Just because you live in the concrete jungle doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in fresh produce from around the province.
If you’re looking for fresh produce or just some food trucks, farmers markets are one of the city’s best hidden gems. Note: for a Toronto farmers market to be called a farmers market, each vendor must have a 50% 1 farmer to non-farmer ratio.
Here are our five favourite farmer’s markets for straight-from-the-source goods, and two markets for sweet treats.
Thursdays, 3-7 pm, year-round
Dufferin Grove Farmers Market, just adjacent to the Dufferin Mall, is a great stop-by on your way home from the Thursday grind. Must stop shops include Chocosol, a traditional Mexican chocolate purveyor. Stop by their stand for not only hand-grinded chocolate of all hues but for sweet and savory tacos and hot Mayan drinking chocolate. Kind Organics has an encyclopedic collection of greens: for the more health conscious they have sprouted beans, wheatgrass, and edible flowers as well as hard-to-source greens like dandelion, stinging nettle, and horsetail. For the rest of us, they’ve got delicious pre-mixed salads (try the cosmic blend).
The Brickworks Farmers Market
Saturdays, 5 am–1 pm, year-round
It’s well worth making a day out of the hike (like, literal hike) down to the Evergreen Brickwork’s Farmers Market. Located in the heart of the Don Valley, the market is host to an all-season farmers market, as well as a host of hiking paths, restaurants, and kid zones. On site is Café Belong where you can dine on delicious dishes, all using ingredients from the market (plus in the winter, you can dine in a Yurt.) The farmers market is also host to a number of food trucks and hot food stands: Jamie Kennedy’s offspring whip up their father’s signature fries and homemade aoli, and Clement’s Crepes always boasts a twenty person line for their savory and dessert handspun crepes.
St. Lawrence Market
Saturdays, 5 am–3 pm, year-round
As much as the St. Lawrence market is a hub for fresh food seven days a week, every Saturday from 5 am to 3 pm, Ontario’s farmers and food purveyors gather in the market’s Northern building. Stop by Best Baa cheeses for hard and soft sheep’s milk cheeses. Swing by the Forbes mushroom booth for a crash course in ‘shrooms. Seriously, not only do they bring in the freshest seasonal mushrooms from across the country (including the fabled Morel), but they’ll provide you with a variety of ways to prepare them. They also offer dried mushrooms year-round, and birch syrup, which is basically a denser, sweeter version of maple syrup.
The Stop Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns
Saturdays, 8am–12pm, year-round
The ArtScape cultural hub and Wychwood Barns transforms on Saturdays to a one-stop-shop for unique produce and goods. Karen’s Kitchen, for example, breaks the norm of chalky gluten-free bread with her fluffy and light loaves of bean flour and quinoa loafs.
Tuesdays, 3-7 pm, seasonal
Trinity Bellwoods isn’t just for day drinking and picnicking. Every Tuesday from 3–7pm, some of Ontario’s freshest vendors take over the northwest section of the park. If oysters are your thing, Island Oyster’s Shuck Bar has a station set up, so you can slurp up the ocean’s pearls right there in the park. Other must-tries: Local Café’s empanadas, Monforte Dairy’s blue cheese, and St. John’s sourdough loaf.
Seasonal hours, year-round
You may have seen these colourful shipping containers perched just west of Kensington Market. They’re home to a selection of local shopping and food vendors, including Cedar Baskets Metis and Inuit crafts and Oh My Lard BBQ.
The CM Market
May 12th to September 3rd
Although there aren’t technically any farmers at this posh market (it’s located outside Club Monaco on mink mile), it is home to small-scale food stands and Sweet Woodruff’s fresh flowers. Vendors include Sam James, The Pop Stand, Bake Shoppe, Delica Kitchen and Evolution Food Co.
What are some of your farmers markets in Toronto? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or follow us and the conversation on Twitter at @ViewTheVibe.