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Bites Nearby: Rust Belt Market

"Handmade" extends to food at Ferndale marketplace open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale

The Rust Belt Market has been open for about a month now. Basically, it is a place for purveyors of handmade and/or vintage goods to set up shop and sell to the public each Saturday and Sunday. As its website says, "Ever wish that Etsy existed offline? So did we." 

Etsy, of course, is an online marketplace where people can buy handmade and vintage goods from around the world. The fundamental problem with Etsy is you have no idea who you're buying from. No matter how dolled up a virtual storefront may be, it is still virtual. Rust Belt Market brings the sellers from behind the keyboard into a public space where buyers can discuss any issues they may have before purchasing an item.

When we talk about handmade goods, foods are sometimes forgotten. Rust Belt Market, while not focused on food, has a variety of food vendors to visit.

My reason for visiting Rust Belt Market was an email from Rock City Pie's owner and baker Nikita Santches. Proud of his work like any baker should be, he asked me to visit to sample some of his work.  

Santches uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. For example, he was telling me his plans to visit local farms to pick strawberries and peaches for the next week's creations.

As for the pies, I tried strawberry rhubarb basil, peanut butter chocolate and salted caramel apple. Each pie had endearing qualities, especially the chocolate peanut butter pie, which is like two incredibly dense brownies with a layer of creamy peanut butter in between. Each pie is handmade from scratch. Santches brings a certain amount of pies and cookies with him each day. When he sells out, he's done for the day.

Directly across the way from Rock City Pies is HenriettaHaus Coffee Roasters. Definitely proof that God does exist or at least has really good floor planning skills, is there a more perfect combination than coffee and pie?  

Amy Duncan, owner and roaster, was sampling her Costa Rica Macho Arce coffee. A pleasantly bold yet drinkable coffee, it is an ideal companion to Santches' sweet and salty apple pie.  

Speaking of pie companions, has an ice cream cart chock full of their unique flavors. If you're lucky, owner Scott Moloney might be manning the cart and you can offer new ice cream flavor suggestions. Don't say Brown Sugar Ham because that flavor has already been done – and it is delicious.

If pie, coffee and ice  cream haven't tantalized you enough, how about fresh squeezed lemonade? Sourpuss Lemonade squeezes each drink to order. Lemons, simple syrup and water are all you need for really good lemonade. Sourpuss mixes those ingredients perfectly for a refreshing treat.

There are other bakers and even a spice vendor at Rust Belt Market, too.

Hours: 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Vendors: Vary from week to week

More information: www.rustbeltmarket.com

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