Asparagus, Pastries, Soaps & More at the Liberty Village Farmers’ Market! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 010

Leave a comment

DSCN2419

Hi everyone!  It was a little quiet here over the weekend but that was totally unintentional.  I did take Saturday off but I was all set to post these photos last night when I was suddenly and rudely kicked off my computer in the middle of photo editing.  The internet crapped out on me.  Round and around the little refresh icon went like a never-ending washing machine cycle.  Sigh.  Isn’t technology grand?  Oh well, no matter, everything’s fine now and the weekend was pretty great.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and for those who were able to spend time with their dads, I hope you had a fun Father’s Day!  Ours was low-key as usual.  My dad isn’t fussy about the frou-frou stuff.  We just make sure he’s well-fed and he’s all smiles.  We had roast chicken for him on Friday and fresh sashimi for him on Saturday.  And a paper baggy of these Chinese red bean sesame balls that he loves so much.  He’s a simpleton.

Ooo, the new and shiny Liberty Village 'welcome' corner at King & Atlantic

Ooo, the new and shiny Liberty Village ‘welcome’ corner at King & Atlantic

DSCN2427

Peas!

DSCN2429 - Copy

Monforte Dairy cheese, YUM.

DSCN2411

So many yummy-smelling soaps from Opeongo Soaps!

DSCN2409

As for me, I had myself a lovely day out yesterday, enjoying weekend brunch at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen West (new Gladstone post coming soon!), a David’s tea and a cupcake (surprise, surprise), and a quick visit to the farmers’ market in Liberty Village!  For those who’ve never been, the market is located in the Green P lot at East Liberty St. and Atlantic Ave. just off of King Street West and east of Dufferin on Sundays from 9am-2pm.  Organized by MyMarket, it’s a small one that offers a seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables, cheese, meats, honey, and this year, even handcrafted soaps made from either goat’s milk or rainwater from Opeongo Soaps, a local farm and business in Ontario that specializes in skincare products and soapmaking (check out their official site HERE).

Even though the market is small, I know it’ll get bigger as the season goes on (I’ve been to this market a few times over the past 3 years and they were at different points in the market season so I’ve seen the differences) and I always take away something wonderful from it and I feel this way about all farmers’ markets no matter how big or how small they are.  While it is about finding things that you love and personal preferences, it truly is about the quality of product available.

DSCN2422

DSCN2420

DSCN2421

DSCN2425

I didn’t pick up any fruits or vegetables during this visit but I did snatch up some fabulous pastries: half a dozen fresh baked tarts and a ginourmous muffin!  I could kick myself for not remembering (or taking a photo of) the farm/vendor’s name, but I’ve purchased goodies from them before, specifically some homemade peach jam and pickled beets last summer.  This particular vendor not only sells the actual fruit from their farm but also homemade pastries, preserves and jams made with their homegrown product.  This time around I bought an apple pie muffin (there were 3 kinds to choose from: strawberry-rhubarb, chocolate raspberry, and apple pie) and 6 tarts: 3 butter tarts (because who doesn’t love a freakin’ awesome local Canadian butter tart?!) and 3 raspberry lemon meringue tarts!  My brother has already eaten one of the butter tarts and him and my mum shared the apple pie muffin and they loved them.  My tastebuds and tummy will be enjoying a raspberry lemon meringue tomorrow – can’t wait!  But yes, I promise I’ll get their name for you all the next time I’m there.  And trust me, there will be a next time because I also wanted to grab several bars of the handcrafted soap but didn’t because I’m silly and didn’t bring enough cash for the extra purchase.  Total facepalm moment.

(Update June 17: the vendor/farm is Sun Ray Orchards!  Thanks to My Market Toronto for tweeting me the info!)

Soapless visit aside, it was so nice coming back to this market.  I picked up some delicious baked goods and I was able to take some more cool shots of asparagus!  I got so excited when I saw how the asparagus was arranged when I first entered the parking lot that I zipped right to it like a vulture.  It has now, unintentionally, become my THING to photograph asparagus.  I don’t whether to feel happy-geeked or embarrassed.  Maybe I’ll go with happy-geeked.  Because maybe one day I’ll have enough nice photos to make a coffee table book.  Shrugs.  You never know.

DSCN2414

DSCN2415

DSCN2416

*****

The Liberty Village farmers’ market takes place every Sunday from 9am-2pm in the Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  The outdoor market season is from June 1st to November 27th.  Liberty Village can be accessed from King Street West and Dufferin Street.  Check out Ate by Ate’s Liberty Village farmers’ market posts HERE!

Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherries, & Fresh Homemade Fruit Jams – The Summer Farmers’ Market at Liberty Village!

1 Comment

The farmers’ market trek goes west this week with a visit to the Liberty Village farmers’ market!  It’s been months since my last visit (we’re talking last fall with pumpkins and cranapples!) and since I gave the east end some love last week with fresh summery posts on the Leslieville farmers’ market, brunch, sweets, and drinks at Hammersmith’s in Riverdale, and sweet tooth treasures at Sweet Bliss Baking Company, it was time to mosey on over in the other direction.  This week we welcome some fresh faces to the lineup from the west side of the tracks including goodies from Parkdale and The Junction.

First up: the Sunday summer market in Liberty Village!  What a difference a year makes.  Liberty Village continues to grow and thrive as a community and as a dining destination with new additions to the neighbourhood including the Softchoice Lunchtime Office Market on Wednesdays and the brand spankin’ new quesadilla cafe, Maizal, on Jefferson Ave. serving fresh corn tortillas, quesadillas, and weekend brunch.  This growth is also apparent in their farmers’ market.  Even though the market itself hasn’t grown larger physically, I felt like there was more to see this time around and I had myself an absolute ball snatching up some goodes and snapping photos!  Along with gorgeous, vibrant heirloom tomatoes, zucchini flowers, carrots, and peppers, the market was bursting with fresh farm fruit: cherries, cantaloupe/musk melon, apples, raspberries, strawberries, baby golden plums, and peaches were all on hand and ripe for the pickin’.

Up and at ’em on a Sunday morning!

And effectively, Liberty Village gave me a very delicious out and solution to my raw fruit allergy problem: fresh homemade fruit jam!  Cue me squealing like a 4-year-old!  I love jams and this is the first maket I’ve been to that has had a spread like this.  There were tables set up in a ‘U’ shape and each table carried one type of fruit with a corresponding display of homemade fruit jam and dish of bread and jam samples.  A cluster of raspberry jam jars were surrounded by a moat of raspberry pints, the strawberries with strawberry jam, and the baskets of peaches with bright, juicy peach jam.  It was so pretty to look at and even tastier to eat!  In addition to fruit and jam, there were tarts and shortbread cookies made with jam and jars of pickled vegetables including pickled beets.  I picked up a jar of pickled beets ($3) for my mum (she loves beets the way I love cookes), a jar of the most delicious peach jam ($5), and a sweet shortbread cookie sandwich ($1.75) with a star cutout in the center revealing juicy raspberry jam inside.

I am dying to make peanut butter and jelly cookie sandwiches and this peach jam would be perfect for them, along with the jar of apricot jam sitting pretty in my pantry.  Oh!  And thumbprint cookies!  And accompaniments to pound cake!  All the jams and jellies I’ve come across during market visits have been so yummy and amazing (like the mango chutney at the North York market at Mel Lastman Square) and I only wish I could have some of everything without creating a pantry avalanche in the kitchen.  I’m really happy with my little market purchases though and I’m glad I came back to the Libery Village to see how far its come and how much its grown.

*****

The Liberty Village farmers’ market takes place every Sunday from 9am-2pm in the Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  Liberty Village can be accessed from King Street West and Dufferin Street.  You can view Ate by Ate’s very first Liberty Village farmers’ market post HERE.

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

2 Comments

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.