Everyone has a running list of things they would hypothetically do if they won the lottery or had all the money in the world. Actually, let’s not even say all the money in the world – just more than what you already have. While one of my goals in life is to go on a cupcake shop tour across the country, the states, and the world, there is one other food-related thing I wish I could do, and that is to buy everything that strikes my fancy at every single farmers’ market I go to. And I mean EVERYTHING.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, but if money wasn’t a concern, I would and could have easily blown $30 at the newest and latest Lunchtime Office market I recently wrote about, at the ING Direct Cafe. Some raw vegan food from Earth & City (vegan pizza and a raw brownie), a pie from Yorktown Pie Company, another edible veggie bowl and container of dip from Luscious Dips, some seafood from Hooked Inc. and some tortillas from ChocoSol. Can I eat all of it at once? Goodness, no. I might be a food tank, but even I couldn’t down all of that in one go. I would take half of it home. But $30! That is an absurd amount to even think about spending for lunch at one market. But there it is. If I didn’t have to watch my wallet or think about budgeting, I would bring the markets home with me. There has never been one market I have been to where I didn’t want to leave with a wheelbarrow full of fresh bread, fruits and vegetables, and pantry items.
I think these market visits have really challenged me to be creative with my meal-planning over the last year. It’s easy to come to the false conclusion that going to the markets time and time again would yield the same foods and products during the same season, thus resulting in boredom. After all, many of the same businesses and vendors are present each time. Far from it is the way I see it. My knowledge, tastebuds, and exposure to different food products have grown with these markets and in turn, many vendors have reciprocated by bringing new and creative things to the table each week for their customers and market-goers. I find myself discovering new things every time and I get excited about things all over again.
My last visit to Dufferin Grove was back in December before the holidays so I paid another visit to the indoor winter market recently to see what goodies I could get nice photographs of and – surprise, surprise – I left wanting half the market! It’s so interesting to see how a farmers’ market evolves over the course of a year and watching it move along in transition between seasons. You can tell that while the winter vegetables and comfort foods are still making its rounds, spring is waiting in the wings to break out full force. Just look at the sunny lemons and oranges. Spring is definitely going to be one very exciting season this year because I’ll get to see many of the markets that were hibernating over the winter come back and I’m looking forward to that. My favourite discoveries this time around were the cornmeal sourdough bread loaves, the artisan pumpkin seed loaves, and – get this – lime mint jelly in a jar! As of late, I have been on the biggest toast and _____ (insert some form of spread, dip, or condiment here) kick lately.
I know that sounds kind of ho-hum (really, Deb? Toast is your food adventure?), but it makes a world of difference when you start experimenting with different kinds of bread and spreads. I’ve been having a field day with my peanut butter on Texas toast with almond milk, sesame seed bread with beet hummus, and 12-grain rye with garlic spread. And now to find out there is such a thing as lime mint jelly?! That makes me all sorts of excited. I think it would taste fantastic with a turkey sandwich on some French bread. Once I finish off my container of beet hummus (I actually bought the beet hummus for my mum, but I kind of polished off half the container myself, oops) I just might pick up a jar. Or maybe just another container of veggie hummus. We’ll see.
Dufferin Grove Park is located at the intersection of Dufferin St. and Bloor St. West. The Dufferin Grove farmers’ market is held year-round at the northwest corner of the park every Thursday from 3pm-7pm. For more info on the farmers’ market and its vendors, click here.