By Patricia Brotzel
With temperatures near freezing, local farmers are bundling up against the elements to sell sustainably grown produce and meats at the Sorauren Farmers’ Market this winter.
The market– in the Roncesvalles area in the city’s west end — began eight years ago as a summer event only. But, loyal customers and hardy vendors have helped the market reach its fourth winter season.
It is held every Monday from 3-7 p.m. at Sorauren Park.
The market is the brain child of the West End Food Co-op, combining producers, workers and community partners to bring farm friendly food to the west end neighbourhoods of Toronto.
“The farms all grow sustainably — not necessarily organic — but they are asked to be sustainable,” Corry Ouellette, the farmers’ market co-ordinator told Humber News.
“We ask that they not use pesticides or herbicides, and that they use natural growing methods,” Ouellette said, adding that some farmers are even using land that is just a walking distance away at either the Junction or High Park areas.
Ouellette said the market and farmers have a relationship in which each person benefits from the others success.
“Every year they have more and more produce and more and more land and so our market is growing with them and they’re growing with us,” she said.
For the vendors, it’s all about the relationship with their customers.
“There is a lot of people who are interested in their food and want to talk to you and are excited to ask you questions about where it’s from and how you raise it,” said Sarah Bakker of Field Sparrow Farms.
People approach grocery shopping with a more relaxed manor when they come to the market, Bakker said.
“This is a good market for when people don’t want to come with a shopping list, or even when they do but we don’t have what they want, they ask ‘What do you have?'” she said.
“I can tell them how to cook stuff or sometimes they give me recipes.”