A Taste of Spring, A Taste of Summer – Farmers’ Market Season & Ate by Ate Are Back!

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Happy first day of June everyone!  While the season of beaches, sand, and endless sunshine doesn’t officially start until June 21, I think it’s safe to say that June 1st is the unofficial kick-off to the summer season and all the amazing things to come in the coming months.  We got over the May long weekend hump (which, ironically enough, is almost always chilly by our standards!), we’ve been peppered with a few days of muggy weather over the last week or so and now we’re fully immersed in the farmers’ market season!  A number of markets have made their return in May (including Leslieville, Trinity Bellwoods, Fresh Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips Square, East York, Metro Hall at David Pecaut Square just to name a handful) and a long list of others will be joining the market family for the season in June.  Given how I’ve been away for the last little while, I’m obviously behind on my market lists but rest assured, they’ll be up this week with updates and the like for markets in the Toronto and York Region area.

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I am so happy to be back and to put some things behind me.  I needed that time to completely annex myself from the blogging community and from most of the online world with the exception of checking e-mail (unfortunately, there was no running away from that one).  So far, 2014 has been…trying, to say the least.  Looking for work, dealing with winter, and making some revelations about people in and outside of the blogging community has not been fun.  At all.  It’s one thing to know when folks are trying to take advantage of you and giving your best one-two punch in return to stand up for yourself, but it’s a whole other can of worms when it becomes blatantly obvious that many will stoop to the level of scum to get what they want and have no issue pulling the rug out from under you when you’re not expecting it.  And let me be clear that while some of this applies to me, some of it does not.  Some of it is seeing it happen to others.  And it has sickened me.  Stealing content and ideas.  Taking credit where credit isn’t due.  Not being up front and playing people as fools.  Using someone to pimp them for information.  All without shame.

It’s been one hiccup after another and there were times during those low moments when I would think, “what is the goddamn point to all of this?  I’ll just stick to my own craft and scrapbook and not share ANYTHING of mine with anyone because people are freakin’ tools and be done with all of this garbage!”  And then my mum would remind me, “but your blog is your baby.  You gave ‘birth’ to it and you would never give it up.”

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And as much as I hate to admit it when my mother is right, she was right.  I’ve devoted 20 years of my life to a love of art and food; in spite of all that “garbage”, it didn’t make any sense to let any of this go.  It was so important to remind myself why I love doing what I do and the things that make me happiest.  Tune out the numbers game that folks try to play, tune out the one-upping, tune out the negativity and just be strong and focus on the pure love and passion for the craft.

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So while I haven’t blogged, I haven’t stopped photographing, I haven’t stopped exploring (well, except when it was unbearably cold), and I most certainly have not stopped eating!  I started going to the markets again and actually went two weekends in a row at the crack of dawn recently (hopped on a bus at 6:30am!) and shopped and photographed my brains out.  Simply because it made me happy.  The market at Wychwood Barns moved outdoors earlier in May which made for some beautiful shots and I was able to pick up a ridiculous amount of fresh food: gorgeous baby kale, beautiful arugula (if my memory serves me right, I bought 4 bags), amazing local cheese, black bean vegan burgers and navy bean parsley pesto from Earth & City and so much more.  Aside from cupcakeries, tea shops and afternoon tea, markets are truly my happy place because you can tell your story through photos alone.

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Cassandra from Earth & City really tugged at my heartstrings during one of those weekend visits when she introduced me to one of their newer hires: “Deb blogs and she was there with us during our first months years ago and we were so excited because, ahhh, press!”  And there it was right there, why any of this is meaningful.  Because not only can we quietly make a positive impact on others through what we do but along the way we make friends, meet good people that make us believe that the good has a shot at outweighing the bad, and we become special notes and memories in each others’ life stories.

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For all of Ate by Ate’s Wychwood Barns farmers’ market posts, click HERE

For all of Ate by Ate’s farmers’ market posts over the years (84 and counting!), click HERE

For all of Ate by Ate’s posts on vegan food producer Earth & City (and plenty of mouthwateing food porn), click HERE

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

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Adventures in Food in May – The Return of Outdoor Markets, Mother’s Day Events, and Food Shows Galore!

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Got chocolate? Chocolate Addict in Kensington Market

May is here and oh my goodness is there ever a ridiculous amount of food goodness to look forward to this month!  I thought April was pretty amazing, what with National Grilled Cheese Month and Easter cupcakes and festivities and all, but May will totally blow April out of the water.  While I was compiling and writing up the May Food Calendar, it felt like I was on a never-ending roller coaster as I kept finding more and more events and markets to add to it.  I’m STILL not entirely finished!  I just found out about some new things today and I need to get cracking on finishing up the Cooking Classes & Workshops calendar because there are some mighty fine tasty specimens to enjoy in that category too.  The best part about all of this food news?  There’s a little bit of everything.  Let’s get started!

Farmers’ markets are heading outside starting this month!

Get the tote bags ready because the outdoor farmers’ markets are busting out this month!  If you read my comprehensive Spring Market News post the other day you’ll know some of this already, but just so we’re all on the same page, May will see the return of markets in East York, Trinity Bellwoods, Sherway Gardens, Withrow Park, and Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market among numerous others!  Dates and months can start to get a little confusing when we’re looking at so many markets, so what I’m going to do is make a separate page within the Food Calendar with all the markets that are specifically starting up in May with their locations and dates.  They’ll be listed on the main farmers’ market page as well, but this will make everyone’s lives easier and more streamlined. 

To add even more excitement into the market mix, the market at Evergreen Brick Works will be celebrating their 6th birthday on May 5th, there will be yummy tastings at the Brick Works every Saturday during the spring and summer months, and the foodie community is ecstatic to welcome a brand new market to the city later on this month in the Toronto Botanical Gardens!

Spadina Museum and Historic House & Gardens

M is for May and M is for Mother’s Day!  If you love to “mangia, mangia!” with mum, there are foodie Mother’s Day weekend activities happening all across the city including Mother’s Day afternoon teas at both the Spadina Museum & Historic House and Gardens, and Montgomery’s Inn in the west end; Mother’s Day brunch on a cruise ship; Mother’s Day brunch at The Drake Hotel on Queen West, and a very special Mother’s Day locavore buffet brunch at Artscape Wychwood Barns featuring fresh, organic, local food from their very own farmers’ market vendors and producers. 

Mum has a sweet tooth?  We have some of that too.  Tasty Tours is hosting and unveiling their highly anticipated Chocolate Tour on Mother’s Day weekend in addition to their Mother’s Day sweets tour!  Tasty Tours is devoted to showcasing the city’s finest in sweets and chocolates around downtown Toronto, most notably in Kensington Market, King West, and Trinity Bellwoods.  They’ll be having a flash sale promotion going on sometime next week  that will slash $15 off the regular ticket price for their Chocolate Tour, so instead of it being $35, you can get it for $20!  I don’t know about you, but I am just a click away from taking advantage of this deal!  Click HERE for the goods! and to sign up for their mailing list so you’ll be in the know about discounts and promotions!

Tasty Tours will be unveiling their chocolate tour this month!

And finally, we can’t forget about the food shows and happy hour festivities!  During the month of May, there’s the Good Food Festival & Market at the International Centre in Mississauga, the Tequila and More Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Iranian Heritage Day at the Royal Ontario Museum, Tastes and Sounds of Asia at Mel Lastman Square, the 2nd Annual Vegan Spring Expo down by the harbourfront, the return of The Stop’s Beer Garden at Wychwood Barns, and the celebration, fight, and solidarity of and behind Food Revolution Day on a local, global, national, and city-wide scale.

There’s a lot to look forward to and I imagine that things are only going to get crazier as the season progresses, but I’m here to be your eyes and ears (and in most cases, your tastebuds!) and I’ll be updating as frequently as I can on everything that will be going on this month and beyond.  Have a happy and foodielicious May, everyone!