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May 27, 2007 09:47 AM

Brickworks farmers market

Did anyone check this out yesterday? We did and were kinda disappointed. It's from 8 to 2 each saturday and we arrived at about 11. Apparently they had a great turn out and everything was sold out earlier in the a.m. St Johns Bakery was there also and pretty much sold out of everything as well. I think as word gets out, more vendors will get least that is my hope. But we did get to try Jamie Kennedy's french fries which were fantastic...made the trip worth while after all. We will definitely go again but maybe later in the season when more is available. It's nice just to walk around there.

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    1. They must've had a REALLY good turn-out yesterday if things were pretty much sold out by 11, as the hours this weekend were 10-4 rather than 8-2 in order to be in conjunction with Doors Open.

      Someone commented to my post on Taste T.O. about the two new east end markets saying pretty much the same thing about the Brick Works - i.e. pretty poor selection of fresh produce - although as you say, things will be pretty sparse for the first few weeks since they are concentrating on local produce only.

      We had a similar experience at the opening of the Liberty Village market today. The only fresh produce available was asparagus, rhubarb and sweet potatoes. They also had a honey vendor and a maple syrup vendor, as well as a few flower and herb booths. The "official" opening isn't until June 10th, so hopefully things will pick up a bit by then.

      Oh, and the person who commented about the Brick Works also checked out Withrow Park and said they found a better selection and enjoyed it more.

    2. How do you get to the Brickworks market? I am relatively new to the area and am having a difficult time trying to find the directions to it.

      Can't wait to check it out! Sounds like it is going to be great once there is more available!

      3 Replies
      1. re: tomgrrrl

        Google is your friend... I typed in "brickworks market directions" and got it right away. To save you that step:

          1. re: tomgrrrl

            by the way, they are also providing a shuttlebus service from the broadview subway station every half hour. If you don't drive it can be difficult to get to.

      2. I did both new Markets on Saturday. Not a bad first day's effort. I'm hoping the selection gets better as more stuff gets into season. I got to Withrow about 11 and the bread was all gone except for some chocolate banana loaves at a cacao stall. Lots of people were walking around with tall bunches of wild garlic. I picked up some ramps and mushrooms from Fun Guy and had a lovely omelette. One lady was selling heirloom tomatoe seedlings. No meat to speak of (organic or otherwise). Let's hope the meat-haters haven't ruined it for us carnivores.
        I got to Brickworks around 12:30 and most of the farmers were long gone. There were lots of activities for kids and tons of plants for sale for spring planting. The fries from the Jaime-clones (you've got to see them to believe it) were delish. The veggie dog and veggie burg were not. Again, no meat except for lamburgers.
        I wouldn't go to either Market expecting to fill my menu for a dinner party, though both were lovely starts.

        15 Replies
        1. re: jimmyb32

          Okay, so coming from Peterborough for a weekend, which markets should I hit for most variety and interesting items? (Assuming I can hit three, starting at 8 a.m.?)

          1. re: kawarthagirl

            Definitely St Lawrence, it's great all the time, but especially on a Saturday when the north market is open. If you are hanging around a bit on Sunday a new market opened in Liberty Village. The only other Sunday market I know of in the city is in the Distillery District, not worth it if you are only going for the market, but Soma, Balzac's and Brick Street Bakery make it worthwhile.

            1. re: kawarthagirl

              Hey, kawarthagirl! Aside from The Brickworks and St. Lawrence North, the following farmers' markets in the GTA are open on Saturdays:

              Withrow Park: 725 Logan Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
              Etobicoke Civic Centre: 399 The West Mall, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
              Weston: GO Train parking lot (Weston & Lawrence), 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
              The Village Organic Market: 9100 Bathurst St. (Toronto Waldorf School), 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

              The following are open on Sundays, as mentioned:

              Distillery District: 55 Mill St., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
              Liberty Village: 34 Hanna Ave. (at East Liberty St.), 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
              NOTE: The Liberty Village market is one of only two in Canada (the other is at Woodbine Centre) that have a "certified local" designation.

              Check out the FoodShare website for more info on farmers' markets:

              1. re: FlavoursGal

                FG, thanks for posting that link to all the TO farmers' markets.

                1. re: FlavoursGal

                  The Liberty Village Market was disappointing. I was there on the opening day; perhaps it needs some time to evolve. I was really looking forward to it because my office is a 10 second walk from there. I also found that the Brickworks market was just okay. Other than the north SLM, The best one in TO is Dufferin Grove IMO, with Riverdale a close second. I'm hoping that the other markets will get better in the fullness of time.

                  1. re: acd123

                    I wonder if there are enough local farmers to support all these markets? Farmers can't be at markets every day... The Riverdale market does have some vendors with a large volume of produce as the season progresses, but there are also several operations who seem really small scale. I think it's great the idea is taking off but I wonder is all.

                    1. re: julesrules

                      I have read that there is a bigger problem in that in most farmers markets there are very few farmers. Most of the vendors just go to the food terminal buy produce then take it to a market and resell it. You are not guaranteed that it is even local produce. This is one of the reasons Liberty market opened they are only allowing in certified farmers. I am sure that the market will improve as the growing season progresses but if you are looking for true local produce there would not be much available right now anyway...

                      1. re: OnDaGo

                        I've become more and more disillusioned with the fruit / veg sellers in SLM South. The quality is haphazard and prices are high.
                        What is the difference between buying from them or my local store because it is all comes from the food terminal anyway. It looks like Liberty Village, Brickworks and Woodbine Center are the only markets with the governing rule:

                        "Vendors must grow/ produce what they sell."

                        As FlavoursGal says, I'm willing to wait and support these farmers and get truly local and fresh produce when it is in season. In the meantime I'll support my local green grocer.

                        Any other markets meet these criteria, please let me know.

                        1. re: Mila

                          The Nathan Phillips Square market on Wednesdays requires that the vendors be farmers, and that all produce must be from Ontario, I believe. That may have changed, but it looked like the rule still held when I went today.

                          1. re: Mila

                            Sounds like a good philosphy to me, although I do like the North and South SLM. I just wish that we could have what San Francisco has at the Ferry Building on Saturdays. A HUGE, diverse farmers market. Actually, I wonder if the vendors do the exact same thing there (i.e. buy from a food terminal and resell it) but it does not look like it. I guess the size and diversity of their farmers market is a function of their climate and growing season.

                            1. re: FlavoursGal

                              "I believe that the majority of vendors at the farmers' markets in the GTA are selling their own produce and/or foodstuffs."

                              The farmers federation thinks this is simply not true that is why they have started the certification for Liberty etc.

                        2. re: acd123

                          Two interesting links:

                          Harvest Ontario Magazine @ Home Hardware listing farmgate sales, markets, etc

                          My Market, certified local farmer markets, apparently only Woodbine and Liberty so far.

                          That said, I think you can find local farmers at other markets if you ask the right questions.

                          1. re: Mila

                            So has anyone been lately to the my markets?

                            Mila- I agree 100% about the "right questions"

                    2. re: jimmyb32

                      At Withrow Park, there is meat that comes from Weber's farm, operated by David and Ellen Weber, young Mennonite farmers. I was hoping to buy some drug free meat, sausage specificially. However, Mr. Weber said that the pork would not be ready for another month.

                      Keep in mind that he only comes in every other week. He brought his two children today who help out by doing the math on orders.

                      There is no website but if you want to get onto his mailing list (snail mail), contact him at 519-353-4113. You can also visit the farm at RR#3, 1230 Bruce Road 11, Paisley, Ontario.

                      I was most impressed with the way he conducted business. He's obviously the source, is knowledgable about his product, and willing to educate you about the meats that he carries.

                      If you come to this market, don't expect anything huge. You won't be able to complete your shopping list in one go. There are also a few people who are vendors, not farmers. For example, Leslieville Cheese Shop is here, probably for the exposure more than anything else.

                      I also recognized St. John's Bakery.

                      Glad to have a new source for home grown food.

                      1. re: Zengarden

                        It is a small market but I think you could get all your produce here if you were flexible. I like that there's plenty of fruit. Great apricots. Thanks for the report on the beef vendor. How did it taste?

                    3. I've watched this market develop over the course of the summer, and assume that it is going to last for a few weeks longer. A few highlights in addition to the breads that have been mentioned.

                      Cookstown Greens - While you can find their wares in many downtown shops, they make an extra effort to bring the more interesting goods here, and the staff are able to give you guidance on how to cook things, and balance flavours. Recently, they've had the multicoloured heirloom carrots, radish pods, heirloom beans, golden sunburst squashes (can be used raw), peppery Japanese greens, and bizarre mushrooms.

                      Forbes products. There have been articles of late on these folks, who practice sustainable foraging in different parts of the country, and sell things you won't find anywhere else. These guys have what folks like Susur will be using NEXY YEAR, when he discovers the ingredients. Pickled milkweed pode, preserved spruce tips, all sorts of dried wild mushrooms in bulk at the best prices in the city, and jams, jellys and preserves made from ingredients that you won't find in McGee (maybe Traill or Moody, if your libraries go that far back). Again, helpful staff with many suggestions.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Snarf

                        Just checked their website:
                        "Held over by popular demand until December 1st every Saturday from 8am - 1pm"

                        I am finally going to get there this weekend. Thanks for the products report.