Monthly Archives: June 2022

Hot, Humid, Happy

Anne retirement

What a week! Even with the intense heat and humidity I want to thank everyone who came out and supported this week, I know it must have been hard leaving those nice air conditioned homes!

So seemingly every week there is another reason to profusely thank and acknowledge the now retired Anne Freeman, who as many of you know has been the driving force behind this market since it’s inception! 

The ever incredible Blythe of Spade and Spoon, market board members in particular Ellen Manney, and Anne’s daughter Sadie did a truly amazing job in setting up a lovely little potluck for Anne at the end of the market last Thursday to once again show her how much she means to all of us, and how thankful we are for the work she has put in over the years to get to where we (and other markets) are today 🙂 We even had the musical talents of Ken Whiteley and Richard Underhill to set off the evening perfectly!

Traditional challah

Beautiful Challah from Lev Bakery

It’s finally here! Coming this week to the ONLINE Market is the highly anticipated LEV BAKERY! Order some Challah and Babka for you, your friends and family, or come by the market and say hey to them there! Regardless, make sure you don’t miss out on their UNREAL breads, you will not be disappointed!

20220602 150802

Come get some of the best tasting and smelling strawberries from Reyes Farms!


[products ids=”32762,18588″ per_page=”4″ columns=”2″]

As many of you heard, Sundance Harvest is now at the market! Cheyenne and her crew have some stellar greens to help spruce up your salad, or even to just munch on their own!


And last, but never least, Knuckle Down Farm will be at the market next week; “We will be back this week for our monthly visit and this time we have garlic scapes in abundance! We will also have Spicy Salad Mix, all the Kales and gorgeous Collard Greens. If you are craving more green things in your life, we have you covered.” – Jenny 

Img 5129 rotated

Knuckle Down Garlic Scapes

Also this is going to be Plan B Farms last week with us until the fall, so come say bye and pick up some of their lovely greens while you’re at it 🙂

Hope everyone has a fantastic Pride Weekend, and look forward to seeing all y’all lovely faces on Thursday!

The Matrix!


Hi folks, and thanks for “tuning in”! It’s me, Nicole, writing to you this week, so “hello”!


So why the “Matrix” you ask? Or “what does that have to do with a farmer’s market?”


A fair ask! You see, this week’s newsletter is largely dedicated to, or (partially) guest-written by, Chang Liu. (If you don’t know him), Chang is a long-time market customer and very dear friend of the Dufferin Grove community. He’s graciously written an editorial, largely focusing on food, and its relationship to data – ultimately, how the two have become “forced” together in many ways. A brilliant, thought-provoking piece – do take a moment to “digest” it, (if you will!)


But first, let’s share a bit of info about our dear farmer’s market, and the amazing vendors!


This coming week, we welcome Cheyenne, of Sundance Harvest. Cheyenne will have lots of tasty greens to choose from, and even promises to dazzle us with a short “veggie puppet show”! Be sure to check in with her on Thursday!


Cheyenne of Sundance Harvest

We also welcome Angie of Lapampa, whose delicious dried mangos, make a very tasty snack – be sure to get some!

Returning this week is Jiggy Popz, who have created a new flavour called  “Strawberry Chai”, using Reyes’ strawberries – yum! I’ll bet this kinder crew of Maëlle, Ma’ina, Maresia, Zoé and Ash, won’t need much convincing to give it a try! Sure would have liked to switch places with them that day! Haha


Kiddos Enjoying some Jiggy Popz!

And if you didn’t get a chance to taste the delicious Jamaican cooking from Greenhouse Eatery, feel free to give them a try this week! Audrey and her team were cooking up delicious jerk chicken, vegetables, and more!


The always lovely, and camera ready Audrey

While all of that is delicious (obviously), I myself, have lately been feasting quite a bit on cucumbers – just love em! If you feel the same, check out Kooner Farms, Aldergrove, or Nith Valley, to get your fill.


And now for Chang’s editorial..

See you at the market folks – and happy (upcoming) solstice!


[products ids=”2375,5670″ per_page=”4″ columns=”2″]

About that matrix…

Data-poaching tractors, nature deficit and the future of food

By Chang Liu

In The Matrix, the Wachowskis resurrected an old philosophical what-if: what if our entire world is a gigantic illusion created to deceive us? Plato, Kant and others wondered long before Hollywood did, but could never have imagined a dystopia made of endless lines of code.

The real world is dystopic enough for me. But I actually think that Wachowskis didn’t go far enough. How does our growing “nature deficit” work in their cinematic matrix, and why is food production never addressed? As three more Matrix sequels came and went, our world became a lot more like theirs. “Big data”, a term already in use in the 90s, is one we now take for granted. Data surrounds and penetrates us, and this time there’s no red pill

In the real matrix of 2022, our relationship to food has never been less natural, less intuitive and less spiritual. Food is fusing with data—foodata, a term I just created as the Architect of this piece. John Deere, the multinational—by now, perhaps a meta-national—that makes combines like the ones that have helped Ukraine become the bread basket of a large part of the world, grows foodata. Our entire food production system, as I am discovering, is a matrix of foodata.

Author-activist Cory Doctorow wrote an eyeball-popping blog about John Deere farm tractors. Tractors have evolved too. For one thing, they now have a “kill-switch” that allows Deere to remotely make any tractor inoperable—a feature recently used to foil Russian tractor-looters in occupied Ukraine. It’s a feel-good moment for technology, says Doctorow, until we realize two things: Russian hackers may well be able to turn the tractors back on anyway; and Deere did not install kill-switches to deter Russian looter… but to deter farmers

To that end, Deere tractors come loaded with sensors that capture everything—soil moisture, soil density and more—data which Deere plots on a centimeter-accurate grid. How? By turning all the farmers driving Deere tractors into unwitting data harvesters, then stealing it from them. 

Already rich from world-wide sales of its six-figure combines, Deere knows that real wealth comes by selling the data that farmers harvest every time they drive a Deere tractor—essentially, by selling the farmers themselves—to Monsanto (now Bayer) and private equity firms, who use this data to speculate on agricultural yields, essentially betting against the very same farmers. Much like the billions of us who are Facebook’s actual product, more and more farmers are plugged into the new foodata matrix, with little or no control over this data. 

Not only is Deere appropriating the soil telemetry that farmers generate with their own tractors—and this data is arguably one of the most valuable things farmers have—but until very recently, the company effectively made it illegal for farmers to access their own data (or to repair their own tractor, for that matter) by making tractor sales subject to very restrictive terms of service (90 years!). Deere basically copyrighted the software in their tractors. 

In a recent update, John Deere said farmers can now download their data directly. But in an industry run by monopolies who never wait for government regulators to catch up, how long will this arrangement last? And what kind of farmer has the time and the computer mainframes to download and process all that data? They can now access it, but they can’t monetize it the way Deere can.

Shouldn’t there be laws against mining and owning information which has been free for millennia? And where is all this taking us as a species?

The one onion layer that Doctorow doesn’t peel back is the deep biocultural loss of our growing reliance on foodata. Farming used to mean mostly using one’s senses, a life-time of experience and the teachings of one’s elders to read the land and the seasons. The best farmers were—and still are—stewards of their land, awake and alert to the rhythms of nature, respectful of its complexity, and aware of their part in the web of life that sustains their farm, sustains us all. 

Humanity’s bond with nature is ancient and resilient. It is a bond as old as our species—certainly much older and more deeply “encoded” in us than our current tryst with big data. But it is also an eroding bond.

If we choose the blue pill and let them map, quantify and commodify every inch of our planet’s soil and climate and equip our tractors with kill-switches that prevent us from repairing our own farming equipment, we enrich a privileged few while deepening our nature deficit. We risk losing our natural, built-in intuition, resilience and creativity—these priceless human traits that have ably guided our decision-making, our food growing and our adaptation for millennia.

The ramifications run even deeper than that. 

Reducing food production to a world-wide grid of data and letting a few big agro-predators play this information off against farmers and the rest of us is not only destroying farmers’ old kinship with the land, but is also reviving not-so-old colonial attitudes toward its original stewards. Proponents of foodata are repeating one of history’s most tragic mistakes: dismissing and destroying Indigenous peoples’ much older land-based wisdom, all over again.

Doctorow: “we should be building tractors (…) that are robust and resilient, maintainable and repairable”. I think they should also be free of kill-switches and remote sensors, and untethered to the agro-profiteers. 

Instead, in this age of biodiversity extinction and global climate emergencies, we should be celebrating, cherishing and defending our original, sacred trust with the soil, water, air, animals and seasons. 

The Mother we live on and draw our sustenance from deserves our reverence—unplugged, Location off.

Rainbow Road


We made it through our first (somewhat) rainy market day, with flying colours….so much so that it resulted in a rainbow for the whole city to see! But seriously, a big shoutout and thank you to everyone who came out and supported us on such a gloomy day!

Including the lovely musical guests and Clay and Paper theatre for putting on such lovely performances all evening long! Hopefully you got to see the big chickens dancing around!

20220609 160339

Clay and Paper Theatre

As has been said many times, but never enough, THANK YOU ANNE FREEMAN for everything she has done for not just the market, but the community as a whole over the 20 years she has overseen this operation. Even as a family friend, I can attest to how incredible of a person she has always been and I am so grateful for the opportunity and kindness she has always shown.

Colette and anne

Stunning photo of Anne and Colette (Urban Harvest) from a few years back 🙂

Spade and Spoon will be back this week so make sure you snag your sauerkraut and maple syrup!

Spade and spoon jars

Keep an eye out for our unreal Kombucha Vendors such as Alchemy Pickle Company! PS they also have Kimchi!

[products ids=”40926,3779″ per_page=”4″ columns=”2″]

And speaking of opportunity, don’t miss out on all your seedling needs this time of year. Whether you’re coming to the market or getting your order delivered we will get your seedlings to you!! PS the basil seedlings smell AMAZING and the Kale looks stellar!

Kale seedlings 1024x926 1

Kale Seedlings from Kooner Farms

Also make sure you keep an eye out for one of our new vendors Lev Bakery who will be coming to the online store shortly, making sure you get your delicious Challah and Babka even if you can’t make it to the market that day!

2022 05 26 14. 33. 561

The Fabulous Yoni (left) of Lev Bakery!

Thank you to everyone, and looking forward to another successful week 🙂


Jumpin’ June-iper!

Nicole and carrianne

Sorry for the teaser folks – no Juniper at the market this week, but with so much happening this month, I just couldn’t resist the alliteration!

Ok, so first off, hello “Dufferin Grovers”! (Nicole here.) I’ve written these newsletters in the past, from time to time, but this is my first, as your market manager – and I’m stoked!

Also, thank you to the many of you who have come up and congratulated me on my new position. Although I’ve been involved with the Dufferin Grove Market for over a decade and a half, I’m very new to this role – wish me luck!

Featured above, was one of my earliest memories of working at this market. Circa 2005, with my (then 4 year-old) daughter Carianne – we sure did sell a lot of basil that day!

Seedling basil compact 4 pack

Kooner Farms
Italian Green Leaf Basil Seedlings

And now back to “jam-packed June”! Well this month (among other things), is Pride month! And perhaps this year, more than ever, we need an event focusing around inclusion, tolerance and peace, if you will. That’s definitely what stands out for me, about Pride.

But wait, there’s more! June is also bike month – and with so many great trails in our fair city, if you’re an avid cyclist like myself, this is your moment!

And June also gifts us with summer solstice. This year, the longest day of the year falls on June 21st, (fyi). Don’t miss it!

And the final mention I’ll make (about June), is Father’s Day – because, how could I not? Still a way off, but if you needed an early reminder about June 19th, you’re welcome.

Ok, now back to our dear market, as a lot is happening there as well! So for this coming market, June 9th, TC Tibetan Momos will be back. So if you’ve been craving them, now’s the time.

2022 05 26 14. 34. 54

Lhundup of TC MOMO

Heartwood Farms is also back this week, with their delicious cider – so refreshing!


And two of our large growers that haven’t appeared yet, at the park this season, are Kooner Farms and Aldergrove Farm. Both will have lots of amazing greens to choose from!

[products ids=”37521,28029″ per_page=”4″ columns=”2″]

Now if you’ve ever been looking for ways to “jazz up” your french toast, you can now thank “the amazing” Erin George – a long-time Dufferin Grove Market customer. But technically, the creation is from Erin’s young son, Ian, and photographed by her daughter, Quinn. According to Erin, Ian used Lev Bakery’s raisin Challah bread topped with edible flowers from Essa seedlings – yum!


Other mentions:

Community Fridges Toronto, who have been at the last couple of markets are grateful for the support they’ve been receiving. According to Jo, (of CFTO): “we are at the market collecting food, buying extra supporting both the farmers/vendors and community – and using Bike Brigade to get it out fresh, to all our locations.” Please take a moment to visit their table if you can.

Save Our Soil”. Many of you are probably aware that there’s currently, a global Save Soil movement. Visit: And to raise further awareness, a walkathon on Father’s Day will take place at St. Lawrence Market. For more information, please get in touch with: – Thanks to Maciej Wieczorek for writing this piece about the huge importance of soils, and the global movement to protect them:

Repair Café returns to the market this week – their first time “back in the park”, since 2019! Feel free to bring your household items in need of repair, and watch them in action!

Repairdetails 1024x672 1
And lastly, thanks to many of you who’ve been supporting our Toonie Treats Table! Coming soon: hot dogs!

Enjoy the market,