British & Irish Baked Goods and Tofu & Root Veggie Focaccia Sandwiches – The Sorauren Market, Part II

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Another summer, another market – it’s the return to Sorauren farmers’ market!  The Sorauren market, run by the Westend Food Co-op, is one of the few markets in the city that operate year-round on a weekly basis (as opposed to biweekly or once a month during the winter months) and while I’ve made a number of visits to Dufferin Grove and Wychwood Barns throughout the fall and winter, Sorauren has been completely off my map since last summer and I’ve felt awful about it.  I try my best to hit different markets to give everyone a well-rounded representation of what’s offered in the city, but sometimes I just don’t get around to certain parts of town on specific days of the week (I spent many of my Mondays during the fall and winter cupcaking it up as an icing sugar queen at Le Dolci!) and sometimes I’ll go to certain markets more often to compensate or fill a previous or existing void. 

I am SO happy I made it out to the Monday market (3pm-7pm) at Sorauren again this month because I truly felt like I was visiting them for the first time!  It felt livelier, more bustling.  And this was the atmosphere at the market when the threat of thunderstorms were imminent!  Just think how much more flouncy the crowds would be on a sunny day.  The number vendors honestly looked like it had multipled since last year and I had so much fun going from table to table, looking at all the beautiful fruits and vegetables and baked goods, and drooling over old favourites like my fresh and vibrant veggie pizza buns from Alli’s Baked Goods, vegan chocolate yummies from Chocosol, and of course, my beloved raw and vegan eats from Earth & City.

Two vendors in particular made me totally fall in love with Sorauren all over again: The Co-op Kitchen and Yule Britannia.  I bought food and goodies from both of them and I LOVED what I ate and only wish they could be at every market in the city!  Here’s a little background though: The Westend Food Co-op is a co-opertive (much like Chocosol) and community organization that strives to build awareness of food security and accessibility issues in and around the city, to engage the community in food initiatives, to create meaningful relationships between producers and consumers while at the same time recognizing and acknowledging that these relationships are not necessarily dichtomous ones but ones that often overlap and intersect, and to bring good food to west end Toronto communties. 

The Co-op Kitchen in particular is affiliated with the Westend Food Co-op’s Food Hub, an arm of the co-op that is specifically dedicated to providing community kitchen space, workshops, educational opportunities, and fresh food among many other things.  They now come to Sorauren market with a menu of delicious dishes and items, straight from the kitchen, and this was the first time I had seen The Co-op Kitchen’s booth and table and I was ecstatic!  Veggie sandwiches!  Smashed potato salad!  Hummus and crostini!  Spiced apple cake and oatmeal cookies!  Prices are ridiculously reasonable ($2-$5!) and you could seriously eat yourself silly here. 

On this particular day, they had this HUUUUGE platter of fresh baked spelt focaccia sandwiches stuffed with roasted tofu, peppers, and onions, asparagus, greens, red root relish, and pesto.  They looked like party subs!  A whole sandwich costs $5, half for $3 and I happily nabbed myself a sandwich and hungrily dove into it when I came home later that night.  Their potato salad and spiced apple cake looked amazing (I wistfully looked at another customer inhaling his bowl of potato salad) and after enjoying such a delicious sandwich, I desparately wanted to try more food.  Another time!

Yule Britannia/Britannia Bakes is another must-visit and eat at the Sorauren market.  Think British, Scottish, and Irish baking right here in Toronto!  Elizabeth Mitchell, head honcho of Britannia Bakes, is so super nice and she happily explains what all the goodies are and their origins as you munch on delicious samples.  Her table is lovely and I had so much fun snapping photos of the beautiful set-up.  There were giant, fresh fruit tarts, savoury crackers, Irish fadge(yes, that’s right, fadge, not fudge!) potato pancakes, sticky caramel sauce, and my pick of the day, some of the BEST GINGER COOKIES EVER!  

You can either buy them as singles (75 cents each), 3 for $2, or half dozen for $4.  I grabbed 3 for $2 and as soon as I ate one, I instantly regretted not buying the entire glass cookie jar!  They are SO soft and bursting with the freshest sweet ginger flavour.  These cookies, along with the giant ginger molasses cookies from More Than Pies Baking Co. Ltd at the David Pecaut Square farmers’ market are the best I’ve ever had.

It was a joy to finally come back for a return visit.  I actually came early and plunked myself down on a bench to read while all the food vendors and farmers set up their tables and it so nice seeing everything and everyone come together for an afternoon of local food.

*****

The Sorauren farmers’ market is held on Mondays from 3pm-7pm in Sorauren Park at the corner of Sorauren and Wabash Ave, south of Dundas Street West.  The market is held year-round, operating indoors in the fieldhouse during the winter and outdoors at the park during the spring, summer, and early fall.  The easiest way to get here is by taking the 505 Dundas streetcar westbound.  If you’re envisioning major roads and intersections, Sorauren sits between Roncesvalles Ave. and Lansdowne Ave.  For more info about the market and other events in the area pertaining to organic, local food, and the West End Food Co-op organization, click here.