5 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know Were Found at the CHASS Mercado Until Now

 

Just when you thought Southwest Detroit was famous enough for its great food selections, this summer it took its reputation to a whole new level!

In case you haven’t already heard,  Community Health and Social Services Center, better known to Metro Detroiters as CHASS, set up shop last month for their annual Mercado – a seasonal produce market that aims to meet the community’s demand for fresh fruits and veggies as it promotes healthy living.

The CHASS Center has been hosting its Mercado at the front plaza of its facility for about four years now but after visiting this year’s grand opening, it’s easy to see that it only gets bigger, better and brighter with each passing year.

Every Thursday until October 1, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can join Southwest Detroit’s community in shopping for some of the freshest produce around. They welcome a variety of vendors from all over Michigan including Eastern Market, Peaches and Greens, Burda’s Berry Farm, Rudich Farms, and more!

Much like a lot of other spots in Southwest Detroit, the CHASS Mercado is so unique that you might just have to visit it to come across things that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. If you don’t believe me, here are just five of the coolest things you will spot at the CHASS Mercado this year:

  1. Se Habla Español: From fruit and veggie names to fun, healthy food hacks for kids, almost everything you will come across is in both English and Spanish. CHASS knows the community of Southwest Detroit and Spanish language goes hand in hand, so it creates an environment that reflects that for all its visitors–even those who don’t speak Spanish but are willing to learn!
  2. Fresh Produce Prescriptions: Folks at CHASS Center know that to really promote healthy eating, it takes more than just bringing fresh fruit and veggie vendors to Southwest Detroit. That’s why they implemented the Fresh Prescription Program which has CHASS’s own doctors answer questions for visitors at the Mercado about the best ways to include fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. The doctor on site will first hear all about your weekly food intake and then “prescribe” a specific fruit and vegetable diet customized just for you and your tastes!
  3. Face Painting and Kid-Friendly Entertainment: With kids out of school for the summer, any parent can attest to how wild a simple trip to the grocery store can become. Not to worry, mom and dad! While you stock up on fresh and healthy groceries for the kids at the Mercado, your munchkins will be safely entertained with music and face-painting. Depending on the week, Detroit Public Library may also be around with friendly librarians to engage the youth and suggest some great reads!
  4. Healthy Food Prep Demonstrations: If you’re anything like me, finding fruits and  veggies isn’t the problem. The problem is figuring out how to throw it all together in a meal. Luckily, the good people at CHASS also set up cooking demonstrations for healthy snack and meal alternatives. Just last week, I learned how to make some delicious homemade low-fat ranch dressing. For the record, I didn’t even think that delicious and low-fat could be used in a sentence. I was wrong.
  5. Community Resources: Not only does the CHASS Center want its visitors to be more physically healthy through nutrition, but it also wants us to be aware of the resources out there for preventive health, mental health and prenatal health. As a matter of fact, an entire sector of the market is devoted to information about how and where low-income or underinsured patients can get mammograms, biopsies, prenatal and breastfeeding training, therapy, and much more!

To get involved with the Mercado initiative or for more information on CHASS Center’s community events, click here or call 313.849.3920 ext 5021 or 5013.

Interested in incorporating fresh fruits into your treats this summer? Check out these posts:

Photo credit: Alejandra Roel

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