The Long Awaited Opening Day – Ontario Strawberries, Swiss Chard, & the *NEW* Farmers’ Market in The Junction!

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Today really wasn’t the nicest of days.  It was a gazillion steps up from yesterday’s torrential downpour, but on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being god awful and 10 being gloriously beautiful, today ranked at around 4: cloudy, chilly, and windy.  I admit, the recent heat wave had me whimpering, but for the sake of The Junction farmers’ market opening day, I wanted it to be pretty!  But less than ideal weather aside, I stumbled out of bed at quarter to 6 in the morning (read: I live in Markham and no where near The Junction in the west) and made it out to The Junction’s FIRST EVER farmers’ market! 

I wanted to be one of the first on the scene to grab some photos and to see what the market had in store and surprisingly enough, the market was already crawling with eager morning birds ready to swoop in on all the fresh market food at 8:30 in the morning!  I really shouldn’t be that surprised though; the neighbourhood and community has been looking forward to this and rallying for this market for ages.  This market has been in the works since last year and I think it’s the perfect fit for the community and surrounding area.  The closest farmers’ markets are either out in Etobicoke or Royal York, so this new market truly caters to the growing, thriving Junction food community that’s developed over the years.

Given how this is the Junction farmers’ market first day, I don’t know if there will be additional vendors, farmers’, and producers present later on in the summer.  What I can tell you though is how committed everyone is to bringing local food to the tables of everyone in the community and how excited everyone at the market was!  It was early in the morning, the weather wasn’t the nicest, and yet market goers were just grabbing things left and right.  I started on the west end of the market, working my way to the other end, and by the time I went back to where I started, by de la terre baked goods and bakery, a third of what I originally saw was gone.  ONLY 20 MINUTES HAD ELAPSED!  Fruit galettes?  Gone.  Chocolate fudge brownies?  A chunk of those were missing.  Monkey buns?  People were buying them as I was taking photos.  Amazing. 

Monforte Dairy was there along with Evelyn’s Crackers, Ying Ying Soy Food (hurray for tofu!), North Gate Ogranics (rhubarb and white turnip photos), and Fresh City Farms among a number of other farmers’ and food producers.  In addition to fish and seafood, tofu, crackers and shortbread, and fresh meats and cheeses, there were lots of bright and beautiful fruits and vegetables on hand for the market’s first day today: organic Ontario strawberries, apples, beets, rhubarb, kale, swiss chard, butter lettuce, arugula, and even bright white Japanese Hakurei turnips!  I was so excited about how pretty everything looked I even accidentally dropped my camera in a basket of lettuce! 

Despite the wet lens, the gorgeous colours and textures make for great photos so I was really lucky to get some nice shots before everything was gone!  I read on my Twitter feed that someone came to the market later on in the morning and was greeted by apple and honey leftovers – and nothing else.  Not so great for latecomers but wonderful news for the market organizers and vendors!  My favourite part of the market, apart from the photographing and mmming over baked goods and ahhing over the gorgeous swiss chard?  An exchange between a market goer and a local farmer vendor where a woman asked, “are these apples from Ontario?” to which the farmer smiled and replied, “if anything from this market isn’t from Ontario, it shouldn’t be here.”  Hashtag WIN.      

The first day was fantastic and I can only see this market growing and flourishing with the support of the community and market lovers like us!  And think of it this way: even if you don’t live in the area, coming to the market early in the morning means you get to spend the rest of the day exploring the neighbourhood?  My suggestion?  Grab some tea or coffee afterward at Crema and head on over to Bunners Bake Shop when they open up shop at 10!  And if the day is nice, walk south to High Park and have a picnic!  Or indulge in some delicious ice cream at Delight during the summer.  Ah, market mornings.  The possibilities for great days ahead are endless.   

*****

The Junction farmers’ market will be held every Saturday from 8:30am-12:30pm, June 2nd to October 13th.  The farmers’ market is located in the parking lot just off of Dundas Street West and Pacific Ave.  The market is brand new to Toronto and the Junction community, so spread the word, come out, and show your support!  For more info and a list of vendors, visit the official Junction market page HERE.

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3 thoughts on “The Long Awaited Opening Day – Ontario Strawberries, Swiss Chard, & the *NEW* Farmers’ Market in The Junction!

  1. Great post and great pictures Deb! Glad you enjoyed the market.We were quite pleased with the turnout, especially on such a cloudy and chilly day. The vendors didn’t exactly know what to expect in terms of turnout, and given the weather, most of them brought conservatively small amounts of produce in order to not have to bring food back at the end of the day.

    Fortunately, the turnout was huge and most vendors sold out of everything! With this in mind, they’ll be sure to bring more fresh produce and handmade products next week (and the rest of the market days throughout the season).

    A couple of small corrections/comments: there are some farmers markets closer to us than Royal York and Etobicoke. There is one down by Queen and Roncesvalles at Sorauren Park on Monday evenings organized by the West End Food Co-op. There is also one at Dufferin Grove on Thursday evenings. But both of those are still a little too far some in our neighbourhood to get to quickly and easily. Also, our official name is the Junction Farmers Market (no apostrophe) – we looked it up, it’s still grammatically correct 🙂

    We are absolutely committed to having only vendors who grow produce in Ontario or create wonderful artisanal products from local ingredients. There are no re-sellers who buy produce at the Ontario Food Terminal and bring it to the market pawning it off as their own.

    We’re glad you enjoyed the market and hope you return many times! As the season changes, the produce and products available from vendors will naturally change as well. Be sure to come each week to find something new!

    Sign up to our newsletter (on the “Contact Us” page of our website) to stay connected and receive updates on each week’s offerings.

    Chris

    Chris Ganowski
    Treasurer, Junction Farmers Market

  2. Yes – it was beautiful, and your photos prove it! I was there before 10 am, and not a strawberry nor rhubarb stalk in sight – but even then, it was gorgeous. I learned about great community health services in the neighbourhood, got urban food growing and city tree canopy info, bumped into my current neighbours (rarely happens in the building) both as shoppers and as vendors, and also bumped into a treasured former neighbour from a previous lifetime. And I don’t recall thinking about the weather at all.
    Thanks to everyone who is making this happen!

  3. Pingback: Sizzling Summer Markets – Summer Squash, Peas, Scallions, and More at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market « Ate by Ate

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