Who needs dumbbells and weights when you can carry bags of groceries all over town? Between loaves of bread, bunches of kale, bags of greens and swiss chard, baked goods and scones, and fresh butternut squash, my arms are going to be in tip-top shape in no time! Over the last few weeks the farmers’ market at Evergreen Brick Works has truly become my fall-to-winter holy grail market. Between Evergreen Brick Works, The Stop Market at Wychwood Barns, and Crème Fraiche Market Café in the west end, I’m set for the rest of winter! I admit, I really, really miss going to the weekday markets like Sorauren on Mondays, and Metro Hall and Dufferin Grove on Thursdays. After all, this was my life for two years – blogging, exploring, learning, and soaking everything in during my last year of grad school and my year between graduation and full-time work. Having only the weekends to cram everything in takes some getting used to after being a student with a flexible schedule for so many years. Even so, I’m really happy and lucky to have such fantastic markets to go to during the weekend – I come home with more and more delicious food each and every single time!
When I first started going to farmers markets on a regular basis 2 years ago, I always used to go for the baked goods, hot foods, and baby vegetables like new potatoes, small zucchinis, and baby eggplants in addition to all the photo snapping! Over time, I got to know so many wonderful vendors and farmers and I started exploring and embracing everything the markets had to offer. I was snatching up pickled vegetables, canned preserves and jams, fresh hummus and pesto sauces, sunflower sprouts, all different types of kale, gorgeous swiss chard, different types of bread, all sorts of salad greens and so much more. I was no longer shopping within my novelty comfort zone; I was grocery shopping for real. I was buying food to take home to cook and trying new things and sharing the goods with my family and it felt, and feels, amazing.
Now, you’ve heard me gush about the scrumptious dumplings and sauce from My Little Dumplings and the gorgeous sprouts and fresh salad greens from Grassroot Organics (Woodville, Ontario) among other goodies. Over the past several weeks, I have fallen head over heels for two more fabulous local farmers: Crosswind Farm, a goat farm located in Keene, Ontario specializing in goat products including some of the most delicious, creamy goat cheese you’ll ever have, and Marvellous Edibles Farm, a farm based in Owen Sound selling everything from farm fresh produce and heirloom vegetables to meats and fresh fruit pies. I love, LOVE these two vendors. I adore goat cheese and love it on crackers, pizza, pasta, and well, just about everything, and Crosswind Farm offers number of different flavoured goat cheese including Toasted Garlic, Maple Cream, and Green and Red Peppercorn among many others!
And Marvellous Edibles Farm? Oh my gosh, I could sweep them clean. The gentlemen who run the operation are so, so nice and their food and vegetables are fantastic and incredibly reasonably priced! Brussels sprouts, beets, leeks, napa cabbage, pumpkins and butternut squash, garlic, different types of kale, carrots, swiss chard and more adorn their market tables alongside their organic eggs, meats, pickled vegetables, and meat and vegetable, and fruit crumble pies in both big sizes and mini sizes!
I am over the moon for their butternut squash not only because it tastes like heaven (I’m serious, you cook it and you don’t even need to put anything on it for it to taste like squash heaven!), but because they’re freshly peeled, cubed, and vacuum-sealed. Their butternut squash packets are sold by weight (most packets come in at around $4.00-$4.25) and the squash chunks are so fresh and big and yummy and gorgeous. You don’t even realize just how much there is until you start unloading it. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving! I used 1/3 of the packet for my vegan butternut squash and bean chili and still had a monstrous amount for another meal. And this past Saturday I picked up some of their beautiful swiss chard which my mum mixed with some bok choy for dinner and it was fantastic. It was my first time buying rainbow chard (or any swiss chard for that matter) and I loved it.
Even in the bitter cold, it makes me so happy going to these markets. I’m really excited to see what the winter season brings, especially since I’ve never made it out to Evergreen Brick Works or Wychwood Barns during the months of December or January. And let’s not forget about the eats at Cafe Belong! Here’s to a great winter market season for the rest of 2012 and a fresh start to 2013!
Evergreen Brick Works is located at 550 Bayview Ave. The farmers’ market takes place year-round every Saturday from 8am-1pm during the summer and fall months (May to November) and from 9am-1pm during the winter months (November to April). If taking public transit, there is a free shuttle bus that operates 7 days a week beside Broadview subway station, as well as the 28A Davisville TTC bus that runs on Saturdays from 8am-3pm between Evergreen Brick Works and Davisville subway station. Click here to learn more the site, their events and programs, and how to get here by bus, bike, car, or foot.