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Apr 24, 2012 02:40 PM

St Jacobs Farmers Market?!

Went to St Jacobs Farmers market last Saturday afternoon and found the inside vendors quite OK, bought some nice bacon. However, despite the cool temperatures the outside veggies were disgusting, not even remotely fresh. The vendors outside were making big displays of bringing out "fresh" baskets of produce to refill their shelves. Beans with brown spots, dried out asparagus, all of which easily had to be a week old. It got worse though. We bought a loaf of raisin bread sold as "Baked this morning. I was there when it was taken out of the oven". It was dry at breakfast on Sunday and on Monday morning was sporting weirdly bright green mould on the bottom. We bake bread ourselves: 2 day old bread shouldn't have mould.

I'm taking this market off my list when there are so many great alternatives around. Have any of you had similar (or different) experiences here or elsewhere?

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  1. I haven't been in about 5 years but consistently hear bad things nowadays.


    1. It's become a cartoonish tourist trap. Just count the buses in the parking lot. Though it's way too early for local produce, it's not really worth a trip even in late summer/early fall. Never understood the attraction of the indoor market's selection of so-so meats and ho-hum baked goods. Not worth the gas.

      1. "The vendors outside were making big displays of bringing out "fresh" baskets of produce to refill their shelves. Beans with brown spots, dried out asparagus, all of which easily had to be a week old."

        Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but beans and asparagus are not yet in season in Ontario, so it's not surprising that they weren't fresh... This vendor is obviously a reseller -- buying produce at the food terminal for resale at the "farmers" market. Was he suggesting the produce was local or did you just assume so? Some legitimate farmers who sell at market do supplement their winter incomes with imported goods but they are totally out in the open about it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tatai

          I know that vendors get veggies like beans at the food terminal this time of year, and I actually don't mind them doing so to supplement their income in the off-season. But, that's no excuse for how incredibly elderly this stuff looked. Even a Food Basics type grocery store would throw out beans that looked this old!

          But I see from the other replies that this market just isn't what it used to be. Oh, well....

        2. Except for the Tomato Man and Apple Fritters (if I feel like a drive...) it's not worth the gas, IMO.

          And I live in Kitchener.

          6 Replies
          1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

            Can someone suggest some markets in the west end of the GTA that are worth a look? Went to one at, I believe, Square One last year and we were very underwhelmed.

            1. re: LJS2

              There's a numbing sameness to the west end GTA markets that's spread over the last 5-8 years, including the sellers who move from market to market during the week. Brampton's and Milton's downtown markets have a little more variety. Hamilton's old Ottawa St. market is worth a visit later in the summer. I gave up on Sq 1 once the resellers outnumbered the farmers a few years ago.

              1. re: Kagemusha

                What is the current condition of the Etobicoke market near the Etobicoke civic centre?

                1. re: Herne

                  Like most of the others now--more or less empty.

                  Got into the habit of ranging out through Peel, Halton and Wellington counties. Youdonut's list below gives a sense of what's out there. Getting outside the GTA helps with quality and selection.

              2. re: LJS2

                The elora farmer's market returns to its pretty outside location May 12 after a long winter outdoors. It's little, and kind of eccentric, and I imagine that its focus will be on produced goods like honey and baked goods until the Ontario produce rolls out (that's what it's like during the winter when it's inside). But I love it!

              3. There is a good market in Burlington. Wed, Fri and Sat. Not sure when it starts but in the early days the plants are a good buy but the best is when the fresh produce arrives.

                1 Reply