Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Riverdale Market

Yesterday I went to Riverdale Market. It’s in a lovely park adjacent to Riverdale Farm in the heart of Cabbagetown in Toronto. Cabbagetown is home to an interesting mix of people from new immigrants struggling to make Canada their new homeland, to those less fortunate that lead a transient lifestyle and to those who are gentrifying some of the old Victorian row houses.

Riverdale Market takes place every Tuesday from 3-7 pm

and most of the vendors produce organic products. It is early in the season so there were 20 or so vendors who were selling everything from honey and other bee by-products

(I particularly liked the candles),

gluten free cakes and cookies, the prettiest strawberries

and luscious, delicate spring lettuces, onions, baby leeks, herbs and other local produce.

Turtles Fish is run by First Nations Fishers and they have fresh, smoked and frozen fish from northern Ontario. Best Baa Farm sells yoghurt and goat cheeses (at least two people who came by while I was buying homemade lamb pies and said it was the best they’d ever eaten). The lamb pies are sold in two sizes – single and one that would probably serve 2-3 and three combinations: classic – is like Quebecois tourtière; lamb & vegetables; and lamb curry.

Don't they look delicious? They're on tap for dinner tonight with the gorgeous salad greens I bought from Grenville Farms in the Muskokas.

There were vendors selling chicken and meat, locally farmed and raised organically. One booth sold locally grown beautiful mushrooms of several varieties and even made their own mushroom pesto. Everdale Juice made fresh juices from their organically grown fruit and vegetables - delish. Another vendor sold organically grown coffee. There even was a vendor selling homemade doggie treats.

However, it was hot and muggy and looked like it was going to pour, so I didn’t stay too long or chat with too many of the merchants – all of whom are friendly, knowledgeable and proud of their produce.

Wow – I used “organically” 4 times in one paragraph!!! Grammatically poor, but I really did want to stress the quality of everything.

Riverdale Farm, just across the path makes a wonderful visit for children of all ages. I even captured (on film, anyway) a chicken running free.

Just in case you didn't believe me! The goats were way too fast! If you check out the events link on their page, you'll note they celebrate the birthdays of their animals....too cool!! The gardens are beautiful and the bounty will be plentiful for their own kitchen and bakery (both of which close at 3 so I missed out on home made delicacies). That said, you can buy their breads at the market and they all looked great.

All in all it was a most pleasant afternoon. I'll have to go back later in the season to check on them even though it's quite a trek by public transportation from my house (1 hour each way).

Please share some stories/photos of your favourite local market. Maybe I'll be in your neck of the world, or at least someone else will.


thimblesee said...

Thank you for your refreshing web site. Have you ever thought of cooking as a personal chef? My dad (who lives thousands of miles from you) is old (90) and tires of doing his own cooking and grocery shopping. He is diabetic. Several friends have cooked for him, but they ignore the diabetic part of his needs. Amazing! One even brought him a slice of cake as a little treat. anyway, there must be thousands of people just like him where you live. One personal chef in my area (eastern USA) charges $250 a week for five meals and each meal is enough for two people. She comes to your home, prepares the food, and brings all ingredients. Leaves everything in containers which can be frozen. Anyway, there is a great great need out there for such services. I'll enjoy reading your blog.

Ruth said...

Glad you like the site and for your idea about cooking as a personal chef. It is something to consider. At the moment, I'm busy writing a cookbook - hopefully I'll be done by the end of the summer!

I also conduct cooking class parties in private homes. The host/hostess invites 5 or 6 people. It's very hands on, everyone prepares the meal and I orchestrate and give cooking tips along the way. It's lots of fun.

Cate said...

Sounds like a great farm/market - wish we had something like that around here. Nice blog!