Best eight farmers’ markets

Best eight farmers’ markets

Nearly every downtown ’hood has a farmers’ market now, and although the best one is almost always the one closest to you, these markets are worth the trek.

Ontario tomatoes (Photo by Daniel Shipp) 

DUFFERIN GROVE FARMERS’ MARKET
The year-round Dufferin Grove farmers’ market is one of the oldest in the city. Vendors are from mainly organic farms, and you can do all your shopping here: fruits and veg, meat, and smoked fish from First Nation fishing operation Akiwenzie. Forager Jonathan Forbes always has something obscure on offer, whether it’s stinging nettle in springtime or paw-paws in the fall. Thursdays, 3–7. Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin St. (at Bloor St. W.). Open now.

EAST LYNN FARMERS’ MARKET
This market doesn’t have an organic focus, which has its advantages: corn, peaches and apples (all notoriously hard to grow in Ontario without some kind of pesticide) abound in late August. Braided local garlic is a big seller; if you buy a few for storage, you may be able to liberate yourself from the woody Chinese stuff. Thursdays, 3–7. East Lynn Park, 1949 Danforth Ave. (at Woodbine). Opens June 3.

EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS FARMERS’ MARKET
You might see Jamie Kennedy frying up some Yukon golds for his son’s chip stand. Cooks­town Greens always has something interesting; early in the season, look for Welsh onions. Watch for a St. Lawrence Market–style year-round food hall once construction finishes in September. Saturdays, 8–1. 550 Bayview Ave. (at the Bayview Extension). Open May 29.

GUILDWOOD VILLAGE MARKET
This picturesque market by the Scarborough Bluffs is the only market where you can buy chef turned organic farmer Elaina Asselin’s superlative heirloom tomatoes (she grows hundreds of varieties in all shapes and colours) from North­umberland County. It’s also one of the few markets to feature Fisherfolk’s sustainably harvested seafood from Nova Scotia. Thursdays, 2–6. 85 Livingston Rd. (at Guildwood Pkwy.). Opens June 10.

NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE FARMERS’ MARKET
This is the best place to buy a picnic lunch in the downtown core. Such prepared foods as roasted corn and kebabs can be augmented with obscure farmhouse cheeses from Gurth Pretty’s Cheese of Canada table and a half pint of cherry tomatoes. Wednesdays, 10–2:30. Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W. (at Bay). Opens June 2.

RIVERDALE FARM FARMERS’ MARKET
For a full farm-to-table experience, there is no better place than Riverdale, where patrons can commune directly with the chickens and goats at the city-run farm. Tuesdays, 3–7. Riverdale Farm, 201 Winchester St. (at Sumach St.). Opened May 18.

SORAUREN FARMERS’ MARKET
It’s hard to believe Sorauren has been operating only since 2008; it’s already a fixture in Roncesvalles. Novice FarmStart farmers bring their crops to this market; in springtime, Matchbox Garden and Seed Co. sells an excellent collection of heirloom seeds and seedlings. Mondays, 3–7. Sorauren Park, 50 Wabash Ave. (at Dundas St. W.). Opened May 17.

THE STOP’S GREEN BARN FARMERS’ MARKET
The newest year-round market is housed in the old Wychwood streetcar barns. Harry Stoddart, a grain and livestock farmer in the Kawarthas, offers duck eggs that regularly sell out by mid-morning. Summer: Saturdays, 8–12. Winter: Saturdays, 8–noon. Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. (at St. Clair Ave. W.). Open now.