Shop Michigan farmers markets to prepare for the holidays

Michigan has a fast-growing number of farmers markets, many of which are open this winter to meet local food demand.

It may seem that the fresh food season is over in Michigan, but more and more farmers markets are open year-round across the state. A small but growing number of farmers markets have indoor facilities to keep sales going through the winter, and as greenhouse growing expands, more fresh food is being grown in Michigan. Still other markets add special days for seasonal sales to meet the desire for local food and handmade products right before the holiday season.

The Flint Farmers’ Market is open year-round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and offers a wide variety of fresh produce including organic produce, meats and dairy products along with handmade items, several restaurants and a wine shop. Shoppers in Flint can purchase locally-grown food from an increasing number of vendors who have incorporated season extension into their growing. These vendors include the edible flint co-op – a group of farmers working together to market the produce grown inside passive solar greenhouses or hoop houses on former residential lots in the city.

Customers may be dropping by the market to get turkeys from growers around the state in the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. In Okemos, at the Meridian Township Farmers Market, shoppers can buy locally produced meats, cheeses, honey and produce on the first and third Saturdays from December to April. Both Flint and Meridian Township Markets accept SNAP benefits through the Michigan Bridge Card.

Detroit’s Eastern Market is open Saturdays throughout the year and features fresh food from around the country, and specifically from the region around Detroit including Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. During the height of the season, more than 40,000 customers visit each Saturday to get great food and experience this large terminal market and food district in Detroit. Eastern Market features more than 250 independent business vendors selling fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, honey, cut flowers and plants, specialty foods and meats.

The Michigan Farmers Market Association Food Assistance Partnership lists 12 other markets around the state that are open during the winter and accept EBT, including:

For tips on how to keep your food safe this holiday season, check out the Michigan State University Extension website. There you will find articles about food safety for parties and gatherings as well as hints about storing leftovers safely.