Toronto Market profile-Dufferin Grove Farmers Market

I had the pleasure of visiting our food community in Toronto in mid April, courtesy of the Greenbelt Farmers Market Network and its organizers, Anne Freeman and Sara Udow. Before I left, I was able to visit Anne’s well established, highly respected market (many people I chatted with throughout the city mentioned this market to me when they found I work with public markets), the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market.
The Dufferin Grove Park is a study in itself, and deserves to be used as an example by other neighborhoods that want to be a bridge for their residents and to use their space to inspire and share. I had the great fortune (thanks to Anne Freeman) to sit down with Jutta Mason who has dedicated much of her time to the evolution of this park and its activities. I could say more nice things about Jutta, how market organizers should be so lucky to have a partner like her, but she’d just find this lionizing of her quite odd probably.
But do take some time to see the wealth of resources and activities this informal group has brought to their area:
Friends of DGP

The market itself runs year-round (take that, northerners that say it can’t be done!) and has focused on organic producers, but does have farmers that represent non-organic farming as well. A good mix of small and large vendors. The wild rice vendor is a good example of the mix of season and scale of the vendors- he was sold out for the year after I bought some of his rice and would be back to his regular work until he harvested rice next year. (He told me to throw some of his rice into the swamps down in New Orleans- I might take that idea for an old creek bed on my family property…)
In any case, this is a fantastic Thursday evening farmers market that has been around for a decade already and will be there for future generations….

Black Duck Wild Rice-Toronto

Toronto CA community park

The community garden at the Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto. Sits right next to the weekly farmers market...

Folks sitting on the grass in Dufferin Grove Park next to the weekly farmers market.

Anne Freeman, the manager of the Dufferin Grove Park Farmers Market is seen here (in pink shirt) talking with one of her vendors in the Zamboni storage area (it is Canada after all!) where the market camps out in the winter and then spills out into the walkway for the rest of the year.

The market sets up this cleaning station for shoppers to add condiments and to clean their plates. A very attractive set up..

The market sale board for the park folks who make bread and food in their bake ovens and have a Friday night dinner as well.


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