Monthly Archives: April 2021

What a Difference a Drop Makes

What a difference a drop makes

Hello Market Friends:

Reactions to last week’s sudden return to winter were mixed, indeed. Farmers like Jessie Sosnicki were happy to get a free nitrogen boost for their fields from the snowfall, but for fruit growers like Nacho and Mimi from Reyes’ Farms, there were anxious days of waiting to determine how much damage had been done to the apricots and early nectarines that were in full bloom when the temperature plunged. The photo up top shows Mimi picking blossoms to check for green growth at the base three days after the cold snap. So far, signs are promising. Such a tough gamble to be a farmer.

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Left picture shows a few short asparagus stalks sticking out of the earth and on sparcely clouded day. Right picture shows a few centimetres of snow on top of thick layers of straw on the ground

Nacho described piling as much straw as quickly as they could on top of the first asparagus to protect it, and those efforts were rewarded with a small first picking. We had a few bunches which were snapped up by the speed typists who place their orders as soon as the clock strikes twelve on Saturdays! Don’t worry, there will be more soon.

A bag on a picnic table surrounded by fruit, green, kombucha, seeds, bread, and beeswax candles

Matt Watt came up with the sweet idea of ‘Stay at Home’ gift bags full of special items from the market to treat yourself or give a boost to someone who is finding the lockdown wearying.

We are also happy to assemble custom bags to deliver for birthdays or any other reason. Just let us know and we will make a package that’s sure to please.

Indy and Joti from Kooner Farms are excited to be back with organically grown seedlings and bedding plants as a prelude to bringing their first crops! You may have noticed a listing for their green onion seedlings for $500. Apparently some people don’t know yet just how good Kooners’ green onions are, so we have reduced the price to $5.00 as an introductory special.

COSC is absent this week. Christine is finishing a paper on soil nutrient value to complete her Organic Farming studies in Scotland, submitting her certification paperwork, getting things in shape in the greenhouse, and planting an orchard. What does she do the rest of the time?!?

Below, as promised, are the solutions to our Spring Crossword Puzzle. Better brush up on your market vocabulary before the next one appears!

We look forward to getting more beautiful and delicious market food to you this week!

Anne & the Market Crew

Answers to our crossword puzzle. Please let us know if we can make the crossword more accessible to you

The Early Birds get the Ferns

The early birds get the ferns
Photo by Seth Goering

Hello Market Friends:

We’ve got some swift and savvy shoppers! I was going to feature the first fiddleheads this week, but by the time I sat down to write the newsletter they were sold out! Not to worry, the supply should be more plentiful next week, and we do have WILD LEEKS! Despite a little cool stretch, spring is unstoppable, and the action on the farms is accelerating.

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Close up of white and pink blossoms on a brown tree with a bee
Here’s a little of Ayse’s news about what’s going on up at Marvellous Edibles:

“We finally finished potting our mini tomato, eggplant and pepper plants. I think we have close to 5000 pots, and we are running out of space. We usually plant these the earliest mid May. I know some people plant them way earlier, but if we are having a cool early summer, they don’t grow and just look miserable.

My experiment with deadly hot pepper seedlings is going well. I have peppers that I have never heard of before: Names like Trinidad Scorpion, Jagalah Brown, 7 pot Dragon’s Breath are quite new; let’s hope they fruit well in cool Grey County. All the new brassicas and Swiss Chard have germinated and will grow on till we are ready to plant them. If there is any space left in the seedling greenhouse, we will start herbs such as basil, dill, coriander and flowers. I like growing flowers in rows between the vegetables because they attract beneficial insects and bees, and they are so pretty to look at. Most of the flowers we grow are edible as well.

Last week’s wild dandelion harvest was a success. I am picking more this week.  The best location for them is between the rhubarb plants that just started peeking out. This way I am weeding as well as picking a much loved wild green.”

[Editor’s note: Early spring dandelion roots and leaves are among the most nutritious of foods, but be sure to get them from a clean source. Wash the greens in very hot water to remove some of the bitterness and fry them with onion (and bacon if you like). The roots are also edible. One way to prepare them is to scrub or peel the roots to remove the surface layer, chop them as you would carrots and boil them.]
Newborn brown calf in hay

We have a new calf that was born last Saturday (they are always born Saturdays!)  🙂

Apple blossoms are still holding off, however some pear trees and Paw Paws are flowering. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they survive.”

Painted card of feather, sticks, and a rock

Have you seen Jennifer Osborn’s beautiful cards yet?

Leaves and fruit on shrub

How about growing your own Haskaps? These shrubs come in pairs for pollination.

Marinated pork on skewers frozen in plastic

It’s barbeque time!

This week, in addition to all kinds of seeds, we’ve got strawberry plants, raspberry canes and asparagus roots from COSC on our site, and next week we expect to have seedlings from Kooner Farms and dahlia tubers from Urban Harvest, as well as more shrubs from Summergreen. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your gardening groove back!

A word of caution: during the next couple of months, we will have many related items on offer: gooseberry bushes and gooseberry jam, lettuce heads and lettuce seeds, potatoes to plant and potatoes to eat, zucchini and horseradish relish and fresh horseradish root, to name just a few. Please read carefully to be sure you know what you are ordering, although surprises can be delightful!

Have fun ordering!

Anne & the Crew

P.S. Last week we printed this Spring Crossword on the packing sheets which go out with orders. We were going to reveal the answers this week, but we decided to give those of you who missed out on market delights last week a chance to test your market vocabulary too. Next week we’ll tell all, promise!

Crossword puzzle. Please let us know if you would like this in a better format by emailing info@dufferingrovemarket. Ca

Time for Regeneration

Time for regeneration

Hello Market Friends:

Let’s face it: Toronto is not the prettiest place between the first frost and the last. It is a wonderful treat for the eyes to observe the spread of colour as gardens and street-side trees begin to grow again. It’s also a time for fresh flavours as the first spring foods arrive at the market.

A few people were puzzled by the long green stalks they received in their orders last week, and wrote to ask, ‘Where’s my garlic?’ We replaced the confusing photo on the shop site (woops!) but it’s time to include more information about some local and seasonal crops!

Time for regeneration

Let’s start with garlic, which rewards growers with not just one, but three crops!

The first, a spring delicacy, is Green Garlic, the tender young plants which emerge soon after the ground thaws. Green Garlic is harvested whole, and looks like a cross between a green onion and a leek, but has the distinctive flavour of garlic. You can use the whole thing; include it in stir-frys, chopped in salad dressings, or try it lightly grilled. Try some to wake up winter-weary tastebuds!

Garlic scapes bundles together and in a pile

The next crop will be Garlic Scapes, which we’ll see in another month or so. Scapes are the flower stalks of garlic, and growers cut them off to direct energy to the growing bulbs instead of into making flowers. Scapes can be pickled or turned into great pesto, and are delicious pan-fried, with a little tamari to finish. Their curly shape makes them a great garnish, too.

Several wrapped together bulbs of garlic

The grand finale, of course, is garlic bulbs, which are dug in mid-summer, and often cured so they can be stored for fall and winter use. Depending on the variety, one head of garlic will contain just a few cloves, or many, and be fiery hot or mild. If you see garlic bulbs in stores now, they are not from Ontario. Be sure to buy organic garlic if you want to grow your own; otherwise, it may have been treated to stop it from sprouting. The individual cloves are planted in fall, but the perfect date is the subject of debate among growers.

A horse and a cow booping noses in a wintery farm

We are tremendously pleased to welcome Harley Farms to the market this week with pastured beef, pork and chicken. One of very few SPCA certified farms in the province, the Harleys adhere to the highest standards for animal welfare, and also practice regenerative agriculture, which sequesters carbon and improves the soil through rotational grazing. Please spend some time looking at their website: to learn more about their methods and philosophy. We think the omnivores in our market community will be thrilled to support their work.

Two hunks of wax. One round and one broken
Jar of maple butter with spade and spoon logo
Maple Butter from Spade & Spoon, 10$

If you are in need of some personal regeneration, Earth + City has an excellent Pear Ginger Tonic to give you a boost!

Also in the beverage department, Magic Oven keeps adding more magic to their product list! Istanbul Tomato JuiceMango Lassi? Wow, sign me up!

And eat those greens, everybody! They are the very thing our bodies need to kick old man winter out the door and welcome spring goddesses (or mere mortals, if you prefer).

Enjoy your Market Order!

Anne & the Crew

Dozens of hens in the grass
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P. S.

POSTPONED – Wednesday, April 14 – Shaping a Just Recovery in Davenport: Fairer Work & A More Just Economy – This conversation about creating a just, equitable, and green community has been postponed. Please stay tuned for the new date.



Health Canada has launched a public consultation on a proposal to remove government oversight for some genetically engineered foods, particularly those produced through the new genetic engineering techniques of genome editing (also called gene editing). This proposal would allow some GMOs (genetically modified organisms) into our food system without any government safety assessments – these would be unregulated GMOs that the government may not even know exist.

The Canadian Bio-technology Network (C-Ban) urges you to express your concerns.

You can send your comments about the new proposals to Health Canada until May 24.

The 2021 Forecast

The 2021 forecast

Hello Market Friends:

A year has passed since the market moved operations to the Parish Hall at St. Anne’s Anglican Church. I had to pause for a moment after writing that. What a journey. I’m not going to write a post about what has passed, though. Spring is a time to look forward and we’re due for an update.

In case you haven’t heard, the massive renovation project in the northwest corner of Dufferin Grove has begun. For the market, this means that there is no reasonable option to return to the park this year, even if Covid restrictions eventually ease. The building, the rinks, and the space adjacent to them will all be fenced off, and there will be a great deal of dust and noise, particularly in the early stages of the project.

We are investigating options for a small in-person component to the market at 270 Gladstone  this summer, but we plan to continue offering weekly pickup and delivery of online orders for at least the next year if we can — subject to change, as all plans are these days.

For some of you, this will come as great news, and for others, as a disappointment. Please take a glass half-full attitude to the situation if you can. Some things to remember:

  • With the cost and demand for space at such a premium in Toronto, we are incredibly fortunate to have the use of an excellent location a short distance from the park.

  • You are helping to keep over 30 of the very best small farms and food businesses in the land afloat through this challenging time.

  • Our website makes it easy to access a huge range of products all in one place, and the option to have orders delivered makes the market accessible to many people who would find it difficult or impossible to shop at the market otherwise.

  • Although our staff and vendors do make some mistakes, we all care about what we offer you, and do our best to be sure you are well-treated.

  • If you consider the complexity of getting the right quantities of hundreds of products from market farms and kitchens into and out of our depot quickly and safely, hey, it’s a minor miracle that we pull it off each week!

So please stick with us, and let’s look forward to a great season of local organic eating ahead!

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News from the farms:

Those adorable fluff balls up top will grow up to be “Holly’s Hens”. She loves her chickens and takes pride in their excellent diet. A limited supply of the resulting delicious eggs is available on the Nature’s Way page.

The 2021 forecast

Last week we told you about Bees Universe’s hives. Then Christine from COSC sent this photo and note: “Our fine feathered friend has found an easy meal of bees and honey. Far cry from a bear attack but a woodpecker can do a lot of damage by pecking out the hive entrance and exposing the colony to the winter elements.”

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Go wild on greens this week from Marvellous Edibles! They’ve got loads of spinach, baby salad leaves, flowering choy sum, baby mustard, mizuna, as well as Jerusalem Artichokes and the first Hakurei turnips.

If the word ‘turnip’ makes you think of something you hated as a kid, think again! These are juicy, crunchy Japanese salad turnips, so fresh and delicious you can crunch your way through a whole bunch raw, and you can cook the greens, too!

Plan B gets in on the fresh action with the first of their green garlic, baby kale, spinach and Thyme de Provence. Come and get it!

First Fish is back with fillets and smoked fish, wild-caught by First Nations fishers.

Monforte has lots of cheeses to choose from this week.

I just discovered how to make the most delicious Halloumi Fritters, and I want to share this easy, flexible and super-tasty market recipe for brunch, lunch, snacktime or supper!

Halloumi Vegetable Fritters

First, grate a medium zucchini and a large carrot, and put them in a colander lined with a clean tea towel to absorb some of the moisture for a few minutes.

Grate a good-sized round of Halloumi into a large mixing bowl, add a handful of corn kernels (optional) and the grated vegetables.

Chop and add 2 green onions or shallots, and chives, parsley, or other fresh herbs if you have some. Mix all well.

Add 2 lightly beaten eggs and a generous handful of flour (or a bit more if the mixture is not sticking), half a teaspoon of salt, and a couple of shakes of your favourite spice, such as smoked paprika, harissa, and or black pepper.

Heat a few tablespoons of grapeseed, sunflower or olive oil in a large, heavy pan. When the pan is well-heated, scoop spoonfuls of the halloumi mixture onto the pan and press down with a fork.

Fry until well-browned on both sides.

Place on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm, with any of: aioli, chutney, sour cream or hot sauce. Best eaten immediately, but they can also be reheated in the oven.

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Produce Bag from Helen Mends, ON SALE 4$
A big shout out to Jonathan Seglins, one of our dedicated team of drivers and an all-round great guy who is always willing to lend a hand. When Jonathan is out delivering orders, he often photographs interesting spots along the way. Here are a few of his images of our fair city. Thanks Jonathan!
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And thank YOU for reading!

Anne & the Market Crew

P.S. You’re invited:

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