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Jul 23, 2007 07:36 AM

Dufferin Grove vs City Hall Markets

I have two free days a week and am able to go to either of these markets (Wednesday or Thursday). Comments /your choice/reason for choosing? thanks so much..........

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  1. Dufferin grove is organic and has a slightly hippy, community feel to it. City Hall is not organic (although some vendors may have some organice products) and I am not convinced all the vendors are farmers. The crowd is mostly office workers.

    But you probably want to know about the food :) I haven't been recently enough to directly compare selection.

    5 Replies
    1. re: julesrules

      There has been a n attempt by FMO ( farmer's Market Ontario) recently to separate real producers from hucksters see

      That being said neither of the two are part of the "real farmers, real local " program- one is in Liberty Village, and the other in Woodbine centre- they are called My Markets.

      Insofar as labelling one market "non organic"-that's simply not true of either being organic or non.. Heck, even I'm not convinced all the vendors at Dufferin are actual farmers, even. All you have to so is talk to them, and get a feel for if they grow their own or not.

      That all said- being stuck downtown often left me with not much choice than the city hall one, I quite liked a few of the vendors-and honestly didn't mind some of the prices ( compared to reg grocery stores!)but for meat & fish I go to Dufferin-starts at 3-ish & goes till 7-so you can get there after a 9-5 job.

      EDIT- more on this in this thread:

      1. re: EPIcureanTO

        The Dufferin market does have "guidelines" re: organic, GMO, and how much stuff can be from other farms; I'm not aware that City Hall does, or not along the same lines.

        That said I like the City Hall market just fine for local, and I shopped there every week when I worked next door. It's not any cheaper than the grocery store though.

        I think Dufferin predates the "My Markets". They have a good thing going on their own, so not sure they need to participate in that to prove themselves - not to my mind, anyway.

        1. re: EPIcureanTO

          By branding all resellers as hucksters, FMO has banned vendors who buy directly from Ontario farmers, and who take on the risks associated with the transportation and marketing local produce. To be a farmer and also sell at a Toronto FMO market, means a long, hot, costly commute into the city. Allowing direct farm resellers would increase the variety of local products available for Toronto consumers at our farmers markets.

          1. re: torontovore

            Good points, TV- I also read that it cost $200 to join, and lots of "proof of farming" paperwork is demanded for approval.

            I can't help but think that it's too bad the land north of steeles that used to be farmland not too long ago has been so ravaged by development-perhaps the farmer's drives wouldn't have been so far as they are now.

            I think what the kawartha' Choice doing is a better idea- simply identifying the product.

            As a consumer it's sometimes too difficult to get to these markets- I just try to at least buy Ontario-grown...

          2. re: EPIcureanTO

            Most of the vendors at City Hall are actual farmers; Andrews Scenic Acres, Brant Orchards,Willowtree Farms. Thames River Melons, Caledon Springs Farm, Bilski, etc. Some of them even vend at the certified markets on other days.

            And I've been to the Dufferin market in the early spring where vendors were selling organic imported pineapples and kiwi, so I've always assumed their mandate was organic first, local second.

            I prefer City Hall for produce, but do like Dufferin for the bread.

        2. Dufferin has a far greater selection. City Hall seems to be a lot of corn and cut flowers. And not cheap, either.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dimbulb

            Ah, see, I find exactly the opposite. Dufferin is quite varied, but there's no competition - it's almost as if vendors are hand-picked so there will only be one or two people selling the same thing. There's only two vendors at City Hall with flowers (one flower specific and one who also runs an apiary). Most of the vendors do sell what's in season, but the guys from Brant Orchards only have apples, there's another vendor with stone fruit, one with sweet potatoes, lots with berries.

            Plus the imported pineapples and kiwis at Dufferin really turned me off. Sure they're grown by farmers, but not Ontario farmers.