Vegan Treats & Baked Goods, Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream, & Lots of Chocolate! The Riverdale Farmers’ Market, Part II

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This is the first time that I’ve ever had to split up a farmers’ market post into two parts because of the number of photos I have of both dessert and non-dessert foods.  I know juicy fruits are sweet and dessert-like as well, but today we’re talking about oodles and oodles of fair-trade chocolate and chocolate baked goods, vegan baked treats, cinnamon rolls bigger than your hand, platters of fresh pastries, and sheep’s milk ice cream.  If you have a sweet tooth and you’re looking for a good variety of things to try (or, you know, to stick your face in), the Riverdale farm farmers’ market in Cabbagetown is really fantastic.  I wanted to take away so much more with than just my baby orange grape tomatoes and giant loaf of poppyseed egg bread but there was simply no way I could do that without 1) dropping everything and 2) squishing everything.  I had a lot of bags on me that day (my canvas tote, mini backpack, and my market groceries!), so my take-home sweets will just have to wait for another day.

BUT, that’s not to say I didn’t grab myself a little something to eat while I was there 😉  Before I get to that though, I want to show you all a bunch of delicious photos of ChocoSol’s table first.  I totally remember seeing them at the Bay-Adelaide farmers’ market last month (blog post forthcoming) and drooling over their vegan baked treats.  The sheer volume of chocolate they have on their table would make any sweet tooth beg for mercy.  ChocoSol is a community group dedicated to creating and maintaining trans-local relationships specifically through chocolate goods.*  They had bars and bars of fair-trade chocolate, as well as many vegan baked goods: gorgeous frosted cupcakes, fresh blueberry tarts, giant cookies (seriously, these cookies were the size of a small pizza), cookie cream sandwiches, and cake loaves. 

Oh!  And they have Mexican-inspired vegan drinking chocolate!  I watched a few girls order some and ohhhh man, did they ever look good.  The drinking chocolate is made by putting two pucks of chocolate and 1 cup of hot water in a blender and serving the drink cold with ice.  There is also an option of putting raw hemp (a protein-rich seed that is unprocessed) and agave sweetener in it as well.  When I looked at the finished product, it looked so creamy and refreshing and I can only imagine how good it tasted.  That Mexican drinking chocolate is going to be mine next time.

In addition to the chocolate and vegan baked goods, there were these delicious cranberry custard cream danishes on the same table I nabbed my poppyseed egg loaf.  While the rational part of me walked away without any because I knew they’d get squished and ruined on the way home, the irrational part said, “I want four!!”  The recognition of good self-control is really no consolation here.  I wanted those danishes! 

I did get myself something sweet though: honey vanilla sheep’s milk ice cream!  They had a number of  flavours that day including blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, coffee, and vanilla chocolate chip.  I got my honey vanilla on a cone (a small for $2.50) and I ate it right in the park on a park bench under a tree.  It was lovely, and really, not small at all!  The ice cream was sweet and creamy, with a noticable difference in texture from regular ice cream.  It was little less thick and dense and it was very good.  I’m really glad I got the ice cream to try, but good grief, I am still thinking about that drinking chocolate and those danishes two days after.

*****

The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market is located at 201 Winchester St. in Riverdale Park.  My way of getting here is to either walk along Carlton St. eastbound from Yonge St., or take the College St. streetcar eastbound to Parliament St. and Carlton.  From there, keep walking eastbound on Carlton until you get to Sumach St. and you’re there!  This year, the market is held every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm from May 17th to October 25th.

*source = ChocoSol website and blog

The Closest I’ll Ever Get to the Moo-Moos and Oink-Oinks – The Fabulous Riverdale Park Farmers’ Market, Part I!

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Good morning everyone!  The skies are bit overcast and cloudy right now (and as I am writing this, the rain has just started coming down), but I’m hoping that this fabulous selection of farmers’ market photos will lift your spirits.  After how the beginning of the week started off, I think we could all use a bit of good cheer.  I’m actually splitting up this week’s market post into two parts because it’s THAT big!  I’m going to save the sweet stuff for tomorrow’s post and just focus on the fruits, vegetables, and other goods today.  And there is plenty to show you all. 

I went camera snap-happy yesterday and for good reason: the Riverdale Park and Farm farmers’ market in Cabbagetown is absolutely incredible.  Week after week, my socks (or rather, my flats.  I haven’t worn socks in weeks!) have been knocked off by the sheer calibur of these markets.  I thought the market outside the East York Civic Centre on Coxwell was amazing.  Then I thought it couldn’t get any better after I went to the one in Mel Lastman Square.  And we all know what happened after that.  I couldn’t stop raving about the market at David Pecaut Square by Roy Thomson Hall.  My lovelies, my shoes have been knocked off once more.

The park itself is a wonderful green space, the type of space perfect for picnicking, sitting out on a bench with a book, walking and playing with your dog, and splashing around in the wading pool with your little ones.  The farmers’ market at Riverdale Park in Cabbagetown is remarkable.  It is HUGE, stretching from one side of the park to the other with white tent after white tent offering pints and baskets bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, baked goods, jars upon jars of jellies and preserves, ice cream (yes, ice cream!), and vegan chocolate sweets among other things.  The market is located at the north end of the park, where the park meets the street all the way to the entrance of the animal farm. 

Speaking of which, I’m really sorry for not being able to show you any photos of farm animals.  Just as the post title says, the market is the closest I’ll ever get to an actual farm because I am, unfortunately, allergic.  To hay, specifically.  And how did I come to find out about this allergy you ask?  The hard way.  Long story short, on a school field trip to the farm at the age of 6 in 1st grade, I began to choke and weeze so severely the teachers and chaperones had to remove me from the premises and from the other kids, and stick me in a porta-potty so my reaction would calm down.  I was taken to the doctor shortly after where I was told, “hey, you’re allergic to hay!  Oh, and you have asthma”.  Not in those exact words, but you get my drift.  Needless to say, farms and I don’t mix.  I may have outgrown my asthma, but sadly not the allergies.

Anyway, the market was chock full of sights, smells, and sounds yesterday.  The smell of fresh pizza, the sight of juicy, fuzzy peaches (which I am also allergic to, but that’s beside the point), tiny colourful bell peppers, the tiniest and purplest of eggplants (and I thought the ones I bought at East York were cute and small!), and the sounds of kids laughing and asking their parents were ice cream.  After purusing the market and jogging back and forth between vendors, I walked away with some amazing goodies: a large pint of baby orange cherry tomatoes and a hulking huge loaf of poppyseed egg bread! 

Oh my goodness, you have no idea how excited I was to get my hands on these two things.  For one, the orange cherry tomatoes were a steal.  While a number of other markets were selling them for $4 or $5, I got mine for $3 yesterday!  I was doing a happy dance.  Or as my boyfriend likes to call them, happy fists.  I tried one of the little orange tomatoes last week and I have never in my entire life tasted a tomato so sweet.  It tasted like a peach!  Everyone, you must get your hands on these.  They will make you wiggle with happiness.  Oh, and the bread.  Jeebus, I could not stop smelling my loaf of bread on the way home.  And I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it.  I am a big fan of poppyseed bread.  Really, I must have looked like a pothead on the bus, sticking my nose into a paper bag every so often.  It’s bread, y’all.  Very good bread.  And one very amazing farmers’ market.

*****

The Riverdale Farm farmers’ market is located at 201 Winchester St. in Riverdale Park.  My way of getting here is to either walk along Carlton St. eastbound from Yonge St., or take the College St. streetcar eastbound to Parliament St. and Carlton.  From there, keep walking eastbound on Carlton until you get to Sumach St. and you’re there!  This year, the market is held every Tuesday from 3pm-7pm from May 17th to October 25th.