Meet the sisterhood that makes it happen! Check out this post featuring interviews with three women who manage TO markets, on Withrow Park Farmers’ Market’s blog, April 2013
An interview with Elisabeth Bzikot of Best Baa/Ewenity Dairy in Good Food Revolution, April 2013
Wannabe Farmers See Dollar Signs in the Dirt:Globe & Mail article on FarmStart farmers, July 2011
It’s a Long Road to Trinity-Bellwoods Farmers’ Market: Globe & Mail article by Denise Balkissoon, May 2011:
Growing the Local Bounty: Reports from Farmlands in the Flux: a 17-part in-depth series from Tyee Solutions Society on sustainable farming: tyee_homegrownseries_final3
“Winter Markets? Oh Ya!”
One of the farmers brought along to market the last parts of a goat that had been butchered for their CSA meat boxes. They had shanks, which normally don’t sell too well, and the goat’s head, neither of which could go into the boxes. The head sold at the market almost as soon as their sign went up. It didn’t just sell, it sold with enthusiasm and great joy from an elated customer thrilled to be taking home a feast. I’m often asked by people, “But what can you sell at a WINTER market?” as though they mean to say, “I know there’s nothing in all of Ontario worth buying from November to May”. I answer that a winter market is about parts of the farm other than the fields: the storage sheds and bins, cheese, honey, and lots of meats. Now I want to say “Oh Ya? We just sold a goat head!”
It’s good news that people who shop at markets are interested in snout to tail eating, and markets can provide opportunities to everyone to eat the way people did when every part of the animal was valuable.
by Roscoe Handford , The Stop’s Green Barn Farmers’ Market
Read about Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market in the Winter Issue of Edible Toronto
Forbes Wild Foods, represented at several of Toronto’s farmers’ markets, is attracting attention across the country. Read about “Canada’s Master of Wild Edibles” in The Atlantic.
Good Food Revolution writes up the new, monthly Regional ‘n’ Artisanal Market at the CBC.
The Globe and Mail reports on the tough weather for our farmers last summer:
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Here’s some news from Good Food Revelation on the developments at Monforte Dairy:
Is This the Future of Artisanal Food Production?
The Toronto Star has done some interesting profiles of farmers’ market vendors and their products. Read more about:
Carole Ferrari & The Local Cafe
Forbes Wild Foods
Country Meadows Gardens
Thorpe’s Organic Produce
Fun Guy Farms
Feast of Fields
Kawartha Ecological Growers
Roscoe Handford, The Stop’s Green Barn Farmers’ Market
and Christine Klucha, fruit vendor
Chris and her husband Dave have always helped her parents on their 40-odd acre fruit farm in the Niagara area. Her parents were wrapping things up at the farm, preparing to retire and wondering what would become of the farm; or really, which of their large corporate neighbours would now swallow it up. That’s when the Green Barn opened down the street from Chris’s house in the city, and she convinced her very skeptical parents to let her bring stuff from the farm to the market.
The first day, she sold out in 20 minutes. The second week she brought in twice as much and again sold out in 20 minutes, and her parents reservations were somewhat soothed. They remain doubtful about the success of the market, despite the fact that we’re into our 3rd summer now. I can understand their point though, they’ve seen a lot of years of fickle consumers demanding ever more effort on behalf of farmers while at the same time growing more jaded about what they will and won’t eat. Fruit that is not blemish free perfect, of a perfect size (growers must grade through sized holes in templates provided by the department of agriculture. Peaches, for instance, may be graded to the nearest 1/8th inch) and now, insistently pesticide free, such fruit is simply discarded and the waste alone is enough to break a proud heart.
The entire Klucha family has, despite misgivings, made clear commitments to Toronto’s new love of Farmers’ Markets. As Chris’s letter below shows, the family gathers to work together for the whole farm. While theirs is not an organic farm; they do use some chemicals applications during different seasons, they are truly “low spray”, if such a term may be used at all. Compared to some of the large operations they are surrounded by, it’s an easy guess that they are using 1/20th or less the amount of sprays as some commercial operations. The year after they began to Farmers’ Market, the last canning plant in Ontario closed and they were told by the Ministry of Agriculture that they would be paid $35 a tree to tear out their peach orchard and plant corn instead.
Corn is a seasonal crop, leaving the soil open to degradation for 1/2 of the year. Almost as intense chemically as the most intense chemically driven conventional fruit operation is a field of corn. And if that isn’t bad enough, consider that a peach orchard provides not just cover for our topsoil but homes for fauna and flora in untold amounts. A big black field harvested for “biofuels” will not host foxes and mice and butterflies or shade the watershed or realistically even provide us with anything meaningful, since it’s well documented that ethanol requires an equal amount of burned calories to produce any calories to burn.
The Klucha farm is an example of some dedicated farmers who are doing their best to steward their land for us, trusting that we will educate ourselves in time to save them and the land they have struggled over and been so blessed by before a precious resource is lost. Peaches, 40 acres, farmers. Like a farm, it’s a complicated picture, and a lovely one to pour over.
Hi Roscoe - hope everyone is well - we are just back from a weekend of enjoying the incredible sweet fragrance of apricot and early golden plum blossoms wafting along the soft breeze that blew through the orchard - spending a few evening hours with my sisters and mom and dad and husband - sipping some cool white wine in front of the antique chimnoy - pleasantly aching from a day of pruning apple and cherry trees - life is good.
We are looking forward to returning to the market - however if the current utopian conditions on the farm continue it may delay our return so we might enjoy life as it returns to the farm: apricots, cherries, early plums look great - bees were out pollinating - apple just bursting to bloom - robin’s nest under the eaves of the back shed - swallows are back in good number - some very serious rainfall - always welcome this time of year - mourning doves already with hatchlings - cardinals nesting - flickers- blue jays - a very disoriented pair of canada geese flying overhead all morning - spring is on schedule - ck
Not Far from the Tree
Urban Fruit Harvesters Laura Reinsborough and Suzanne Long
There is an interesting story to tell about an apricot tree we just picked from. A week ago, the fruit tree owner was about to cut it down. Like many fruit tree owners in the city, he was unable to harvest the tree himself and the fallen fruit was quickly becoming a hazard and a headache. A neighbour saw that the end was near, so he intervened. I imagine it went something like this: “Wait! There’s this new organization in the neighbourhood. They’re soooo amazing and they can help you out!” The owner was convinced of our services, so last night we harvested as much of the tree as we could, leaving just a handful for the squirrels. Not only did our work help save the tree from being cut down, but we picked 144 pounds of fresh, local, flawless fruit! Share Your Fruit! Do you have apples? Cherries? Peaches? Plums? Mulberries? Serviceberries? Apricots? Pears? Quince? Elderberries? If you have a fruit tree that you would like us to harvest, simply visit our website, www.notfarfromthetree.org and fill out a registration form. Our volunteers are spread all over the city, so if enough interest is shown in one area then we can begin to expand our scope there. (Not Far from the Tree can be found at the Green Barn Farmers’ Market, Saturday mornings)