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Toronto Farmers' Market Roundup - 2013

sgogo Jun 11, 2013 05:11 PM

I'm a bit of a farmers' market fanatic - I have time in the summer to visit quite a few markets around the city, and I'm always looking for something new and interesting. Now that market season is ramping up (heh), I just wanted to start a thread where people can share their market experiences - good and bad.

Last year 2 of my favourites were the East Lynn Park & Riverdale markets, so hoping to visit those soon. I found frozen BC spot prawns at a fish vendor 2 years ago at the Riverdale market, and I'm really hoping they're there again! Wish I knew the name of the vendor so I could follow them around.

Today I tried out the Cityplace market near Spadina & Fort York Blvd. I think they're brand new, and only had about 8 vendors. Got some of the ubiquitous Niagara strawberries that looked good, as we seem to be eating about a pint a day right now. I saw cheese, meat, honey & maple syrup. Sorry, I didn't notice who the vendors were, but only thought of writing this post after I got back!

Happy marketing!

  1. sgogo Jul 30, 2013 06:25 AM

    I love the Sorauren market! I went yesterday, and it's got great variety - tons of local and organic produce, prepared and hot food, crafts, nice music, even a terrarium-making workshop! Got some ontario corn labeled non-GMO and I think 'low spray'. Not too busy. Great option on Mondays!


    1. sgogo Jul 12, 2013 07:36 AM

      I stopped by the Metro Hall FM yesterday at about 9:00. Quite a few vendors, very produce-heavy. The baked goods/pepperette stand was there that I've seen at Sherway in years' past. Pickle guy too. There was a woman selling a good variety of mushrooms that looked interesting. I'm loving the glut of raspberries right now, there are some good deals to be had. Lots of veg, although definitely not all local (eggplant?).
      Although the market officially opened at 8, it seemed that there were still some vendors setting up, or yet to arrive. Definitely deserves a return visit later in the season.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sgogo
        Kagemusha Jul 12, 2013 08:19 AM

        It's the prevalence of non-local/off-season produce and fruit that's put me off most "farmers' markets" around the GTA. Often I can get equal quality and better prices on Ontario-grown produce and fruit at the local Highland Farms in season. I'm willing to drive down to the Hamilton markets at season's peak for Niagara fruit.

        1. re: Kagemusha
          sgogo Jul 12, 2013 08:51 AM

          I know. Right now you can always depend on the Niagara farms to be in attendance with berries, but there are also some local, non-greenhouse greens, peas, beans, beets... For me it's still worth it as many are still in walking or TTC distance, and it's pretty obvious what's logically in season in southern Ontario.

          The woman at the Riverdale market on Tuesday had truly local, organic produce, and she already had kale, beets, potatoes, green beans, not sure what else. Sure, she's an anomaly at this stage, but worth seeking out. She would've been cleaned out in a flash at a bigger market.

          It does make you question the relevance and necessity of so many markets when our growing season is so short. I've mainly been to the smaller markets so far this year, so my perspective may be off.

          1. re: sgogo
            Kagemusha Jul 12, 2013 09:41 AM

            Not off, just different. I'm at the western edge of the GTA where the 'burb/farmland frontier is still fairly close but moving slowly away. The once-good farmers' markets out here are now full of resellers and sub-par Niagara stuff. I mentioned Hamilton's markets simply because they're eye-openers as to how quality and price improve with proximity to the Niagara. If I lived in DTTO, I'd be doing what you do.

      2. jlunar Jul 10, 2013 07:37 AM

        John Street Farmer’s Market is a lovely little space just north of Queen at John, past the Umbra building adjacent to Grange Park. There used to be a sole organic vendor there in years past, but now they’ve made it larger. Open Wednesdays 3:30pm – 7pm, this is a small and relaxed market. Stumbled upon them in their first week (iirc).

        The vendors/stuff I saw: Big Wheel Coffee, The Pop Stand (popsicles), produce, baked goods, flowers/plants, Brazen Razor (soaps), McCamus Maple Farms

        Here are the photos:

        2 Replies
        1. re: jlunar
          smfan Jul 10, 2013 08:12 AM

          Thinking of going to the Toronto Botanical Garden tomorrow. Organic Farmer's Market from 3-7pm. Free Garden tour at 6pm. Anyone been?

          1. re: smfan
            jlunar Jul 10, 2013 08:46 AM

            Last year! It's also pretty small - produce & baked goods. Tried to find any photos I took, but I don't think I posted them. I didn't do the tour though.

        2. a
          autopi Jul 10, 2013 05:34 AM

          does anyone know what happened to the u of t farmer's market on the st george campus? it seems to have been AWOL the last 2 summers.

          1. Baelsette Jun 14, 2013 05:43 AM

            I was at East Lynn yesterday and it was great. I had my toddler with me and she was in heaven, lots of kid friendly things to do (not sure if this was because it was the opening for the year). Lots of beautiful produce was available for purchase.
            I was at Riverdale farm last week and it was odd, there was literally no produce, I heard that there was one vendor but they had sold out already. I realize it''s early in the season so I will give them a try later on.
            I did go to Mt. Pleasant and Davisville on Tuesday (yes I get around) and it was very impressive. I bought some beautiful berries, beets, peppers etc and everything has been delicious so far. They had some interesting vendors, meat, cheese, fish, popsicles etc. There was a bbq going on with sausages etc, looked and smelled amazing!
            From my experience last year I loved the east york market. In full swing, mid summer I thought the selection was incredible and the amount of vendors was the largest I'd seen. Hoping to get back there soon and check it out.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Baelsette
              Tatai Jun 14, 2013 06:26 AM

              Wondering what kind of peppers you got at Appletree Market. I'm pretty sure they're not in season yet. Were they greenhouse-grown?

              1. re: Baelsette
                sgogo Jul 10, 2013 05:04 AM

                I went to the Riverdale market yesterday and was really surprised - only about 10 vendors, 2-3 with produce, the rest a mixed bag of cheese, baked goods and meat. Not busy at all, I felt like all the cool kids were hanging out elsewhere.
                Not sure which market this is competing with - Trinity Bellwoods maybe? Unless the Cityplace market has picket up major steam.
                I can't believe how different it was this year, the whole lane used to be packed. I did get some nice organic veg and wild blueberries.

                I also went to the lovely John St. market in June, but our own jlunar wrote a nice piece that sums it up well here:

                1. re: sgogo
                  Kagemusha Jul 10, 2013 06:23 AM

                  Tomatoes and apples in June? Right...

                  1. re: Kagemusha
                    LexiFirefly Jul 10, 2013 06:36 AM

                    Maybe they're more focused on the organic vs local. The tomatoes could be hot house, i do think it's suspect however.

                  2. re: sgogo
                    LexiFirefly Jul 10, 2013 06:38 AM

                    People probably didn't want to go that close to the valley, or were cleaning out their basements!

                    1. re: sgogo
                      toboggan3 Jul 10, 2013 07:08 AM

                      I believe there is a farmers' market in the redeveloping Regent Park on Wednesday. Perhaps that is diverting some attention. That, and the sheer number of markets popping up in Toronto these days (which is not a bad thing). Riverdale Farm is a lovely spot for a market, and I hope more vendors show up as the season progresses.

                    2. re: Baelsette
                      mariecollins Jul 10, 2013 05:58 AM

                      There are always kids activities at East Lynn.

                    3. l
                      LUV_TO_EAT Jun 12, 2013 08:42 AM

                      Think there should be a link to listing of markets


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LUV_TO_EAT
                        sgogo Jun 12, 2013 03:56 PM

                        Thanks, good idea. Here's another one.

                      2. c
                        cheesymama Jun 11, 2013 09:24 PM

                        Does anyone know anything about the new Brick works Sunday marche? I saw something on twitter but can't find anything on their website.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: cheesymama
                          bytepusher Jun 12, 2013 12:52 PM

                          Info is pretty thin on the ground, except that the first run with be this Sunday Jun 16. Not clear if this is a market or just prepared food stands.

                          1. re: bytepusher
                            bytepusher Jun 12, 2013 01:12 PM

                            Apparently this coming Sunday is a "soft launch" of the Marche and details are still being worked out

                            1. re: bytepusher
                              cheesymama Jun 12, 2013 05:41 PM

                              Thanks for the replies. Sounds like a good chance to check it out before it becomes well known and popular.

                              1. re: cheesymama
                                peppermint pate Jun 14, 2013 05:28 PM


                        2. b
                          bytepusher Jun 11, 2013 08:03 PM

                          Your fish vendor was probably Fisherfolk, they often have frozen spot prawn bodies in 1 pound containers and in season sometimes have fresh ones (but they sell out of those very quickly). They are at the Brickworks on Saturdays and the Brickworks and Riverdale have a lot of the same vendors as they used to be run by the same woman.

                          East York market is still on Tuesdays 8AM to 2PM, but they don't have a sign on Coxwell Ave to tell people about it anymore because the city refused to let them put one up as a "cost saving measure"

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bytepusher
                            sgogo Jun 12, 2013 07:28 AM

                            Thanks so much! Looks like they're pretty active on Twitter, so I'll be able to track them down.

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