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Best of Toronto

The Best Farmers Markets in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / August 24, 2012

farmers markets torontoThe best farmers' markets in Toronto offer more than just great food shopping. While the variety of fresh, natural, and seasonal foods is usually bar-none (and isn't even worth comparing to the typical big-box market), you'll often find a wealth of knowledge amongst the organic strawberries and hormone-free meats.

My best farmers' market experiences usually involve lengthy chats with local vendors about the international cocoa trade and merits of goat's milk ice cream, leaving me with a little "food for thought" to go along with the local ingredients I've brought home for dinner.

Here is the list of the best farmers' markets in Toronto.

Brick Works Farmers' Market
The farmers' market at Evergreen Brick Works offers so much more than produce shopping. Saturday morning visitors are treated to music, kids' activities, and special tastings and information sessions, all while they feast on an organic hot dog or sugar-free lemonade. The vendors offer everything from knife sharpening to naturally raised meats, with a focus on heath for body and environment. A foodie paradise from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dufferin Grove Farmers MarketDufferin Grove
Dufferin Grove's farmers' market wins big points for accessibility. It's easily accessed by various forms of transit, open all year long (moved inside the rink house during the winter), and perfect for weekday nine-to-fivers. The market is held each Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., offering shoppers the opportunity to pick up some Georgian Bay fish or local organic beef on the way home from work, and sheep's milk ice cream cones to enjoy while they shop.

toronto best farmers marketSt. Lawrence Market North
The farmers' market at St. Lawrence Market North is known for great samples, great variety, and great conversations with knowledgeable local vendors. Seemingly always up for a chat, you'll certainly get to know just what went into your Mouton Rouge cheese or gluten-free bread is you go ahead and ask. Open every Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wychwood Park/Wychwood Barns
Technically called "The Stop's Farmers' Market," but known colloquially as "that awesome market at Wychwood Barns." This is another market that is open all year round, and usually packed with 30 or 40 vendors and operating each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Market favourites include Kurtis Coffee, Sugar Mammas Mini Donuts, and Bizjak Farms.

Sorauren Farmers' Market
Operated by the West-End Food Coop, the Sorauren Farmers' Market is somewhat no-frills, but definitely offers all of those farmers' market staples. You'll find a mix of vendors here including those known to make the farmers' market rounds (ChocoSol, Ying Ying Soy Food), as well as smaller operations (Baba Link Farm, deFloured). The market is hosted in Sorauren Park every Monday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

toronto best farmers marketLeslieville Farmers' Market
A newbie to Toronto's farmers' market scene but already drawing huge crowds to Jonathan Ashbridge Park. The Leslieville Farmers' Market has dozens of vendors offering everything from produce to meats to prepared foods, with a couple of familiar Leslieville faces (Hooked, LPK's Culinary Groove, Canadian Pie Company) setting up stalls for the Sunday event. Activities for kids, and the odd cookbook swap, too. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Junction Farmers' Market
From newbie to newest. The Junction Farmers' Market may still be in its inaugural year, but it has already garnered the attention of some 20ish vendors and plenty of west-end residents keen on local foods. Operating out of a Green P parking lot at Dundas and Pacific, the market is stocked with farm-fresh foods, specialty honeys, sustainable seafood, and handmade charcuterie. This one's a popular one, so come early. Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers MarketTrinity Bellwoods Farmers' Market
At the northwest corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park, this market is somewhat small compared to others on this list but still manages to keep all the food basics covered. Ali's Fish Shack and Monforte Dairy Co. and definite stars here at the market, but so too is St. John's Bakery (a treat for Queen West) and Bona Fide Bean Coffee. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies as well. Hosted each Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

toronto best farmers marketEast Lynn Farmers' Market
Five years and counting, the East Lynn Farmers' Market is a favourite summer attraction for the Danforth and Woodbine community. While the kids seem to flock straight to the face-painting tent (and can you blame them?) the food-minded focus in on the farm-fresh fruits, organic veggies, and freshly cut flowers. And meats, of course. The market has also started to feature prepared foods by area business owners. Each Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

toronto best farmers marketEtobicoke Civic Centre Farmers' Market
Etobicoke, too, has its own lineup of farmers' markets, and the Saturday event hosted at the Civic Centre is perhaps best of them all. The space is swarmed from market onset in June to its close in November, packed with people looking for farm-fresh eggs, meats, and produce. Fruits and veggies make up the bulk of the spread, but natural honey and maple syrups don't go unappreciated. Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Appletree MarketsAppletree Markets
Recently relocating to June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mount Pleasant, AppleTree Market has been offering the farmers' market experience to midtown Toronto for the last several years. Hosted spring through fall Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the market is packed with more than 30 vendors offering organic, naturally raised, and sustainable foods, as well as also plans to feature a new food truck each week. That's right; Ontario grown strawberries, and deli meats from a truck.

Riverdale Farm Farmers' Market
This market gives new meaning to the words "farm fresh" (though, of course, the spread comes from elsewhere...nevermind). Riverdale Farm hosts its own farmers' market just outside its main gates on Tuesday afternoons. There you'll find plenty of preserves, a good assortment of plants and flowers, and lots of organic Ontario-grown produce. Held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays during the season, extending farm operating hours.

To learn more about farmers' markets in Toronto, visit our Toronto Farmers' Markets Pinterest board.

Discussion

35 Comments

Rich / August 24, 2012 at 08:51 am
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"The Best"... but you just listed pretty much all the farmers markets around the GTA? Christ you guys are getting laaaaazzzzzyyyyy with your posts.
Franco / August 24, 2012 at 08:57 am
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I have to venture outside St. Lawrence, because I haven't been to very many of these. And re: previous commenter, you're not being lazy, just thorough. Which when you think about it, is the opposite of lazy.
Ben / August 24, 2012 at 08:58 am
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The Sorauren market barely qualifies as a "Farmer's Market", there is very little produce available here.
Spencer / August 24, 2012 at 09:01 am
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Why don't you just list all the farmers markets in the city, as the "best" list doesn't include anything north of Eglinton or East of Woodbine.
Rick / August 24, 2012 at 09:03 am
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Has anyone been to Ryerson's farmers' market?
Urban Studies Geographer / August 24, 2012 at 09:26 am
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Anyone can just load a van with produce from the Ontario Food Terminal and sell produce claiming they're from a farm by Leamington.

Really, what is the virtue of farmers markets? Overpriced. Also, if it really is from a local farm, I doubt that using a van or pick up truck to drive into the city is better than something shipped on a bulk shipping container ship then sent by rail and truckers. Seriously, a van bringing produce to the city is a huge carbon maker vs more efficient sea/rail/truck garlic from Mexico or China. Also, the farmers market produce being overpriced is likely to just spoil.
Aaron replying to a comment from Rich / August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am
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@ Rich:

I've gotta disagree... 3 of my favourites AREN'T here. Fresh Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips, Tuesdays at the Hospital for Sick Kids, and Saturdays at Withrow Park in Riverdale.

And those are just three that *I* know of. For a surely comprehensive list, check out the Grid's article (I'm too lazy and unknowledgeable to attach it here)
James / August 24, 2012 at 10:03 am
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Liberty Village?
Eric / August 24, 2012 at 11:31 am
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I agree, Liberty Village market should be on the list.
Alix James replying to a comment from Urban Studies Geographer / August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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"Really, what is the virtue of farmers markets?"

Giving money directly to a small and medium-sized Canadian business, instead of a middleman or a large, multi-national corporation concerning mainly with placating shareholders.

As for spoilage, most people take better care of stuff they pay more for than cheap stuff. Just sayin'

There is also the fact that something coming from Mexico or California is obviously picked sooner than something coming from 100 miles away.

Please tell me you are either an amateur urban studies geographer, or this is just a cheap, trollish way of getting people to do your homework for you?
mikeB / August 24, 2012 at 01:23 pm
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I really like Withrow Park Farmer's Market. Good selection, lots of prepared food, and produce, coffee, bread, organic, free range, whatever. It is all there, with activities for kids to do as well. Withrow one of the most underated parks in the city!
KA / August 24, 2012 at 05:31 pm
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Re: Spencer "Why don't you just list all the farmers markets in the city, as the "best" list doesn't include anything north of Eglinton or East of Woodbine"
There is a great Farmers Market in Weston on Saturdays
http://jenniferarnott.blogspot.ca/2012/06/this-mornings-haul-from-weston-farmers.html
TK / August 24, 2012 at 07:49 pm
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http://www.my-market.ca/

Bloor and Borden
Liberty Village
TK / August 24, 2012 at 07:52 pm
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But I also like Wychwood and the BrickWorks
Julia replying to a comment from mikeB / August 24, 2012 at 08:09 pm
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Shhhh! If everyone knows about Withrow and the awesome market, they will come!
Bruce / August 24, 2012 at 09:57 pm
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The one in Leslieville isn't very good. The one guy tries to pass off regular produce as organic with his confusing signs. When you confront him he defends it with saying his produce is only lightly sprayed. I guess a little poison is ok in his mind. I don't mind non-organic, but please don't try to pass it off as organic.
Bruce replying to a comment from mikeB / August 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm
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When is the one in Withrow Park, I would love to check it out.
PBudziak / September 11, 2012 at 09:12 am
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What about the Ontario Food Terminal, Perhaps the greatest Farmers Market in the city.
joyce / September 23, 2012 at 12:34 am
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I guess nothing for Scarborough. Sucks to be stuck out here. I feel dumb driving 45mins just to local and/or organic, seems more wasteful. So I'm stuck with disgusting big supermarkets where two or three items that are organic because no one out here gives a crap. I miss LA where there was a farmer's market 10 mins in every direction.
Lucas / September 24, 2012 at 10:41 am
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Downsview Park has a Farmers Market, Open Saturday & Sunday only. It's amazing and the prices are unreal!
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm
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I really like Withrow Park Farmer's Market. Good selection, lots of prepared food, and produce, coffee, bread, organic, free range, whatever. It is all there, with activities for kids to do as well. Withrow one of the most underated parks in the city!
bk replying to a comment from Rich / October 21, 2012 at 02:51 am
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your obviously not familiar with all the markets in this city.
look it up before you comment
Mike / December 13, 2012 at 03:54 am
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For sale is a fully operational 5000 ha farm in Western Romania. It comes with an operating base, office building, machine shop, storage halls, machinery, 17 employees.
200 ha are owned and the balance of the land is leased for contracts of up to seven years.
This is an ideal entry point for a company looking to expand into the Romanian agricultural sector. It would also be suited as an investment, as the farm management can be secured after the purchase.
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Mike / December 13, 2012 at 03:55 am
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An existing farming operation with 7000 ha in ownership in Western Romania can be purchased as an alternative investment.
It is a turnkey operation, ideal for an investment fund, private equity, HNWI. It could be purchased entirely or just a percentage of the shares.
For more details, please email or call 011.40.722.194.136
jo / July 1, 2013 at 03:50 pm
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There is a farmers market at Scarborough, at the UofT campus there (Morningside and Ellesmere) every Wed, 3-7 pm. In the North parking lot in summer and indoors in a university building (but open to public) in winter.
https://www.facebook.com/UTSCfarmers
allisonjayne / July 10, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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The Riverdale Farm market is not great.
Team Empowered replying to a comment from Urban Studies Geographer / October 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm
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I would have to not agree with that. By purchasing locally you are encouraging people to be independent and not dependent on the big names from the supermarket. Why but products from the Usa and other countries when we can buy them here and sustain our local economy. Organic foods if much better and there are some verification to be able to put up at these farmers markets. You can't just buy stuff from the terminal and go here. People have a relationship with the farmers and when or if the big companies shut down, then we would certainly need to depend on the local farmers, however there could be crooks in the business but people can tell organic foods at least tastes the difference. So try out one of these markets and see for yourself.
Karen / January 29, 2014 at 09:43 pm
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There's a great organic farmers market every Saturdays at Toronto Waldorf School on Bathurst north of Hwy 7. Good selections of fresh produce, bakery and good cooked food! http://www.villagemarket.ca/thisweek.htm
Bill replying to a comment from jo / January 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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Can you give me more info on the Scarborough Market at UofT
Julie / March 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm
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Hello, could anyone direct me as to how I would get application forms as a vendor to these markets?
Hiwot / May 2, 2014 at 11:44 am
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If anyone is looking for the 2014 Farmers' Market Guide, click on this map to see where, when and for how long farmers will be selling their goods this year in Toronto:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=zyMGx1jF9On8.kt2288ponTZk&;cid=mp&cv=Q1d6ORns8HM.en

Source: https://www.facebook.com/MealGarden/photos/a.591547317549967.1073741828.273378309366871/710503422321022/?type=1&;theater
amanda vanhart / June 1, 2014 at 05:49 pm
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VanHarts All Organic attends City Place, Bloor & Borden, as well as Liberty Village! All of our produce is hand picked and brought to you only a couple hours before market!
Joanne replying to a comment from Rich / June 8, 2014 at 09:23 am
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No need to swear
Robert / July 26, 2014 at 03:10 pm
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Can someone tell me - where "farmers" get their produce that they sell as from their farm? Some of them are real farmers - but some of them are not. they are just plain resellers. you can get the same even better quality produce from Loblaws.... I went to a local farm a few years ago in the summer time and they were selling: bananas ! really - bananas from THEIR farm????
internetmatika / September 3, 2014 at 11:20 am
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