Asparagus, Pastries, Soaps & More at the Liberty Village Farmers’ Market! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 010

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Hi everyone!  It was a little quiet here over the weekend but that was totally unintentional.  I did take Saturday off but I was all set to post these photos last night when I was suddenly and rudely kicked off my computer in the middle of photo editing.  The internet crapped out on me.  Round and around the little refresh icon went like a never-ending washing machine cycle.  Sigh.  Isn’t technology grand?  Oh well, no matter, everything’s fine now and the weekend was pretty great.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and for those who were able to spend time with their dads, I hope you had a fun Father’s Day!  Ours was low-key as usual.  My dad isn’t fussy about the frou-frou stuff.  We just make sure he’s well-fed and he’s all smiles.  We had roast chicken for him on Friday and fresh sashimi for him on Saturday.  And a paper baggy of these Chinese red bean sesame balls that he loves so much.  He’s a simpleton.

Ooo, the new and shiny Liberty Village 'welcome' corner at King & Atlantic

Ooo, the new and shiny Liberty Village ‘welcome’ corner at King & Atlantic

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Peas!

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Monforte Dairy cheese, YUM.

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So many yummy-smelling soaps from Opeongo Soaps!

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As for me, I had myself a lovely day out yesterday, enjoying weekend brunch at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen West (new Gladstone post coming soon!), a David’s tea and a cupcake (surprise, surprise), and a quick visit to the farmers’ market in Liberty Village!  For those who’ve never been, the market is located in the Green P lot at East Liberty St. and Atlantic Ave. just off of King Street West and east of Dufferin on Sundays from 9am-2pm.  Organized by MyMarket, it’s a small one that offers a seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables, cheese, meats, honey, and this year, even handcrafted soaps made from either goat’s milk or rainwater from Opeongo Soaps, a local farm and business in Ontario that specializes in skincare products and soapmaking (check out their official site HERE).

Even though the market is small, I know it’ll get bigger as the season goes on (I’ve been to this market a few times over the past 3 years and they were at different points in the market season so I’ve seen the differences) and I always take away something wonderful from it and I feel this way about all farmers’ markets no matter how big or how small they are.  While it is about finding things that you love and personal preferences, it truly is about the quality of product available.

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I didn’t pick up any fruits or vegetables during this visit but I did snatch up some fabulous pastries: half a dozen fresh baked tarts and a ginourmous muffin!  I could kick myself for not remembering (or taking a photo of) the farm/vendor’s name, but I’ve purchased goodies from them before, specifically some homemade peach jam and pickled beets last summer.  This particular vendor not only sells the actual fruit from their farm but also homemade pastries, preserves and jams made with their homegrown product.  This time around I bought an apple pie muffin (there were 3 kinds to choose from: strawberry-rhubarb, chocolate raspberry, and apple pie) and 6 tarts: 3 butter tarts (because who doesn’t love a freakin’ awesome local Canadian butter tart?!) and 3 raspberry lemon meringue tarts!  My brother has already eaten one of the butter tarts and him and my mum shared the apple pie muffin and they loved them.  My tastebuds and tummy will be enjoying a raspberry lemon meringue tomorrow – can’t wait!  But yes, I promise I’ll get their name for you all the next time I’m there.  And trust me, there will be a next time because I also wanted to grab several bars of the handcrafted soap but didn’t because I’m silly and didn’t bring enough cash for the extra purchase.  Total facepalm moment.

(Update June 17: the vendor/farm is Sun Ray Orchards!  Thanks to My Market Toronto for tweeting me the info!)

Soapless visit aside, it was so nice coming back to this market.  I picked up some delicious baked goods and I was able to take some more cool shots of asparagus!  I got so excited when I saw how the asparagus was arranged when I first entered the parking lot that I zipped right to it like a vulture.  It has now, unintentionally, become my THING to photograph asparagus.  I don’t whether to feel happy-geeked or embarrassed.  Maybe I’ll go with happy-geeked.  Because maybe one day I’ll have enough nice photos to make a coffee table book.  Shrugs.  You never know.

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The Liberty Village farmers’ market takes place every Sunday from 9am-2pm in the Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  The outdoor market season is from June 1st to November 27th.  Liberty Village can be accessed from King Street West and Dufferin Street.  Check out Ate by Ate’s Liberty Village farmers’ market posts HERE!

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3 Years in the Making – A Return Visit to the East York Farmers’ Market! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 007

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Time passes by so fast that sometimes, you don’t even notice how long it’s been since you last did something because each and every day comes and goes in a blurry flurry of activity.  You think, “oh, it must have only been a year or so” until you think back real hard or look at photos and realize, “holy jeebus, make that three!”  That was me today after my visit to the East York farmer’s market just outside the East York Civic Centre at the corner of Mortimer and Coxwell.  I haven’t been back to this market in three years.  THREE.  And oddly enough, almost right down to the day: June 14, 2011 when I took those first photos and wrote my post on the market and its baby eggplants.

It’s the strangest feeling in the world when the realization sinks in that while three years have gone by, some things just don’t change.  In some ways I feel like I’ve come full circle to where my life was at three years ago and feeling somewhat…stuck.  And in other ways, everything has changed.  In June 2011, I had just graduated from grad school, I hadn’t yet started my baking adventures with Lisa and Miya at Le Dolci, and Ate by Ate was only 6 and a half months old.  I don’t even think I had a Twitter account for Ate by Ate at that point yet.  The one constant though?  How my routine jaunts to the markets have grounded my blogging, made photography so much fun, and in general, made me happy.  They’ve pushed me to keep positive.  You get out for fresh air.  You walk.  You meet nice people.  You visit neighbourhoods you wouldn’t otherwise visit.  And you get those creative juices going like you wouldn’t believe.  And as a bonus, you get to eat and buy some awesome local food.  Who knew fruits and veggies were good for your health in more ways than one?!

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Today’s morning visit to the East York farmers’ market was so lovely.  The weather was beautiful and it was so nice to get out and clear my head for a bit.  That and I just love taking photos of fruits and vegetables!  I definitely got a lot of amused smiles and stares from vendors and fellow market-goers as I clicked away at tomatoes, asparagus and baby zucchinis.  It happens every time; I’m used to it!  The market is set up in a really great green space outside the civic centre near plenty of benches to sit on, trees and shade to keep cool under, and even some pretty gardens to enjoy.  Despite the generous crowd of people who filter in soon after the market is up and running at 8am, there’s still this beautiful sense of peaceful to it and I love it.

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At the market today: heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, jams, jellies and honey, bread and pastries, sausages and cured meats, baby eggplant, baby zucchini, wild mushrooms, bell peppers, fresh herbs and herb plants, lettuces and kale, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus – lots and lots of asparagus!  I know this sounds weird, but asparagus has truly proven to be one of the most photogenic vegetables.  I’ve photographed asparagus many times over the years and it still amazes me how you can get such cool shots of it time and time again.  Hello total foodie geek moment.

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So, what did I pick up from the market this morning?  Two big bunches of gorgeous green leaf lettuce, $2 a pop.  YES, lettuce.  I know it’s nothing glamourous but I love me my greens and lettuces!  I’ve been going nuts over the arugula at Wychwood Barns as of late so why not throw some more greens into the mix?  The stuff is less expensive AND nicer at the farmers’ market than it is at the supermarket so there’s really no reason to pass on such nice food.  I can’t wait to use it in sandwiches and as the base for lettuce wraps.  I can see it now: green leaf lettuce wrapped around shredded chicken, sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled with peanut sauce.  Or wrapped around shredded chicken with black beans, avocado, and shredded cheese.  Or with fish.  Or shrimp.  YUM.

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East York Civic Centre is located at 850 Coxwell Ave. at Mortimer Ave.  The East York farmers’ market takes places on the front terrace of the civic centre every Tuesday from 8am-2pm, May to November