Lauren Patterson comes to our Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market with a great deal of market experience as well as a love of cooking – especially using in-season produce. Before becoming our Market Manager, Lauren was a fellow at Eastern Market, building relationships between local restaurants and farms in Southeast Michigan, helping to create a reciprocally beneficial and potentially self-sustaining community of growers and chefs. This work brought Lauren to Detroit and into Southfield, to restaurants and even to hospitals who were interested in supplying their kitchens with local, fresh produce. Lauren has also spent time as a vendor for Eastern Market at various farmers’ markets. She knows well that each market has its own personality, informed by the community that supports it. She’s a great fit for our Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market and will be managing the Market until the end of the 2020 season which ends on Thursday, Oct. 8.
A LIFE-LONG LOVE OF FRESH AND LOCAL FOODS
Lauren has been involved in growing, cooking, and eating delicious and local foods, and understanding how communities form around these activities since she was a kid growing up in DeWitt, Michigan. DeWitt is a small town outside of Lansing that, according to Lauren, “just recently got its second and third traffic lights.” Lauren’s mom is a social worker at the high school in DeWitt, and her dad inspired Lauren’s taste for good food with his homemade pesto. Laurent earned a degree in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State University. After graduation Lauren worked as an AmeriCorps member on the Northwest Initiative which addressed food accessibility, nutrition education, and gardening through a farmers’ market truck. This mobile farmers’ market provided local produce and cooking classes for kids. It was also particularly popular with a nearby senior center.
GROWING WHAT SHE EATS
Lauren’s own culinary career started when she was a kid, with breakfast. Her skills in the kitchen increased significantly when she went to college where she discovered that “since I love food, I had to learn to cook.” She doesn’t have a lot of room to garden where she’s living now, but she has “always managed a small vegetable garden.” Since she still favors her dad’s pesto, Lauren has managed to grow tomatoes and basil no matter the space limitations, and she’s “really good at cooking pasta.”
Her palate is mostly “ruled by the seasons” – leading her to try new dishes made with fresh and locally grown produce. She knew that working as GRDC’s Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market Manager was a good fit, because she’s a big fan of Folk, the restaurant that GRDC’s Economic Development Manager Kiki Louya co-owned and that emphasizes local, in-season produce in their dishes.
When you stop by the Market on Thursdays from 4 – 8 pm at the North Rosedale Park Community House, 18445 Scarsdale, look for the welcome table. Chances are good you’ll see Lauren there, ready to answer questions, listen to concerns, or even just to hear what you’re cooking. If you’d like to contact Lauren in the meantime, email firstname.lastname@example.org.