Farmer’s Hand grocery store to open in Corktown

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

The Farmer’s Hand grocery store opens Friday in Corktown.

The 500-square-foot seasonal market on Trumbull at Bagley will be the only grocery store open in the popular historic Detroit neighborhood.

Co-owners Kiki Louya, 33, and Rohani Foulkes, 36, emptied their bank accounts to open a small, organic market focused on delivering fresh produce and goods sourced from local farmers and businesses the owners visited personally before purchasing from, Louya said.

The store is modeled off the small markets and bodegas popular in the New York boroughs and other big cities.

The Farmer’s Hand is rooted in an “intense passion for food,” Louya said. With both women having worked in multiple restaurant kitchens, farm stands and community food banks, the store’s inventory will get shoppers to rethink how they eat — and when they eat what they eat — by stocking produce depending entirely on what farmers grow.

Louya, who grew up in Rosedale Park, said the store will be a direct-to-consumer shop. Produce will cost around the same price people see in farmer’s markets and stands around Detroit, and 70 cents of every dollar will be paid to the farmers. The store will make money from the prepared food and coffee they plan to sell in the store’s cafe area, she said.

The Farmer’s Hand isn’t meant to act as a superstore. Louya said she and Foulkes want the store to complement other Detroit stores like Honey Bee La Colmena in nearby Mexicantown.

“We’re not saying buy every grocery item here,” Louya said. “We’re also not saying you can find everything here... One thing that we definitly believe strongly in is that we’re going to be the only place in the city where you can buy local (produce) seven days a week.”

Louya said they’ll stock local dry goods and other grocery items. And though they stress seasonality, Louya and Foulkes will be working with hydroponic growers to stock out-of-season crops when possible.

Eventually, the team will expand the menu at their cafe and offer cooking classes. Louya hopes the neighborhood grocer will continue to be embraced by Corktown.

“It is very much our dream that we see a bustling patio and families stopping in,” she said. “We want to have a very robust community engagement component to what we do.”

The Farmer’s Hand will be inclusive, Louya said. She knows an organic, local grocer isn’t for everyone, but said the price point in the store will always be accessible for those looking for local or healthy food.

“I think there are sometimes preconceived notions about organic or fresh food,” she said. “We work with producers to make sure there are options for everyone (and) you feel welcomed.”

The Farmer’s Hand opens Friday at noon at 1701 Trumbull, and will have samples, snacks and giveaways throughout the day. Regular hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.

(313) 222 - 2359

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau