It was hot yesterday. Disgustingly hot. Face flaming, sweat dripping down from my forehead hot. And yet there I was, walking to the Riverdale Farm farmers’ market yesterday afternoon from the Eaton Centre in the muggy, sticky, gross heat. Granted, I was wearing my little bucket hat and the sun kept coming and going while I was walking, but when it’s muggy out, it sticks to you and makes you feel all sorts of bleh. I told myself I would go though so I kept walking, keeping my eye on the prize, and breathing a huge sigh of relief when Riverdale Park’s towering trees came into view, wafting in a light breeze. THANK GOODNESS FOR NATURE’S LEAFY GREENS!
The farmers’ market was in full swing and while it wasn’t as big as the one I visited last summer, market goers were snatching up goodies left and right and carrying their wares in tote bags as they surveyed their possible purchase. And I mean snatching. As I was taking photos of the radishes up top, I was literally surrounded on all sides by people buying bunch after bunch. A few seconds after I took my shot, there were only 2 bunches left on the table. I kid you not! One bunch of radishes after another kept disappearing and I thanked my lucky stars I got there when I did because otherwise, I would have been staring at a few remaining scraggly roots.
The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market just started their 2012 season last week (Tuesdays from 3pm-7pm) so I have no doubt that the market will expand and get a little larger over the course of the summer. Despite the smaller size though, I still found myself wanting to pick up more than a few items to take home. What can I say, I’m a shopaholic at heart and that clearly extends to food!
I saw some familiar vendors and faces at the market yesterday, including St. John’s Bakery, La Fiesta Catering (who appear at both Fresh Wednesdays and Tasty Thursdays at Nathan Phillips Square with some of the meanest cornmeal mashed potatoes and pulled pork in the city!), LKP Culinary Groove, and Best Baa Dairy! Best Baa Dairy was back with their huge assortment of cheese and goat’s milk ice cream, LPK Culinary Groove had their vegan cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and sweet potato donut holes on hand, La Fiesta Catering was firing up their grill with kabobs and succulent hot food delights, and St. John’s Bakery was dishing up the bread, cookies, and scones!
I was so tempted to grab an ice cream and some of La Fiesta’s cornmeal mashed potatoes (and, I admit, a smidgen of their amazing pulled pork), but I convinced myself I’d come back for them another time and instead, snatched up two amazing scones from St. John’s Bakery. At $2.50 a pop, their scones came in a varity of amazing flavours such as apple cinnamon, cranberry pumpkin seed, blueberry, and lemon currant among others. This was the first time I had come across any of St. John’s Bakery’s scones and I was so excited! Especially when I found out they had a lemon one. I took home a lemon currant and a cranberry pumpkin seed and savoured them this morning with my brother. We popped them in the microwave for 15 seconds and they were good to go. They were so good! They were pull apart soft and incredibly flavourful and I only wish I had thought to put some apricot jam because that would have been delightfully amazing.
Familiar faces aside, I also happened upon some new vendors at the market, one of them being Rob and Barry’s Vegan and Vegetarian Foods! Rob and Barry’s business and cooking operations take place right here in Toronto in a commercial kitchen located in Kensington Market, and they’re hoping to open up a retail shop in the near future so they can further spread the vegetarian and vegan love!
For those of you who love taking advantage of vegetarian and vegan options, the Riverdale farmers’ market has welcomed a new vendor selling everything from veggie pasta and pizza, caponata (a Sicilian eggplant salad or dish typically associated with antipasti), quinoa black bean salad, quinoa mango salad, and quinoa chickpea salad! Prices range from $3-$4 for salads (sold in reusable containers) and $4-$8 for the heftier items. The food is perfect for take-away to take back home, for picnics, for lunch, or for an afternoon snack (yes, that’s right, I’d eat this as a snack. I know how to pack it in) and it’s great knowing there’s another vegetarian and/or vegan option on hand for when you want something lighter.
I’m really looking forward to coming back later on in the summer, seeing the market grow, and hopefully, have myself a nice little picnic out on the park when it’s less gross out! Muggy weather aside, I’m glad I came because I left with some wonderful scones, was reunited with some old food favourites, and was introduced to new food options for the next time around.
The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market is located at 201 Winchester St. in Riverdale Park. My way of getting here is to either walk along Carlton St. eastbound from Yonge St., or take the College St. streetcar eastbound to Parliament St. and Carlton. From there, keep walking eastbound on Carlton until you get to Sumach St. and you’re there! This year, the market is held every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm from May 22 to October 30.