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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter farmers' markets in Toronto

winter farmers markets torontoWinter Farmers' Markets in Toronto are about more than just homemade preserves and small batch pickled things. Vendors are your best source for not just ingredients, but recipes, methods and inspiration. Most winter markets are held entirely indoors (thankfully) with walls and a roof to keep things a bit more civil, but some booths will still be outside, so you can still totally pull off your ankle length parka. Look for fresh cheeses, organic meats, gourmet breads and Canadian favourites like maple syrup and fair trade locally roasted coffee beans.

Here's a round-up of farmers' markets open during the winter in Toronto.

Sorauren Farmers' Market - Mondays 3pm-7pm year round

Near Lansdowne and Dundas Street West, this popular park hosts an indoor farmers' market in the field house. It's known for having a stellar selection of produce, meats and cheeses but you can also find tofu from Ying Ying Soy Food and gluten free baked goods from de Floured.

UTSC Farmers Market - First Wednesday of every month - 11am-3pm

U of T students and faculty in Scarborough organize this monthly indoor market with local vendors selling cured meats, rice balls, baked goods as well as stained glass and handcrafted jewelry at the logically named The Meeting Place, located in the science wing on campus.

Dufferin Grove's Organic Farmers Market - Thursdays 3pm-7pm year round

West end food lovers rejoice with this perpetually popular market selling more than just jams and jellies, but fresh eggs, fish, and handmade crafty items. Look for Forbes Wild Foods for their dark maple syrup and artisanal chocolates from ChocoSol. This market takes over the rinkhouse but some vendors will still be selling outside, so Irish up your coffee and make sure to check them all out.

Toronto Botanical Garden - Thursdays 2-6pm year round

If you've never been to TBG (also known at Edwards Gardens), then hustle up to Lawrence and Leslie (free parking!) for their indoor showcase of organic meats, raw unpasteurized honey, and a well curated list of caterers serving up dinners to go (bring your own container). Work off your meal with a brisk walk around the gorgeous grounds.

St. Lawrence Market North - Saturdays, 5am-3pm year round

Sure, we've all been to St Lawrence Market, but have you ever crossed over and checked out the North Market? This lesser known market is smaller in scale, but that may be a good thing. Get your dose of produce, meats and dairy, as well as homemade streusels, chorizo sausages and star suppliers like Monforte Dairy.

The Stop's Farmers' Market at Wychwood Barns - Saturdays, 8am-12 noon

The Stop's year round farmers' market marries organic and sustainable farming with a dedication to ensuring those farmers working there can actually afford to shop there too. Highlights include meat pies and pickled products from Marvellous Edibles, stocks and soups from Ontario's Own as well as many pantry products like Evelyn's Crackers and Kozlik's Mustards.

Evergreen Brick Works - Saturdays 9am-1pm - November 9 to April 26

With a staggering 54 vendors weaving in and out of Evergreen's mass of buildings on Bayview avenue, Evergreen is your best bet for one stop shopping from all your favourite farmers. This Saturday features seasonal revelry from 9am to 1pm when they have Alex Samaras and his Christmas Choir preforming Carols. Those still wrapping up their shopping will have handmade unique gift items to choose from so muster up the strength to fight the cold and brave the crowds. Evergreen also boasts an outdoor skating rink, so don't forget your blades.

Steam Whistle's Winter Farmers' Market - Sundays 10am-2pm - December 22nd to February 23

The newest market on the scene takes over the tankhouse and combines everyone's two favourite hobbies - drinking and eating. Mull over the many food options while sampling some of Toronto's finest pilsner, then show some love to the farmers and pick up freshly baked goods, organic meats and cheeses, root veggies, and a selection of beauty products.

MyMarket at Liberty Village - Sundays in December, 10am-2pm

MyMarket operates four downtown locations throughout the year, but this location is the only one with some winter exposure. With only a few Sundays left in the year, make one of them a stop to their Liberty Village location. Certified local farmers are selling their crops out of the Galleria with potatoes, squash, carrots and cabbage all still seasonally available.

Photo by chasdobie in the blogTO Flickr pool

by Libby Roach via blogTO

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