I love visiting different community centres. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my local community centre, and bouncing between different ones around the city to ice skate and swim with my dad. I spent 3 years swimming like a fishy full-time, winter after winter strapping on ice skates that were way too big for me because my dad bought me skates he thought I would “grow into” (which I obviously didn’t), and almost all my life popping in and out of community centre libraries with stacks of books I would stick my nose in for weeks on end.
Community centres are so important not only in providing neighbourhoods with lifestyle, sports, and exercise programs, but they’re also vital in creating and maintaining our social relationships. You meet people, you make friends, you get to know your own neighbourhood better, and you learn about events going on in the city you otherwise wouldn’t have known about. At the very least, a community centre can function as a physical and mental refuge for some, a home away from home for parts of the day.
The Eglinton Farmers’ Market (in conjunction with Appletree Markets) moved indoors this past November, setting up camp on the main floor of the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre every other week from 3pm-7pm. I finally got the chance to see the market in its indoor form since its winter move and I was really excited to see what January would bring. Even though I think I arrived at the market before every single vendor was able to set up, I was still able to snap some photos and I even took away some fabulous new foodie reading material for myself!
The market was in full-out winter mode, with barrels of cabbage, potatoes, leeks, onions, apples, pears, brussel sprouts, and beans ready for the picking. I was so amused by the brussel sprouts – they looked like jolly green giant beanstalks with little green nubbies on them! In its natural form, there they were with brussel sprouts literally still on the stalk! Brussel sprouts have become one of my family’s favourite vegetables over the past two years and that’s because we don’t do the brussel sprout no-no: we don’t steam them! For years, my mum hated brussel sprouts because she had an awful dining experience where the cooking method used didn’t do them justice and they ended up being reduced to mush. Roasting (or in our case, a quick boil) does the trick and sprinkle some olive oil, garlic, sea salt, or cracked black pepper and you have yourself a tasty meal.
The winter markets are all about warmth and comfort and there was plenty of that at the little market. There were homemade jars of soup, baskets with mounds of Italian beans perfect for making salads and warm soups (it was the first time I had ever seen Italian borlotti beans!), and plenty of fair trade coffee from Chocosol! I picked up the most recent issue of Edible Toronto and The Golden Horseshoe from Chocosol where they were featured on the cover and in the magazine as the featured cover story, and the most recent issue of Post City magazine: North Toronto from the community centre.
I’m sad that the market is every other week as opposed to every single week, but I feel lucky enough that I have markets to go to and great community centres to visit and explore. The winter is still young and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll finally be able to visit the market at Wychwood Barns and the 99 MRKT when it comes back later on this month! No matter what, I’m making it a priority to visit whichever ones I can so I can get the goods on what’s good this winter at the market.
The Eglinton Appletree Markets are held indoors during the winter season at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre at 200 Eglinton Ave. West from 3pm-7pm. From November 10th to May, the market is held indoors in the community centre every other Thursday from 3pm-7pm. Check out the Appletree Market website here for specific dates and for more information.