The Junction Farmers' Market debuts
The Junction Farmers' Market became the latest addition to the Toronto farmers' market landscape this past weekend. Running every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until October, this farmers' market operates out of a Green P parking lot at Dundas St. West and Pacific Ave. and currently features about 20 vendors. Daniela Paolone, one of the market's organizers, told me the Junction Farmers' Market was a year in the making. I stopped by on an overcast and blustery opening day to find the small parking lot filled with balloon-toting kids, bright bursts of colorful produce, and hungry shoppers.
Here are the vendors that stood out the most.
Bizjak is located in the Niagara region, and offers tree-ripened fruit. By the time I got there, their bounty had whittled to a gorgeous array of red apples ($5 per package), but their produce typically includes peaches, pears, raspberries and cherries.
Bees' Universe is a Canadian company that offers, you guessed it, honey. From large tubs of wildflower honey, to pure pollen granules--a noted health supplement--to honeycomb and buckwheat honey, you'll find a wide selection of honey products, all locally farmed.
City Seed Farms
City Seed Farms is one of the market's three urban farmers, and is a bicycle-powered farm based out of the High Park area. They're proponents of SPIN farming, where home owners donate a small plot of their land for farming use, and in return, receive a weekly harvest from the farmer. They offered free tomato seedlings, as well as spinach, radish, kale and mustard greens (1 for $3 or 2 for $5).
Fresh City Farms
Fresh City Farms' home base is located in Downsview Park and consists of a two-acre farm and greenhouse area. Consumers can obtain their goods through weekly box deliveries of organic and locally-farmed produce and salad greens. On offer at the Junction Farmers' Market was fresh-picked produce, as well as the "sandwich booster," a blend of canola, radish and alfalfa sprouts ($4 for a large bag).
Oso Leo Collective
The Oso Leo Collective aims to harvest local and wild foods, and this translates into a diverse product range that includes Ontario apples, fresh-pressed cider, wild vegetables (such as pickled leeks), and an assortment of prepared foods.
Fiddlehead Farm is a new farm operating out of Prince Edward County with the mandate of ethical and sustainable farming. They brought a lovely mix of spicy mesclun ($5), spinach ($5) and lettuce ($5), as well as radishes ($3) and kale ($3).
Monforte Dairy is based out of Stratford and is best known for their truly delectable (and complex) sheep, goat and cow milk cheeses, but at the Junction Farmers' Market, you'll also find their summer sausage and other fixings for the finest sandwich you've ever made.
North Gate Organics
North Gate Organics offers organic produce such as heirloom vegetables out of their 2-acre market garden in Cold Springs. You can find their products at the Junction Farmers' Market--such as rhubarb ($4), turnips ($4) and kale ($3)--or through Community Shared Agriculture, which delivers a box of fresh produce to your door each week.
This certified organic and sustainable family-owned farm hails from Norfolk County that boasts over 30 vegetable crops. For the spring, you can expect gloriously leafy lettuce, cabbage, spinach and kale and look forward to broccoli, beets and tomatoes.
Willo' Wind Farms
Willo' Wind Farms is a 50-acre C.R.A.F.T farm--a network of farms that aims to offer training and apprenticeships to would-be farmers--that offers organically-grown produce such as radish, spinach, kale, green garlic and green onion. You'll also find natural meats such as ground beef.
Eudora Fine Foods
Eudora Fine Foods makes that most glorious of culinary accoutrements: curry. Accompanying the vast spread of jars is a helpful heat scale, topped by the Diablo and Chili chutneys, and with Green and Coconut curries on the more manageable side. Founded in 2008, these artisanal curries are made in small batches and using fresh and local ingredients where available.
Evelyn's Crackers offers handmade artisanal crackers made from organic, heritage grains from local farmers, heritage varieties of red fife, buckwheat and barley, and accented by currants and seeds. Also on offer was lavender shortbread, and red fife flour at $7 each, or 3 for $20.
Fisherfolk aims to provide both consumers and restaurants with fresh, sustainable and ethically-fished seafood. On offer was lobster tail ($8), fresh halibut ($22), pickerel ($16), smoked trout ($28) and digby scallops ($22). By the time I got around to peeking into the large coolers, there was just a hefty portion of salmon ($17.50) left.
Hogtown Charcuterie was, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely popular. Their offerings, handmade out of Kensington Market, range from Polish country sausage ($7.99/lb) for the BBQ, to a double smoked shoulder ham ($4 for 1/4 lb), to maple bacon, to pork and rabbit rilettes ($9). Especially appetizing was a rabbit terrine with brandied apricots ($8).
Ying Ying Soy Food
Ying Ying Soy Food serves up artisanal tofu, gorgeously spiced and prepared in flavours ranging from sweet and spicy ($4), to tofu in black bean ($4), and tofu jerky ($2.75). Using organic and local soybeans, and a 2,000 tofu-making tradition, the result is coagulated with nigari and free of artificial additives.
You'll also find De La Terre Bakery and Wheelbarrow Farm. The former offers organic, artisanal breads such as sourdough, whole wheat, spelt bread and multigrain breads, while Wheelbarrow's headquarters are located an hour northeast of Toronto and support organic and sustainable farming and agricultural practices.
For more local farmers' markets, check out our 2012 Farmers' Markets preview.