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Best of the Farmer's Markets

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  • soko Jul 19, 2009 11:32 AM
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What products have you found outstanding at the different farmer's markets around Toronto? This could include prepared foods like meat pies, pastries and breads, or fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and chesses. Are there specific vendors/markets that you find provide consistently high or outstanding quality?

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  1. I have a lot of favourties but I'll start with a new one. Toorshi's Pickles at Wychwood and Brickworks. Amazing and addictive pickles. They have several varieties, including fantastic pickles turnips, as well as a new product, pickled green beens. There couldn't be a better garnish for a spicy caesar.

    They are expensive but worth it IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: acd123

      Really like their hot & savoury cucumber pickles. Very addictive with a nice little delayed heat. For an extra zing factor the pepper pieces themselves are also yummy.

    2. At the St Lawrence Market (north side) - Monforte Dairy (anything! but her Pesto chevre is my current favourite). Chicken from Clements, Lamb from Best Baa. Fruit from anyone outside. Also found someone doing fresh Red Fife pasta right in front of the front doors at the North Market. Really really wonderful stuff. Oh yeah, the strudel place is also excellent.

      Brickworks - Funguy (sp?) for mushrooms - AMAZING selection, 5th Town Cheese and Merchants of Green Coffee for a bit of a fix. I know there are other good spots there, I just can't remember the names....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Otonabee

        Agree with Fun Guy Farms at Brickworks. The mushrooms are so pristine looking.

        Also at Brickworks, Sosnicki has a terrific selection of heirloom tomatoes.

      2. So far, have had great success with Scotch Mountain Meats from Brickworks.

        Agree with Smog on Sosnicki, but not just for tomatoes. Most of what they sell is amazing. As an aside, they are a husband-wife team and H is at Withrow Farmer's market, so if you wan their stuff, and Withrow is more convenient, then go thre. however, they seem to have better selection at Brickwork's.

        Agree on Toorshi's pickles, expensive but worth it. I'm working my way through some fine pickled turnips...not just for shawarmas anymore. Gotta try the beans.

        My breakfast treat at Brickworks is the burrito from the burrito & crepe stand at the West end of the market. FOrget the name. It's addictive. i'm not a big breakfast person, and this bridges the gap nicely.

        11 Replies
        1. re: grandgourmand

          Yep, burritos are excellent! You jogged my memory a bit. Some more favourites (which are located in both Brickworks and The Village Market in Richmond Hill) include:
          - Country Meadows: Amazing dried wild mountain oregano, and organic marinated olives. Their sheeps milk feta is terrific. They also sell eggs and olive oil.
          - Deer Valley Venison Farm has great venison cuts and sometimes smoked venison sausage (smoked by menonites).

          At The Village Market in Richmond Hill only:
          - Guy near the entrance sells organic breads. Great stuff if you're wheat/sugar free.
          - Couple near the back corner (ARWK) sell caribbean foods. They have amazing spelt patties with chicken, beef or veg.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            I was perusing the Scotch Mountain Meats freezer at the Brickworks last Saturday. The meat looked good and prices seemed very reasonable - what have you tried and liked from them?

            Also, which one is Sosnicki?

            I've been enjoying the Susur's son's Singapore Slaw next to Jamie Kennedy's frites - even had Susur serve a portion himself a couple of weeks ago. And this week, I tried one of the injera wraps from the Somali chef on the east end of the market - I needed to doctor it up with more harissa and a bit of sea salt but it was interesting. The breakfast crepes are also amazing. The Brickworks is much of an eating (i.e. "stuff my belly") market than a shopping market for me these days - also supremely family oriented, which I love.

            1. re: peppermint pate

              I've bought a chuck roast, which I ground and turned into the best hamburgers I've ever made. Great beef flavour.

              I've got a piece of boneless short rib that I brined and smoked, meant for pastrami (rather than brisket). I'll let you know of the quality, but it certainly looks good. While I was there once, some lady was raving about their peameal bacon.

              Sosnicki is on the South side of the hangar, adjacent to cookstown greens. They've got a wooden bookshelf thingie that is used to display their produce.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                Thanks - are you sure you mean south for Sosnicki? Unless I've got myself turned around (entirely possible), Cookstown is on the north side. The place with the "bookshelf thingie" (if it's the one I'm thinking of, next to Cookstown, all organic - I bought some yellow chard from them this week) is on the east side. Is that the one you mean?

                1. re: peppermint pate

                  My reference point is Lake Ontario. If i'm looking at Sosnicki, I'm looking in the direction of Lake Ontario, which is due South. Unless I'm totally disoriented, in which case, I need to turn in the boy scout badge.

                  Anyhow, there's another vendor in between Sosnicki and Cookstown, so they're not immediately adjacent. They sell good stuff too.

              2. re: peppermint pate

                Sosnicki is on the north-east side, on the east wall by the corner (if I have my directions right). Next to Cookstown Greens. They have a large shelf with veggies on it, and a table next to it with herbs and more veggies, and of course... a big pile of varied heirlooms (if you're there early enough). And I agree, all of their stuff is great. I buy half of my produce from them alone.

                1. re: SMOG

                  Did they have heirlooms this weekend? They did the prior weekend. And this past Saturday, I didn't go, choosing to stop by Withrow instead, where the Sosnicki guy didn't have any tomatoes. My wife was pissed.

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    They did have a bunch of tomatoes, but they're only now starting to come into season. The prior week, they were sold out by 8:30. This past Sat, I was there shortly after opening, so got a good pick, but would imagine they were all gone fairly quickly. They will start having more and more going forward, plus field tomatoes will begin making their appearance in a couple weeks.

                    1. re: grandgourmand

                      Came across a posting on this site that may shed some light on where the heirloom tomatoes have gone:

                      http://wellpreserved.ca/
                      Look up Joel's article "A Sad Day at the Market".

                      I feel for the Sosnicki's. All that hard work - plowed under.

                      btw: my fave farmer's market is the Weston Market...

                      http://www.welcometoweston.ca/farmers...

                      best corn i've had this summer, and surprisingly reasonable prices. also got some golden beets last week $2.25/bunch, with greens on, of course. most importantly there's no 'tude here.

                      Support your local farmers. They work hard for you.

                      1. re: yummyformytummy

                        heya - Joel from WellPreserved here, thanks for sending the link to yummyformytummy.... the direct link is here in case you cant find = http://wellpreserved.ca/2009/08/16/a-...

                        The Sosnickis will have about 100 pounds a week of hothouse heirlooms - they are close to field in that the greenhouses are open air and treated with all of the respect of the field ones. Those from the field this year may be sprayed a heck of a lot considering the summer we have had. I had heard from another farmer that cukes were also rare this year. It has been a tough year for many.

                        To put the 100 pounds in perspective, they would typically sell about 600 pounds of week of heirlooms (and 400 pounds of other). if you want them, get there early.

                        As yummy says, support your local farmers - the Sosnickis have many other crops (we have listed the 5 markets they attend in the article) as do so many of the great farmers supplying our markets.

                        Support them all you can - and let them know you appreciate them for it!

                        Joel

                2. re: grandgourmand

                  Lady York sells Field Tomatoes (fraudulently called Heirloom in most restaurants LOL). They are cheap and delicious. The real stuff.

                3. Went to the Brickworks today looking for heirloom tomatoes. Was there shortly after 8AM and must say the quality at all of the vendors was really diasppointing. They were all soft and/or "cracked"/split. Has anyone had any luck with heirlooms yet this year? Is this as good as the tomats are going to get this year?

                  I would like to really praise Fifth Town Cheese. Great products, samples provided and I really liked the vendor who loved chatting about his products and answering questions. I'm just starting to really get into cheeses, especially local ones and I will go back every week just for this stand. I specifically went today because I found out Fifth Town has a stand there and was not disappointed!

                  I sampled a type of South African beef sausage that was so yummy! They were only grilling samples today, not selling anything cooked. The vendors plan to return next week with product to sell.

                  And of course, a shout-out to the bread lady (I'm terrible remembering the names of the vendors so please excuse my memory weakness).

                  In contrast, let me say that I could have done without the sterotypical Toronto "attitude" from the Cookstown Greens folks. This was not my first time being received in such a cool and indifferent manner. What an amazing contrast at the Everdale stand where the vendor was warm, generous and enthusiastic with all customers (couldn't tell who was a regular or a favourite, all were welcome).

                  Tried the East Lynde Park market last week. It's small, nice enough vendors but I found the quality of the produce less than great. Not worth the trip.

                  Any updates on the Riverdale Farms market this year?

                  37 Replies
                  1. re: tuttebene

                    I tried that South African sausage too. Soo good, I couln't put my finger on the spicing, though. Could you?

                    I'm disapointed in Cookstown this year too. Seems like the selection was better last year. And the pricing, a small quart or whatever of beets with the tops removed for $4. You get a similar amount plus the tops for $3.50 right next door.

                    1. re: tuttebene

                      I was there also today, but got there quite a bit later than usual (9am). I still managed to get a few quality heirlooms. But I agree, today they were more cracked than before. The lady told me that the extended rain caused the yield to drop dramatically this year, and the quality this week to be a little low (ie. soft and cracked). However, in the past 3 weeks, her heirlooms were nothing short of phenomenal. Unfortunately, the season this year is very short for them and likely there will be few or none next week. The other produce they sell, though, is beautiful and worthwhile.

                      I couldn't agree more with comments on Cookstown Greens. For the past 3 weeks, I left the market and bought either one item or none from them. In past years, I never left without spending $20-30 there. No idea why the attitude started coming out!! It's quite obnoxious though. I think the people working there lately have been employees that don't seem to care. About 4 weeks ago, I think the proprietors were there (as they were in past years). You could talk to them about all the produce, they let you try everything etc. But last few weeks, I would ask "how do these greens taste?" and they would just respond "uhmmm... like normal lettuce, I think". Clueless and careless. Very unfortunate. Oh well, at least there are dozens of other quality vendors!

                      I also loved the beef sausage. Found it a bit strange they were sampling and not selling. But oh well, there's always next week :).

                      Never noticed this guy, but there was someone new (I think) there at the end, between the bread and where the pond is. He had some unique items. Tomatillos, fresh ancho peppers and a very nice variety of other items that are pretty rare to see. Very fair prices and stunning quality.

                      1. re: SMOG

                        Too bad about Cookstown Greens but I'm glad I don't need to personalize their poor service. I too noticed the guy who was selling tomatillos and other interesting looking produce. Plan to try it next time as I had completed my shopping before discovering him. Looks promising. Did you purchase any of his stuff?

                        1. re: tuttebene

                          I tried the tomatillos and ancho peppers. Both excellent. He didn't have anchos today, but had a bunch of other stuff. Also saw a huge amount of tomatillos at the people across that sell the peaches. $5 for a huge basket.

                      2. re: tuttebene

                        If we start demanding heirloom tomatoes that are firm, evenly colored, no cracks, we will get them, through selection. And the flavor will go astray.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I agree, i was in the lineup at Brickworks for Heirlooms when the market opened and I got 3-4 really nice ones and a 3 cracked ones (gotta save some for others ya know?).

                          Anyways, I made a fresh tomato salad for lunch w/ the cracked heirlooms and some of the lemon goat-cheese feta and the tomatoes tasted wonderful. Who cares about cracks if they still taste better then mono-culture ones everywhere else?

                          1. re: jayt90

                            Well, isn't that basically how we got grocery store tomatoes? Appearance, sturdiness, and shelf life reigned. They're picked when green, stored and ripened in a controlled environment, tasteless, but--woohoo--picture perfect!!!

                            1. re: jayt90

                              I have yet to taste the heirlooms I purchased today. However, my comment about the cracks wasn't because I expect "pretty" produce. I happen to know that those cracks mean too much water during the growing season but I didn't know if it affected the taste (or if this years' harvest overall will be a poor one). Looks like Full Tummy got lucky with some tasy ones though.

                              1. re: tuttebene

                                The cracks can be caused by excess rain, thin skin, high sugar content, any or all of the above. My favourite ones are the green zebras (the round green and yellow ones) and the black/red ones. I was able to get a few uncracked and a couple heavily cracked ones. And I'm not sure I can taste a difference between them. If anything, I would say the cracked ones are sweeter, but that could just be placebo. I'm happy to buy the cracked ones, as long as they're not overripe like they often are at grocery stores.

                            2. re: tuttebene

                              i suspect the south african sausage was boerwors as it is the grilling type. i'd be curious as to what type of meat combo she is using the fill it and where she's from. if she sells good biltong i'd be in heaven.

                              as for heirlooms.... i've never had an heirloom that i've liked... they've always been so lacking in flavour and great texture. i've tried a half dozen times and none of them were worth it, i really just don't get it.

                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                Yeah, there is nothing that can beat a good beefsteak slice, fresh and ripe..

                                1. re: jayt90

                                  Wow, I'm shocked to hear that. I find the flavour of heirlooms to be about 1000x greater than any other tomato, but I guess to each his/her own.

                                  1. re: SMOG

                                    Most heirlooms I have bought have been from greenhouses, though that should be ending now.
                                    I have tried growing Brandywine and Amish paste without much success, compared to the more vigorous Beefstake hybrids (not a lot of sun in my yard).
                                    I'll be trying more heirlooms from farmers markets, but I'm often skeptical about the sources.

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      SKeptical how? Just curious.

                                      We may have to rely on greenhouse heirloooms a bit more this year. These storms we've been having wreak havoc on the plants. I know one farm in the Norfolk area, from where we usually buy a bunch of tomatoes, saw their crop destroyed, so only greenhouse stuff from now on.

                                      1. re: grandgourmand

                                        It's perceived value for the price, that I don't often get. Frequently too firm, green seeds, and undeveloped flavor.
                                        But it is August now, so almost everything local should be good well into September.

                                        1. re: jayt90

                                          Agreed, jayt90. Most heirlooms I've seen are greenhouse cons--too many things, like blossom rot this year, can doom them when grown outdoors. I suspect the heirloom cachet arose from breathless foodie reports as well as unfamiliarity with old school, sun-ripened field tomatoes that are now tough to find--"who wants THOSE," I heard last year at a market. I went with 6-8 cherry varieties raised from seed in the basement grow-op and hope they survive the summer's typhoons.Heirlooms so far this year haven't been worth the money. Have a look here for the trials of raising tomatoes:
                                          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opi...

                                          1. re: Kagemusha

                                            This year I'm growing four heirloom varieties in pots on my deck. Black Krim, Blondkopfchen Cherry, Red Pear Cherry, and Zapotec Pink. I purchased seedlings from Urban Harvest ( http://www.uharvest.ca ).

                                            The first black krim started rotting from the bottom much to my chagrin, but I ate the good part and it was delicious. The Blondkopfchen cherry tomatoes are ripening now and soon there will be a pretty decent crop of those little yellow beauties. The Red Pear tomatoes are starting to ripen quite nicely. The Zapotec is a rare variety from Mexico and takes a long time to ripen. Not too prolific so far but it is more of a late season tomato. It has deep vertical ridges in the flesh.

                                            Growing your own, especially on a deck entails lugging bags of soil home, and lots of care. The yield may not be great but there is a real sense of accomplishment and connection to the food when you grow a few humble veggies yourself.

                                            As far as the flavour goes, I've always found heirloom tomatoes from the farmers' markets to be tasty. That said, a good ripe Ontario field tomato is also hard to beat.

                                            1. re: Kagemusha

                                              It's such a relief to know that others have been disappointed by the heirlooms this year. Based on others' positive postings, I started to doubt my own less than tasy experiences. When I finally ate the ones purchased from the market, they were mealy and flavourless with tough skins. Yes a good field tomato is great too, but haven't found any of those yet either. I have had heirlooms in the past that were far superior to what we've had this year. I have also tried growing them myself (a few years ago now) but wasn't impressed and thought it had to do with my lack of farming aptitude. I'm resigned to the fact that I must wait for next year, just like the strawberries.

                                              1. re: tuttebene

                                                Both this year and last year were terrible seasons for tomatoes: last year, although there was heat, there was way too much rain for optimal tomato flavour; this year, the rain combined with cool temperatures do not a great tomato make.

                                                This being said, perhaps I've been lucky, but I've had very flavourful heirlooms this year, some fresh from one of the well-known farms that sells at the Brick Works, the other from Ron Van Hart at Liberty Village.

                                                And, given the total failures of some farmers' crops this year due to early blight (which has swept the northeastern U.S. as well), including the Sosnickis' who sell at Dufferin Grove, expect more farmers to move to increased use of greenhouses. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with greenhouse tomatoes, and I'm grateful that we have locally grown Camparis available almost year-round.

                                                1. re: Tatai

                                                  Tatai, what do you mean by total failure of crops by Sosnicki? Do you mean that they haven't grown any, or that all of theirs are grown in the greenhouse? I've been buying lots from them at the Brickworks and was led to believe they are all grown outdoors - am I wrong?

                                                  1. re: SMOG

                                                    From last week's Dufferin Grove newsletter:

                                                    "Both bad and good news from the Sosnickis: "While our entire two acres of tomatoes have been completely wiped out by blight, there is simply no time to whine or bellyache. We hope to make up a part of this loss by firing our greenhouses this fall and loading them up with lots of veg! In fact, seeding begins this month. An inspector from our certification board will be on farm today and this will be an excellent opportunity to share our future greenhouse plans with them, including new plants and vegetation, and to show off some awesome heirloom tomatoes currently producing well in our third house. This also gives Ben and I and the few employees we have a great opportunity to concentrate on other crops. Our cold storage should no doubt be brimming with storage crops this winter (and not just cabbage!) You have to stay positive when you get a kick like this- Sosnicki's will live to grow an abundance of field tomatoes another year! In the meantime Ben will have lots of cucumbers, (not just for pickling-they make the best salad!!), sweet white onions (more onions coming soon: cooking, red and candy yellow), carrots including some 'purple haze', beet bunches with fresh tops, red & gold chard; lots of fresh dug potatoes - Ben will be digging fresh Yukon Golds this week along with red norlands and the whites; fresh cabbages, fresh herbs, zucchini & all the fresh beans you can handle- both yellow and green!" Jessie"

                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                      Yes, she was saying that they won't have any field tomatoes this year. But there's no mention of heirlooms here.

                                                      1. re: SMOG

                                                        It says that their tomato fields were wiped out with blight and they are producing heirlooms in one of their greenhouses. At least, I'm assuming their "third house" is, in fact, a greenhouse.

                                                        1. re: SMOG

                                                          Again, I would like to mention Lady York. Soon they will them by the bushel.

                                                    2. re: Tatai

                                                      I like Campari too, and I am grateful for them in mid winter.
                                                      However greenhouse crops are highly manipulated with light, water, fertilizer, pesticides, and insects on board.

                                                      I'll take a field grown and ripened tomato anytime, and I don't care what they have to do to eliminate blight or insect damage, as long as it is safe.

                                                      1. re: jayt90

                                                        Actually, I only tend to buy Camparis in late fall and in the spring when I don't have access to fresh-from-the-local-farm tomatoes (or those from my own garden; I've currently got an abundance of fruit on my plants, but they show no sign of ripening).

                                                        I usually avoid Camparis during the height of winter, when they're clearly marked as a product of Mexico. (Ontario greenhouses do rely on natural sunlight and many operations close down for two to three months during the winter.)

                                                2. re: jayt90

                                                  thank god someone agrees with me... they're either too firm, too mealy, or completely lacking in any tomato flavour. i've tried them enough times from several different vendors with them even picking out a tomato for me that i've just about given up. it does frustrate me to no end in a similar way to my macaron hunt in that i always have such high hopes that are eventually dashed. in restaurants even they're hardly distinguishable as a better product. oh well.

                                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                    Do you ever pick them up and give them a couple of days to ripen at home before eating them? I don't usually bother with the heirlooms (I'd rather have a regular old field tomato than an heirloom greenhouse tomato) but I don't know that I've EVER bought a tomato at a farmer's market that was ready for immediate eating. I've also never bought one that could hold a candle to my dad's home-grown ones, but even those usually ripen for a couple of extra days on a windowsill before we cut into them.

                                                    Of course, sometimes this just turns a lousy tomato into a lousy, rotten tomato...

                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                      i have given some a couple days to ripen but it feels like it still doesn't get there and then of course the rotten tomato looms soon after. aroma is generally how i decide if something is ripe or not and there is virtually none with any of the heirlooms i've picked up.

                                                      honestly, fine by me. i'd rather not be paying the premiums to get "heirloom" and just have tasty plain tomatoes. i just tend to hear more about these elusive amazing heirlooms and am happy to know my senses haven't been knocked out and others agree!

                                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                        The ones I purchased last week were already over ripened (because that's all the selection allowed). I like the term "elusive" - I went against my better judgement of the heirloom's appearance, softness as well as smell but bought them anyways. Fool me once.....

                                                        1. re: tuttebene

                                                          The ones I've gotten from Brickworks were near ripe. If you get there early enough, you can pick the perfect ones for you. You have to eat them almost immediately when they turn slightly soft. An extra day means mealy. A day less means you don't get the full flavour.

                                                          It really sucks to hear the complaints. I guess I'm fortunate. Though not all varieties were fantastic. I've had enormous success from about 3-4 varieties and found them to be nothing short of fantastic. Hope next year brings better luck to everyone.

                                                        2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                          I had a nice tomato salad yesterday, made with a couple different heirloom varieties (purple one, and green one, not zebra). They tasted great. Bright tomato flavour, nice texture and, yes, visually appealing. I guess I eat with my eyes too. My wife picked them up from Riverdale Farmers market.

                                                          I've rarely had bad experiences with these varieties, although last year had a few misses because of excessive water content due to rain. I don't find the price too bad, usually around $3/lb, so not really a premium. They get even cheaper as the season progresses.

                                                          My $0.02... First, greenhouse does not equate to hydroponics, which I think is a negative connotation (my apologies if I misinterpreted anyone). The greenhouse varieties you get at the farmers market are grown in soil (there are probably some exceptions). No direct sunlight, but the next best thing to out in the field and vastly superior to hydroponic. Second, the bulk of tomato perfume is from the stems/branches, not the tomato itself. A good will have a smell, but often times what you're smelling is the little bit of green top still attached. So, an odourless tomato does not necessarily equate to a bad tomato (although aroma is preferable).

                                                          For the record, I have absolutely nothing against "tasty plain tomatoes". I love a good beefsteak slice with S&P or as the foundation of an awesome BLT. In fact, they are growing in my backyard right now, alongside the heirlooms. I'll admit to being a sucker for different colours and funny names, but if it's not delivering the flavour, I ain't buying it. Which is why I don't buy heirlooms sold at Loblaws or Sobeys. Or the multi-colour clamshell packaged varities from Holland.

                                                          1. re: grandgourmand

                                                            does she know which farmer she picked up the heirlooms from? i've only picked up heirlooms at farmers markets and haven't had a good one... ever. or at least one that i would consider better than a basic beefsteak.

                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                              I didn't ask, sorry...I know when we go to Brickworks we get them almost exclusively from Sosnickis which are from the greenhouse this year. She may have gone to them again, but I don't know if they have a stand at Riverdale Farmers market, which runs when I'm working, unfortunately. This year, we've had some pretty decent "seconds" from Cookstown. I find it annoying that they only sell seconds to the public, saving their "firsts" for restaurants, I imagine. Although they did have some "firsts" last time I was there, though excessively priced.

                                                              FYI, my spiel above wasn't to say I think heirlooms are better than a basic beefsteak. I love the basic beefsteak, but also like the variety on my plate. You get subtle differences in flavour, but I wouldn't say the heirlooms are better. Then again, I've not had the bad experiences you've had with heirlooms. Actually, come to think of it, Green Zebras (which are actually a hybrid from the 80s, not actually an heirloom variety) tend to disapoint. I don't really buy those. A bit like PAris Hilton, look good (debatable) not much substance. My favourite heirlooms are the black or purple varieties, they have had the best flavour punch. And, generally, the bigger the better. Brandywine tomatoes are a beefsteak variety, except a lot fussier to grow so are exclusively in the farmer's markets.

                                                              1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                duly noted and thanks for the suggestions for different breeds. i'll drop by my local farmers market tomorrow and check things out..... it might be my final try but i'll aim towards the darker varieties.

                                                                1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                  grandgourmand, I've been enjoying your posts, but was heartbroken when you compared Green Zebras to Paris Hilton (and not because I don't find Paris particularly attractive). These are my favourite. I also buy all of mine from Sosnicki. I typically go for the small-medium sized Green Zebras and find them to be by far the most flavourful. To me, they have a natural saltiness that I don't find with any other tomatoes. In fact, this is the only variety that I actually prefer to eat without any S&P. A close second is the Black Prince (the deep red ones that turn almost black at the top).

                                                                  1. re: SMOG

                                                                    Sorry...I've just had bad luck with the zebras, both at the markets and growing them in my backyard.

                                                                    I guess Paris Hilton was a cruel comparison to the harmless little tomater.

                                        2. Are any of our Farmers' Markets selling free range (outdoors) eggs?

                                          1. agree with Fith Town Cheeses - I am not a cheese person, but he got me to try the Lemon Fetish (feta) and I totally ended up buying a very pricey very small yet amazing wheel of it.

                                            Also, Evelyn's Crackers who does many markets including Brickworks - the Barley Noir cracker has such a rich ginger flavour and supposedly has pinot nor wine used in it. I love thse crackers and they were one of the only foods my father would eat while recovering form chemo - who knows why, they were worth the price!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: LemonLauren

                                              I think they use Baco Noir wine from Niagara and are very dedicated to the local food thing.

                                            2. I made my first visit of the season to the Liberty Village market today. My favourite vendor there is Ron Van Hart, who grows certified organic produce in Holland Marsh. His tomatoes -- and he had tons of them -- are divine: sweet, juicy and flavourful. For those who are interested, they also looked beautiful. He has other organic vegetables, as well.

                                              Bought some bison sausages from Buffalo Bill; his bison is always good. And I bought some sweet black cherries that were the best I've tasted this summer, as well as the first of the blue plums and muskmelons. I'm hoping the sweet corn I bought are good; the other couple of batches I've purchased so far this season have not been very good.

                                              1. Was at Brickworks this morning. Aside from the usual good stuff, Jamie Kennedy Kitchens had a stand up (started around 10-ish) making fresh fries! Awesome stuff. $4 for a cone and they had their vinegar and aioli on the side. Next to that stand was Susur, who was selling small bowls of his singapore slaw for $5. Also awesome stuff.

                                                So I bought a cone of fries and was happily walking around eating them, when I saw Jamie Kennedy himself, standing and talking to the St John's bread guy. He seemed to be walking around and talking to a few people and once in a while paying a little bit of attention to the guys at his french fry stand.

                                                BUT... an absolute disappointment was that the south african lady with the beef sausages was not there today!! I was confused last week when she was only sampling and not selling, and even more confused today to not even see her there. So now we're hooked on wanting these things, but she's nowhere to be found? Hmm.

                                                1. The strudel sold at the St. Lawrence Market (N side) is pretty fantastic.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: grizzlyman

                                                    Until the end of August/early September at Wychwood Barns there is a fish place called Goldwater. Bought scallops last week and they came out better than anything I've ever had at home, only in a restaurant. They're based out of Nova Scotia.

                                                    1. re: Machiavelli

                                                      Interesting! Would like to try some scallops. Where is Wychwood Barns? Thanks a lot.

                                                      1. re: ace123

                                                        It's the Green Barn Farmers' Market on Christie just south of St. Clair. (It can also be accessed from Wychwood Ave.) Saturdays year-round.

                                                        1. re: Tatai

                                                          Thanks for the reply.

                                                      2. re: Machiavelli

                                                        how much were the scallops? wet packed scallops are getting the best of me so far and i'm just about ready to give up on them except for nicer sushi restaurants or the diver type.

                                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                          I think they are $20/lb. Comparable to the good fish shops like Diana's. At that price, they will definitely be dry packed.

                                                          1. re: acd123

                                                            Correct, $20/lb. They are certainly not wet-packed, I was told flash frozen and right now, harvested within a few days of coming to market.

                                                    2. Stratford's Farmer's Market is one of the best in the country. Wednesdays are not as brilliant as Saturdays. Best ot get there early!