Friends!! The time has come yet again to grab our reusable bags and pockets full of cash to head over to all the markets across the GTA. Farm Fresh produce, artisan food products and the chance to meet your farmers is an awesome opportunity to take advantage of this summer.
Ontario can have sporadic weather but this summer I’m anticipating a fantastic summer of hot days that will have you wanting fresh produce, chilled ciders and wines, fresh salads and fruit…..mmm can you already taste it?….cause I can! *does happy food dance*
Here are some personal TIPS to help you have a positive experience
BAGS. Bring your own reusable bags because not every booth will have shopping bags for you. They may run out before you arrive or sell reusable bags on the spot. If you are going to do your full shopping at the markets think about bringing a little cart on wheels. Depending on the season you may be buying onions, potatoes, carrots, etc and they can get heavy pretty fast!
CASH. As an avid lover of the plastic tap and/or swipe cards I have been caught off guard multiple times at the market either doing without or, wasting time and energy looking for an ATM machine. Since markets are outside in parking lots or other open spaces, finding an ATM is not always guaranteed, so come prepared.
SOIL. Remember you are benefiting from the freshest version of the produce you can get…aka right out of the ground. Beets, Radishes, Potatoes, etc will generally still have some soil on it so be prepared with plastic reusable bags as well. Don’t look like a novice by expecting your produce to be as clean and packaged as in the grocery.
SEASON. Know your seasons. Farmers Markets are a true reflection of what is in season for your area at that time. Know that you wont get squash in Ontario until about August and that blueberries appear in July. This helps avoid disappointment in your shopping and prevents you from thinking the farmer is just “not prepared” when really, it’s just not available. (see previous post for the in Season calendar from Foodland Ontario)
SIMPLICITY. Depending on the size of the market there can be a lot of farms showcasing their products. This can cause you to feel confused, overwhelmed or tired during your experience if you don’t come with a plan. Think about the meals you want to cook that night (or week) and know all the ingredients required BEFORE you walk into the market. Come with a list and leave a little extra few dollars for some spontaneous items. Trust me, something will catch your eye and your taste buds – so Your welcome. 🙂
Now that you got some tips, here are some markets I know of that you can start with!
Farmers Markets across Toronto – Starting List
Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto City Hall
Date: Wednesdays: May 30 to October 3, 2018, no market on October 10th
Hours are 8:00 to 2:00 rain or shine
Metro Hall, corner of King and John Streets
Date: Thursdays: May 24 to October 11, 2018
Hours are 8:00 to 2:00 rain or shine
Downsview Park Farmers Market
Location: 40 Carl Hall Rd
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays
Black Farmers Collective
DLocation: 1677 Wilson Ave
Hours: Sundays 11am
George Street in downtown Oakville
115 George Street
Date: June 2 – October 6, 2018
Saturdays | 8am – 2pm
Parking lot of the Church on the Queensway
Date: June 1 – October 5, 2018
Hours: Fridays | 8:00 to 2:00
North Oshawa Farmers Market
Date: May 12, 2018
Hours: Saturdays | 8:00 to 1:00
Whitby Farmers’ Market
Date: May 23, 2018
Hours: Wednesdays | 9:00 to 3:00
NOT in the Greater Toronto area? Google Search ‘Local Farmers Market’ and I guarantee several options will appear. and while you’re in google, be sure to double check the hours of your market, that it hasn’t changed or closed that day due to weather.
I hope this is helpful to you this season and that you’ll navigate your markets with ease this summer. If you find an unusual vegetable/fruit that you have never had, be sure to comment below and let us know! I discovered Kohlrabi at a farmers market and fell completely in LOVE. Good luck everyone and I’ll see you out there!!