In the warm summer months, it can get pretty tempting to throw back cocktails like you’re partying it up in the Hamptons, or meet up with friends at neighbourhood watering holes for pub grub and processed finger foods. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that (after all, we’re pretty guilty of doing this ourselves), but it’s good to take a break once in a while from all the madness to detox. Not to mention, it’s actually easier than ever to eat healthy in the summer, because while it may be patio season, it’s also the season for farmers markets. Almost every day of the week Toronto is bursting with marketplaces that sell everything from vegan energy bars to ethnic foods and gourmet preserves. So if you’re feeling a little weary from all the après-work specials, check out our list to figure out where you can find fresh produce and an even fresher vibe…
Fresh City Farms Pop-Up
Located at 369 King Street West, Fresh City Farms have teamed up with TAS and The Detox Market to turn that vacant spot into a summer farmers market pop-up shop. Filled with herb gardens, fresh vegetables and stocked with delicious fruit from Berryfresh Fruit Co., this cute pop-up will be open during the weekdays from 8am to 7pm and on the weekends from 10am to 6pm. Not only will you have the opportunity to pick up some of the freshest produce, but you’ll also be able to sit down with friends as you nosh on those juicy berries.
Scadding Court Farmer’s Market
Every Monday, from 4pm to 8pm, you can find this market at the corner of Bathurst and Niagara. Stop by The Smoke Bloke for smoked Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, and then Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches to beat the summer heat with their creamy concoctions. And if you’re looking to try something different, Mnandi Pies will be serving up hand-crafted Zimbabwean-style meat pies with combinations like steak and onion, and chicken and mushroom.
Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market
This market is every Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm in Trinity Bellwoods Park at Dundas West and Shaw Streets. Their vendors offer seasonal vegetables grown without herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers, and animals free from growth hormones, antibiotics, and animal feed by-products. Farmers and artisans include Ali’s Fish Shack, who sells delicious fish and vegetable fritters and an even tastier bottled beverage with sorrel and ginger – a must-try if you haven’t already. For locally roasted fair trade coffee, there’s the Bonafide Bean Coffee Company, and for fresh oysters look no further than Island Oysters Shuck Bar.
Davisville Village Farmers Market
At Davisville Village Farmers Market, you can eat food the way it was meant to be enjoyed: All the produce on sale is wholesome and from healthy soil. This is the result of a community successfully working together to create an amiable and welcoming atmosphere, and products that are good for your taste buds and your body. You can find maple syrup here, along with dumplings, wines, and craft beers, among other goods. Stop by every Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm in June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mt. Pleasant.
Riverdale Farm Market
If you’re looking for an oasis in the city, look no further. Every Tuesday from 3pm to 7pm, you can stop by Riverdale Farm at Sumach and Winchester Streets for locally-grown seasonal produce, baked goods, organic products, hands-on demonstrations, special exhibits, and themed market days. Apart from perusing stalls offering the freshest meats and crops, you can also tour the scenic 7.5-acre farm and visit the farm animals.
My Market has a few different locations around Toronto that are open on different days of the week, and the one closest to the downtown core is at Bloor and Borden from 3pm to 7pm on Wednesdays. The area is transformed into a dynamic neighbourhood meeting place, and hosts about a dozen farmers who only sell goods that they produce themselves. All of the vendors here undergo a stringent certification process, so you’re guaranteed the items purchased are fresh and of the highest quality. The goods on offer include everything from burgers to sausages and freshly brewed iced teas, to artisan cheeses, baked goods, and kale.
Every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm in Nathan Phillips Square on Queen Street West you’ll find Fresh Wednesdays. Not only is admission free, but this farmers market also offers live entertainment to compliment your shopping as you pick up fruits, freshly baked breads, tarts and pies, cheeses, meats, and flowers. Entertainment lineups include a free sampling tour, poets and spoken word artists and songwriters, a food truck showdown, and even a break-dancing competition.
Regent Park Farmers Market
You can find the Regent Park Farmers Market at Dundas Street East and Regent Park Boulevard on Wednesdays from 3:30pm to 7:30pm. New this summer are spudnuts (potato flour donuts) from Paintbox Bistro, and honey from Forbes Wild Foods. This weekly neighbourhood venue also includes resident chefs from the community, as well as performances and artistic activities by local talent. Not only can you find the typical fresh vegetables and artisanal breads and pastries associated with most farmers markets, but also halal meats, curries, and samosas.
Ryerson Farmers Market
The Ryerson Farmers Market is not to be missed. From 11am to 3pm on Gould Street on Wednesdays, you’ll find fresh organic goods from Ontario vendors, as well as delicious lunch options. We know we’ll definitely be dropping by and stocking up on sausages and smoked meats from Albion Hills Farms, ice cream sandwiches from Sweet Sammies, and organic fruit popsicles from The Pop Stands.
Indulge at David Pecaut Square
Indulge at David Pecaut Square takes place from 8am to 2:30pm on Thursdays. There’s entertainment, including musical performances by Sarah Smith, Alysha Brilla, and The Claytones, to go along with your shopping. Vendors include Brantview Apples & Cider, who make a delicious apple BBQ sauce that you should totally try as soon as you get the chance. La Primavera Farms has beautiful cut flowers and house plants to surprise your significant other (or for yourself, because you know you deserve it), and Domenics Meats sells delicious dried cured meats and sausage rolls.
From 8am to 2pm at Metro Hall on Thursdays, this farmers market offers up a farm fresh selection of produce, baked goods, and preserves. Featured vendors this summer include Strawberry Fields Forever, whose fresh-from-the-farm strawberries are to die for. For foodies and lovers of cheese, Cheese Please sells hard-to-find artisanal Ontario cheeses that you’ll finally be able to get your hands on. And if you’re searching for something sweet, Staite’s Honey is a family-owned and operated business that offers pure, unpasteurized Canadian honey that will be perfect to satisfy any sweet tooth.
The Distillery District Market
If you don’t have time throughout the week to stop by a farmers market, no worries. The Distillery District Market is open from 10am to 3pm on Sundays at Gristmill Lane. Vendors include Against the Grain, which is a bakery specializing in gluten-free baked goods from free range eggs and fair-trade chocolate sourced from local vendors. Chakra Bars offers up terrific energy bars that come in three flavours (Original, GingerFire, and Chocolate) that are all vegan friendly, soy free, dairy free, and contain no preservatives. And for those that enjoy cooking, Eudora’s Fine Foods will be offering a fine selection of ready-to-eat signature sauces and gourmet preserves that you can simmer with your favourite meats, vegetables, and tofu.
Do you have a favourite farmer’s market?? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.