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Winter fresh: seven farmers’ markets that stay open through the snowy season

St. Lawrence Market bustles through the winter (Photo by )

St. Lawrence Market bustles through the winter (Photo by Ernesto Andrade)

Although falling leaves and impending frost have shuttered most of Toronto’s farmers’ markets, not all have packed up their stalls before the first snow. Below is a list of seven winter-ready markets supplying vegetables, organic meats and artisanal cheeses to foodies who want to eat local no matter what the weather.

Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market
The west end’s quirkier-than-thou market spends the winter skirting the Zamboni in the Dufferin Grove Park rink house. Stands selling local and imported certified organic vegetables (like carrots and avocados from Greenfield Farms), locavore lamb chops (Best Baa Farm), grower-direct olive oil (Angelos Kapelaris’ Country Meadow Gardens) and an ever-changing variety of sweet and savoury crêpes from Clement’s, which now also offers burritos. The Dufferin Grove Bakers keep the park’s wood ovens burning to bring an array of such fresh breads as grape skin sourdough, Italian rosemary and pumpkin seed–sesame.
Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market,
Dufferin Grove Park, 873 Dufferin St., 416-392-0913, dufferinpark.ca/market. Th 3–7.

St. Lawrence North Farmers’ Market
Diehard gastronomes start snapping up the city’s freshest foods at 5 a.m. at the city’s most storied market. St. Lawrence boasts over 50 vendors offering everything from seafood to flowers, including organic elk, wild boar and caribou from Second Wind Elk Farm and curries in a hurry from the spice masters at Raani Foods. A new building design could be announced for this site in 2010, which would make St. Lawrence not only the city’s oldest market, but also the most swish.
St. Lawrence North Farmers’ Market,
92 Front St. E. (at Jarvis St.), 416-392-7120, stlawrencemarket.com. Sa 5–5.

The Stop’s Green Barn Farmers’ Market
Nibble ethically sourced Latin American raw cocoa beans from ChocoSol, pick up heritage grain crackers from Evelyn’s or grab fresh caviar from Akiwenzie’s Fish at the increasingly popular (and upmarket) Artscape Wychwood Barns.
Green Barn Farmers’ Market,
Barn 4, 601 Christie Ave. (entrance on Wychwood), 416-651-7867, thestop.org/green-barn-market. Sa 8–1.

The Village Organic Farmers’ Market at the Toronto Waldorf School
Seasonal root vegetables and fresh sprouts are on display through the winter at this Thornhill favourite, which offers everything from water purifiers to organic dog food. A food court–style café features such delectable lunch picks as veggie burgers from raw foodie Francesco Comito and green smoothies (think apples and bananas blended with kale) from the café’s new juice bar.
Village Organic Farmers’ Market,
9100 Bathurst St., 416-875-4205, villagemarket.ca. Sa 8:30–1:30.

Birchcliff Village Indoor Market
The building that houses Birchcliff has been sold, so the market will be closed after December 31, 2009. Until then, shoppers can find naturally raised grass-fed black Angus beef from Field Sparrow Farms, skin-soothing suds from Sweet Pea Soap Company and such greenhouse-grown organics as asparagus and zucchini from Zephyr.
Birchcliff Village Indoor Market,
1688 Kingston Rd., marketsbythebluffs.com. Th and F noon–7, Sa 10–6, Su 11–5.

Appletree Markets

Lesley Stoyan and Chris Trussell started Appletree in 2009, and despite a chaotic first season of recessionary shoppers, bad weather and garbage pileups, they are forging ahead with a series of promotional markets at different locations throughout the winter. Although dates and locations haven’t been announced yet, expect stylish but sustainable jewellery from eco-trend-setter Lara Bazant and everything gourmet from local-loving food shop Culinarium, among others.
Appletree Markets,
416-899-1990, appletreemarkets.wordpress.com.

University of Toronto Farmers’ Market
Not just for tweedy profs and hungry students, U of T’s market features Ontario cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses from a variety of artisanal dairy masters. Also available are organic breads and sweets from St. John’s Bakery, and everything buzz-worthy from Bees’ Product and Beekeeping—bee pollen, raw honey, propolis and skin cream.
University of Toronto Farmers’ Market, 15 King’s College Cir. (in rotunda), official Web site. W 2:30–5:30.