Did you know that each year Michigan’s agricultural industry provides $101.2 billion to the state’s economy? Each time you stop at a farm or farmers’ market to buy locally grown food, you are helping the economy thrive. You are also promoting environmental sustainability, as buying locally reduces costs from transportation and packing materials. Aside from strengthening the economy and promoting sustainability, farm markets have a plethora of other benefits. They serve as a way to connect with your local community, encourage healthy living and give you the opportunity to buy fresh, organic products. So if you’re looking to support Michigan’s local communities this summer, here are some of the best farmers’ markets and family-owned farms to visit.
Flint Farmers’ Market
The Flint Farmers’ Market provides countless nutritious and local products for the community — it was even voted America’s Most Loved Farm Market in 2009. Inside the spacious building, you’ll find 50 vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, wine, gifts and much more. Outside (on most days) there is live, local music. Other events include cooking classes, storytellers and various annual festivals.
Location: 300 E 1st St, Flint
Lewis Farm Market
The Lewis family, has been farming for generations. Lewis Farm Market was built in the 1970s by Scott Lewis’ grandparents and parents. “Been farming all my life. I am a fourth generation farmer. Remember spraying when I got home from school in the ’80s. Went to college, came home on weekends and worked,” said Lewis.
Scott now owns the farm market with his wife, Cindy. Crops include asparagus, apples, tart cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, plums and pears. Lewis Farm Market is also family-friendly; attractions include a petting farm, play areas, an observation beehive, farm games and more. And don’t forget to visit the bakery, which offers fresh baked goods, pies and specialty breads.
Location: 4180 West M-20, New Era
Established in the 1800s, Detroit’s historic and vibrant Eastern Market boasts hundreds of vendors. They have three primary markets: Saturday Market, Sunday Street Market and Tuesday Market. You’ll find excellent selections of produce, wine, cheese, meats, maple syrups, flowers, home goods, art, antiques and more. If you’re looking for a change of pace from shopping at all the vendors, try one of many restaurants at Eastern Market. Some favorites include Farmers’ Restaurant, Vivio’s Food and Spirits, Zeff’s Coney Island and Supino Pizzeria.
Location: 2934 Russell Street, Detroit
Plymouth Farmers Market
The annual Plymouth Farmers Market is just one of over 100 events featured every year in this charming small town. They offer a range of local Michigan produce, flowers, baked goods, honey, jams, jewelry, candles, lotions and more.
For MSU student Isabella Corsi, Plymouth Farmers Market is one of her favorites in Michigan. “Being gluten-free, I’m always on the search for yummy gluten-free baked goods. There is a vendor that sells great muffins that I like to go to,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this market to anyone living in the Metro Detroit area looking for something fun to check out on a Saturday morning.”
Location: 850 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth
Cook Family Farm
Cook Family Farm was founded by Tom and Waneta Cook, who enjoy working alongside their 11 children. The farm features all natural soy candles, goat’s milk soaps, fresh eggs, pork, beef, lamb and turkey. Their animals are grass fed and grains are free of GMOs. During the summer, they offer horse-drawn wagon rides, where you can admire the scenery of Northern Michigan.
Location: 9615 Musch Rd, Brighton, MI 48116