Whether you're an avid locavore or just want to gorge on chocolate truffles, you can't pass up the delicious eats and airy vibes of a summertime farmers' market. Food simply tastes better when it's in season, and these open-air gatherings are the place to go to find free-range eggs, baskets of crisp apples, local Ontario cheese, and trays of artisanal pastries.
Farmers' markets foster community spirit in vibrant public spaces — a place to meet your neighbour, a local chef or nearby farmer, baker or crafter. Buying local allows you to support the local economy while knowing that the food you're eating comes from nearby and not halfway around the world. So, this summer, skip the grocery store and check out these farmers' markets happening in Toronto's east end.
LESLIEVILLE FARMERS' MARKET
Entering its eighth season, the Leslieville Farmers’ Market turns Sundays into fun days all summer long. Dozens of vendors post up in Jonathan Ashbridge Park to offer fresh produce, locally raised meats, wild fish, prepared foods and even wine. Neighbourhood shops like Hooked and Merchants of Green Coffee get into the mix and there are always plenty of on-the-spot things to eat and drink while crossing off your shopping list. Amble between vendors or just hang in the grass with plenty of quality food and good music that to catch. Don't miss Baconfest, a celebration of all things pork, for obvious reasons. The market starts May 20 and runs into October, every Sunday from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Jonathan Ashbridge Park
WITHROW PARK FARMERS' MARKET
Connecting Ontario's organic farmers with food lovers searching for sustainable ingredients, Withrow Park Farmers' Market is a community-built venture that takes place in one of the area's most treasured parks. From perky coffee to local cheese, it's one of those markets where you can virtually eat or drink everything on offer right then and there. And if the fantastic food isn't enough of a draw for the kids, the splash pad and two playgrounds will be. The Withrow Park market starts June 2 and runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
EAST YORK FARMERS' MARKET
Now in its 18th season, East York Farmers' Market has been a destination for fresh, local produce long before fresh, local produce was a thing on people's minds. Located on the grounds of the East York Civic Centre at Coxwell and Mortimer, four fresh produce vendors and three fresh fruit vendors, including a dedicated mushroom farmer — Waymac Mushroom Farm, with spectacular shiitake mushrooms — proudly display their goods. Look out for fresh Ontario cheese from Monforte Dairy, preserves, fresh-cut flowers, fresh bread, honey products, fresh eggs, and artisan soaps, creams and lotions. Food options include Domenic’s Meats and Sunshine Shakes. It's also where Bombay Street Food, who just opened a downtown restaurant, got their start. The East York Farmers' Market runs Tuesdays from May 15 - October 30, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
East York Civic Centre
EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS FARMERS' MARKET
The year-round Evergreen Brick Works Farmer's Market has grown into the one of the city's most popular food gatherings. With the impressive range of products on display — from organic produce to baked goods, handcrafted woodworks to skincare products, coffee, tea and even VQA wine — it's tough to not be absorbed here for hours. Better yet, make a day of it and walk trails through the ravine, learn about Toronto’s geological history and take in live music, gardening and yoga. A free shuttle bus runs every 30-45 minutes from Broadview station. Market runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Evergreen Brick Works
EAST LYNN FARMERS' MARKET
Going strong for a decade, the East Lynn Farmers' Market is a favourite among the toddler set for its craft making, face painting and sing-a-longs, in addition to plenty of locally farmed produce like orchard fruit, seasonal vegetables, grass-fed beef, fresh cheese and Ontario maple syrup . With a number of local food vendors set up with ready-to-eat goodies, the market gives an excuse for locals from the Danforth and Woodbine area to have afternoon and evening picnics. The market starts June 7 and runs each Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
East Lynn Park
UNDERPASS PARK FARMERS' MARKET
Corktowners got a market to call their own last summer, and it will be back for 2018 at Underpass Park. Vendors last year included Clearwater Farms, Field Sparrow Farms, Sparkplug Coffee, St. John's Bakery and Stanners Vineyards selling fresh produce, baked goods and more. The weekly market starts June 7 and runs Thursdays into October.
FAIRMOUNT MARKET AT GREENWOOD PARK
Planned construction at Toronto's Fairmount Park forced its popular farmers' market to move to new digs at Greenwood Park for the 2017 season. The Fairmount Market gives the midweek hump a boost with farm-fresh produce and lovingly prepared local and seasonal food. Organic veggie seedlings and handcrafted popsicles are a few of the interesting things you'll find Wednesdays from June-October from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. No word yet on whether the market will return to its original home for 2018.