In just a few more weeks, the amazing market at Wychwood Barns will be heading outdoors during the May long weekend into what we all hope will be a happy summer market season for 2012. I wanted to make one more indoor market visit though, so I took advantage of the pretty weather and made a day out of it, complete with brunch, window shopping, and LOTS of walking! I walked from the Wychwood Barns neighbourhood on St. Clair West down to the Queen West and Trinity Bellwoods area, then proceeded to stroll along Ossington back up to Bloor and then to Dufferin. It felt invigorating while I was doing it but I realized just how tired I was from all the fancy footwork when I nearly fell asleep on my laptop after I came home.
It was so worth it though! It never ceases to amaze me how I can make these trips to the farmers’ markets and come away just wanting everything. I was waffling on whether or not it was smarter to go this week or to wait for the first outdoor market later on this month, but my craving for Earth & City’s raw, vegan nut burgers with pesto pushed me out the door at the crack of dawn. So there you have it.
You might be inclined to think that going to these farmers’ markets means seeing and eating the same things over and over again (especially when you make multiple visits during the same season), but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was actually surprised at all the new things I saw at this week’s market. Sure, I saw ChocoSol, Earth & City, and Yorktown Pie Company there among other familiar vendors, but everything felt new and vibrant, like everyone was itching for the new season to take hold and couldn’t wait to dish out new and delicious items to try. The place was absolutely buzzing (it was actually very difficult to take photos this time because of the sheer volume of people grabbing things in front of me and don’t even get me started on the line-ups and crowding!) and people were picking up goodies and beautiful spring daisies and flowers left and right. It’s a buzz that you’d only get at an early morning farmers’ market.
Earth & City had containers of some brand new savoury dips and spreads (sweet walnut sauce and preserved basil pesto, $5 each), the Yorktown Pie Company had brand apple cheddar mini pies that looked amazing, Allis Fresh Baked busted out a basket of mac n’ cheese corn muffins (seriously, they need to stop tempting me with all these cheesy, savoury muffins!), and Primeridge Pure Dairy had some of the most delicious soft cheese I have ever had melt in my mouth!
If it wasn’t for the brand new package of cheese I had sitting in the fridge at home I would have been all around their cheese like mud on a pig. They had a BLACK PEPPERCORN SOFT CHEESE. I LOVE freshly cracked black pepper and peppercorns like nobody’s business. Ask anybody who has eaten in my company, I put the stuff on almost everything. The fresh cheese was creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, and hella peppery and spicy. And SO GOOD. I imagined this on a crusty wedge of French bread and baguette. I imagined this on a bit of pasta. Hell, I even imagined it on my raw, vegan nut burger but then I felt bad because that would have made it unvegan. But you get the idea.
In addition to all of these new goodies from familiar vendors and producers, I noticed a new vendor with some very delicious baked goods and treats called the Bread Song Collective. Many of the items were vegan, gluten-free, and organic, or a combination of the three in some form. There were chocolate chip cookies, ginger snap cookies, oat fruit cookies, alfajores, lemon bars, almond meringue-like clusters, quinoa salad, and giant vegan empanadas ($5) filled with black beans and kale! As much as I wanted to pick up some sweets (like I always do), I was crazy about the empanadas and just couldn’t pass them up so I took one home and heated it up to share with my family and oh my goodness was it ever delicious! It was a little spicy and so tender and flaky. I think they’re the perfect size for a lunch and I have no doubt they will be coming back to the market with new fillings and savoury items in addition to the sweet baked goods. I would buy another one in a heartbeat and I’m so glad they’ve started appearing at the Wychwood market.
The spring and summer market season will be in full force starting in May with markets awakening from their winter naps all across the city and it’s going to be such an exciting time. The list of markets starting their seasons in May is a mile long and you can bet that I’m going to try my hardest to get to the markets I never ended up visiting last spring and summer. One of the last indoor markets at Wychwood Barns went out with a bang as one of the best I’ve ever been to and I can’t wait to see what the outdoor markets will bring!
The Stop Community Food Centre Farmers’ Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns is held year-round on Saturdays from 8am-12pm. The market is currently being held indoors for the winter and will be moving outdoors starting in May. The park and historic community centre complex is located at 76 Wychwood Ave. just off of St. Clair Ave. West, east of Christie St. and west of Bathurst St. http://thestop.org/the-stop’s-farmers’-market