Local is the New Black

By: Local Is The New Black  09-12-2011

Article Published in City Bites Magazine, Issue 38

Playing the field has never been easier. with a variety of farmers markets open every day of the week in Toronto, the best local goods are always ripe for the picking. No more waiting to score on Saturdays!

Hit up Toronto’s outdoor farmers markets during the week, for fresh produce, and a bounty of local meats, cheese and other yummy treats. The mix of sunshine and unique atmosphere makes a visit an outside-the-lunchbox experience.

Love the thrill of the chase? Then check out a different spot every night this week. But always arrive early, ‘cause early birds get the…goods. Here’s our dish on the best of Toronto’s weekly markets.

This quaint farmers market may hold back on the bells and whistles, but it’s no-holds-bar on quality! Located near a baseball diamond and small dog park, the ambience may include some woofs and muddy 12 year olds, but in general it is a lovely spot to grab top-notch produce and goods.

Don’t Miss: The “Better Than Salt” herb blend from Heritage Line Herbs, it makes everything taste better, especially buttered popcorn. Also, say hi to Carole Ferrari, owner of the Local Café and driver of “The Bus Kitchen,” a mobile yum-factory that churns out treats like fiddlehead bruschetta and rhubarb mint cobbler.

A must for all local foodies who have kids, or at least appreciate what kids like – farm animals and splashing about in wading pools. But kin or no kin, we’re not kidding, if you love small town charm than Riverdale Farm is the best thing about Cabbagetown and its farmers market is a close second. The rural atmosphere makes the spot, and the fact that you can pick up everything you need for a week, really seals the deal.

Don’t Miss: The maple chip-smoked whitefish and lake trout from Akiwenzie’s Fish & More. This small First Nations family business catch their own fish just north of Wiarton, ON, on the Bruce Peninsula. Also, pay a visit to Hratch at the Toorshi Foods Inc. stall, and try a sample of their Savoury Garlic pickles or the Tangy Turnips. No one can touch the pickle or “toorshi” making skills of the Vartanian family – they’ve been doin’ it for 50 years! Last but not least, cool off your trip with a Lemongrass Iced Tea at Chandra’s.

Every Wednesday it’s urban vs. rural, when this giant public space is taken over by country folk, and city dwellers looking for some down-home eats without leaving downtown. Besides the free noon concert series in summer, people-watching gets top billing here, especially while nibbling on your new treats by the fountain.

Don’t Miss: The Cheese of Canada booth for the crème de la crème of triple cream, soft, hard and aged Canadian cheeses. Also, grab yourself a country lunchbox from the Kurtz Orchards stall, and enjoy a farm-fresh meal amidst the downtown chaos.
Kurtz Orchards, country lunch

A popular spot for outdoor events, Dufferin Grove is also famous for its year-round and bustling farmers market. But the coolest thing about this classic market? Every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. bakers use the two huge wood ovens located in the park to bake bread for sale later that day, and after 3 p.m., the wood ovens open for public use! You’ve never tasted fresh bread, until you’ve tasted bread baked like this.

Don’t Miss: The hot drinkable chocolate from Chocosol. The Grove is also chock-full of savoury snack stalls like Bestbaa’s, which is the spot for lamb chops, sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese. Also, see Alli of Alli’s Bakery for her cheesy Jalapeño Screamers, before popping over to Sosnicki Farms for a some sauerkraut, perogies and cabbage rolls.

This picturesque outdoor market is quite the community affair! With live local music, and face-painting for kids, there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy. It may seem a little far for urbanites, but a short drive for delicious food and the view of Lake Ontario from the Bluffs makes this spot well worth the trip.

Don’t Miss: Picking up the ‘Stupid Hot’ hot sauce and Rose Petal Vinaigrette from the Full Feeling Fine Foods stall. The Cake Town stall also requires a visit, especially for a sample of their Persian Lime Crunch Cake or Coconut Macaroon Cake. The folks at Cake Town, like most farmers market vendors, use no preservatives, additives, artificial colours or flavours in any of their baked goods. Their products are made with unbleached flour, cane sugar and organic or natural ingredients

This gastronomical giant is a favourite of Toronto chefs. The Brickworks Pavillions is a 27,000 square feet covered outdoor area that becomes an empire of vendor stalls every Saturday morning. In winter, everybody moves inside, into an equally giant space – the Young Welcome Centre. Goods. The market is home to goods and events that run the gamut, from organic produce to artisan jewelry and woodwork, to do-it-yourself workshops and demonstrations. Everything goes at Brickworks, and everything is good!

Don’t Miss: Getting a naturally-raised grass-fed, grass-finished Dexter beef for your weekend BBQ and some Dijon by Anton mustard from the Koslick’s Mustard stall to glaze your steak. It’s hard to miss at Brickworks, but don’t leave without visiting Vicki and Tom at Vicki’s Veggies for their heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn.

Feel better after your Saturday night out by surrounding yourself with the healthy stuff here. This market may have some growing to do, but there’s still considerable loyalty from the neighborhood. Every Sunday, fresh-seekers emerge from their condos and brunch patios to peruse the market’s lovely selection of quality produce and goods.

Don’t Miss: Sweetening up your morning tea or beauty regime with honey and facecream from Bees Universe. After this, man up and try Tim and Mary’s spicy buffalo jerky and sausages from Peterborough Buffalo Farm. Round off the day at Kind Organics for their salad blends, wheat grass and edible flowers.

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About | Local is the New Black

According to the resident tequila experts at Reposado – Catherine MacFadyen, co-owner and Andrea Barber, bar manager – a true tequila connoisseur is a rather civilized drinker with particular and excellent taste. To most people, the only ‘normal’ way to drink tequila is by slathering some salt on their hand, taking a bite out of a lime wedge, and knocking a mixto brand back out of a chipped shot glass.