Blog: Torya Blanchard & Greg Lenhoff

On the menu at Detroit's Park Shelton are young neighboring entrepreneurs Torya Blanchard, chef and owner of Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes, and Greg Lenhoff, owner of Leopold's bookstore. Enjoy some food for thought this week as Torya and Greg discuss what sparks their artisanal ventures.

Torya Blanchard - Post 2: The Food Personalities of Eastern Market

In 1997, my parents emphatically told me "We're moving, you're not," and moved to Belleville the year I came back from school in the UP to go to Wayne State. I don't get a chance to see them as often as I'd like and when we do see each other, we bond at Meijer. Really. Specifically, I come over to their house; we sit around for a bit and someone finds a reason to go to Meijer. "Hey Toy, I got an 80% coupon for the jewelry section" or "Hey Donald, we need more salad dressing." Usually, we walk around Meijer and comment on everything as if we were from a small town in a foreign country, just in wonderment at how much stuff one person can buy at one store. The Meijer on Belleville Road never gets old for my parents and me.

Hopefully, sometime soon we'll get to have our own Meijer in Detroit. Although I probably won't spend hours shopping there, I am very happy all the same, because why should the folks in Belleville have all the fun?

Last week, my mother visited me at Eastern Market, where I set up a mobile crepe station every Saturday at Shed 2. It wasn't too long before she felt the urge to explore and she was in amazement at how wonderful Eastern Market looks and how it's changed in the past year or so. I feel the same way. Eastern Market now reminds me of the marchés in Paris.  It feels so fresh and vibrant, and you have a chance to get to know the merchants.
There is the mushroom guy, the pork people, the popcorn guy, the wine guy at Cost Plus Wine, Dave at R. Hirt, Dave at Supino Pizzeria, the gladiola guy, the Amish lady that makes miniature breads, the maple syrup guy, the Zen Center guy, the flower lady with the bouffant and the amazingly long nails, the lady in Shed Three who always has a "heavy date" and is trying to quickly move her vegetable of the day, the Asian vegetable "$2 a flat" people, the red trolley coffee people, the spice lady, the organic vegetable lady that has the most amazing wildflowers in the summer, The Gabriel Imports olives guy, Hans the soup guy from Russell Street and the "Fresh blueberries"/"Fresh Apples" guy who looks like Ernest Hemingway with his family.  They are all there, usually every week without fail. There also is another cast of characters that come out during the week, when most local restaurants buy wholesale for their shops.

I had to step back and take a look at Eastern Market through the eyes of the many families I come in contact with on Saturdays. They're just like my family. Lots of families bond going to the market.  It just goes to show that the common denominator of food, whether it be at a mega super market or at a colorful outdoor urban market, is the ultimate bonding agent and it gets families to take time out and spend it with each other.