In another few weeks, the summer and fall farmers’ markets will be packing up and making way for the indoor markets that will roll out just in time for the winter season and holidays, so I want to post as many fall markets as I can before bidding goodbye. The past summer was so memorable and amazing because of all the farmers’ market visits I made. Before this past spring and summer, I had never been to a farmers’ market before. Bake sales, yes. Street markets and food fests, yes. But weekly outdoor markets in eleventy billion different neighbourhoods around the city? Never.
I learned so much, met so many sweet people, and even got my mum hooked! I bought vegetables, bread, and baked goods and made many fresh meals from scratch using all the delicious goodies I brought home from the markets. Even though summer is over, fall is alive and kicking and there’s plenty of life left in these farmers’ markets! Many of them are dishing out the apples, plums, apricots, crabapples, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, beets, pumpkins, and squash while they still can and some of them are even planning Hallowe’en activities!
I made my first visit to Leslieville market at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen East last Sunday, and after subscribing to their newsletter since the summer, the trek out was a long time coming. The Leslieville Farmers’ Market is new to the Toronto market circuit this year and I think they’ve done such a great job of getting the community involved and making sure there are inclusive activities for everyone.
The market is full of volunteers, live music is provided and performed by local artists and bands, there are kiddie corner activities every Sunday for the wee ones (think reading and books and food crafts!), and there’s always a group event that brings everyone together. Whether it’s a book sale or free yoga sessions in the park, the market organizers make an effort to encourage everyone in and outside of the neighbourhood to enjoy everything it has to offer. Just recently, Leslieville market even hosted a jar swap where everyone brought their homemade sauces, pickled vegetables, jams, jellies, compotes, and preserves and swapped with fellow market-goers!
Highlights of the market: 1) the waffle and beignet table!! I’m not talking about the frozen Eggo-type kind. Imagine thick cut, fresh waffles that are like Belgian waffles married with funnel cakes alongside hot, deep-fried beignets tossed in powdered sugar. Can you say breakfast at the market?! I love it! I had already eaten brunch by the time I made my way over, but I’m telling you, those waffles looked to die for. Highlight two: the baked goods table! You know I can’t go to a market without ogling this section. There was a basket of long, crunchy baguettes, carrot cake squares with vanilla icing, chocolate cake muffins with powdered sugar, and the moistest looking chocolate brownies I have ever since. I didn’t even have to taste one to know it would melt in my mouth. All I had to do was look at it. Pillow soft and fudgy.
Highlight numero three: the vegan hot food table! Not only can you enjoy breakfast at Leslieville, but you can also sit down to a picnic of warm, vegan food provided by Tiffinday Inc., a vegan catering company in Toronto dedicated to delivering fresh and healthy vegan lunches to the city crowd in reuseable, stainless steel containers. I picked up some delicious lentil samosas to bring back home for my brother, the samosa king and lover of the house, and we shared them and adored them. Highlight number four: the garlic bulb closet! No, I’m serious, there was this table that sold mouthwatering homemade hummus dips along with garlic, and the bulbs were categorized and organized by country of origin and type in what looked like a wooden closet, cubbyhole thing on an easel. It was adorable!
It was a great market to go to and I’m glad I finally did after all these months. Their last market of the year is on October 30th (the day before Hallowe’en!) so everyone, you have two weeks left to enjoy it! Take in as much of the fall harvest as you can because winter is nipping at our heels.
Leslieville Farmers’ Market is located at Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East and Woodward Ave. Jonathan Ashbridge Park is located in between Greenwood and Coxwell Ave., and can be accessed via public transit by way of the Queen Street 501 streetcar. The market is new to the lineup of Toronto markets this year and is held every Sunday from 9am-2pm. The last market of the year is on October 30, 2011. Visit their website to sign up to their newsletter, to get involved, and to learn more.