Thus far in my farmers’ market series, all the markets that I’ve visited have been pretty central in the downtown Toronto area: Nathan Phillips Square on Queen St. West, SickKids Hospital on University Ave., and Trinity Bellwoods on Dundas and Shaw. Nothing that’s considered particularly eastern, western, or northern. You all know how much I enjoy visiting these markets, but you might be wondering how and why I chose to go to the east end today. I don’t know if you can guess from the title of the post, but there are some keywords in there that will tip you off as to why East York holds such significance for me. Home grown…baby…East York. That’s right, baby Deb was born across the street at East York General over two decades ago and the east end of Toronto was my first home for the first year and a half of my life before my family and I moved to Scarborough. A true blue Torontonian, through and through. Even though I obviously have no recollection of my early baby years, it felt oddly comforting taking the bus northbound on Coxwell Ave. knowing this was where my roots were first planted.
The farmers’ market at the East York Civic Centre, located at 850 Coxwell Ave., was absolutely amazing! It was a gorgeous morning out today, sunny with a comfortable cool breeze, and I had such a great time walking from vendor to vendor taking in the large market and all it had to offer. There was so much to see and I had to do 2 and half rounds around the market before I could fully make up my mind! This is definitely one of the larger markets I’ve visited and the area is just beautiful and peaceful with lots of lush green grass, trees, and benches.
The market was set up in the shape of a square and there was a tiki straw umbrella booth selling smoothies, a hot grill getting fired up in the center of the market with hot dogs and sandwiches, vendors sellings homemade cookies, tarts, and bags of granola, oodles of cured meats and fresh loaves of bread and pastries, and table after table of fantastic fruits and vegetables! I was so excited to see stuff I hadn’t yet come across on my farmers’ market tour and everything was bursting with freshness and colour.
There were pints of adorable itty bitty baby potatoes, colourful baby heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, little zucchinis, and quite literally, a mountain (or wall!) of fresh strawberries. I loved seeing the heirloom tomatoes and baby potatoes, but what got me in a tizzy was the BABY EGGPLANTS! OH.MY.GOD. Given how much my mum adores eggplant, there was no way I could pass these up. They were adorable and gorgeous, with the darkest shade of plum. I bought one container (3 baby eggplants), looked in my bag, paused, and turned back around to buy one more set. I squealed and walked away with 6 beautiful baby eggplants and skipped away a very happy girl. I had such a wonderful, refreshing morning at the market here and I’m really happy I made the trek out. It was well worth the trip to see the beautiful fruits and veggies, and to revisit the place I once called home.
East York Civic Centre is located at 850 Coxwell Ave. at Mortimer Ave. The East York farmers’ market takes places on the front terrace of the civic centre every Tuesday from 8am-2pm, May 17th to November 1st (excluding statutory holidays).