The East York Farmers' Market
The East York Farmers' Market is a wonderful illusion. Upon first glance, what seems like a smattering of random vendors and pedestrians is complete fiction. In reality East Yorkers have been committed patrons since it first opened in 2000. With an eye especially on fresh, local produce, and an unrivaled non-pretentious atmosphere, this little market has a lot on offer every Tuesday from 8am to 2pm.
Here are some of the vendors that make up the East York Farmers' Market.
Round Plains Plantation
Organic sweet potatoes from Waterford Ontario in every form and variety, from pints of orange and purple fleshed sweet potatoes, to vegan and gluten-free baked goods as well. Owners Bob and Juli Proracki have even set up two separate kitchens to ensure no cross contamination for their gluten free customers.
If there were a patriarch of the East York farmers market it would likely be Mike Hill. The Hill family has been a fixture of the market since day one with their impressive array of fresh produce. On the table was everything from zucchinis, green beans, beats, tomatoes, assorted peppers, and more. I had a hard time focusing on what he was saying as the vibrant beats seemed to be speaking to me. All chemical free.
Hattie's Homemade Preserves
You cannot get more local than Hattie, who lives mere blocks away. Hattie would be the markets matriarch, as she and Mike Hill are the organizers of the market since its inception, and her amazing preserves will keep her a market staple for the long term. Not defined just by her preserves, sauces, and jams (all about $6), Hattie also grows Ontario garlic, which tends to be hard to find. Her preserved dill garlic looked amazing!
Absolutely lovely and intelligent folks, providing a wonderful assortment of mushrooms from shiitake, oyster, cremini, and Portobello just to name a few. A local, chemical free mushroom is extremely hard to find, and so is the type of passion Al and Anne bring to the table. I can't recommend this vendor enough. $5 gets you a generous pint of most varieties.
This family run farm from Port Perry is known for their lush strawberries ($4-$6), and when in season their corn, especially the harder to find yellow corn (most corn is bi colour or peaches and cream corn). After being in this market for over ten years, its apparent they are well liked, and have a loyal following. While firm practitioners of sustainable growing, they are not organic. They also do 'to order' beef and lamb, which is locally raised, hormone and anti-biotic free meat.
Locally made soaps, scents, essential oils and more from second year vendor Shelagh Mcguire. Despite the amazing soaps and aromas, the one item that stuck out to me was the $4 all natural stain remover stick, which seemed to be a big seller.
It's a small market with a lot of great character and heart, but most of all I sensed a real affinity for its locals and what the vendors were able to showcase.
The East York Farmers' Market can be found at 850 Coxwell Avenue
Discover more of Toronto's farmers' markets via out Toronto Farmers' Markets Pinterest board.
Writing by Nick Smith. Photos by Kat Rizza.
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