Birds’ Eye View News

Birds' Eye View News

Hello Market Friends:

Hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

We are really excited to welcome a new vendor this week, Audrey Macdonald, the remarkable woman behind The Greenhouse Eatery. Audrey farms on TRCA land at The McVean Farm in Brampton, and uses what she grows as the basis of her ‘Farm to Fork’ menu. When we move back to the park (some as-yet-TBD day), she will cook on the spot using her grill and spiffy little trailer, which is fully outfitted as a commercial kitchen! Please show Audrey a warm Dufferin welcome by trying her preserves and early crops, and start looking forward to The Greenhouse Eatery’s signature summer dishes!

birds eye view news

We also have a market first: fresh grass-fed cows’ milk and yogurt, thanks to Harley Farms. The Harleys work with Biemond Upper Canada Creamery, a small family-owned dairy in eastern Ontario featuring grass-fed products. Please take a moment to visit their website and read their story.

Here’s a treat to beat the heat. All Fressy Bessie ice lollies are on sale for 20% off! Time to stock up for summer!

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Visit the Web Shop

Am I getting ahead of myself talking about summer in May? Well, when I was a kid, the arrival of the barn swallows marked the official start of the season. One day there were none, and then suddenly you’d notice a long line of them on the electrical wire running between the outbuildings, singing their sweet burbling songs. Once they had nests full of babies, they quite literally changed their tunes to shrieks, swooping alarmingly close to our heads (and our cats’) to warn us away. They were major consumers of mosquitoes, so they more than earned their accommodation.

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A lovely study of a fledgling barn swallow by Jennifer Osborn of All Sorts Acres.

They came in good-sized flocks, until..they didn’t. For quite a few years their numbers diminished, until the wires were nearly empty. We heard that their southern habitat was shrinking, to the point where we wondered if any would come at all. But happily, their numbers have rebounded lately according to my brother, who still lives on the farm.

Why a bird report? Because one of the many reasons to support small-scale organic farms like the ones who come to our market is that they are welcoming hosts to so many diverse creatures! It made my heart sing to read Glynis’s description of the bird life at Aldergrove:

“A strange pine tree that grows out of an old tire is our local bird hotel, and it’s right outside the sunroom. With the addition of some feeders, it’s confirmed! Money, spent on high quality bird seed, CAN buy happiness! Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Woodpeckers (one that looks like David Bowie), Purple Finch and Gold Finch, the cutest little Nuthatch, the assorted chorus of House and White-Crowned Sparrows, and a few Grackles… which methinks are baddies… But even in addition to these “backyardies” the farm is having an excellent year for birds. It’s a cacophony of Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Eastern Meadowlark, Killdeer, Robins, Sandhill Crane, and the very best of these winged creatures: the Bobolink. These are birds whose songs sound like R2D2, and their habitats are endangered because they nest in hayfields. Just as they’re establishing their new brood, off comes the hay and demolishes their young. Luckily, those clever birds have discovered that they need not fear such a fate on our farm. In exchange for nesting ground, they serenade us with their digital one-bird orchestras from the tops of the apple trees down by the pond.”

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I know we say it a lot, but don’t you love knowing where your food comes from?

Plan BTC’s Tibetan MomosSummergreen, and Sundance Harvest are away this time, but Essa Seedlings and Sprouts and COSC are back, and the fresh produce selection is growing by leaps and bounds!

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Rhubarb Blood Orange Marmalade – 125 ml
From The Greenhouse Eatery 10$
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Wild Blueberry-Mango Ice Lollies (6)
From Fressy Bessy 6.40$

With so much rolling in now, here’s a super salad recipe to try, featuring loads of market ingredients:

Arugula and Wild Rice Salad 

For the Salad:

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

½ cup toasted and chopped nuts (hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts)

1 teaspoon olive oil

A bag of arugula

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil 

½ cup dried sour cherries

½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (about 2 ounces)

For the dressing:

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 medium lemon, or to taste

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

1 stem and bulb of spring garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To cook the wild rice, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling, reducing heat as necessary, for 40 to 55 minutes, until the rice is tender but still slightly firm. Remove from heat, drain, and return to pot. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let the rice cool.

To toast the nuts, warm a tsp.of olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the nuts and a pinch of salt and cook until fragrant and toasty, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.

To assemble, transfer cooled rice to a large bowl. Add arugula, chopped basil, nuts, sour cherries and feta. Pour in the dressing, toss well, and season to taste with additional salt and up to 1 tablespoon more lemon juice.

Set the salad aside for 10 minutes before serving, to give the rice time to soak up some of the dressing. Keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a day or two. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon to the leftovers if needed (the rice absorbs the dressing over time).

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Hummus (Red pepper)
From Alma Bakery 5.5$
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From Marvelous Edibles 7$

Wishing you birdsong in the morning and sweet flights in your dreams at night!

Anne Freeman