offer fresh, local Michigan produce, but they also have some of the area’s best prepared food and drinks. (Here’s a quick tip: come hungry! You’re sure to find something you’ll love!)
I always, always, always start the market off at The Purple Carrot, Michigan’s first farm to truck food stand! I’m obsessed with the gluten free breads made with seasonal berries and they tend to sell out quickly most mornings! The Purple Carrot offers a brunch menu during the market that includes sandwiches, quiches, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, and many other locally sourced items. I have yet to order something I haven’t enjoyed.
Next I visit Stone Hearth Breads and Bakery out of Brooklyn for their pepperoni cheese rolls. They are my sister’s favorite and also go quickly! Stone Hearth offers a variety of fresh, artisan breads such as Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread, Peach Pecan, Rosemary Herb, and Cranberry Orange.
On the way to JW Kettle Corn (mom’s favorite), I search out for the booth for Gracie’s Place out of Williamston. Gracie’s Place, a local farm to table restaurant, sells terrific gluten free cookies at the Saturday market for only $1! My last mandatory stop is Seif Foods for their fresh Hummus Dip and Pita Bread. It typically lasts me through the week and holds me over until next week’s market.
Finally, I’m free to take my time back through the market to meet with some vendors I’m not as familiar with. Many of the vendors have been participating in the market for more than 30 years and are always more than willing to answer any questions I may have. This time also allows me to stop and catch my breath, from running to all my favorite booths, while listening to the local artist of the week. My route back to my car is dedicated to stocking up on all my favorite produce. Currently the market is bursting with Michigan peaches, blueberries, apples and sweet corn as well as seasonal plants, herbs, cheese, and fresh meat.
With farmer’s markets gaining popularity due to consumers being more conscious about the food they consume and where it comes from, there’s sure to be a market close to you. Whether it’s a small roadside stand or an established market, try a farmers market today! You can also visit my favorite on Wednesdays and Saturdays through October from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Park in Okemos!
–Jacey Kloekner, Contributing Writer