In Toronto, it is easy to hibernate during the winter and let good habits fall to the wayside (or under the covers, as it were). We need some year-round activities that keep our spirits up, whether we are dealing with a polar vortex or a heat wave. Dufferin Grove Farmers Market is incredibly attuned to the hardy Torontonian's needs. Every single Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., there is a bounty of fresh produce and mouth-watering snacks available here.
Berries at the Dufferin Grove Market — Photo courtesy of Anne Freeman / Dufferin Grove Farmers Market
In the winter, the market goes inside the rink house, and in the summer, it spills onto the lawn. Within steps of a TTC station, it is a great place to grab some food, even if you are only in Toronto for a short while.
Market co-ordinator Anne Freeman promises, "A visit to the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers Market is a great way to find out what's fresh and tasty in Toronto's thriving local food scene."
Blue sky and green produce is a match made in heaven — Photo courtesy of Anne Freeman / Dufferin Grove Farmers Market
Dufferin Grove has plenty of seasonal produce, whether you want to swim in peaches during the summer or have yourself a caramelized onion party in the winter. (Note to cooking neophytes: Onions do not come pre-caramelized.)
Selections also go well beyond the fruit and vegetable variety, with fresh honeycomb and bee products sold at Bees Universe and enticing breads such as Grapeskin Sourdough or Italian Rosemary made onsite through Dufferin Grove Bakers. During the winter, skaters might be found near the oven attempting to warm themselves.
Stoking the fire in the winter — Photo courtesy of Anne Freeman / Dufferin Grove Farmers Market
You can acquire an impressive edible assortment at Dufferin Grove Farmers Market, from homemade dumplings to savory artisan crackers. You can even pick up some gardening tools or get your knives sharpened, although it may be wise to keep your knives under wraps if you are traveling on the TTC subway.
Freeman adds, "As well as the weekly catch-up on news and gossip with the organic farmers who have become friends to so many city eaters, there's always something happening in the park: a fiddler or guitarist playing, yoga or outdoor theatre, maybe a campfire if the weather is chilly, and skating on the nearby rink in winter months."
Dufferin Grove is also a potential place to get an inexpensive late lunch or early dinner. You can devour sweet crepes or savoury burritos. You can enjoy a tofu dog or a still-warm-from-the-oven slice of focaccia. Or you can rebel from the harvest and get your dessert on, whether it is a gluten-free macaroon from DeFloured or a sticky cinnamon bun.
Fresh baked bread? Yes, please — Photo courtesy of Anne Freeman / Dufferin Grove Farmers Market
When you are learning about a city, whether you are living in it for good or just a few days, it is advisable to get a sense of what defines the place. Perhaps nothing does so in such a unifying manner as food. Farmers markets such as Dufferin Grove bring together hunters and vegans in harmony. Here, a variety of smells from a variety of cultures meet. Toronto loves fusion food, and this farmers market embraces the amalgamation that makes Toronto what it is.