The Return of Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Outdoor Farmers’ Markets – Trinity Bellwoods’ First Market of 2012!

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You know you’re excited about an event when you circle the surrounding neighbourhood several times over because you’re too early (half an hour early) but know you can’t stray too far for fear that you’ll miss out on the good stuff when said event starts.  The event?  The return of the outdoor farmers’ market at Trinity Bellwoods Park at Dundas Street West and Shaw, on Tuesday from 3pm-7pm, the first of 2012.  I’m not crazy – just highly enthusiastic!  I’ve been waiting for the markets to either return or move outdoors for weeks and surprisingly enough, I wasn’t the only one!  A number of people were milling around the market as vendors were setting up and displaying their good eats for all to see and devour 15 minutes before the market was set to begin.  I was taken aback by this only because I thought I was the only one who showed up abnormally early to things.  But there I was amongst other market goers, foodies, cyclists, and mums and kids, ready to pounce on anything and everything.   

St. John’s Bakery was there as well as Monforte Dairy, Evelyn’s Crackers, Forbes Wild Foods, Woolerdale Farms, and to my delight, BreadSong Collective!  I discovered them during my last visit to Wychwood Barns when I picked up an amazing kale and black bean empanada to take home and I was overjoyed to find out that they would be at at Trinity Bellwoods.  We know what that means: picnic lunch in the park!  Along with the huge veggie empanadas, quinoa salad, and vegan cookies and brownies, they had some new goodies on Tuesday including some mini stuffed mushroom and onion buns, mini brioche loaves, and some sweet custard-like pastries. 

And of course, we can’t forget about the return of seasonal asparagus and fresh rhubarb!  Woolerdale Farms was on hand with both along with bags of lettuces, greens, and salad mixes, shallots, and beets.  I’m really interested in trying my hand at some rhubarb baked goods this season, so I’m hoping my family will oblige and humour me with this one.  I don’t think they’re all too keen on rhubarb, but fresh market produce is so hard to resist, especially ones that are so versatile in baked goods!

Hypothetically, if I could pick up whatever I wanted from the market without taking money into a consideration, I would have grabbed another empanada and a vegan alfajor from BreadSong Collective, some goat cheese from Monforte Dairy, a package of fudge cookies from St. John’s Bakery, and a bag of leafy lettuces and salad mix from Woolerdale Farms.  I was just getting warmed up though so I held off on purchases for the time being so I’d know for sure what I wanted to come back for the next time.  The season is young so I’m sure I’ll be filling up the tote bags with goodies to bring home in no time!

Coming back to the market at Trinity Bellwoods brought back such a great memories from 2011: chomping on giant vegan coconut oat cookies, bringing my mum and brother to a farmers’ market for the first time, buying my very first bunch of kale, and beginning my whirlwind market adventure last May.  Aside from Fresh Wednesdays at Nathan Phillips Square, the market at Trinity Bellwoods was my first in the city and it led to a hunger and thirst for more each and every single week.  I know this is going to be an amazing spring and summer season, so here’s to many more outdoor market adventures in the city in 2012!     


The farmers’ market at Trinity Bellwoods Park is located at Dundas St. West and Shaw St. every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm.

The First of Many Fresh Wednesdays To Come! Fresh Fruit, Vegetables & Baked Goods at Nathan Phillips Square


Today was another smokin’ hot one and it was the first Fresh Wednesdays farmers’ market of the summer at Nathan Phillips Square!  After having some brunch out on Dundas West, I made my way back east to the market, eager to get some great photos and to pick up some goodies to bring back home.  I didn’t see any of the lunch food booths out, but it was the first day of the market so I’m sure they will bust out the grills and smoothies in no time later on in the month.  The set up will most likely be a bit different for the time being because of the renovation construction taking place on the grounds right now, but there’s still plenty of room for the market to work with.  There was a wealth of fresh Ontario fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meats and cheeses, and fresh herbs and plants around the perimeter of the grounds and it made for easy hopping around from booth to booth! 

I was so excited to see bright coloured vegetables such as rhubarb, baby cucumbers, asparagus, and radishes and there were plenty of old favourites that I recognized from the summer before, like the little tubs of baby potatoes and baskets of Ontario apples.  Can you believe that today was the first time in my life that I saw rhubarb in its natural, veggie form?!  No lie.  I’ve eaten rhubarb cooked, seen and had its gloriousness in strawberry rhubarb pies, but have never seen it raw.  And I must say, it’s a beautiful vegetable!  It looks like celery, only magenta in colour!  How pretty.  The baked goods available ripe for the picking were also fabulous, with loaves of rye and caraway, plenty of danishes and scones, sausage rolls, and my favourite discovery of the day: poppyseed strudel!  Maybe if I’m lucky I can snap a photo next time.  Too many arms and hands swarming me today at the baked goods table, ha. 

If only fruits and vegetables weren’t so heavy though!  I would have picked up so much more, but I made do with just a few items.  I nabbed a big container of red and yellow bell peppers (which we chopped and sliced for tonight’s dinner) and a giant loaf of soft French bread which we’ll most likely munch on tomorrow night.  I had a great time and I’m so looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer and early fall will bring!  Enjoy the photos!

I’m very proud of my purchases, ha!  😀  I may have been sweaty and gross, but I had fun and that’s what matters.  Take advantage of everything the city has to offer and enjoy the sweet taste of summer.  It’s just the beginning.


Nathan Phillips Square is located at 100 Queen St. West at the intersection of Queen and Bay St.  Fresh Wednesdays is an outdoor farmers’ market that runs on the grounds every Wednesday from 10am-2pm from June 1st to October 19th, excluding September 28th.