Monday, 14 March 2011

A Visit to The Green Barn Market

This weekend we went to Toronto to visit family and friends, and since that's never enough for me we left early enough on Saturday to stop in somewhere I've wanted to go for a long time - The Stop's Green Barn Farmers' Market. To my surprise, I recognized the place - when I lived in Toronto, it was a TTC streetcar depot. That kind of barn, duh. Okay. It sure looks different, though.

Inside was a wonderful light-filled space, with wall-to-wall windows at both ends and a skylight running the length of the building. The walls are a warm, mellow block that add to the welcoming feel of the place. It was also full of people; vendors and shoppers.

Here's cheese from Fifth Town, one of Ontario's best small cheese makers.

At this time of year most of the vegetables available are root and storage vegetables, but there was a good selection.

This man had some greenhouse spinach though! As well as leeks, celeriac, rutabaga, parsnips and daikon. He was also there representing Urban Harvest, and had a good selection of vegetable seeds.

Whoa! If I had known I could have gotten my knives and scissors sharpened I would have brought them. I miss having a little old Italian guy come round the neighbourhood, ringing a hand-bell to let people know they should bring their knives out to be sharpened. But here you can get sharpened just about everything that gets dull by the looks of it.

Angus beef from Field Sparrow Farms in the Kawarthas. Check the link... it's an interesting farm.

Some really lovely looking savory pies.

St. John's Bakery had done such a roaring business that by the time we were there at 9:30 they were closing in on being totally sold out.

This little 4-person band filled the whole space with lively music that was a real joy to listen to. I recognized classic jazz pieces, what sounded for all the world like klezmer music, and "This Little Light of Mine", which I had last heard from the piping little voices in First Day School junior class. Fun!

More delectable goodies. Oh how hard to make a decision!

Ontario grown sweet potatoes from Round Plains Plantation. They also had baked goods, including some from their gluten-free kitchen. We got a basket of mixed sweet potatoes, including Covington (a standard orange-fleshed one) Okinawa and Murasaki (Japanese varieties with light flesh and purple skins) and O'Henry (a skinny little light skinned variety.) We're looking forward to sweet-potato fun!

There's still plenty of Ontario apples - and pears, which I haven't seen here for quite some time. Nice! Oh those lucky Torontonians.

Not Ontario grown - but Ontario produced - were these delectable chocolates from ChocoSol. We tried the hemp-seed and salt, and the 5-Chili, and bought both. I'm now regretting that we didn't buy some of their drinking chocolate. Next time! This is another place doing fascinating stuff - be sure to click the link!

A wide array of green, crunchy sprouts to liven up those root veggies.

Honey and beeswax products - we bought a little jar of lavender honey. I'm getting to have quite a collection; we must do a honey tasting one of these days.

Ontario's Own summer in a jar.

Ying-Ying's Gourmet Tofu Products, made with Ontario-grown, certified organic non-GMO soybeans. Yes! They have all kinds of flavoured tofu; they even have tofu "bacon". We tried it, and if it wasn't completely convincing it would certainly work well enough in recipes that need that little salty-smoky-chewy hit that bacon provides.

We loved this market and can definitely see why this has become one of Toronto's favourite markets in only three years of operation. It's just bursting with great local foods, and we could write a whole post about each and every vendor.

They are open every Saturday 8 am to noon at the Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. (at St. Clair).

On another note, this will be the last post for several days. The other thing we did while in Toronto was pick up a new computer for me. Two hard crashes requiring nerve-wracking resuscitations in the last 6 months tells me it's time to make an orderly change-over before I can't even do a resuscitation at all. So once that's done and I'm up and running again, I'll be back.


The Armchair Housewife said...

Wow this is really cool- I sent the link to this post to a girlfriend of mine and told her we'll have to make a day trip to TO in the spring and hit this awesome market up. Thanks for the photo tour! :)


ellieT said...

I frequent the Riverdale Farmer's Market when it is in season and have wondered how I could get some of those products during the "off-season".
I recognized many of the vendors from your photos - now I know what they do on non-Tuesday evenings in the non-summer :) Thanks!!!

Janice said...
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Devouring the Seasons said...

This is an absolutely amazing spread for this early in the season! We're worlds away from Toronto, and it always amazes me how vibrant the local food markets are that far north all year long. Down here in Oklahoma, the farmers' markets don't open 'til the first part of April, and even the newly-established on-line local food market (which is trying to fill the off-season gap for those of us trying to eat local year-round) doesn't have ANY produce available. Cherish your apples and potatoes. We are definitely envious!

nefaeria said...

When I moved from Toronto this was still in development. It is great to see it now! I do hope to make it there one day soon.

The next time you get a chance, you should get some of the sweet potato cream cheese from Round Plains. Get a few tubs, because it is really good! :)

Ferdzy said...

Armchair, I hope you go and that you have a great day! I love Toronto, once you make past the miles and miles of vile, farm-gobbling suburbs.

Ellie, glad you've found your wanted products.

DtS, markets don't usually get going around here until the middle or end of May - you are to some degree looking at the "Big City" effect here. On the other hand, don't forget that they don't call the area between the Great Lakes "Carolinian forest" for nothing - we are a lot warmer in Southern Ontario than on the other side of the border, which I know a lot of people have a hard time getting their heads around. Let's hear it for lake effect!

Nefaeria, I'm really going to try to go down and visit Round Plains in the summer if I can manage to sneak away from all the garden work here at home... we'll see. I have a list as long as my arm of places I want to visit.

Lisa R-R said...

Glad you like the Barns!
That's my local market, and I really enjoy it. I hope you can come back in the summer when it is much bigger and outside.
Did you visit the Stop greenhouse? It is incredible.

canadianfoodiegirl said...

I go there every week. I love the feel of the place. It's such a community.

You'll have to return when it moves outdoors.

Ash said...

I need to go to this place!! How have I not heard of it!!