A Big Welcome Back Hug to the Spring & Summer Farmers’ Market Season – First Up, May 2013 Line-Up!

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asparagus at Trinity Bellwoods farmers market

Aside from December (hello Christmas cookies and baking and dinners!), May is my favourite food month of the entire year because for one, the patio perfect weather is luscious and balmy and for another, I get to give a big welcome back bear hug to so many of my beloved farmers’ markets!  While I won’t be able to visit as many as I used to (working Monday to Friday will do that!), I’m really looking forward to hitting up the markets I didn’t get to visit last year (if you can believe it, there are still a handful that I still haven’t been to!).  My heart is feeling so full and excited just from the anticipation of everything coming back within the next 3 months.  Farmers’ markets, market events, outdoor food stands – it’s going to be SO MUCH FUN.  Get those tote bags ready: here is the returning May market line-up in the order they’re coming back!  Don’t forget to visit the Farmer’s Market page for the entire market listing and Ate by Ate’s snazzy Facebook “Springtime Asparagus & Rhubarb” gallery!

rhubarb at East York farmers market

Farmers’ Markets and Market Events in Toronto – Returning in May 2013

Sherway Farmers’ Market, May 3 – October 25.  Fridays, 8am-2pm.  Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre, 25 The West Mall off Hwy 427 and the Queensway in Etobicoke.  The farmers’ market is located at the far northeast parking lot between the North Queen St. and Sherway Rd. entrances.  http://www.sherwaymarket.com/

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market, May 7 – October 29.  Tuesdays, 3pm-7pm.  Northwest corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park at Dundas Street West and Shaw Street.  http://www.tbfm.ca/

Trinity Bellwoods Park farmers market

Weston Farmers’ Market, May 11 – October 26.  Saturdays, 7am-2pm.  14 John Street at Weston Rd. and Lawrence Ave. West.  http://westonvillagebia.com

Appletree Market in the Village, May 14 – October 8.  Tuesdays, 3pm-7pm.  June Rowlands Park, corner of Mount Pleasant Rd. and Davisville Ave. in Mount Pleasant Village.  http://www.appletreemarkets.ca/

East York Farmers’ Market, May 14 – November 5.  Tuesdays, 8am-2pm.  East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue at the corner of Coxwell and Mortimer Avenue.

Toronto Botanical Gardens Organic Farmers’ Market, May 16 – October 10.  Thursdays, 3pm-7pm.  777 Lawrence Ave. East at Leslie Ave.  This brand new market for 2012 is taking place at Toronto’s famed Edwards Gardens!  http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/enjoy/special-events/market/

Withrow Farmers’ Market, May 18 – October 26.  Saturdays, 9am-1pm.  725 Logan Ave. at the north end of Withrow Park, between Carlaw and Logan.  http://www.withrowpark.ca/wiki/wiki.php

Montgomery’s Inn Farmers’ Market, May 22 – December 24.  Wednesdays, 2pm-6pm.  4709 Dundas St. West, Etobicoke.  Enjoy fresh baked bread from the inn’s wood-fired oven, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, honey and more!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#montgomery

Junction Farmers’ Market, May 25 – November 9.  Saturdays, 8:30am-12:30pm.  Green P parking lot located at 385 Pacific Ave. by Dundas Street West.  This farmers’ market is The Junction neighbourhood’s first and they’re back for their sophomore year!  http://www.junctionmarket.ca/

The Junction, Toronto

summer strawberries at Junction farmers market

Leslieville Farmers’ Market, May 26 – October 27.  Sundays, 9am-2pm.  Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave., between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave.  The market is back for their 3rd summer and fall season!  http://leslievillemarket.com/

Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market, May 26.  12pm-7pm.  Kensington Market (west of Spadina Ave., eats of Bellevue Ave., south of College Street, north of Dundas Street West).  Pedestrian Sundays are back for their 10th year!  Come out and enjoy the street festivals, market vendors, street food, and more on the last Sunday of the month – car and traffic free!  Streets are closed off to car traffic during Pedestrian Sunday hours.  http://www.pskensington.ca/

Metro Hall Farmers’ Market, May 27 – October 27.  Thursdays, 8am-2pm.  55 John Street at David Pecaut Square at King Street West.

Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market, May 28 – October 15.  Tuesdays, 3pm-7pm.  Riverdale Farm located at Riverdale Park West at 201 Winchester Street by Sumach St.  http://www.riverdalefarm.ca/about-the-farm/farmers-market/

North York Civic Centre Farmers’ Market, May 30 – October 31.  Thursdays, 8am-2:30pm.  5100 Yonge Street, just north of Elmwood Avenue.  The farmers’ market, with its vast array of baked goods, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and more, takes place outdoors at Mel Lastman Square.

heirloom tomatoes at North York and Mel Lastman Square farmers market

Farmers’ Markets and Market Events in Markham and Surrounding

Hillcrest Mall Farmers’ Market, May 2 – October 28.  Wednesdays, 10am-6pm and Sundays, 9am-5pm.  West parking lot outside of The Bay (facing Carrville Rd) at Hillcrest Mall, located at 9350 Yonge Street and 16th Ave/Carrville Rd (16th Ave. becomes Carrville west of Yonge Street).  http://onrichmondhill.com/events.php?id=13831

Aurora Farmers’ Market & Artisan Fair, May 4 – October 26.  Saturdays, 8am-1pm.  Town Park at Wells St. and Mosley St. southeast of Yonge Street and Wellington St. East.  Indoor markets during the winter move into the Aurora Cultural Centre.  http://www.town.aurora.on.ca/aurora/farmersmarket

Downtown Stouffville Farmers’ Market, May 9 – October 10.  Thursdays, 2pm-7pm.  Located at Park Drive and Main Street (for geographic reference, between Ninth Line and Tenth Line). http://www.townofws.com/farmersmarket.asp

Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market, May 11 – September 28.  Saturdays, 8am-1pm.  Located on the outdoor terrace at 132 Robinson Street and Markham Road (Main Street Markham North), just north of Highway 7 in Old Markham Village.  There are free parking lots in the area behind many of the retail storefronts, the closest being the parking lot behind Scotiabank.  http://www.mainstreetmarkham.com/page.asp?pageid=5

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The Fall Harvest Series – Thanksgiving in the City! Turkey Sandwiches, Crêpes, Buffets, Harvest Fests, Veg & More!

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I can count the number of times I’ve had traditional Thanksgiving food and dinner on less than one hand.  My family was never really into it growing up and even till this day, they can kind of take it or leave.  But I have to tell you, I LOVE the idea of the whole nine yards: roast turkey and gravy, roasted and steamed vegetables, potatoes, cranberry something or other, and plenty of pumpkin pie and other fall-inspired desserts!  My ideal traditional Thanksgiving dinner spread would consist of turkey and gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes (or any type of potato for that matter!), some squash, and some sweet and decadent apple caramel dessert with a little special pumpkin something on the side.

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving at home with your family, going out of town, or scoping out delicious Thanksgiving yummies around the city, I hope everyone takes the time to slow things down and really enjoy the time off – providing you have it!  Things have been an absolute whirlwind for me, especially this past week, and I am so relieved to have this long weekend to myself.  Here at Kraft Kitchens, we’re in the middle of working on our summer 2013 magazine, we’re busting out new recipes and content to the web for holiday and festive 2012, we just pulled off a fantastic and crazy Kraft Kitchens Open House yesterday, and in several months we’ll be putting the spring 2013 magazine to bed.  I love my job and I love what I do, but truth be told, I am exhausted and was ready for this weekend weeks ago!

If you’re looking for some Thanksgiving feasts around town, here are some options you can check out as well as some Thanksgiving-inspired dishes that will totally hit the spot if you’re looking for something a little more casual but with the same holiday flair and flavour. Some of these events were pulled straight from the October Food Calendar while others are completely new to the blog, so enjoy and jot these down!

First off, turkey!  I love a good turkey sandwich and 1) Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches in the Annex (605 Bloor Street West just west of Bathurst St.) has the perfect Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich for that hungry tummy!  Their “One Wing” sandwich ($4.99) is stuffed with sliced oven roasted turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and stuffing on their signature cranberry and cream cheese bread.  Talk about Thanksgiving rolled into one!  And hopefully if you’re lucky, Sky Blue Sky sandwiches will have their sweet glazed pumpkin cookies on hand to go with it as well as some fall soups.

In addition, 2) Spin Cafe (2177 Yonge Street by Yonge & Eglinton, as well as several other locations around the GTA.  Click the link above for more info) is dishing out the fall and Thanksgiving seasonal goods with an ENTIRE menu of delicious food!  Drinks, desserts, entrees, you name it, they have it.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, Spin is featuing their Thankful Savoury Crepe ($14.25), a crepe filled with carved turkey breast, potatoes, and stuffing with a side of cranberries and savoury gravy!

Source: Mary Macleods Shortbread e-newsletter

Mary Macleods Shortbread on Queen Street East in Riverside is also celebrating the Thanksgiving Harvest with some ridiculously adorable shaped shortbread cookies!  Turkey birds, fall leaves, and cute-as-a-button smiling pumpkins are all here for the weekend, so visit the shop if you want in on the goods.  And if you’re in the neighourhood for yummy shortbread, swing by the Leslieville Farmers’ Market on Sunday from 9am-2pm for their Harvest Celebration!  Pick up some amazing food at the market to outfit your dinner table and feast your eyes and tummy on an assortment of pumpkin pies, pumpkins and apples, pumpkin and apple desserts (Augie’s is selling pumpkin popsicles!), sweet potato curry, meat pies, cranberry and lingonberry compotes, fresh fall vegetables and more!

As well, don’t forget to check out THIS POST from Blog TO where they list 6 spots in the city serving special turkey dinner and Toronto’s Vegetarian Association (veg.ca) for some fabulous tips and recipes for non-turkey, vegetarian and vegan Thanksgiving meals!

And if you’re in the mood for something extravagent and lavish or just plain festive, here are some feasts and fests that are right up your alley:

  • At Home for Harvest at The Gibson House, October 6-8. 12pm-5pm.  5172 Yonge Street just north of the North York Centre subway station.  $5.48 admission for adults, $3.10 for seniors 65+ and youth ages 13-18, $2.62 for children ages 2-12.  Enjoy a celebration of the harvest over Thanksgiving weekend at one of Toronto’s historic houses!  Spend time in a busy, bustling historic farm kitchen and watch as harvest foods are prepared for tasting!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm

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  • Thanksgiving Day Brunch at Casa Loma, October 7.  Seatings at 10:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 1pm. 1 Austin Terrace (near Spadina Ave. and Davenport Rd.).  $51.45 +HST/adult, $26.45 +HST/child 4-12, $13.45 +HST/child 1-3 (prices include brunch and admission to the castle).  Feast on a Thanksgiving meal like no other in the majestic setting in the stately library in Casa Loma!  http://www.casaloma.org/events.index.gk

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  • Thanksgiving Dinners at Black Creek Pioneer Village, October 7 & 8. Seatings at 12pm, 2:30pm, and 5pm.  1000 Murray Ross Parkway near York University at Black Creek’s Half Way House Restaurant.  $53.99 +HST/adult, $27 +HST/child (prices include meal, gratuity, and admission to the grounds).  Enjoy the bounty of local Ontario produce and meat in a historical pioneer setting with a horse-drawn wagon ride to boot!  The elaborate Thanksgiving dinner menus will include dishes and options such as butternut squash soup with maple crème fraiche, rustic maple root vegetable risotto with sage and brown butter, local Ontario turkey with walnut sage stuffing, cinnamon orange cranberry sauce, green beans and bacon and mashed potatoes, and much more! http://www.blackcreek.ca/events/event.dot?id=144010

The Makings of a Summer Vegetable Garden Party – An August Sunday at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market

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Cool evening breezes, trips up north to the cottage and the lake, picnics in the park, garden parties, and dining outdoors with the sun softly setting in the sunset – at its best, this is what summer is all about.  These photos from Leslieville Farmers’ Market were entirely inspired by my latest issue of Vegetarian Times magazine (with huge thanks to my best friend for gifting me a subscription!) and their story on garden fresh vegetables and beautiful garden party and patio dining.  I know I’ve been whimpering about the sweltering heat all summer, but deep down, I do have a soft spot in my heart for summer evenings and delicious meals shared with family and friends outside with just a hint of nip in the air.  The magazine story, titled “Summer’s Last Hurrah”, has such a relaxing, whimsical, bohemian feel to it and it’s the type of meal that I can only dream of having and hosting until the day I have my own home in the future: grilled stuffed peppers with fresh soft cheeses and corn, grilled crostini with rosemary olive oil, and heirloom tomato salad. 

While my appetite seems to sing when spring and fall seasonal cuisine rolls around every year, summer vegetables are my favourite and it’s incredible how lush and delicious some of our crop has turned out this year despite the bad weather and yields that were, and are, well below average.  I have had some of the best corn this summer and I’ve heard from others (because I’m allergic and can’t actually eat raw ones myself) that the peaches this time around are to die-for.  Sometimes you go to the market with an idea of what you want to find and bring home and other times, like this, the market does the planning for you, giving you all the inspiration you need to make a week’s worth of fresh, healthy meals with things like radishes, yams, potatoes, carrots, tofu, summer squash, and more. 

The market was so incredibly busy on this particular day with lineups left and right at many of the hot food vendors  (my boyfriend and I even joined in on the fun, grabbing some sizzling tofu and mushroom rollups from Ying Ying Gourmet Soy Foods that tasted absolutely amazing!) and tiny tots shouting at the tops of their lungs professing their love for popsicles (read: Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops).  My favourites from this particular August visit: big and bright golden yellow cauliflower; vibrant, round purple Japanese eggplants (I found out they’re a variety called kamonasu!*); lobster mushrooms from Forbes Wild Foods; and a rainbow of tomatoes and baby garlic carrots from the Greenhouse Eatery!

Market vendors and farmers’, for the most part, have been incredibly friendly to me whilst watching me tote my camera around their wares, but there’s always someone who stands out from the bunch with a witty quip or just all-around great conversation.  The nice ladies of the Greenhouse Eatery made me smile and giggle a little after I asked if it would be okay if I snapped a few shots of their beautiful and colourful produce, to which they replied, “Ooo, can we make it look pretty first??” as they started rearranging tomatoes and carrots for me for prettier angles and shot.  I thought that was so cute and sweet.  And it’s a good thing I came to their table when I did because soon enough, a crowd had gathered behind and around me and arms were reaching from all over place grabbing every last bunch of carrots.  No joke.  There were two gentlemen who were jokingly fighting over the carrot bunches as they each wanted the entire table’s worth!  Foodies or not, nothing comes between a person and their delicious food or in this case, market produce!

 

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* Source = Just Hungry

Leslieville Farmers’ Market is located at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave.  Jonathan Ashbridge Park is located in between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave., and can be accessed via public transit by way of the Queen Street 501 streetcar.  The market is new to the lineup of Toronto markets this year and is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm.  The last market of the year is on October 28, 2012.  Visit their website to sign up to their newsletter, to get involved, and to learn more.

Sizzling Summer Markets – Summer Squash, Peas, Scallions, and More at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market

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Another summer weekend means another weekend market!  Between Evergreen Brick Works, The Stop at Wychwood Barns, the Junction market, and Liberty Village, there’s plenty of weekend market love to go around.  It’s been a little over a year since I started going to markets on a regular basis and it’s been amazing seeing how they transform between seasons and have they grow and evolve over time.  There are some markets I’ve only ever been to during the summer and some only during the winter so it’s a lot of fun seeing the differences and taking advantage of all the different food that comes along with these changes. 

In addition to visiting markets and seeing in seasonal lights, that are also a handful that I have yet to visit in general.  I have a list of Saturday and Sunday markets that I haven’t been to that I’m itching to scratch off including Withrow Park and most of the markets in Markham and York Region!  I know, I know – I live in Markham!  It was always easier for me to get around in Toronto though because of the day passes so that’s what I often opted for, but I have a strange way of getting around to things so I know I’ll get to them eventually.

For this particular market excursion, I made my way back to Leslieville!  I love the Riverside, Riverdale, Leslieville, and Beaches neighbourhoods along Queen East so planning  a trip to the Leslieville market is like planning an entire day trip because there’s so much to see and do!  It’s been months since my last visit – almost a year, actually, back in September when Jonathan Ashbridge Park was awash with fall colours and the air was chilly and crisp.  Not so much this time!  It was piping hot out, kiddies were running around screaming in the splash pool, and the market was busy and bustling with market goers and park enjoyers despite the sweltering heat.  It was so nice seeing the market so alive with activity.  Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops had completely sold out (and for good reason!), Hooked Inc. was on site grilling up fish tacos in fresh corn tortillas, and people were snatching up summer vegetables like they were nuggets of gold.    

Even though I’m a self-proclaimed summer wuss, I’m so happy I sucked it up and made the effort to go.  Every season has its own unique beauty and personality and both are evidently manifested and embodied at the market: in the environment, in the atmosphere, and of course, in the gorgeous fruits, vegetables, and bounty of food.  There were mountains of scallions in vibrant greens and purples, beets in shades of plum and bright pink, baskets of beautiful green beans, snow peas, cabbage, and baby Shanghai bok choy, adorable yellow patty pan squashes, crusty baguettes, summer sauces, spreads, and salsas, sweet potato donut holes from LPK Culinary Groove, vegetarian and vegan Indian food from Tiffinday, fresh farm cheese, and spring roll wraps, nut burgers, macaroons, and pesto spreads from my beloved market favourite, Earth & City

My brother and I love condiments, spreads, and sauces (we go through hummus, spicy mustard, and tzatziki like crazy) so I always pay attention to the jarred goodies at the market.  They’re great for sandwiches, vegetables, and things like chicken tenders, sausages, and samosas so we always have a few rotating in our fridge.  I snatched up a sundried tomato pesto spread from Earth & City ($5) this time around, but trust that I’ll give in and take home some chutneys, salsas, and other yummies the next time around! 

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Leslieville Farmers’ Market is located at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave.  Jonathan Ashbridge Park is located in between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave., and can be accessed via public transit by way of the Queen Street 501 streetcar.  The market is new to the lineup of Toronto markets this year and is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm.  The last market of the year is on October 28, 2012.  Visit their website to sign up to their newsletter, to get involved, and to learn more.

The Fall Harvest Series – Waffles, Beignets, and a Garlic Closet at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market!

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In another few weeks, the summer and fall farmers’ markets will be packing up and making way for the indoor markets that will roll out just in time for the winter season and holidays, so I want to post as many fall markets as I can before bidding goodbye.  The past summer was so memorable and amazing because of all the farmers’ market visits I made.  Before this past spring and summer, I had never been to a farmers’ market before.  Bake sales, yes.  Street markets and food fests, yes.  But weekly outdoor markets in eleventy billion different neighbourhoods around the city?  Never. 

I learned so much, met so many sweet people, and even got my mum hooked!  I bought vegetables, bread, and baked goods and made many fresh meals from scratch using all the delicious goodies I brought home from the markets.  Even though summer is over, fall is alive and kicking and there’s plenty of life left in these farmers’ markets!  Many of them are dishing out the apples, plums, apricots, crabapples, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, beets, pumpkins, and squash while they still can and some of them are even planning Hallowe’en activities!

I made my first visit to Leslieville market at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen East last Sunday, and after subscribing to their newsletter since the summer, the trek out was a long time coming.  The Leslieville Farmers’ Market is new to the Toronto market circuit this year and I think they’ve done such a great job  of getting the community involved and making sure there are inclusive activities for everyone. 

The market is full of volunteers, live music is provided and performed by local artists and bands, there are kiddie corner activities every Sunday for the wee ones (think reading and books and food crafts!), and there’s always a group event that brings everyone together.  Whether it’s a book sale or free yoga sessions in the park, the market organizers make an effort to encourage everyone in and outside of the neighbourhood to enjoy everything it has to offer.  Just recently, Leslieville market even hosted a jar swap where everyone brought their homemade sauces, pickled vegetables, jams, jellies, compotes, and preserves and swapped with fellow market-goers!

Highlights of the market: 1) the waffle and beignet table!!  I’m not talking about the frozen Eggo-type kind.  Imagine thick cut, fresh waffles that are like Belgian waffles married with funnel cakes alongside hot, deep-fried beignets tossed in powdered sugar.  Can you say breakfast at the market?!  I love it!  I had already eaten brunch by the time I made my way over, but I’m telling you, those waffles looked to die for.  Highlight two: the baked goods table!  You know I can’t go to a market without ogling this section.  There was a basket of long, crunchy baguettes, carrot cake squares with vanilla icing, chocolate cake muffins with powdered sugar, and the moistest looking chocolate brownies I have ever since.  I didn’t even have to taste one to know it would melt in my mouth.  All I had to do was look at it.  Pillow soft and fudgy.

Highlight numero three: the vegan hot food table!  Not only can you enjoy breakfast at Leslieville, but you can also sit down to a picnic of warm, vegan food provided by Tiffinday Inc., a vegan catering company in Toronto dedicated to delivering fresh and healthy vegan lunches to the city crowd in reuseable, stainless steel containers.  I picked up some delicious lentil samosas to bring back home for my brother, the samosa king and lover of the house, and we shared them and adored them.  Highlight number four: the garlic bulb closet!  No, I’m serious, there was this table that sold mouthwatering homemade hummus dips along with garlic, and the bulbs were categorized and organized by country of origin and type in what looked like a wooden closet, cubbyhole thing on an easel.  It was adorable!

It was a great market to go to and I’m glad I finally did after all these months.  Their last market of the year is on October 30th (the day before Hallowe’en!) so everyone, you have two weeks left to enjoy it!  Take in as much of the fall harvest as you can because winter is nipping at our heels.

 

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Leslieville Farmers’ Market is located at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave.  Jonathan Ashbridge Park is located in between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave., and can be accessed via public transit by way of the Queen Street 501 streetcar.  The market is new to the lineup of Toronto markets this year and is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm.  The last market of the year is on October 30, 2011.  Visit their website to sign up to their newsletter, to get involved, and to learn more.