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Post Packaged-Food Rant: My First Visit to Market Lane’s Farmer’s Market

July 19, 2010

 

 I am fortunate enough to live in a suburb which allows me many of the conveniences of a large city. I am minutes away (even walking distance, in nice weather) to grocery stores, libraries, clothing and shoe stores (i.e. Vaughan Mills), fitness centres, movie theatres, great restaurants and bakeries, and so much more I’m sure I’m missing. Aside from lacking a greater selection of diverse cuisine restaurants and speciality shops that make Toronto as great as it is (which can be reached easily thanks to very close highway access), I will proudly say that we pretty much have it all. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I found out recently (I think I may actually be the last person to discover this) that we have our very own Farmer’s Market to boot! Now being a frequent grocery-store-shopper, as well a new appreciater of the farmer’s market (especially after my trip to Italy, where the weekly market was set up quite literally at our front door every giovedi), you could only imagine how exstatic I was to stumble across this piece of information in the most recent addition of SNAP Woodbridge.

So, with a work-free Saturday in store, and a weekend of cooking and grilling on my schedule, I decided to make my first post-Euro market trip to see what kind of goodies I would discover at The Village Farmer`s Market that Fortino’s might not have to offer. 

When I first arrived, I was a little disappointed. It was a tiny little market, consisting of maybe ten booths, which, on first glance, seemed to be offering nothing spectacular. But I forced myself to not make any snap judgements, and to force my Terracina-spoiled mind to push aside the recollection of several blocks of closed streets lined with white tents baring gifts of not only fresh fruits and veggies, but meats and cheeses, clothes, beauty supplies and beach accessories. 

And I was happy that I didn’t get back into my car and drive to my big-box comfort zone–turns out this mini market satisfied all my locavore cravings, with a few added bonuses. 

 

 

 

The street was dominated by Ontario farmer’s offering their freshest veggies and fruits…and their selection did not disappoint. They had everything from sweet corn (which I most definitely took home), green beans, fava beans, carrots, peppers, beets…everything you would expect to see. (Although they were no leeks, boo, one of the most important items on my shopping list). 

 

 

I took home some fresh Ontario plums and apricots (which were absolutely amazing by the way). But that was not the full extent of fruit selection—locally grown watermelons, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and raspberries all made an appearance.  

 

 

 

 

But in addition to all these standard finds, I was thrilled to discover that my sweet (and savoury, actually) tooth would be tempted by a few unique treats (that my will power would eventually succumb to). 

My first find was Z’s Breads and Homebaking. I was obviously drawn to this small booth, as it was lined with what looked like freshly baked sweet treats. I immediately started grilling the young girl behind the counter on what the treasures were that lay before my eyes and where I could find them on every other day of the week. Little did I know I would soon be both shocked and dismayed to find out that I actually couldn’t, that in fact Z’s Home- baking is just that, home-baking, done by none other than the young girl, Zoey Renglich, herself. 

Z's Rosemary Foccaccia Loaf, Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread and Cornbread + Homemade Jams

 

Oatmeal Scones and Lemon and Blueberry Tarts

 

Z’s booth immediately erased all the original disappointment I had experienced when I first arrived. Her creations looked just like the kind of thing that normally slows my pace as I walk past a bakery’s window. She was even selling several different types of bread—something which I am still scared to attempt yet she executes so well, without even having any educational training. And it was so great to see a young girl pursuing her passion in any way that she can—sharing it with her community at such an early stage in her career.

It was a tough decision, but I ended up going home with a giant Oatmeal Scone, and a loaf of Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread, both of which were great. I`m actually featuring the Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread as my current breakfast obsession…slightly warmed with just a bit of melted butter. 

Tasty Product List

 

Zoey, an aspiring baker chef and soon-to-be George Brown culinary student, doesn`t have a website unfortunately, but sells her kitchen experimentations every Saturday morning at The Village Farmer’s Market in Market Lane.  

 My next foodie find was like a match made in bakery heaven for me. Wholey Mama`s is run by two young woman who are expressing their passions of nurturing, healthy living and education through their nutritious homemade treats. They focus on avoiding the addition of any preservatives or refined products in their baking. As they state on their website  “By adding vegetable purees and whole grains and substituting sugar and flour with more natural ingredients such as fruit juice, agave nectar and Sucanat, Wholey Mamas has found a way to make your favourite snacks not only good tasting but good for you!“ 

 

Their passion for healthy living (without sacrifice) was quite obvious. As teachers, they notice the increasing amount of allergies their students are suffering from (as a result of living in an additive-filled world); as mothers, they care about the health and future of their children. 

I must admit, being quite the sweet loving and dessert critic myself, these treats definitely delivered. After struggling through yet another tough decision, I ended up choosing the `Choc-ful of Grains` Cookie (as it looked, and indeed tasted, similar to the Monster Cookies I usually make, which are chalked full of butter and other no-good-for-you stuff), a `This is What Autumn Tastes Like` Spiced Apple Pecan Bar and a Coconut Cookie (my apologies for forgetting to jot down the name of this one). 

It felt nice to give my calorie-concious mind a rest while I enjoyed these innovative bakery delicacies. I`m thinking I might even hunt down Wholey Mama`s at the U of T Farmer`s Market this week for some re-stocking. For a bit of background info and a contact form, check out their site at http://www.wholeymamas.com

A few other points of interest were the Little Rock Honey Farm and Guru Indian Sauce tents. Little Rock Honey Farm is located in Tottenham, ON, and sells gourmet honey butters, cooking sauces, wax reliefs, skin care products and candles. The heat must`ve got to me at this point, because I didn`t take anything home, but looking back at my photos is making me regret that… 

Little Rock Honey Farm`s Honey Butters

 

Interesting Honey-Based Cooking Sauces

 

Guru Indian Sauces offers up a guilt-free version of the normal decadence (yet deliciousness) of Indian cuisine. A former restaurant owner, Chef Guru has decided to share his secret ingredients with the world, and markets and sells his line of low-fat, low-sodium, dairy-free authentic Indian cooking sauces. I tested a sample of Channa Masala. I couldn`t believe the sauce was low-anything. It definitely rivaled all of the masala`s I have tasted in Indian restaurants in the past. I also took home two samosas, which were packed with flavour and spice and, as both were quite decently sized and fully stuffed, were quite a steal at just $1 for the pair.  

Low Fat Indian-I think I found my soul mate

 

Guru selling some of their authentic dishes created with their very own low-fat dairy free sauces (free samples were also being offered)

 

All the expected flavours were present in this healthier version of an Indian classic

 

My time at The Village Farmer`s Market was cut just a bit short by an increasingly rumbling stomach and impromptu BBQ plans (check out some of our great weekend cook-out dishes here). But after scoring some great stuff to take home with me, I will definitely be taking Mama with me on a return visit sooner than I thought. 

Cookies from Wholey Mama`s and Oatmeal Scone from Z`s

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Loaf from Z`s

 

Guru`s Samosa

 

The Village Farmer`s Market takes place every Saturday from 9:o0am-1:30pm in Market Lane located at 140 Woodbridge Avenue by Islington and Highway 7. 

Below are the websites of a few of the vendors I mentioned: 

www.wholeymamas.com 

www.gurusauces.com 

www.littlerockhoney.com 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Zoe Renglich permalink
    July 19, 2010 4:06 pm

    Thanks so much for the great review! You should come back to the market another week. It is usually a little bit bigger, last week about 4 of the regular vendors were missing including ones who sell sandwiches, bread, streudels, eggs, maple syrup, preserves and chutneys. Maybe you will find some new treasures.

  2. Zoe Renglich permalink
    July 19, 2010 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the great review! You should come back to the market another week, usually it is a bit bigger. Last week about 4 regular vendors were missing who sell eggs, mushrooms, maple syrup, preserves, chutneys, bread, pastries and sandwiches. Maybe you will find some new treasures!

  3. Melissa permalink
    July 21, 2010 9:38 am

    Amazing!!! This is exactly what I can’t wait to come home to: our community🙂 I know, I know–how cheesy, right? But its true❤
    PS: The best part of this entire blog is the ladies in your first picture. They're the main reason why I will visit the farmer's market as soon as I can. And I'm not even kidding😉
    PPS Zoey, you rock🙂

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