All Aboard! Fall Fruits & Vegetables & Lineups for Baked Goods & Pork at the Junction Market Train Platform!

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“Oh my goodness, what in the world are people lining up for??”

I stopped dead in my tracks and gaped incredulously at the crowd of people gathered before me on the sidewalk just up the street.  Was there a sidewalk sale?  No.  Were folks handing out free stuff?  Nope.  Did Hugh Jackman return to TO for post-TIFF shenanigans?  I wish.  No, the line of people spilling out onto the street curb was in fact lining up for bread.  And cinnamon rolls.  And pork.  And croissants.  And pork.  And tacos.

Did I mention pork?

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This was the scene before me as I walked into the Junction Market’s brand spankin’ new home on the Junction Train Platform, a hubbub of community activity near and dear to the Junction community’s heart.  And when I say hubbub, I mean HUBBUB.  I was shocked at the sheer volume of market goers milling around every inch of space on the market grounds.  The Train Platform is such a cool space.  There’s train station graffiti art on the brick wall to the west, a raised wooden platform stage and a roof awning over top.  The market vendors were set up in a square shape around the perimeter of the space with more vendors filling in a portion of the centre.  I was surprised I was able to get as many clean shots as I did.  I mean, I know I didn’t arrive right when the market started at 8am (I did due diligence and got there just before 10:30am – give me a break, I live in Markham and wanted the extra hour of sleep!) but my goodness I have never been to a market where I had to strategically figure out how to just get IN.  And I LOVED it.

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The Junction Market had great turnouts at their old location down the road in the Green P parking lot but this was the first market season at the Train Platform and you can tell that the market is just more…alive.  There’s a buzz in the air, the crowd is bigger, and there’s this feeling and sense of community, grassroots, and togetherness.  That we’re all there to pick up delicious food, support our farmers and food producers and to simply be surrounded by people who love market food.

It’s a wonderful feeling and I have missed this so much.  This past summer I really dropped the ball on making visits to the market and I feel like I missed out on so much.  Fall is here though and I am determined to make the most of the season and that means breathing in the beautiful bounty of fresh food all the markets have to offer.  The Junction Market has been one of my favourites since it’s beginnings in 2012.  It may not be the biggest, but by golly do I ever find fantastic stuff whenever I go.  I’ve picked up bunches upon bunches of kale, sprouts, pesto, chutney and baked goods and coming out here gives me the opportunity to explore the west end more which I love.

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This past Saturday, there were gorgeous bunches of swiss chard, adorable baskets of wild blueberries (they’re so tiny and cute!), pretty plump pears, huge bunches of kale (my go-to market veg!), scotch eggs, empanadas and more from Hogtown Charcuterie, house-cured peameal on a bun, jerk pork, and eleventy billion kinds of ribs from When the Pig Came Home Smokehouse and Larder (gotta love the name!), squash, tomatoes, beans and so much more.  I was so excited and focused on taking photos I backed up and crashed right into a parked bike which left unattractive dusty tire marks on my leggings which I furiously tried to rub off whilst balancing my camera.

Real smooth, Debra.  Real smooth.

Not bad for my first market visit of the 2013 fall season though!  I discovered some yummy new vendors (that peameal on a bun and kale salad will be MINE next time!  Oh, and maybe a scotch egg.  And maybe some tacos too), got to visit them at their new location, and happily walked away with new photos and the beautiful, newest issue of Edible Toronto magazine featuring Sosnicki Organic Farm, a Junction market vendor, on the cover!  This is just the beginning of a scrumptious fall season.

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The Junction Market takes place Saturdays from 9am-1pm (May 25 to November 9) at the Junction Train Platform at 2960 Dundas Street West by Pacific Ave.  You can follow them on Twitter @JunctionMarket!

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A Day of Kale & Lettuce – Leafy Greens, Jarred Sauces, and Fall Pastries & Vegetables at Wychwood Barns

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My arms are killing me, especially my left one.  When I woke up this morning, I could have sworn I slept on it funny.  Why else would it feel so sore?  Then it dawned on me: my arms were sore from carrying bags of market vegetables and groceries all around town yesterday!  Up, down, and all around I went, lugging bags of fresh beautiful green curly kale, red kale, leafy romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and a delicious fall inspired apple-cranberry crumble pie from Yorktown Pie Company.  And leftover beet risotto from my beloved Mela Cafe.  And a giant loaf of honey wheat bread from Panera Bread.  Oh, and some macarons.  Needless to say, I was out like a light on the subway and bus ride back home!

Part of me really, really wanted to take it easy this weekend.  As in, stay at home, watch tv, and catch up on sleep.  Then the blogging workaholic in me shook her head and tsked.  There were so many things I wanted to do.  I wanted to grab some vegetables to take home.  I wanted to pay a visit to the market at Wychwood Barns during the fall season, something I had never done before.  And I wanted some warm fall comfort food, a nice walk outside, and some more macarons, even if I meant I’d have to get up at 6:30 in the morning to started on my day.  So to the market I went!  And even though I was one very sleepy girl when I came home (I was dozing in front of my laptop as I was editing photos!), I was real happy I pushed myself to go out because I had so much fun yesterday, bulging grocery bags and all!

Wychwood Barns was hopping with market goers, not to mention folks who were there to check out the Pottery Glass show happening inside!  Despite the chilly weather (scarf and mitten weather for me), everyone was in good spirits, snatching up vegetables like there was no tomorrow.  I couldn’t believe all the great stuff I picked up.  My family and I gobbled up all of our romaine and red leaf lettuce today for both lunch and dinner, and my beautiful leafy kale is waiting to be sauteed with garlic and olive oil for tomorrow’s dinner.  The markets are just amazing and I love knowing that everyone in my family is enjoying the goodies I bring home every week.

This week at the market I noticed an abundance of leafy greens, Chinese vegetables, snow peas, radishes, jarred sauces and condiments (pesto and mustard, yum!), and seasonal fall fruit and veggie pastries and baked goods.  It was my first time buying red kale and I’m so excited to have it for dinner tomorrow!  It wasn’t until my visit to Crème Fraîche last month during Samsara Fields’ pop-up market that I realized just how many different types of kale there were, so it’s been great learning about and seeing (and obviously eating!) all the different kinds.  So far we’ve just sauteed it and had it with rice, but I’d love to try making kale chips sometime because so many rave about it.  That, and mixing it in with pasta.  YUM!

Yesterday was also the Junction market’s last day of the year and season and while I really wanted to be there to see their last one, I just couldn’t go out that far west.  It wasn’t practical given how the other things I wanted to do kept me closer to midtown and the downtown core.  I’m so sad that I won’t have that market to go to anymore until next year, providing they come back for their sophomore year, which I really hope they do!  Lucky for me, Wychwood, Evergreen Brick Works, and Crème Fraîche Market Cafe operate year round and I still have a few more weeks to squeak out a visit to other weekend markets such as Liberty Village, Leslieville, Withrow, Weston, and Montgomery Inn.  Some of them are a little far for me to get to, but hey, I always make my market visits worthwhile so we’ll see!

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The Stop Community Food Centre Farmers’ Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns is held year-round on Saturdays from 8am-12pm.  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://www.thestop.org/green-barn-market

The Fall Harvest Series – Bringing Home Kale, Sunflower Sprouts, Sauces & More From the Junction Farmers Market!

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I am smitten.  Absolutely smitten.  I think my visit to the Junction Farmers Market this past Saturday morning was, hands down, my favourite market visit of the season!  It was such a rewarding experience, I had SO much fun, and by the end of it, I walked away with bags of goodies to take home.  It made me so happy and that’s saying a lot considering I was in a very foul mood about 2 hours prior!  Tthe bus I had originally planned on catching never showed up so that set me back a whole half hour.  I was not a happy camper at 7 in the morning.  But then I arrived at the market (when I finally did) and all the frustration and mumbling and grumbling went *POOF!* as I hopped from vendor to vendor in sheer joy.  Pumpkins!  Squash!  Apples!  Kale!  Tomatoes!  Sauces and dips!  FOOOOD!  The whole market was in full-swing fall mode with bushels of apples and pears by the vendors, delicious samples of apple cider, and tables overflowing with orange and golden yellow pumpkins, squashes, and tomatoes.

I couldn’t believe how amazing the market was on Saturday.  I know it sounds kind of weird given how this visit wasn’t my first but let’s face it, the market is in the middle of a parking lot and not exactly surrounded by daisies.  But by golly is it ever a goldmine of brilliant colour, lush fruits and vegetables, savoury nibbles, sweet baked goods, and scrumptious dips and sauces!  The Junction market has grown so much since its debut back in June.  It has grown steadily and organically with the enthusiasm of the community in its corner and I’m so proud of what this market has accomplished in just a matter of a few short months.  This is the Junction market’s first fall season and it’s an exciting time.

I am going to be so sad though when it packs up for the season in a week and a half on the 13th because I really feel like I can do grocery shopping at the Junction market as opposed to just being a passionate market goer and passerby.  I’m going to try my best to get in one last visit before it waves goodbye because it’s just that wonderful.  And I know other people in the commnity feel the exact same way because there were crowds lining up for bread and baked goods from De La Terre, there were discussions about kale left and right, and there was even an eager morning market shopper who came by Eugora’s Fine Foods and asked for 20 veggie samosas!

The selection of food was fantastic and there was a great balance between take-home groceries (fruits, vegetables, sauces, preserves, and pantry items) and “enjoy right away” food like sweet baked goods and bread from De La Terre, vegetarian samosas from Eudora’s Fine Foods, and Hogtown Charcuterie ‘s meats, savoury puff pastries and tarts, empanadas, scotch quail eggs and more!  For the first time, I felt like I was actually bogged down with food goodies and groceries!

I bought 4 vegetarian samosas (I know, it pales in comparison to the 20 the other lady snatched up!) and a jar of fresh, fruity, and flavourful mango chutney from Eudora’s Fine Foods, a container of delicious pesto the colour of freshly cut grass, sunflower sprouts from Fresh City Farms, and two of the biggest, fluffiest, most beautiful bunches of curly kale I had ever seen from Sosnicki Organics.  I was thisclose to buying more vegetables and picking up cheese too!  I’ve never shopped a market like this before and it felt terrific because I knew the food was incredibly fresh, I knew I was going to put the food to good use (dinner for me and the family!), and I knew it was money well spent.

I left the Junction market in such high spirits and I think that’s exactly how every farmers’ market should make everyone feel: welcome, loved, more knowledgable, and most importantly, excited for more.  It’s not every day you find your holy grail foods.  When you find a producer, farmer, and/or food shop that you love, you go back to them time and time again because you trust their passion, their integrity, and the greatness of their food.  It’s exactly how I felt when I came home with my beautiful bag of assorted kale from Samsara Fields the other week when I went to Crème Fraîche and I felt (and tasted!) it again when I lugged my giant bag of curly kale home from the Junction market.  The possibilities for wonderful food at the market are endless and I can only hope that one day this market will be a year-round one so I can enjoy it well past October.

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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.

The Fall Harvest Series – It’s an Orange & Gold, Leafy Green Wonderland at the Junction Farmers Market! Part I

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A photo spotlight of my latest visit to the Junction farmers market and the official return of The Fall Harvest Series!  It’s October and I have some great stuff to share with you guys this week including a fall inspired weekend brunch meal, fall flavour cupcakes, a pumpkin edition of The Cupcake Connection, and hopefully lots of butternut squash and baking pumpkin baked goods!   Even though I won’t be able to repeat last year’s feat of stringing together 2 week’s worth of fall harvest posts in a row, I’m going to try my best to get in as many posts as possible, especially market ones since many of them will be packing up for the year sometime this month.  I’ve compiled a list of all the ones that are ending during the month of October as part of the October Food Calendar, so if there’s a market you adore or one you haven’t been to yet this year, make your visit soon before they’re gone!

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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.

The Market Is Here to Stay! Vegan Nori Rolls, Raw Pumpkin Tarts, Fresh Spring Roll Wraps and More at the CSI

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It’s official: the Lunchtime Office Markets at both Centre for Social Innovation locations are here to stay!  The office markets have been wildly successful with hungry workers and students, curious passerby, and dedicated market goers like yours truly!  What started out as a biweekly, fall market pilot project has now blossomed into a weekly extravaganza of fresh baked bread, organic and local produce, fresh farm cheeses, fair trade chocolate, and plenty of raw, vegan food lovingly made and sold by local businesses around the city and province.  I’ll be honest, I am absolutely ecstatic that the lunchtime markets are now a weekly occurrence –  twice a week no less!   

Back in October, I was hoping so much for the pilot to continue on well through the anticipated 4-week stint and for the market to become a weekly one as opposed to the biweekly one it started off as during its humble beginnings.  My wish was granted and my market-loving heart is so excited for the many future markets to come.  The market has plans to stay well into December but truthfully, I’m hoping for well into the new year 😉

Up until this point I had only purchased a few bits and bobs here and there including some bread from Nice Buns (I suggest you all try Sara’s cocoa sourdough and white bread buns) and St. Johns Bakery, as well as one of Earth & City‘s creamy coconut macaroons.  This time around though, I wanted a full out lunch and the spread didn’t disappoint!  I picked up a spring roll wrap, a vegan sushi/nori roll, and a pumpkin seasonal fruit tart, all from Earth & City‘s colourful and delicious selection of vegan food.  If you enjoy crunchy fruits and vegetables with a hint of sweetness, you need to try the spring roll wraps.  Made with apples, beets, carrots, red onions, walnuts, almonds, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey dates, sesame oil, and ginger, they’re all wrapped in rice paper and fresh, raw collard greens and they are so incredibly packed with nutrition and texture and sweet flavour because you get a mixture of fruit, vegetables, protein, fibre, and all that good stuff.  You get that sweet and spikey bite from the beets and plenty of crunch from the vegetables.

Now, you’re probably wondering how in the world I managed to eat this spring roll wrap without blowing up like a blowfish because there’s raw apple in it!  There isn’t too much in it so I managed to avoid a major allergic reaction.  I think the worst I got was a tiny red welt on my lip which went away fairly quickly, but no swollen tongue and mouth, no fire in my throat, and no excruitiating pain.  I know I was taking a chance eating something with raw apple in it, but I wanted to try one so bad I threw caution to the wind and figured I could always pick the apple out if the pieces were too big or if the amount was too much to handle.  Sigh.  The things I do for food.

The pumpkin tart was so incredibly smooth and creamy and it was great because it wasn’t overladen with spice.  It tasted fresh and natural, the way it’s supposed to.  The base of Earth & City’s seasonal fruit dessert tarts are made with a raw mixture of organic rolled oats and honey dates and filled with whatever fruit is seasonal and fresh.  For the fall months, Cassandra and Lisa have been filling them with apples, pears, and pumpkin and come winter, they’ll be using storage apples and peach preserves canned during the late summer in August.  The base is chewy as opposed to crumby, cakey, or flaky, similar to a granola and honey mixture, only naturally sweeter because of the honey dates.  I have to tell you, I actually prefer this type of base because for whatever reason, tart crusts and pie crusts don’t work with my tastebuds.  There’s always this bitter, dry aftertaste that I really don’t care for, so this oat and honey date tart base works for me!

And now, my personal favourite: the nori roll!  Earth & City’s vegan sushi is made with thin seaweed sheets rolled with cooked brown rice (one of the only food items of theirs that isn’t raw!) and stuffed with a variety of vegetables.  I LOVED the sushi so much, oh my goodness.  I had shittake mushrooms, red bell pepper, and sunflower sprouts and it was refreshing, juicy, and hearty because of the thick grains of brown rice.  Next time, I am getting myself an entire nori roll log!  Each nori roll is $2 and a nori roll log is $6 which translates into 4 rolls when cut.

The markets at both locations have done really remarkable things and by remarkable I mean getting people involved and getting people engaged in the food and the market itself.  When I go to these markets, I know it seems like all I’m there for is the food and the photos, but I’m also there to learn, to observe, and to listen.  Little do people know that while I’m snapping away and ogling all the yummies, I’m also listening to the conversations that go on between those who make the food and those who make the market possible by buying from these local businesses.  

There have been conversations about ingredients, about new and upcoming products, and about suggestions to make the market even more amazing than it already is.  It’s an awesome feeling being here in the hubbub of lunch hour when people are grabbing piping hot bowls of soup left and right, snatching up buns and loaves of bread, and taking the food they’ve bought and enjoying it for lunch.  You know a market means something to people when they bother to strike up these conversations in the first place because it means they’re invested and that they want to see the market continue and do well.  I can only see it getting stronger and I can’t wait to see what’s in store come December.     

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The Lunchtime Markets at the Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex and on Spadina take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays respectively from 11:30am-1pm.  The Centre for Social Innovation (Annex) is located at 720 Bathurst Street, just south of Bloor Street West and Lennox.  They also have a location on Spadina at 215 Spadina Ave., 4th floor.

Hitting Up the Weekend Markets! Squashes, Crab Apples, and a Sea of Rainbow Colours at Liberty Village

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It’s Friday and the weekend is here!  I’m excited because there’s so much going on with the last of the outdoor markets, Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington, and the spooktacular yummies that await me on Hallowe’en!  I have so much I want to do but there’s always never enough time.  I haven’t even been able to do any Hallowe’en baking for you guys!  Hopefully I’ll have something fabulous for you all on Monday, but for now, I’m chugging away at getting these weekend market photos up!  If you’ve been following the Farmers’ Market series since I started it back in May, you’ll have noticed that many of the markets that I hit up were weekday ones.  It’s a habit from university that it’s still in my blood and a little hard to kick.

While I was in school, my weekdays were flexible.  I would go to my classes on the days I had them, I would attend meetings whenever they arose, and I would stick myself in the library for the day when it was necessary.  Between all these activities though, I would hop around town.  I took advantage of the precious time I had to do things during the school/work week because I knew I would have to succumb to a weekend of work.  Sometimes there was just too much going on during the week to “sit down” and get things done.  Three hour break in between classes?  Sweet, I’m taking a break at the mall.  Classes finished by noon?  Nice, I’m spending the rest of the day downtown.  I would get my shopping done that way, I got to stroll around, and of course, I got to eat.

Pretty graffiti art by Liberty Village

Cupcake offerings at For the Love of Cake!

This habit of rushing around during the week and staying home on the weekends has made it a little difficult for me to get out to the weekend markets this year.  I’m the opposite of most people.  While they can’t wait to get out and party it up, I’m laying in front of the tv tired from the week’s antics!  The reduced transit service in my area doesn’t exactly help matters either.  But missing the weekend markets started putting me in a bad mood so I tried my best to get out to a few of them and I’m so happy I did.  I finally went to Evergreen Brick Works and just recently, I ping-ponged between two Sunday markets in the city: Leslieville and today’s Liberty Village!

Liberty Village is an up-and-coming neighbourhood in the west end off of King Street sweeping the city by storm.  The industrial feel is still very much present, but businesses in and discussion of the area are both steadily growing as more people venture out to explore.  Even though I can’t say that I could spend an entire day in the neighbourhood, there’s some great stuff in the village that I love, such as For the Love of Cake cupcake shop (blog post forthcoming, I promise!), Demo Soap Studio (if you get a chance to check them out at the One of a Kind Show, do it!), and a handful of dining establishments that look great on paper and that I can’t wait to try out.  I went to Liberty Village for the first time in the summer of 2010 and it’s definitely grown in the past year.  I think many people who have an interest in design and architecture will also appreciate the area, in addition to foodies, because the main strip was constructed in a way that makes it very distinguishable from other neighbourhoods in the city.  You’ll just have to go and check it out 😉

The Liberty Village farmers’ market, located in the Green P parking lot just outside the Liberty Market building on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave., is a sister market to others in the city: Bloor-Borden-Lippincott, Sick Kids Hospital, Ryerson University, and East Lynn Park.  If I had to make a comparison, I would say that the Liberty Village market is a little more similar to Bloor-Borden-Lippincott.  The Liberty Village one didn’t have the ginormous herb table, but I recognized some of the same tables and farmers.  The markets at Sick Kids Hospital and Ryerson are much more different in their offerings.  Liberty Village is more fruit and vegatable centric whereas the market at Sick Kids has waaay more baked goods, and Ryerson has a mix of both.

It was a beautifully warm day when I went (which is a stark constract to the weather we’re having now!), and the market was busy.  The tables were just bursting with beautiful colour and I was so giddy to see two particular things at this market: crab apples and baby squashes!  We’ve all heard the terms “sour grapes” and “crab apple” but I’ve never actually SEEN a crab apple before.  Unless I missed them, none of the other markets I’ve been to have them.  They were adorable.  So cute and small and bright pink-red!  I did a little bit of research and found out that these fruits are wonderful for making jellies, jams, and preserves.

And the squashes!  I can’t get over how pretty they are.  And how good they are to eat.  I saw these adorable baby squashes at the market that were white with deep green striping and I asked the farmers how to cook them.  They told me I could cut them in half, sprinkle a little brown sugar, put some butter on them, and roast them in the oven for about 45- minutes.  Friends on Twitter also made a few yummy suggestions like sprinkling cinnamon on too!  Let it be known that aside from butternut squash soup and Chinese squash, I’ve never actually eaten or cooked things like butternut, acorn, or spaghetti squash until recently.

Once my fall kicked into high gear, my mum started going on and on about how much she loved it when my grandma used to make it when she was growing up and how she had somehow forgotten about it until now.  So we bought some butternut squash.  And ate it.  And loved it.  My dad and brother didn’t really care for it one way or the other, but my mum and I cleaned off almost an entire one between the two of us.  It was juicy and soft and mildly sweet.  In my opinion, it’s more awesome than a sweet potato!  Sweet potato lovers, don’t hate me.  Or throw your sweet potatoes at me.  I just love the flavour and texture of butternut squash more.

The weather this weekend is looking a little nicer, so I’m hoping I can make it out to some fun stuff happening in the city.  Enjoy Friday today and check out the outdoor markets while you still can!

*****

Liberty Village farmers’ market is located in the Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  Liberty Village is located just south of King Street West and the market is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm.

The Fall Harvest Series – Waffles, Beignets, and a Garlic Closet at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market!

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In another few weeks, the summer and fall farmers’ markets will be packing up and making way for the indoor markets that will roll out just in time for the winter season and holidays, so I want to post as many fall markets as I can before bidding goodbye.  The past summer was so memorable and amazing because of all the farmers’ market visits I made.  Before this past spring and summer, I had never been to a farmers’ market before.  Bake sales, yes.  Street markets and food fests, yes.  But weekly outdoor markets in eleventy billion different neighbourhoods around the city?  Never. 

I learned so much, met so many sweet people, and even got my mum hooked!  I bought vegetables, bread, and baked goods and made many fresh meals from scratch using all the delicious goodies I brought home from the markets.  Even though summer is over, fall is alive and kicking and there’s plenty of life left in these farmers’ markets!  Many of them are dishing out the apples, plums, apricots, crabapples, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, beets, pumpkins, and squash while they still can and some of them are even planning Hallowe’en activities!

I made my first visit to Leslieville market at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen East last Sunday, and after subscribing to their newsletter since the summer, the trek out was a long time coming.  The Leslieville Farmers’ Market is new to the Toronto market circuit this year and I think they’ve done such a great job  of getting the community involved and making sure there are inclusive activities for everyone. 

The market is full of volunteers, live music is provided and performed by local artists and bands, there are kiddie corner activities every Sunday for the wee ones (think reading and books and food crafts!), and there’s always a group event that brings everyone together.  Whether it’s a book sale or free yoga sessions in the park, the market organizers make an effort to encourage everyone in and outside of the neighbourhood to enjoy everything it has to offer.  Just recently, Leslieville market even hosted a jar swap where everyone brought their homemade sauces, pickled vegetables, jams, jellies, compotes, and preserves and swapped with fellow market-goers!

Highlights of the market: 1) the waffle and beignet table!!  I’m not talking about the frozen Eggo-type kind.  Imagine thick cut, fresh waffles that are like Belgian waffles married with funnel cakes alongside hot, deep-fried beignets tossed in powdered sugar.  Can you say breakfast at the market?!  I love it!  I had already eaten brunch by the time I made my way over, but I’m telling you, those waffles looked to die for.  Highlight two: the baked goods table!  You know I can’t go to a market without ogling this section.  There was a basket of long, crunchy baguettes, carrot cake squares with vanilla icing, chocolate cake muffins with powdered sugar, and the moistest looking chocolate brownies I have ever since.  I didn’t even have to taste one to know it would melt in my mouth.  All I had to do was look at it.  Pillow soft and fudgy.

Highlight numero three: the vegan hot food table!  Not only can you enjoy breakfast at Leslieville, but you can also sit down to a picnic of warm, vegan food provided by Tiffinday Inc., a vegan catering company in Toronto dedicated to delivering fresh and healthy vegan lunches to the city crowd in reuseable, stainless steel containers.  I picked up some delicious lentil samosas to bring back home for my brother, the samosa king and lover of the house, and we shared them and adored them.  Highlight number four: the garlic bulb closet!  No, I’m serious, there was this table that sold mouthwatering homemade hummus dips along with garlic, and the bulbs were categorized and organized by country of origin and type in what looked like a wooden closet, cubbyhole thing on an easel.  It was adorable!

It was a great market to go to and I’m glad I finally did after all these months.  Their last market of the year is on October 30th (the day before Hallowe’en!) so everyone, you have two weeks left to enjoy it!  Take in as much of the fall harvest as you can because winter is nipping at our heels.

 

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Leslieville Farmers’ Market is located at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave.  Jonathan Ashbridge Park is located in between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave., and can be accessed via public transit by way of the Queen Street 501 streetcar.  The market is new to the lineup of Toronto markets this year and is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm.  The last market of the year is on October 30, 2011.  Visit their website to sign up to their newsletter, to get involved, and to learn more.