Good things really do grow in Ontario

With climate change upon us, we have yet another reason to support our amazing Ontario farmers. Thanks to the winter that wasn’t this year, maple syrup production has hit an all time low. Without snow cover, there is added stress for overwintering crops like garlic. Ground water levels cannot be replenished to the regular healthy levels for the new growing season. Warmer and shorter winters also mean more harmful insects, fungi, weeds, and other pests resulting in increased control costs for farmers.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we have an array of farmers markets across the city to support (see tfmn.ca).
We are even fortunate to have two spectacular markets in our ward!

East Lynn Park Market (my-market.ca) is located amidst the rolling (toboggan) hill and glorious trees on the south side of Danforth just west of Woodbine. It was started by four Go Getter Moms in 2007. East Lynn Park Market helped to kickstart the transformation of this section of the ‘Danny’.  The Danforth East Community Association (danfortheastcommunityassociation.com) played an integral part in backing the market, spreading the word, and recruiting volunteers. This is the only market in the city where farmers are fed by the community, whose mantra is: ‘Feed the people who feed us!’

There is something for everyone at East Lynn: face painting, wading pool and playground, buskers, entertainers, festivals, a movie night, people in vegetable costumes (not me anymore!), community groups promoting their programs, bike tune-ups, free samples, friendly farmers, volunteers, high school kids getting their community services hours, you name it! The organizers have even hosted local schools for educational field trips so children can truly learn where their food actually comes from. East Lynn is a most exciting community hub on Thursdays!

The farmers are all almost within 100 miles of Toronto.  Monkton bakery is the furthest away with a 2.5 hour commute.  This is the farmer who grows her own wheat, mills it into flour, and bakes her own bread.  A modern day Little Red Hen!  It is good for all of us to spend time speaking to farmers and hearing their stories.  They never stop working or caring for the planet.

They truly are salt of the earth people. Come on out and taste their delicious produce and products at East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market, Thursdays from  3 – 7 p.m., June 7 to Oct. 25.

Our newest farmers’ market is Leslieville Market (leslievillemarket.com). Don’t let the name fool you as this terrific market is located in Jonathon Ashbridges park west of Coxwell on Eastern. One motivated local foodie, Janaki Hadida, spearheaded this idea. She gained a following of uber-talented and passionate volunteers along the way and together they have transformed this quiet park off the beaten path into another community hub on Sundays.  I call this one the gypsy market as anything goes!  Local restaurants and cafes are whipping up crepes, serving coffee and offering other delectable treats.  Local farmers are energetically describing their crops freshly picked that morning.  Volunteers are running around organizing the kids’ table, printing the day’s events on the huge blackboard, welcoming shoppers, and buskers serenade you on your shopping experience.  An energetic wholistic nutritionist teaches kids about healthy eating. Some days you can even get a massage from a local business.  Vegetables and serenity – what more could you ask for?

Though the Leslieville Market closes in October, there is still opportunity to eat local through the winter.  The Winter Market Mix offers three sizes of veggie boxes which are ordered in advance and then picked up at Le Papillon On The Park on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., November through May.

On Super Bowl Sunday, market organizers and Le Papillon hosted their own ‘Souper Bowl’, whipping up 1,000 (!) litres of French onion soup as a funky fundraiser for their market.

Leslieville Farmers’ Market runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 3 to Oct. 28. Since we have lost 10,000 small family farms in the past 10 years, let’s put all our efforts into supporting the people who feed us. See you at a market this season!

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.
-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


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