Farmers’ Markets: Where are the Best Ones

Last week I told you that one of my favorite reasons to love summer is that cherries come into season. Well one of my other favorite reasons is that farmers’ markets explode onto the scene here in Toronto. Right around May all of the farmers markets start popping up in different neighborhoods around the city and every foodie has the schedule down, hitting each market for their unique wares.

We’re quite fortunate here in Toronto because it’s actually possible to go to a different farmers market every day of the week (except for Sunday unless there’s one I don’t know about). Most of them are only around for the summer, but we’re lucky enough to have some year-round ones too.

Farmers’ markets are fantastic. In this age of pre-packaged dinners and faceless food dispensaries, I really think the farmers’ market brings us a closer connection to our food. You can actually get an idea of where the produce grows and put a face to who is growing it. I find that talking directly with the food growers lets me get more in touch with the food chain that we’ve become so removed from. You can also find out information – Where was it grown? Is it organic or naturally-grown? What does that mean? What sort of processing has it undergone? How fresh is it?

And aside from fresh produce, which itself is worth the trip, farmers’ markets often have artisanal foods that you’d never find in a grocery store – fresh breads, homemade jams, raw honey, raw chocolate. Some of the ones around Toronto also sell organic meats. You can also be fairly certain that, even if the items aren’t certified organic, they’re probably grown using natural methods. Factory farms aren’t generally represented at these markets. But the great thing is that, instead of asking a random grocery store clerk who may or may not have the answers you’re looking for, you can ask the farmers themselves about their methods.

So I had a brainstorm while picking up my weekly produce at the Dufferin Grove Park farmers market last Thursday – I should tell readers of the Healthy Foodie where they can find local farmers’ markets so they, too, can buy amazing local fresh foods. Great idea, right? Unfortunately, this proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated once I started doing some research. Although I’m in touch with the farmers’ markets in my own city, I am clueless about the rest of Canada. There are a lot of Canadian cities out there and a lot of farmers’ markets. Trying to find out about all of them and get a schedule written turned out to be a monumental task.

Here’s my solution – I’m going to post information about farmers markets in Toronto and open it up to readers to send me information about farmers’ markets in their own areas. I’m giving this one to you, fair reader – write to me telling me the times and locations of farmers markets in your area. Once I’ve amassed enough I’ll do another post giving all the info for Canada-wide farmers markets. That way, readers across the country will be able to find markets close to them.

So here’s the info for Toronto. I haven’t put street addresses or URLs in the list due to space considerations, but if you’re looking for this info and more go here.

Toronto Area Farmers Markets

Sorauren Farmers Market – Mondays (3pm-7pm), May 26 – Oct 27
Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market – Tuesdays (3pm-7pm), May 13 to Oct 28
Riverdale Farm Farmers Market – Tuesdays (3-7pm), May 13 to Oct 28
Daily Apple Centre – Wednesdays (3pm-7pm), June 4 to Oct 8
Dufferin Grove Park – Thursdays (3pm-7pm), year round
High Park Organic Market – Fridays (12pm-7pm), Saturdays and Sundays 9am-6pm, from May until the end of October
Birchcliff Farmers Market – Fridays (3-7pm) from June 13 to Oct 10th
St. Lawrence Farmers Market – Saturdays (starts at 5 am), year round
The Green Barn Farmers Market – Saturdays (2-5 pm), year round
The Village Market (Thornhill) – Saturdays (8:30am-1:30pm), year round
Don Valley Brick Works Farmers Market – Saturday (8am-1pm), May 24 to Dec 13
Withrow Park Farmers Market – Saturday (9am-1pm), May 24 to Oct 25