May 18, 2020
Every year, the Sunday following Mother’s Day, shoppers from across metro Detroit visit Eastern Market for Flower Day. Flower growers from across Michigan and the Midwest set up their plants in the market and over 100k visitors shop for plants and flowers, unofficially kicking off the summer growing season.
With the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the risks associated with such large gatherings of people, the annual tradition is going to look a lot different this year.
While this year’s Flower Day set for May 17 has been canceled, Eastern Market is working with the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association to launch a virtual platform for flower shopping on May 24, May 31, and June 7 with pick-up dates being scheduled throughout the following week.
Eastern Market will also be using its social media channels to livestream shows highlighting growers and vendors from the market on each of the virtual flower day markets. While the Saturday market doesn’t have as many options as Flower Day, there will also be a handful of vendors selling flowers at the regular market, open every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to adapting Flower Day, Eastern Market is also adjusting its operations for the weekly Saturday Market throughout the summer. Some attractions involving gatherings of people that you would typically see at a Saturday market like food trucks and live entertainment won’t be there for safety reasons, but all of the essential services are still intact. The market is following the same regulations that apply to grocery stores since they are serving the same basic function of providing food, essential personal care products, and vegetable plants.
While a typical Saturday market in May brings 30-40,000 guests, it’s currently at about 10% of the normal volume of shoppers to reduce crowds. Within the sheds, the market is following social distancing practices and highly encouraging shoppers to wear masks. They are still available for people that are looking for food and essential items, and still making EBT and Bridge card sales.
Eastern Market is also offering a contactless food box pick-up each week during the Saturday market. The produce box costs $20 for a lot of fresh Michigan fruit and vegetables that directly support vendors, and you can also choose add-ons like salsa, pierogis, jams, cheese, and other items based on your needs. Just drive up and pick up on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ordering is available online each Monday at noon and boxes are on sale through Wednesday evening or until they sell out. Ebt and bridge card is available for these sales as well.
There are also over 150 restaurants, wholesale distributors, or other retail businesses and services in the district that are adapting to the circumstances in their own ways. While restaurants have started offering more takeout options, Eastern Market organized a Tuesday drive-through market on Riopelle street to support the district’s businesses with a new safe option for shopping.
It was initially just a sale for excess produce from the vendors, but they have since expanded the offerings to include Milano Bakery, the Eastern Market Brewing Company, and others. Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. businesses are queued up on Riopelle street for you to shop from your car, with vendors placing the produce in your trunk. You can view a list and map of the participating vendors each week on their website the Saturday prior.