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Jun 4, 2008 09:34 PM

City Hall Farmer's Market-first day of the season

So excited that it's that time of the year again! Not too much on offer at this point in the season, but I picked up some beautful rhubarb, asparagus and green onions this morning. The best part of the trip, however, was to Gurth Pretty's stall - he's going to be there every week with Ontario artisanal and heritage cheese. He had a nice selection of cow, goat and sheep's milk cheeses today, including some that I had not tried before. I picked up some Niagara Gold and a 7-year old cheddar. What a great addition to the market!

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      1. Was Grampa Ken's back-bacon-on-a-bun stall there? It's at the Weston Farmer's market on Saturdays, but also used to be at the City Hall market. Really good sandwich.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Yongeman

          I normally go to the market on my way to work in the morning, so I haven't really paid attention to the prepared foods in the past. I took a look today, though, and didn't see it. I don't think the market is fully up to speed yet - at least I hope it isn't, because there aren't nearly as many stalls there now as there were last year.

          1. re: tracey

            Thanks for looking, tracey. Guess I'll have to get my fix on Saturdays at the Weston Farmer's Market.

            1. re: tracey

              No, it's way slow until July. I'd say about half of the regular vendors were there yesterday. Lots of strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus. Also lettuce and greens, greenhouse tomatoes, mushrooms.

              New this year are St. John's bakery and Gurth Pretty's cheese stall. Would still love to see someone with eggs.

          2. have you tried organic farmers markets? in summer they're great. dufferin grove on thursday and brickworks on saturday are especially good.

            1. Am I being cranky? But last year I went regularly to the Farmer's Market until I learned that many of the vegetable and fruit vendors aren't farmers selling their own vegs but interlopers picking up the goods at the food terminal. i hate to be picky but if I wanted food from the food terminal I would go to Dominions. I will check out the cheese guy though... love cheese... num

              7 Replies
              1. re: Apple

                Lots of 'Farmers' markets' have vendors selling produce from the Food Terminal, especially the south St. Lawrence Market. It's not too hard to tell who's selling local products--know what's in season, check out the vendor etc. Just because some vendors sell non-local products doesn't mean that all of them do.

                1. re: Yongeman

                  I agree - I didn't say all but many. I have no issue with people selling in season vegetables from the food terminal.... because everyone has to make a living... But a "farmer's market" implies that there will be farmers there (people who work for farmers) or at least people who will be selling their own products (ie. artisanal cheese) - right? Otherwise, it is just an open air food market and not a farmer's market. That's what I think the difference is.


                    1. re: EarlyDrive

                      Oh you're kidding me! darn. i totally forgot about it. I would love to make some lovely strawberry jams. Hopefully - I can load up next week.

                    2. re: Apple

                      There are some non-farmers at the City Hall market, but a good number of actual farmers and artisnal food producers as well. It's pretty easy to tell the difference - the actual farmers (or representatives of farms) usually have clearly displayed signs indicating where they are from. If the booth has no such sign, odds are they're just food terminal folks.

                      1. re: gregclow

                        I agree, it's easy to tell. Sometimes the amount of soil clinging to vegetables is a good indicator - or conversely, waxed peppers with little stickers on them ;-)

                        I find that there are more and more "real" farmers represented at the markets because of the public demand. Also, some of the farmers have both field-grown and greenhouse-grown produce, and if it's not clear from their signage, you can just ask them. Some of them, at certain times of the season, will also sell produce from other farmers. For instance, I was surprised to see one of them with peaches last year because I know where his farm is, and I didn't think that he had fruit trees. When I asked about it, he said that he had an agreement with a farmer in Niagara to provide each other with whatever produce that one grew and the other didn't, so that they could satisfy the needs of their respective customers.

                    3. re: Yongeman

                      South St. Lawrence Market is not a "farmers' market", and has never been advertised as such. The fruit & veg vendors in there are quite clearly grocers, not farmers.

                      It's the North Market that is a farmers' market on Saturdays. There may be a few hucksters there, but for the most part, it's the actual farmers selling their produce.