Toronto Walks: Evergreen Brickworks, Farmer’s Market

Is there anything more invigorating than being at a crowded farmer’s market? Evergreen Brickworks hosts the largest market in Toronto each Saturday.

Had a bit of a trek getting there. The subway was closed for track repair. I was only going to Davisville, one stop south but had to take the shuttle bus. Because of my hip pain. I was slow getting to the door to get off. Plus the bus was crowded. I had to take it all the way to the next stop and then go back north. I asked the supervisor where to catch the bus north. He explained down the stairs and to the right. He noticed the pained expression on my face and my walking stick.

He turned out to be an angel supervisor. He went and talked to the WheelTrans bus driver. This is the bus that can be booked by people with mobility issues. He agreed to drive me back to Davisville. We had a nice chat about the Evergreen Brickworks and farmer’s markets. When we pulled in the 28 Bayview South was idling in the bay. I thanked the driver and boarded the 28.

As a Foodie, I love the Evergreen market as much as the meadow.

In the Spring, Summer, it takes place in an outdoor, covered area. And best of all, they allow dogs on leash. Eve and I went down on the last day of the outdoor market. The first Saturday in November, they move it indoors where dogs are not allowed.

It is a refreshing change from the supermarket to converse with real farmers on their produce and staples. You can ask where their farm is, how was the summer for crops and any number of inquisitive questions. They are quite happy that people take an interest in what they do.

Head over to get my apples. In the summer I load up on peaches but October is apple month.

There is so much to choose from but root vegetables are on the menu.

I had never seen a Candy Roaster Squash so I get the big one and decide on squash soup

I add broccoli to the mix

Later, it roasts beautifully and has a sweet, nutty flavour. The smile on the farmer as she thanks me for my purchase makes my day. Supporting local is crucial during these economic times.

The soup is superb and I freeze half of it. This will warm the tummy come January. I add fried sage and ricotta cheese toppings.

Back at the market, I like to have fish or seafood once a week. Today I go for the fish burgers which are a mixture of haddock, halibut and cod. They are frozen so I can keep them in the freezer until the end of the week.

It is time for lunch so we head down to the cooked food vendors. In previous years they would not allow dogs in the area. But they have relaxed that rule so we can have a good look at what is on offer.

This chef is adding chicken to the pot for Empanadas and Paella.

The big ostrich catches my eye. Eve likes the smell where she is. I drag her away from the chicken pot.

I order the ostrich falafel. I looked down at Eve and tell her I’ll share some ostrich. The farmer hears me and says he has one customer who comes to their farm and buys 100 lbs of ground ostrich. The customer’s dogs can’t digest any other meat but are fine with ostrich. It is a very lean meat.

I decide on the ostrich falafel.

I take a picture but did not check it for focus. It’s a clear shot of Eve’s hungry face but the sandwich, which is spicy and very good, it out of focus. Oh well. I dig out some ostrich meat with the fork and Eve is happy.

We head out of the area and pass by the musician’s stage.

Going around the back we have a seat at a picnic table. With my hip pain I can only walk for a certain length of time. Sitting down relieves the pain.

One of the reasons this location was chosen for the Don Valley Brick Works, was Mud Creek. They created a channel that flowed water into the factory from Mud Creek. The channel was kept when Evergreen renovated.

One year I organized a photo shoot at the Brickworks for Pugalug Pug Rescue’s fundraising calendar. I put my pug Odin, into the channel with all the dried bull rushes. He was quite happy to post for the camera. I’m sure when they built the channel they had no idea that one day a pug would be sitting in it.

I went back the next week to take a peek at the indoor market. Didn’t bring Eve because of the no dogs policy. It is located it the far building TD Future Cities Centre. However there were some dogs tied up in the first building – Koerner Gardens.

Koerner Gardens was formerly the dry press brick production plant. It had one, continuous kiln for baking bricks. It is now used for special events.

The indoor market building is quite large and accommodates most of the regular vendors. However it is interesting to see the brick, iron and pipe textures added to the sauces, vegetables and breads.

In the 80s, the buildings were used by the homeless and disenfranchised as shelter. The punks banded together for community and protection. When Evergreen renovated, they kept the graffiti on the walls.

The food vendors are also here. There are a number of seating areas. I go around to the back and find a place to rest.

Head over to the garlic farmer. I did not realized that there were different strains of garlic for strong, medium and light tasting. I get the strong Persian. The kale looks good so get a bunch of the black. Not sure what I’ll make with it. The garlic/kale farm is near Sutton.

I had planned on making potato leek soup. Soups a big on my menu in the fall. I also want to get some fresh sage. I find a farmer from Beamsville who has all three.

As I head out, I pass a Crepe maker. I’ve already had breakfast but stay and watch as they prepare. There is a line up so they must be good.

Ladle and spread the dough.

Flip with the spatula

Add the cheese to the edge to seal it

Add the ingredients

Fold and serve

This weekend, November 4 and 5, there is a special event honouring the Day of the Dead. My next blog will be exploring the themes they present at the Evergreen Brickworks (and maybe try one of those crepes).