So, there is a part of Ann Arbor referred to as Kerrytown. It’s an adorable historic district complete with brick paved roads and old brick buildings. There is a variety of food markets as well as restaurants, offering everything from coffee and pastries to Korean fare to fresh fish and produce. One staple of Kerrytown is the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday May through December, and every Saturday January through April. Since I don’t have classes until 2pm on Wednesdays, I took my first trip out to the market this past week! I came straight from an interview, walking a total of approximately three miles in my flats, but the blisters were worth it (and I had to work off the food I was about to buy somehow!).
Upon arriving, I found that the market was smaller than I anticipated, but cute and packed full of mouthwatering products nonetheless!
I had been told by a friend (check her blog out at http://www.medhacooks.com !) that amazing pastries and honey crisp apples could be found here, so I was on the lookout for these items as I strolled through. Most of the stands were produce oriented, so finding apples and other delightful looking fruits & veggies wasn’t difficult – it was just a matter of choosing where to buy from! I ended up choosing a produce stand at random, and I have to say that I succeeded! I bought a quart for $5, which consisted of about 6-7 medium-sized apples. I’m no fruit expert, but I’d say this was a pretty sweet deal for such fresh, homegrown fruit. I lived in a farming area for the past fifteen years, and I’ve found that I miss having the luxury of local produce, so this was heaven to me. The apples are sweet and crisp and just so fresh tasting – it reminds me of my days working at our local apple orchard! I definitely need to go back to try some other items, like the emerald zucchini and crimson peppers I eyed.
While scanning vendors for pastries, I came across a stand by Wasem Farms. A wide array of jams and jellies laid before me, tantalizing my taste buds. I wanted so badly to try multiple, like the red gooseberry, pear, and peach ones, but decided to play it safe with a small jar of blackberry jam, since these homemade products can add up fast, and this jam was low in sugar – watching out for the infamous freshman fifteen here! Upon getting back to my dorm, I was dying to taste this, so I spread some on a Club cracker. The taste was so fresh and strong and tangy and sweet all at once. It was so clear that this was not made with chemicals or preservatives, unlike most one would find at a chain grocery store. I then paired it on a cracker with some coconut flavored honey I purchased from the market, and that combination was surprisingly amazing! The coconut isn’t overpowering; it is just enough so that you can taste its presence.
I was curious about other flavor combinations I could experiment with using these two products, so I took these down to the dining hall this morning as a base for my breakfast.
(my breakfast ~ plain Greek yogurt with the coconut honey, along with many toast combos: cream cheese & blackberry jam, peanut butter & coconut honey, cream cheese & coconut honey, butter & blackberry jam, and peanut butter & blackberry jam)
The coconut honey was a fantastic sweetener in my Greek yogurt, and paired exceptionally well with the cream cheese on toast. The blackberry jam was a perfect complement to all I paired it with, but I particularly loved it with peanut butter, as I am a HUGE proponent of PB on just about everything, so of course I loved the classic PB&J flavor it provided. I’m dying to taste the jam with some goat cheese on a cracker – the tangy and sweet flavors would combine beautifully! I did sample some phenomenal goat cheese with cranberry at the market, but unfortunately, my tight college budget wouldn’t allow me to drop $8 on a container. I was also very tempted to buy a cronut (the child of a donut and a croissant, born and raised in New York City) from this stand.. but I restrained myself.
products available for sampling at the White Lotus Farms stand ~ plain goat cheese, herbed goat cheese, and cranberry goat cheese spreads were featured
I found a few stands specializing in baked goods, and finally decided on a Brie, apple, & raspberry croissant from Golden Wheat Bakery. The buttery, flaky pastry was baked with tart Brie, tangy raspberries, sweet apple slices, and crunchy almonds, creating a harmonious combination of flavors and textures. I would make the trek back out to Kerrytown just to try some of the other croissants, like the feta, tomato, & basil one, or one of the various fruit flavors.
LEFT: the Brie, apple, & raspberry croissant, topped with sliced almonds
RIGHT: the Golden Wheat Bakery’s menu
Overall, though this market is smaller than others I have visited, it is not lacking in any way! Whether you come to buy produce, baked goods, jellies and jams, fresh herbs, dairy products, or honey, you will discover just what you have been searching for, and then most likely some more! I will definitely be returning when I’m able in hopes of fresh, wholesome, natural produce, as I’ve been having withdrawals from those my family so often bought from local farmers on the side of the road in my hometown, and, of course, more delicious pastries. I cannot yet attest to what the selection is like in the winter, as much of the plants and produce most likely wouldn’t be available, but I will be sure to update on it! This is a must-visit if you are in the area and ever have a hankering for anything mentioned above. Like all markets similar to this, some items can be pricey, but are, most of the time, worth the difference in cost from a similar chain grocery store product to taste the wholesome freshness of these homemade/homegrown items.