Author Archives: Matt Watt

Parades, Repairs, and Tofu

Market news: the birthday edition!

Dear Market Friends:

So this is it! After May 12th, we are going to move all of the market’s worldly possessions into half a shed in the park (or almost all of them..or sort of close to all….Well, some of the market’s stuff, anyway.) Never mind, the market is about so much more than equipment, and when we return it to Dufferin Grove, there will be plenty of room for its big warm heart. 

The following Thursday, May 19th, there will be music, and dancing carrots (see below) and much enthusiasm as the farmers and vendors set up their tents and tables in the park once again!


I have to thank the wonderful people who are leaving our crew, but when I look at my list, it’s longer than an Oscar acceptance speech! So to Matt, and Kristi, Jonathan and Jay B, Julie, and Tristan, and all those who went before you, THANK YOU from the bottom of the extra-large-size DGOFM heart! Love and luck be with you wherever you go. 

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Nigari Firm Tofu has been a perpetual favourite, and Ying Ying will be leaving us after this week, so get a good supply. 

Forbes has lovely sustainably harvested wild leeks, one of the highlights of spring cuisine.

Essa is away this week, but returning next time, both online and in the park.

They say every day is Mother’s Day, so if you forgot to make a fuss this week, you can still treat your Mom to Specials from Urban Harvest and Magic Oven.

Wild leek, 110g bunch

If you’ve lost track of the weeks, here’s a reminder that it’s Repair Cafe Week again! Whether or not you have placed an order you can bring (up to 2) busted items for the Toronto Repair Cafe Volunteers to fix. Because of space constraints repairs do not happen on site. Volunteers take away your items (from vacuums to lockets to tripods to picture frames to speakers to…) to repair and call you when they are ready for pickup. It’s all free! Donations are always appreciated but not required. Tell your friends too to help keep those appliances, tools, and parkas with busted zippers out of the landfill!

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Those of you who have difficulty getting to the park market can sing a happy song. Although we are pausing pickups, you still have the option of placing delivery orders! Peter Wills has been busy updating our website so you can see all the choices you have. Our riders and drivers will be heading out from the park loaded down with your market favourites!

Please be prepared for orders to arrive a little later. The farmers and vendors will drop off pre-orders when they arrive to set up for the in-person market instead of early in the day. Our team will do their best to pack everyone’s boxes quickly.

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Here is an irresistible invitation from our comrades at Clay and Paper Theatre:

Do you want to help Clay and Paper Theatre welcome and celebrate with the reopening of the Farmers’ Market in Dufferin Grove Park on May 19th? Yes, yes, we know you do! Who doesn’t want to dress up in a vegetable or fruit cardboard puppet and dance? On May 19th, please join us at the Dufferin Grove Park Fieldhouse from 3pm to 4pm and we’ll get you suited up with a costume hat or a lightweight sandwich board. At 4pm we’ll have a parade of produce to the Farmers’ Market location in the park, accompanied by live music. Once there, we’ll mingle, have a song or two from our Clay and Paper Theatre performers and then our “Potato” Master of Ceremonies will offer a russet-tation of a “poem-de-terre” to help celebrate the opening of the Farmers’ Market. And then we’ll dance with more music ! If you’d like to participate please email us at or show up on May 19th at the Fieldhouse between 3 and 4pm. Can’t wait to see you!

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Not to brag, but I can’t resist finishing this newsletter with a couple of the lovely notes of appreciation we have received.

“Pick ups at St. Anne’s were the highlight of my week for 2 years! My daughter looked so forward to it because Nicole always made her feel extra special when we arrived. The world felt so small and it was a comfort. Thank you very much for all the hard work and amazing food. You really made a big impact to our little family down the street. A happy memory during a difficult time.”

Desiree, James, Eloise and August 

“Thanks to Jay who was my delivery person – when the pandemic closed us down, the availability of the basic needs that run our lives, like fresh market organic foods, was stability.” –Susan Aaron 

“Just want to say what a great team of people you are to have kept this market through the pandemic! It has been a lifeline to many, producers and consumers alike. I very much look forward to getting back to in-person shopping, but will always remember the weekly trip to St. Anne’s as one of the best things to happen in these awful two years. Thanks so much for all your incredible efforts.”

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your incredible efforts.”

From all of us to all of you: it has been very special being in this together.



Rest & Digest


We have two more online markets at the depot, and then we will bid a fond farewell to our hosts at St. Anne’s. Along with a big debt of gratitude to the whole St. Anne’s community for their willingness to give us shelter in a storm, we owe special thanks to the ever-patient Juli, Caretaker of the church campus, who has helped us through more sticky spots than we can count, and to Mary Lou Harrison, our staunch supporter and friend.


Red pickup tent

I was chatting with one of our packers, Julie Swanson, about the approaching end of an era, and how memorable it has been to work with such a fun and dedicated crew. Packing food into boxes just isn’t an adequate description of what goes on inside our depot. Maybe that is because this kind of food connects us so strongly to the producers who bring it to us as well as to the customers who care about those producers. It has really been a big love-in despite the stress and mixups and challenges.

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One of the unexpected strengths of the online market is that it is easy to welcome very small scale entrepreneurs to test the waters. One of those is Letitia Mancini of Tish’s Dishes, who asked us to join with the tiny handmade pasta business she was developing. How tiny was this business? Well, when her Dad helped make Letitia a pasta drying tree, production tripled!

Tish headshot

Letitia is wildly enthusiastic about Italian culinary traditions, and her enthusiasm is contagious. 


That’s all well and good, you may say, but at this point in the year, when Ontario storerooms are almost empty and the first spring green things are barely beginning to appear, the Mediterranean seems very far away!


After she sent a list of all the courses included in a full, formal Italian dinner, I asked Letitia if that sort of meal would be possible based on foods we have available at the market right now. She was more than up to the challenge; I couldn’t take notes fast enough! You may not pull off the whole list of dishes, but I hope you will find ideas to try. Buon appetito!


Letitia says that formal Italian meals, which can last 2 ½  hours or more, follow this progression:

The first course is the APERITIVO – Letitia says her family always included walnuts in the shell, giving a nutcracker to each person in attendance and happily cracking around the table. We have lots of walnuts for sale; you will just need to imagine the cracking because all the ones in the shells are gone. Bubbly beverages are essential, so she recommends kombucha, and fermented beet and turnip pickles to nibble, as well as a simple cheese such as Toscano. Keep this course light.


ANTIPASTI – slightly heavier, and includes charcuterie and cheese; think Buschbeck’s Summer Sausage alongside Monforte’s Amos and Tomme, served with Fennel and Orange-Honey Focaccia or Country Sourdough by Robinson Bread.


PRIMI – the first course with hot food. This is the time to include Tish’s pasta with a simple meatless sauce (like this one we’ve shared before), a risotto made with mushrooms or wild leek greens and chicken broth (on special from Tapioca) or one of Magic Oven’s very special Eggplant Lasagnas. Mmm, so many choices.


SECONDI – the protein part of the meal. Grilled Lamb or Roasted Beef would be appropriate here. This course is accompanied by…


CONTORNI – the vegetable side dishes. Some options would be sauteed mushrooms, carrots roasted in the pan with the meat, and small roast potatoes (parboil these, cool them and give them a shake in a colander to roughen the skin before roasting them). Remember to keep portions small; dinner isn’t finished yet!

Forth and fifth

INSALATA comes next: fresh baby arugula and tender lettuce with a simple dressing of two parts olive oil to one part vinegar is so easy and refreshing!


FORMAGGI E FRUTTA – After the table is cleared, fresh fruit and cheeses appear: Mutsu apples go wonderfully with Monforte soft or sharp cheeses.

6t and seventh

DOLCE – Dessert can be anything your heart desires, from a Pavlova made with farm fresh eggs and warmed Blueberry Thyme Jam to a soothing Chocosol Forest Garden Vanilla bar.


CAFFE & DIGESTIVO – Espresso or a digestive alcoholic drink, such as limoncello or grappa are usually served; you may want to have some tonics on hand after all this feasting!


Letitia does admit that everyday meals in her home were shorter, about 45 minutes to an hour, usually consisting of Secondi and Contorni, followed by Insalata then Dolce and Cafe. Occasionally, there would be a Primi course. She has promised to plan another menu in high summer, when the selection is huge.

The real point is to savour time spent at the table enjoying the company of others, and to appreciate the foods we eat. This is not a rehearsal! It’s la bella vita!

Happy days from Anne & the Crew

P.S. We are seeking musicians to play on the Park Market’s opening day (May 19th) and all season long! If you are happy playing unplugged and like to make people happy with your music, please send an email to!

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A Truly Unbiased Review

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Hello Market Community,

Matt joining you this week. I’ve written here before about what’s beautiful and what’s strange at the market. The news this year has had a lot of updates from babies to branding to lambing to SEO to CEO’s and returning to the park. We’ve been covering every corner of what makes a farmers’ market community. But…have we missed the pets?

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Say hello to my cat Teigel. Teigel means “little dough” and… well, look at him. He is very involved in the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market, from product testing to developing market holiday bags.

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Here is an wholly silly review of what’s hot and what’s not from the perspective of the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market Felines:

Dryer balls

Dryer Balls

Highly recommend. I kick ’em, scratch ‘em and just cover them in my hair so they smell like home.

Felted cat toys

Felted Cat Toys

Pure wool rolling balls from All Sorts Acres. These are great backups for when I’ve already lost all the dryer balls under various pieces of furniture.

Yukon potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Almost indistinguishable to me from the felted cat toys. My claws don’t pierce the skin so easily but I like the loud THUD they make when I just whip them across the room. I love batting these out of baskets, boxes, and bags, and leaving them under the couch for nighttime hunting.

Raw beef pet food

Harley’s Raw Pet Food

What can I say? I feel seen, I feel heard, I feel catered to.


The Entire Vegan Section

Need I say more?

Paw cream

Paw Cream for Cats/Dogs

Dear Bees Universe: I do not appreciate being equated to a dog, but my silky soft toe beans speak for themselves. A quick rebranding would make this product a 10/10.

Bird bag

It’s In The Bag

What’s in the bag you ask? Me. I am in the bag. I am in every bag I can find. I always need new bags to get all up in. It’s in the Bag has almost completely revamped my wardrobe.

Turbot fillet

Turbot Fillet

I could hunt turbot. If I lived on Baffin Island, Nunavut, I would go fishing every day and have nutrient-rich fish oils dripping down my chin while the lily white snow crunched under my toes. Unfortunately, I have been told that the fifth largest island in the world is actually quite inaccessible. I have also been told that snow is cold. I will stick with hunting these First Fish fillets off of the kitchen counter.

Handmade cat toy

Kawartha Broom Co. Handmade Cat Toy


Matt here again. Thank you all for indulging Teigel on his journey of critical expression.

It’s another wonderful week here at the market. We have Repair Cafe Toronto in house, as we do every second Thursday of the month. Their volunteers will be onsite during pickup hours, taking in your busted and broken items for repairs. They take all kinds of different fixables, from laptops to boat motors to jewellery. If your item doesn’t quite fit into their current skill set they will always let you know, no harm in asking!

Natures Way is back and bringing in mini sweet potatoes along with their favourites like eggs, popcorn, and sunflower oil.

This is THE week to get your fresh Harley Farms Turkey.

20lbs roast turkey

See you Thursday!

Matt, Teigel, and the Market Crew!

If You Want It Darker

If you want it darker

Hello Market Friends:

Happy SPOOKtober, Matt is writing today and has had spiderwebs and pumpkin lanterns in his apartment since October 1st, so hopefully you don’t mind this week’s macabre intrusion in your inbox. A few vendor and market updates first:

We are considering extending our pickup hours! We are always trying to hit the sweet spot of short waits and more happy customers. Our delivery slots have been hitting capacity more and more frequently and we don’t have the means to add many more spots, but perhaps if we had pickups later into the evening more folks could come down to pickup? Please let us know if you would switch to pickup if we had slots until 6pm or if you have friends and neighbours who would start ordering if we were open later. Thank you in advance for the input!

Indy wrote to Anne about their growing methods and some updates at Kooner Organics and I’ve included a few fun organic farm tidbits for y’all:

‘We use LOTS of cow manure that comes from my neighbour’s farm, who raises pasture-raised cows; we also do crop rotation and never plant the same vegetable in the same spot the following year, which all helps make good soil, making our vegetables taste better and keeps pests/diseases down.

However, we do lose a lot of crop to diseases/pests, but that’s part of farming.I do have some good news; just as I’m writing this email my new steel building is being offloaded at Kooner Farm organics, which will be a 3000sq ft structure to be used for storage, and one section is going to have a state of the art washing/packing station.’

Indy goes on to say that the buildings will help his team use their time more efficiently when getting produce ready for markets. Without the new building Indy only has a small shed, so it makes cleaning, packaging, and storing food quite a task! 

If you want it darker

Kawartha Lakes has been busy in their workshop! Witch brooms are back in stock, as well as many favourites like Lobby and Kids’ brooms. We’ve gone on about these amazing pieces of functional art in previous newsletters, so if you need any more convincing, feel free to check out the brooms at the on-the-spot table (set up every market day at 270 Gladstone during pickup hours).

I got to try my first La Mexicana tamale this week and was beyond impressed. I knew they would be scrumptious but I was really surprised at how filling they were! They now have multi-packs available too, if you’ve already fallen in love.

In August, I wrote about the most beautiful bounties I’d found at the market. As we are officially in fall, huge bushels of peaches and towering crates of corn won’t be found at 270 Gladstone. Fall is my favourite time to be at the market, though. Chilly winds are tossing yellow leaves and dragging fog across damp pavement now. Cherry Tomatoes and Seedling Mixes with Petals are all well and good, but if you want it darker, here are my favourite strange, gnarled, and just creepy goods at the market. 

Market haul witches

I think celeriac might just be too ugly to eat unmashed or unblended. Recipes like Apple and Celeriac soup are perfectly suited for fall with hearty and just-a-little-sweet flavours. Who would know that a vegetable that looks like the missing link between troll dolls and bridge trolls could be such a delicious starchy veg?

I fried up last week’s Mushroom Assortment from Forbes and threw them on top of homemade pizza. This is either a picture of those mushrooms or the skeletal remains of a polydactyl cryptid (I have a lot of weird stuff on my camera roll, could be either).

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Forbes also has Pickled Milkweed Pods which they admit are “one of the tastiest and most unusual wild veggies available to us.” You might not be able to imagine a use for something you’ve never considered eating before, but pickled milkweed pods might just end up on the best charcuterie board you’ve ever made, if you’re willing to get a little adventurous.

Annatto is what makes Monforte’s memelette pumpkin orange. Sharp and mild with lovely notes of nutty sweetness, it’s a real crowd pleaser. In a world of old cheddars and mozzarellas, be a memelette

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For a vegetable yanked from the ground, daikon radishes are shockingly white. Massive and ghostly pale with stubby little leaves poking out the top, daikons can’t hold a candle to red or watermelon radishes in the looks department. However, daikons work harder than the average radish; they are fantastic pickled, raw or braised, and hey, I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts.

“Those tomatoes don’t look very ripe…” Actually those are tomatillos! A fruit which can often be used in place of tomatoes, they are a little more acidic and a little less sweet than tomatoes and are the only option if you want to make real deal salsa verde. Tomatillos can hang out on your counter much longer than a tomato too, so they don’t mind if you don’t have the time to cook them up this week.

The Suyo Cucumber is the Jekyll to the field cucumber’s Hyde. Just as mild, crisp, and slightly sweet as you want a cucumber, but darker in colour with deep ridges, wild curves, and covered in prickly spikes. If you ever looked listlessly at the cucumbers in the grocery store and thought “I wish these were goth,” boy do we have the fruit for you!

Daikon 1

Perfectly round Pumpkin Spice Macaroons or baskets of rosy red Honey Crisps shouldn’t get all the love! I hope you try something a little strange or even a little wicked this week. In October we’ll continue to have more pumpkins and other Halloween items, as well as delicious Día de Muertos treats. So stay tuned! And don’t forget to tell us what you think about extending our pickup hours.

Matt and the Market Crew