For those wishing for more than simply the ingredients of a great meal, Pilar's Tamales is nearly always at the market, and sometimes on Wednesdays you can find other carts offering tempting possibilities. EAT, a catering company started by Helen Harding and Blake Reetz, commissioned a specially made cart from which they sell a variety of hot sandwiches, grilled vegetables, and handmade potato chips, all mostly made from locally sourced products. I tried an utterly delicious $7 Korean-flavored BBQ beef sandwich topped with the Brinery's kimchi. The Flint Crepe Company's cart-owned by a group of Flint natives-boasts a large griddle upon which the vendor cooks and fills crepes, sweet or savory, to order. One morning I fortified myself with a $6.50 Walling-eggs, bacon, and cheese rolled into a crepe, wrapped in a paper cone and (presumably) named for Flint mayor Dayne Walling-before I started to shop. And there are often Café Japon's savory filled crossiants and hot coffee from Roos Roast Free Speech Coffee.
By no means is this a complete list of vendors offering good, local food at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. As noted, some may not appear again until spring, although manager Notarianni expects this winter's market days will see the most yet. If you're interested in trying what your neighbors produce, visit the market frequently and Google the vendors you might miss; many also sell their products via the mail or in retail shops. At the height of the season, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market can supply the makings of an entire meal, but it's a vibrant reflection of Michigan agriculture and entrepreneurship year-round.
[Originally published in December, 2010.]