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.

Veggie Pizza Buns, Turnips, & a Rainbow of Food – The Market Beauty & Bounty at Sorauren Farmers’ Market, Part I

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*****

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.

Kick Off the Week With a Monday Market! Baby Plums & Baby Carrots at Sorauren Farmers’ Market

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Out of all 7 days of the week, the hardest day to pick and choose which market to go to is Monday.  Why?  To my knowledge, there are plenty of markets on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, for instance, but only one farmers’ market on Monday!  I’m game for just about any market so long as the weather cooperates, but because I made it a goal to visit as many markets on as many days as possible, I was a little bummed when I realized there was only one to go to on a Monday.  It’s like when you’re reading a book that you love and when you finish it, you feel really sad that it’s over.  Sigh.  That’s how I felt when I first went to Sorauren, that it would be my only Monday market and when it was over, it’d be…well, over.  While some markets are “must come backs” for me, other markets are one-time visits, and it’s only because some of them aren’t as accessible to me with the times and public transit. 

I thank my lucky stars though that the Sorauren market on Mondays is located in an area which I can access without too much difficulty.  Right off of Dundas Street West on the streetcar line, it’s just a short southbound walk on Sorauren Ave.  It’s a lovely little park with lots of green grass, trees, and benches and my favourite part of it is the archway with cute little paintings on the side and a cursive ‘S’ for Sorauren up at the top.  This is community; this is home.  I could envision myself coming back to this market to pick up other fruits and veggies and to try some of the delicious baked goods!

There were lots of vendors at the market, selling everything from kale, heirloom tomatoes, swiss chard, squash, to baked goods made from spelt.  While perusing the market’s wares (and sweating my tooshie off in the hot sun), I absolutely fell in love with these adorable baby carrots and baby yellow plums.  With my track record, y’all know how all things cute and small make me squeal!  I know what you’re thinking.  “Aren’t you allergic to plums?!”  I am.  And although I could lie and say that I bought them solely for my mum and dad, I won’t.  Because I didn’t.  The baby yellow plums were so beautiful and so cute, I couldn’t pass them up and I thought to myself, “well, they’re little yellow ones.  Maybe there’s a tiny chance I’m not allergic to these?”  Wishful thinking on my part.   

After bringing them home and giving them a quick rinse, we kept the little plums in an empty tofu tub (our kitchen is stocked with them!) and I could not stop sniffing them because they smelled so sweet and fresh.  And that’s about the closest I would get to them after eating the tiniest one.  Long story short, I tried the smallest plum of the bunch, revelled in its fresh sweetness and juiciness and then got stabbed by the allergy fairy anyway.  Thankfully, the swelling in my throat wasn’t so severe that I needed to down a bottle of Benadryl, but it was apparent enough to make me whimper at my misfortune.  The one tiny plum I had was so delicious.  If you love succulent fruit and are not allergic to plums, you absolutely must come here to pick up a pint.  Or even two.  I can’t sing enough praises about them.  They’re $2 a pint and well worth it. 

Allergies or no allergies, I am so grateful for the market at Sorauren and I am really happy I was finally able to go last week.  There are lovely people operating a wonderful market with so much to offer in a peaceful park.  Hopefully when I come back next time it won’t be so hot so I can take my time and enjoy it more.  I’m definitely looking forward to going back for some fresh fruit danishes and maybe some heirloom tomatoes to make some fancy pants grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, or some colourful tomato sauce for pasta.  In the meantime, I still have visions of (sugar) plums dancing in my head.  Sigh.

*****

The Sorauren farmers’ market is held on Mondays from 3pm-7pm in Sorauren Avenue Park.  The easiest way to get here is by streetcar as Sorauren Ave. intersects with Dundas Street West out on the west end.  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.