The Farmers, the Bakers, the Kawartha Broom Maker

The Farmers, the Bakers, the Kawartha Broom Maker

Hello Market Friends:

It seems like anyone who can get away is out of town these days. I was lucky to be invited to a cottage near Haliburton recently, and I squeezed in a couple of visits to vendors who live close to our route, so for those of you still here and reading, please join me on a little armchair jaunt!

On the way north, we stopped at our newest market farm, Ta Neter. After all our correspondence, it was really good to meet Shabaka and get a sense of the place. Three of their children were helping him in the vegetable garden when we arrived, and Shabaka took time out from his busy day to give us a full tour.

In front of the house is a beautiful botanical garden which Shabaka’s wife Utcha uses for ingredients in her handmade soaps. Nearby is a trampoline and a row of bikes Shabaka collects from the side of the road and tunes up so anyone who wants has one to ride. There’s also a large inviting circle of chairs which speaks of friends and family enjoying time here.

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From Ta Neter4$
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Wild Bergamot/Bee Balm
From Ta Neter3$

We headed back to see the big vegetable patch, a pair of hoop houses, and the rolling field beyond, where Ta Neter’s flock of Babydoll Sheep (prized for their wool) graze, guarded by Maremma dogs (the giant white breed which has been living with flocks  since the middle ages).

The dogs weren’t interested enough in us to come very close. There’s an old half barn where chickens roam (not always inside the fence) and there are many beehives. Shabaka says they never get as far as advertising the honey because it is so popular with people they know, and agrees when I say ‘You have to be on the lucky list!”

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Shabaka is very tall and dignified. He gardens in bare feet (like Ted Thorpe). The whole family is clearly very involved in the farm, and one of the girls raises Bengal cats, which she has discovered is more profitable than selling vegetables! After 9 years living on the farm, Shabaka says he is still learning, and there are lots of projects underway, including a test planting of Moringa seeds under cover. In case you don’t know, the Moringa tree is considered to be the most nutritious of plants. While the climate is too cold to grow full-sized trees here, the hope is that they can harvest leaves annually and share the health benefits.

We are fortunate that Ta Neter is part of the market now, and I hope we can contribute to the success of this beautiful homestead.

Shabaka standing tall and smiling with beard, dreadlocks, and a crate of crisp kale

On the return journey we stopped in the village of Kirkfield. At one time this was a bustling town, home to railway magnate Sir Willam Mackenzie, who had tracks built directly behind his house so a train could pull up to take his wife shopping in Toronto.

It’s a quiet spot now, but a special feature is the marvelous workshop of Kawartha Broom Company. It’s packed quite literally to the rafters with brooms in various stages of completion, and the large tools Bobby uses to make them. On the walls are signs with mottoes such as ‘The inspector is the next customer.’ If you own a Kawartha Broom, you know how serious Bobby is about good workmanship!

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You reach the workshop by walking through a well-organized jungle of gigantic produce growing in raised beds (built by guess who). Bobby and Mary share their harvests with quite a few neighbours, and we came home with a giant bundle of kale.

I couldn’t resist asking how this pair, who are so obviously made for each other, came to meet. Their story is one of love at first sight. 11 years ago, Bobby and friends rode up from Pennsylvania on their motorcycles to see the CN Tower, and Bobby saw a beautiful woman sitting near the base. Mary says it was pretty much like lightning struck, and the rest is history!

Returning to the present, OUR shop is a treasure chest full of seasonal wonders:

Eggplants and tomatoes are appearing in larger quantities, delicious Garnet Beauty Peaches as well as Nectarines and Apricots are abundant, and despite his crop losses, Ted’s prices are still rock bottom.

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From The Greenhouse Eatery5.5$
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Eggplants (1 and 5 pounds)
From Aldergrove4.5 – 19.5$

Summer delicacies Okra and Squash Blossoms put in an appearance this week, but Audrey’s Okra sold out quickly on Saturday. Consider trying some Jamaican Callalloo or Yellow Beans also from Audrey if you missed out. Our bakers have outdone themselves with pastries to celebrate summer: Black Cherry and Hazelnut Cream Galettes from MotherDough, and Sour Cherry Hand Pies from Robinson’s. WOW.

Windswept Cider is back with sparkling Jun to bring delight to summer afternoons.

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Jamaican Callalloo
From The Greenhouse Eatery5$
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Yellow Beans
From The Greenhouse Eatery5$

Another instalment in our ongoing photo series of the Market Crew:

Jay Brodbar, a man who will take on the toughest deliveries as long as he is fueled by gluten-free chocolate snacks;

Peter Wills (shown with his lovely family), the mystery behind the magic of;

And your faithful correspondent, who is always over the moon when flowers come to the market!

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Whether you spend it at home or away, have a wonderful week.

Anne Freeman & the Market Crew

P.S. Since we have SO MUCH KALE, here’s a tasty recipe from our test kitchen cook Nerupa!

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Sea salt & Garlic Kale Chips

These crispy sea salt and garlic kale chips will satisfy your snack craving! Using only 4 ingredients, this recipe is quick to prepare and the seasonings can be adjusted for endless flavour possibilities.


1 medium-sized bunch of kale, washed and dried well

2 tsp of olive oil

A pinch (or two) of sea salt

A pinch of garlic powder


Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash and dry one bunch of kale. Leaves should be completely dry to crisp up in oven.

Rip the leaves off the stems and chop into chip-sized pieces.

In a bowl, add chopped kale and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and garlic powder. Mix until seasonings are well combined onto the kale.

Arrange pieces of kale on an unlined baking sheet, keep pieces separate to ensure even cooking.

Bake for 10 minutes and rotate pan once, flipping chips that are starting to crisp. Bake for another 10-15 minutes watching pan closely for the last 7 minutes to prevent chips from over browning.

Remove pan from oven and leave chips on pan for 5 minutes to ensure pieces are even crispier and serve!