Peaceful Green Space, Chutneys, & Seasonal, Fruity Baked Goods – The North York Farmers’ Market, Part II

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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.  

Fiddlehead Galettes, Root Vegetables, & Lush Purple Eggplants – The North York Farmers’ Market, Part I

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Fiddlehead galettes with Monforte cheese by Breadsong Collective!

A bevy of lettuces and colourful root vegetables

The beautiful Mel Lastman Square grounds

Gorgeous cherries! Perfect for juicy baked goods and pastries

Stunning purple and white streaked baby eggplants

Mushrooms and funghi of all kinds! Check out those yellow ones

*****

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.

Baby Zucchini, Apple Dumplings & Potato Cheese Perogies – The Farmers’ Market at Mel Lastman Square, Part II

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Last night I professed my love for the North York farmers’ market at Mel Lastman Square in my teaser post and I truly meant what I said about it being my favourite market to date.  I went bright and early Thursday morning to start my day and got off the subway at North York Centre.  At first, I got confused and thought the market was inside the civic centre so I asked the nice security guard inside where the market was and him and another nice lady pointed me in the direction of the reflection pond and told me it was held outside on the grounds of Mel Lastman Square.  I stepped outside and breathed an excited, “wow”. 

This was not my first time around the area.  I’ve gotten off the subway at North York Centre plenty of times and I have passed by Mel Lastman Square and walked up and down Yonge St. between Finch and Sheppard more times than I can remember.  But this time was different.  I came out of the civic centre facing east and the view of the pond and the grounds was just…lovely.  I don’t know if it was because it was early in the morning, or because the sun was bright out, but everything looked and felt so peaceful, so serene.  My mind snapped to attention and I immediately started thinking of all the nice photos I could take, all the pretty picnics I could have here…this is such a beautiful area and I could kick myself for not spending more time here.  I know better now though.

It was such a glorious feeling skipping by the reflection pond with the sun out and soft breeze.  It’s the kind of feeling you get when you know it’s just the beginning of many more fun things to come for the rest of the day.  Music was filtering through the grounds, I sang along to Sade’s Smooth Operator (I often think I was born in the wrong era because I like 70s and 80s music more than I like the stuff that’s out right now!), and I could see the white farmers’ market tents up ahead and was so excited to see what this one had to offer.  I love the fact that there are fountains, nice grass, plenty of benches, and plenty of space around the market at Mel Lastman Square.  You can stay here and munch on your food, listen to some music, and enjoy a really nice morning and afternoon here. 

This market is so wonderful not just because of how big it is (it’s fairly large; not quite as big at the one in East York but comparable), but because of the variety of market goodness!  Tables of danishes, pastries, struedel cakes, bread, cured meats and sausages, herb plants, baskets of cherries, bell peppers, baby potatoes and cucumbers, strawberries, wild blueberries, apricots, and so much more.  What I picked up for the day: baby zucchini!  I kept my goal of getting something different every week, and I was so thrilled as there were yellow ones in the mix.  The zucchinis were beautiful and it took a lot of willpower not to walk away with so much more.

There was so much to see and aside from getting my zucchini, my absolute favourite part of the market was the Taste of Russia booth!  The food here is SO FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS.  I love the amazing fruits and vegetables and everything, but holy mother of pearl THIS is what makes me to want to come back every week forever.  They had lots of ready-to-eat food including apple dumpling pastries, spinach and feta phyllo triangles, and my favourite (and my boyfriend’s), potato and cheese perogies with sour cream and tzatziki-like sauce.  OH.MY.GOD.  You have not had scrumptious perogies till you have tried these.  I bought an apple dumpling, 2 spinach feta triangles for my mum and brother and 5 perogies as they were 5 for $2.50.  I had one and saved the other 4 for my mum and brother (my dad doesn’t care for stuff like this) but I gotta tell you, I wanted to scarf down the other 4 so many times throughout the day and convinced myself that it was not nice to do that because I wanted my mum and brother to try some.  Next time, I am buying 15.  Pft, maybe 20.  And bringing a giant tupperware container with me.

*****

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 June 2nd to October 27th.

A Beautiful Morning Farmers’ Market at North York’s Civic Centre in Mel Lastman Square, Part I

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The North York farmers’ market at Mel Lastman Square is by far my favourite farmers’ market in the city to date.  There was so much I wanted to do this past Thursday: go to at least one farmers’ market (two if possible), go to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky in Kensington Market, go to Spadina House and Museum, and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in Beaches.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to squeeze in two markets’ before lunch time, so I had to decide which one I definitely wanted to check out and which one I would leave on the backburner for another week if I couldn’t get to it that day.  It was a toss up between the one by North York Civic Centre at Mel Lastman Square and the one by Roy Thompson Hall on King Street in David Pecaut Square.  I chose the one at Mel Lastman Square and I am SO happy I did.  I had so much fun when I went to this market this past Thursday morning and I can honestly say that I would be a happy camper if I went to this market every week for years to come.  I can’t wait to tell you all about the goodies I picked up and what an amazing market experience I had here, so for the time being here is a teaser post full of photos of the beautiful setting that hosts this fantastic market.

*****

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 June 2nd to October 27th.