Beautiful green space, some of the most amazing perogies in the city, and row upon row of juicy fruits and vegetables in every colour of the rainbow – this is the summer market at Mel Lastman Square! This market was truly one of my all-time favourites last summer, one that I would have visited every single week if I had the time and opportunity.
I LOVE how accessible this market is. Right off the North York Centre subway station on Yonge St., it’s walking distance from both Sheppard and Finch (which works great for me since all I have to do is hop on a Viva bus from my neck of the woods in Markham!), there’s ample space to enjoy the food you end up buying should you choose to stuff your face right then and there, and – this is a shopaholic and foodie in my gushing – there is SO many eats to explore in the area including Korean grocery and dining spots, tea and dessert cafes, noodle houses, and more. The market is situated in a bustling, busy part of town and yet it affords all market goers with plenty of peace and quiet on park grounds, which I can’t get enough of.
The fabulous potato and cheese perogies that I love so dearly from Taste of Russia were back for another market season, as well as some of the baked goods and hot food vendors. I was delighted to find out that BreadSong Collective was vendoring (I know this is technically not a word, but it works in this context so humour me!) at North York this summer and did they ever bring their A-game! Using Monforte Dairy cheese, fiddlehead galette pastries were made along with little cake loaves and large creme fraiche galettes made with Ontario strawberries.
There were beautiful peppers, zucchinis, strawberries, root vegetables, and these drop dead gorgeous baby eggplants that were a lighter shade of purple streaked with white, like sunbursts and fireworks. Waymac Mushroom Farm (who are also vendors at other local Ontario markets in Peterborough and Port Perry) was on hand with beautiful oyster, shittake, and portobello mushrooms and, one of my new favourites, Joy of Harvest! Calvin and Sonya run this fab condiment business, specifically selling their products at farmers’ markets. Products range from chutneys (the mango one is delicious!) to hot sauces, curry sauce, jerk seasoning, and exotic fruit jellies and jams including guava and pineapple ginger! Let’s just say my pantry yearns for all of these.
I love the variety the North York Centre market affords because it’s one of those markets that you can feasibly do all your grocery shopping at! There’s bread, meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, pantry items, and hot food and regardless of whether or not you would actually go through with buying an entire week’s worth of groceries here, it’s just nice to know you could if you wanted to. My picks are definitely the black bean and kale empanadas by BreadSong, the perogies by Taste of Russia, a sauce, jelly, or chutney by Joy of Harvest, and any of the baby vegetables like the baby eggplants and baby zucchini. If you make it out to the market, stay around for the whole morning; it’ll be worth it.
The North York farmers’ market by the North York Civic Centre at Mel Lastman Square is located at 5100 Yonge St. just across the street from the North York Centre subway station off Hillcrest Ave. The farmers’ market is located on the west side of Yonge St. and runs every Thursday from 8am-2:30pm from May 31st to October 25th.