Food and Community

Food and Community
photo by Seth Goering

Dear Market Friends:

First, the Spring Food Headlines:

We’ve got fiddleheads from Forbes and Summergreenwild leeks in abundance from Green Florin, a few more tender bunches of early asparagus from Reye’s, and an incredible selection of tender spring greens from Marvellous Edibles and Plan B! GO SPRING!

Now, on to the Food for Thought section of our news:

Forgive me; I have told this story before, but it’s one from my all-star collection of favourite market moments.

8 years ago, Rafael and Anna launched their business at Dufferin Grove, making crèpes on the spot. These crèpes were unlike anything we had eaten before at the market, made with tapioca flour which mysteriously fuses when sifted onto a hot pan, and then stuffed with market-based fillings. They were a hit!

a tapioca crepe cooking in a thin pan with veggies and cheese

On a warm summer afternoon, a long line formed from their booth down the slope west of the rinkhouse. My job involves fretting about things like this, wondering if people will grow impatient and whether vendors can keep up with orders, but this lineup was different. The largely Brazilian crowd waiting happily to get this favourite street food began singing together in Portuguese, turning the wait into an opportunity to enjoy being together. Tell me, how often do people waiting in a Toronto lineup burst into song? It still warms my chilly old northern heart remembering it.

Anna and Rafael

Flash forward to the present. Tapioca Toronto is known for their stellar cheese buns and addictive brownies as well as their crèpes, and they have expanded their selections immensely. It has taken years of hard work, but now Anna and Rafael have a nice little shop on College near Lansdowne. Last week someone smashed in the front door.

I want to share Rafael’s statement about what happened with you:

“Our break-in happened early on Sunday morning, The door was smashed, but whoever came in only took a bit of cash that was there. We don’t know exactly who did it, but based on what some neighbourhood residents have said we have reason to believe it may have been one of the people experiencing homelessness who are often hanging around the nearby corners.

We see this as a community and society issue more than anything. This was not my door that was smashed, it is our neighbourhood and community’s door. In my eyes it’s an indicator of how we are failing to help those most in need of support, as a community and as a society. This is about mental health support, the public health system and many other things.

We aren’t hoping to necessarily ‘catch the guy’ because it won’t help us or the person who did it in any way. Our business philosophy has always been based on building community and we are approaching this situation the same way.”

A crowdfunding campaign quickly raised the money for the repairs to the door, but we encourage you to buy some brownies, cheese buns, or other delicious Tapioca Toronto products  to show your support, and also to think about how all of us can contribute to building community.

Before I leave this theme, an invitation to thoughtful and curious gardeners:

At the U of T Art Gallery in September, there will be an exhibition about plastics. Part of the exhibition is a community plant project. The artist, Christina Battle, is offering a community seed packet to anyone who would like to take part in a planting project that considers the ways that plants help remediate the impact of plastics on the environment.


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Stay at Home Gift Bag
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Jalapeno Seedling
From Kooner Farms 4$

Urban Harvest has a lovely (and limited) supply of Dahlia bulbs to make your balcony or back yard feel like a tropical paradise and Sundance Harvest is back bringing greenhouse cucumbers to market!

pink, white, and yellow dahlia flower
bunch of mini cucumbers

If there are people in your household who get really excited about a paw-rticular show staring a certain crew of canines, check out the lunch bags Helen Mends is offering!

COSC and Nature’s Way are absent this week.

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It’s almost Mother’s Day! Do you have or know a Mom who likes to feed people? Why not honour her by helping an individual or a family experiencing food insecurity access healthy, delicious market food? Here’s how:

Make a contribution of any amount to the market at checkout, and write MOM in the notes box. We will turn the full amount of your gift into market credits for people who are in need of support in our community. If you include your mother’s name and address in the box, we’ll send her a special card explaining your gift. If you would like to give but are not planning to order this week please give us an email:

Our Stay at Home gift bags are still available on the site, too.

We’re so glad to be part of your community. Let’s grow it together!

Anne & the Market Crew