Toronto Farmers' Markets 2012 preview
Farmers' markets in Toronto are slowly starting to gear up for a new year. Although Toronto has famous year-round markets (St Lawrence, Evergreen Brick Works), the options for buying fresh fruit, vegetables and other local treats really begin to assert themselves as outdoor markets open throughout the city. While the real action doesn't begin until the month of June, here's a look forward to some of the new markets, improvements and other changes in store for the 2012 farmers' markets season in Toronto.
A caveat: Some markets (i.e. The Distillery Farmers' Market) still have not confirmed their 2012 dates and times and therefore info about them has not been included.
Sorauren Farmer's Market (Sorauren at Wabush)
Open year round, but outdoors May-October. Hours of operation 3pm-7pm.
Local fruit and vegetables, of course, are available here. In addition, this market offers gluten free cookies and baked goods by DeFloured, as well as tofu by Ying Ying soy food and grass fed venison by Deer Valley farms. Angie's Ice Pops will help to cool you down so you can linger as you try to figure out how many ears of corn you can feasibly carry.
Ryerson University Farmer's Market (Victoria and Gould)
Opens June 5, closes October 23. Hours of operation 9am-2pm.
There are five markets in the My Market series which means that depending on your availability and location, you will probably catch one of them. Heavy on organic produce, heavy on honey and competing beekeepers.
Sick Kids Hospital Farmer's Market (University and Elm)
Opens June 5, closes October 23. Hours of operation 9am-2pm.
Another one of the My Market series with Montforte Dairy and Kind organics making a welcome appearance.
Stonegate Farmer's Market (St. James Anglican Church on the Queensway)
Opens June 26, closes October 9. Hours of operation 4pm-7pm.
Not only a market, a certifiable social gathering. This market offers entertainment in the form of dancing, music or cooking shows. Schedule to appear shortly on their website.
Trinity Bellwood Farmer's Market (Dundas West at Crawford)
Opens May 8, closes October 30. Hours of operation 3pm-7pm.
Lovell Springs Trout Farm, Matchbox Garden and Seed Company and St John's Bakery will be there this year, along with many other vendors dedicated to food education. On a nice day, it is also a great excuse for people who work in the area to take an extra-long "coffee break."
East York Farmer's Market (front lawn of the Civic Centre)
Opens May 15, closes October 30, 8am-2pm
Along with your fruit and vegetable bounty you can buy artisanal bread, honey and pies to test the durability of your shopping bag. Mission accepted.
Bloor-Borden Farmer's Market (east of Bathurst)
Opens June 6, closes October 24, Hours of operation 3pm-7pm
Small and accessible for U of T students scrambling to figure out the best way to spend their $5 rather than on yet another pita. Options do abound.
Montgomery's Inn Farmers' Market
Opens May 23, closes December 5. Hours of operation 3pm-7pm.
They bake their own bread at the inn and yes, the best flavours sell out quickly. When the oven baking the bread is older than your great-grandmother, you know that there is history in that loaf. Food history is usually a good thing (unless you count the food at the back of your fridge).
Nathan Philips Square Farmers' Market
Opens June 6, closes October 24 (market closed on June 27 and September 26) Hours of operation 8am-3pm
This market declares summer. Businessmen clutch strawberries alongside their briefcases and Bay street faces are coloured with something other than florescent light. Well attended free concerts play from noon to 2pm to help you forget your day job.
University of Toronto Scarborough Farmer's Market (on Military Trail between Morningside and Ellesmere)
Opens June 6, closes October 3 (winter markets first Wednesday of the month). Hours of operation 3pm-7pm.
Vendors for 2012 are still to be announced, but last year you could buy knitwear, hallumi cheese and homemade kettle corn. Please come back, vendors.
East Lynn Farmer's Market (Danforth and Woodbine)
Opens June 7, closes October 25. Hours of operation: 3pm-7pm.
This is one of the My Market series for the East Enders. It shows even more examples of perfectly ripe tomatoes that you would never find in a supermarket.
Metro Hall Farmer's Market (David Pecaut Square, by the former Metro Square)
Opens May 31, closes October 11. Hours of operation 8am-3pm.
Lunchtime concerts play as you shop, and the music may help to taper your impatience if you decide to wait in the long lineup for bacon sandwiches. There is a man dedicated to all things pickled (don't depend on the cucumbers until August - it is all seasonal), homemade butter tarts (not by the pickle man, don't worry) and sunflowers the size of your head. In case you want to make a point about how size does matter.
Toronto Botanical Gardens Organic Farmer's Market
Opens May 24, closes October 4. Hours of operation 3pm-7pm.
This space regularly offers classes on topics from beekeeping to yoga, and therefore a farmer's market is not a far stretch. Located at the entrance to the gardens, this year celebrity chefs will make appearances along with the organic farmers to celebrate all things yummy.
Fairview Mall Farmer's Market
Opens June 1, closes September 28. Hours of operation 9am-6pm.
This is a large square, and the space is used well. This market was established in 1994 and is awash with everything fresh. Go to smell the fragrance of basil and peppers lingering in the air, which believe me, is much better than the way the air normally smells in Toronto. Once you are there you may even buy something.
Sherway Farmer's Market (Highway 27 and the Queensway)
Opens May 4, opens October 26. Hours of operation 8am-2pm.
Meat pies, sausage rolls and "Rick's Nut Hut" will join the fruit and veggie filled stands this year. This may keep Sherway shoppers out of the mall a little longer than expected.
The Stop Farmer's Market at Wychwood Park
Hours of operation 8am-12pm
This year-round market features lots of local and organic vegetables as well as cheeses, honey and small selection of meats. It's not overtly preachy, but there's also lots of talk about food and where it comes from.
Etobicoke Farmer's Market (Etobicoke Civic Centre, The West Mall)
Opens June 2, closes November 3. Hours of operation 8am-2pm.
Taste test apples or eat your Saturday morning breakfast here to get a true idea of the term "farm fresh."
Weston Farmer's Market (John and Weston)
Opens May 12, closes October 27. Hours of operation 7am-2pm.
This market prides itself on selling spices as well as local fruits and vegetables to reflect the many cultures that make up the area. You can get your dinner ingredients in one place and not have to get frostbite from air conditioning. Bonus.
Withrow Farmer's Market (South of Danforth, between Carlaw and Logan)
Open May 19, closes October 27. Hours of operation 9am-1pm.
This smaller, community run initiative in the Danforth has everything from gluten free waffles to farmers who insist on throwing extra peaches in your cloth bag. Try to say no.
Leslieville Farmer's Market (at Jonathan Ashbridge Park)
Opens June 3, closes October 28. Hours of operation 9am-2pm.
Local environmentally friendly producers, local musicians...what's not to like? Oh, and they ask that you arrive hungry; as they have waffles. That is the sign of a good person...I mean market.
Liberty Village Farmer's Market (Green P Hanna Street)
Opens June 3, closes October 31. Hours of operation 9am-2pm.
Mostly organic, seasonal, local produce. Most of us are proud if we get one of those right, but all three? You can gloat a little with your green-ness. It is easy being green.
Writing by Courtney Sunday. Photo by Carly Miller on Flickr.