My left arm hurts from carrying my heavy load of market groceries. My shoulder blades and neck are a wee bit sore from being wrapped in a heavy-duty scarf for most of the day. And I’m just a little sleepy; leave it to me to wake up at 6am in the morning on a Saturday to go to the farmers’ market in the cold blowing snow/sleet/wet crap! Who needs to walk when you can let the gusty wind push you along? All I needed was a long coat and hat and I could have passed for the city gal version of Mary Poppins with a pink umbrella!
Despite the less-than-stellar weather, my trip to The Stop Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns yesterday morning was SO WORTH IT. Even though I came home cold with rosy cheeks and just a tad on the wind-whipped side, I came home happy and so full of joy with some of the best food from the market in my grocery bag.
It’s been months since my last farmers’ market trek. Not just months since my last post, but literally months since the last time I went to a market at all. The last time I went to one was back in December and that was to Evergreen Brick Works where I lugged home bags of kale, salad greens, and butternut squash. I know taking a break from blogging after that was something I had to do but since that last market visit, it’s almost as if a part of me was missing. A part of me that so desperately wanted to go to the market and do blog-related things but couldn’t because I was tired and because I knew I had to sacrifice some of that precious blog time to take care of other aspects of my life that need my attention.
Going to the market yesterday for first time in nearly 4 months was like a breath of fresh of air. It felt SO GOOD. Like that something missing had been fully stored. I had missed it so much and as sappy as it sounds, it’s stuff like this that makes you appreciate all the good things in your life. The stuff that puts you in your happy place and makes your life so content, rewarding and satisfying. I saw market vendors and friends, I took a ridiculous amount of photos (93!), I stuffed my hungry face with samples, learned about food, picked up a bunch of new food literature, and filled my grocery bag with some delicious eats!
A trip to The Stop Market at Wychwood Barns is never complete without fresh vegan eats from my beloved Earth & City and Yorktown Pie Company! Cassandra from Earth & City was on hand with spring roll wraps, lentil-walnut burgers with sundried tomato puree, red onion, and collard green leaf “bun”, kale and arugula pesto, and a mountain of mouthwatering vegan sweets including their famous vegan brownies, chocolate and vanilla macaroons and cowgirl cookies, cookies with oats, almonds, banana, honey, dates, cinnamon and sea salt. And Yorktown? They had their famous mini butter tarts, chocolate chip cookies, and plenty of meat and vegetarian pies and pastries including spinach and ricotta, spinach and feta, chicken, steak and Guinness, mushroom and leek, and good old fashioned sausage rolls!
I happily picked up a container of a lentil-walnut burger, vegan brownie, and a container of kale and arugula pesto from Earth & City, and a sweet butter tart from Yorktown to bring home. I cannot wait to come back to see if I can snatch up my favourite apple crumble and apple sour cream pies (what some have referred to as “apple crack”) the next time!
Between snapping photos and picking up food literature, I also added some walnut-raisin buns to my grocery bag from St. John’s Bakery, some AMAZING fresh-as-a-daisy Black Peppercorn goat cheese from Crosswind Farm who makes, by far, the best goat cheese EVER in the most delicious flavours (feta, maple cream, herb, green and red peppercorn, garlic Italian blend and a brand new creamy brie-style goat cheese), and a GIANT bar of Luscious Coconut chocolate from Chocosol.
It was so awesome seeing Chocosol’s fantastic selection of fresh cacao bars and beans and thanks to Chocosol’s Yanni (I hope I’ve spelled your name right!), my boyfriend and I learned the process behind Chocosol’s fair trade chocolate: cacao beans are roasted; shells from the roasted beans are then removed via fans which blow the shells off; the fresh cacao is then stone-ground into a paste, which is then tempered a number of times before flavourings and seasonings are added to create their famous flavours such as their hemp, spicy chili, dark and more. Taking it all in was like cacao 101 which was awesome!
During this visit I also discovered some fantastic new vendors! Now, these vendors aren’t exactly brand new to the market but they’re new to me. First up, Essa Sprouts! I love pea sprouts and shoots and sunflower sprouts like nobody’s business and Essa Sprouts grows everything from sunflower sprouts to sprouted chickpea, daikon radish, pea shoots, buckwheat, alfalfa, crunchy bean and more. They have so many different types of sprouts and microgreens that are perfect for any type of palate (spicy, mild, you name it) and the baggies come in a number of sizes so you can choose what best suits your diet and sprouting eating frequency. I picked up a small baggie of sunflower sprouts and have already inhaled the whole bag with help from my mum and dad! You can find them here at The Stop at Wychwood and also at the Richmond Hill market (which I will add to the market list) and Barrie which is interestingly one of the oldest markets in the province!
Finally, I saw Delish Kitch at the market for the first time yesterday! In a nutshell, Delish Kitch specializes in gluten-free, low-starch food with the absence of refined sugars. They offer vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free options on their impressive menu: veggie pizzas, cookies, muffins, savoury tarts and pies, bread, tons of granola, soups, and their speciality, Bisckers, which are a cross between crackers and biscuits with a hint of scone without the gluten!
This visit was just what I needed to kick start some extra inspiration and I happily got everything I wanted out of it. It’s almost May and we all know what that means: spring and summer season at the markets! I just found out all the 2013 dates so in another week I’ll be updating the market list with a rundown of all the ones returning in May and June and all the great market events we can expect this year! I am so pumped and excited!
The Stop Community Food Centre Farmers’ Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns is held year-round on Saturdays from 8am-12pm. The park and historic community centre complex is located at 76 Wychwood Ave. just off of St. Clair Ave. West, east of Christie St. and west of Bathurst St. http://www.thestop.org/green-barn-market