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posted December 22, 2005

The Holiday Farmers' Markets:

Thursday Dec. 22 And Thursday Dec.29, 3 TO 7 P.M., Inside the Rinkhouse and Zamboni Garage

The Dufferin Grove farmers' market runs year-round, but the holiday markets are a bit special. The farmers still have lots of their own local harvest, and throughout the winter they're allowed to import organic produce from California too. Almost twenty vendors sell organic produce, organic meats, baked goods, tea, and chocolate. There's lots of prepared food as well (including the perogies we sell at the zamboni café, made by the Ukrainian relatives of market vendors Ben and Jessie Sosnicki). Leave yourself extra time when you go there because it's also a place where neighbours run into each other and news is exchanged. To get on the weekly market news e-list, contact market manager Anne Freeman (leave her a message at the park or e-mail her at

The Christmas market on December 22 is a good place to buy food presents for your favourite people. Here is a list for the twelve days of Christmas. It doesn't include a partridge in a pear tree, but lots of other things just as surprising:

  1. A little jar of organic mushroom pesto from Fun Guy Farms, made by mushroom growers Bruno Pretto and Paula Vosni. They make all their own mushroom spreads, and then they import one extra: Italian truffle butter in tiny jars, for $10.
  2. A package of honey comb and a beeswax candle from bee-man Ionel Alecu.
  3. A box of artistic French-style specialty cookies Raymonde’s Little Organic Kitchen, decorated with her signature pressed violets.
  4. Maria Solakofski’s Guerilla Gourmet “kickin’” vegan Christmas fruitcake, wrapped in muslin, aged with dark Jamaican rum.
  5. Forbes Wild Foods’ Christmas baskets, with dried chanterelles, maple syrup, wild fruit jellies, and lots of other unusual foods.
  6. If you want to make your own last-minute Christmas food gift, you can buy some of Plan B Organics’ or Greenfields’ excellent organic lemons and make Moroccan Preserved Lemons (salt, best-quality lemons, takes 10 minutes, looks like a jar of sunshine, keeps for two years as a most delicious condiment, method posted at the rink house). [ed. see recipe]
  7. A bag of solar-roasted Cacao beans, just brought back by Michael Sacco from his Chocosol friends in Oaxaca, Mexico (Michael says “cacao beans were used as currency in one of the richest and most interesting civilizations of all time, that of Mesoamerica.”)
  8. A bag of Kate Williamson’s Best Friend Organic Pet treats: Apple Cinnamon Sniffs, Cheese Chews, Cranberry Rollovers, Peanut Butter Puppy Pleasers, Tuna Tail Waggers. Kate makes all these treats herself and her stand is often surrounded by love-struck dogs.
  9. A jar of Colette Murphy’s “Earthly Paradise” soothing herbal skin cream, made with the herbs Colette grows at Plan B Organics farm.
  10. A bottle of Angelos Kapelaris’ own olive oil, which he brings over twice a year from his olive groves in Greece.
  11. A can of <b>Beate Macklin’s</b> herb tea blend, with flowers as well as leaves.
  12. A jar of Melvin Laidlaw’s spicy hemp pesto, Jamaican-style.

Besides that, the market will have lots of good plain food at a reasonable price, to stock the neighborhood pantries for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's. Surely these farmers and vendors are some of the park's best friends - what a privilege to have them come here.

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