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News 2004
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2004 News Compilation

posted November 12, 2004, From the weekly market notes for October 28, 2004

Baker asked to leave Riverdale Market

Decides to stay away from Dufferin Farmer's market too

Heather of Vinehavan Bakery

Last Tuesday a group of at least four public health inspectors came to Riverdale Market and checked people out. They told Heather Karmiol, the sourdough baker who comes to our market as well, to take her (commercial plastic) bread bins off the grass, which she did, and then they asked her to produce her inspected kitchen certificate. When she told them their Vineland bakery kitchen had not been inspected, they told her to have the kitchen inspected by next week, and she said, no problem. A short time later, after conferring (I guess) they ordered her off the property with all her bread unsold. There was an outcry among the customers there but Heather did not argue and left. There's been quite a bit of buzz about it since then.

I spoke to Mr.Angus Tsang of Toronto Public Health yesterday and he said rules are rules, and just because Heather has been selling her bread for two years is no reason not remove her from the market as soon as Public Health has time to come there. He also said that the bread might have been touched by some blades of grass that poked up through the bottom of the commercial bread racks, that there was wind and so dust might have got on it (not bagged), and that people were very lucky that there had not been some bad effects on their health prior to this timely public health intervention.

The upshot of Heather's rather shocking experience at Riverdale is that Vinehaven Bakery will not be returning to either market. They are very occupied with their catering and their young children, and although it will be easy for them to get the paperwork done for their large and beautiful commercial baking kitchen, that experience with public health has made them lose their taste for going to markets, at least for now. (36 hours of work was wasted -- and all that beautiful bread.)

We're waiting for some more phone calls to be returned, because such an ambush is not a good sign for markets. If anyone wants to pass along their thoughts on how they feel about being so vigorously protected from blades of grass, wind, and Vinehaven bread, perhaps Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council would pass the message along to the right person:

Posted on October 27, 2004

Letters from our Friends

from Turin Italy, October, 2004

These are two letters to the editor, one from our first official park cook Daniel DeMatteis, who just finished a year's Italian apprenticeship and will be back in November, the second from Colette Murphy, who sells plants and soil amendments and herb creams/tinctures at the our Thursday park farmers' market. Both of them were at the giant Slow Food gathering in Turin, Italy, in October, and here's what they wrote about it:

From Dan DeMatties:

photo from

About Terra Madre, the big meeting of all the food producers: in a discussion with Pamela and Paul (from Toronto, and the park) and a journalist friend of theirs, one interesting thing came up. The big issue for the North American contingent was buy local and seasonal etc. -- what you would expect. But, the people who came from Africa or Latin America and other places farther from centers of gluttony, were more interested in finding markets for their products, ie, the Africa producers wanted to get the Europeans to import their products. Not exactly buying local. But it made me wonder a bit about what exactly Slow Food's attitude toward this would be. Or mine. Because obviously the Slowfood people are interested in protecting and encouraging small producers in remote corners of the world, but this cannot necessarily be reconciled with 'buying local' and I don't know how to 'slowly' ship something across the globe. Also, if you 'save' a rare kind of rice or something from Thailand, and turn it into a speciality product, presumably the market you find for it will be high-end restaurants on the other side of the globe. And then it becomes the sole domain of the wealthy.

A well-known chef I met there from Toronto was thrilled by the whole thing. He said that it was an amazing experience and it reinforced all of his ideas about food or food communities (whatever those are...his ideals, not the food communities.)

The part where I was, was basically a big food fair, like I imagine an industry fair would be. There were lots of producers, 90% or so Italian, all no doubt carefully selected by Slow Food for their Slowness, who had a stand where they displayed their products and often offered samples. I ate lots of Italian meats and cheeses, tasted olive oils, cookies, breads, etc. I had English and French oysters, American raw milk cheeses, Artisanal Cheddar from Sommerset, Polish honey mead, rare french turnips, black french pigs, Brazilian fruit, and on and on. Also, Canadian bread. There was a Canadian contingent representing Red Fife Grain. A heritage grain from the prairies now almost disappeared but in our grandparents day the grain they grew would have been Red Fife. The baker of the bread was from Victoria, and he had brought the flour, his starter, and water from Canada and was baking his bread at a bakery in Turin each day. The bread was fabulous and I think we should see if we can find a farmer to provide the grain for park bread. I have some contact info to pursue this when I get back.


From Colette Murphy:

photo from

We were all spread around the Region of Piemonte (foot of the mountains). Some of us were lucky to be in an AgroTurismo. I was one of those and think we had one of the best chefs in Italy cooking for us. Franca was the shy sweet smiling mother keeping the kitchen warm and inviting; Elisio was the father chauffering us around at night to other AgroTurismos, along with their 2 daughters Christina and Chiara. My room mates were Mariana a journalist from Chicago, writing about food issues and Susan a farmer from Iowa and president of the Practical Farmers of Iowa. We laughed and we ate and we made new wonderful friends. I felt like I was in an agricultural heaven where everyone wanted to do everything they couldto support our work. Vandana Shiva, Prince Charles, Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini (Pesident of Slow Food) were some of the wonderful people who spoke to us so passionately about the world we envision. Even Gianni Alemanno, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestries gave an inspiring and passionate and revolutionary speech at the closing ceremony. I have brought back recipes and menus to share, perhaps we can do something for a Fri. night dinner at the park. We were also given a book with a paragraph for each of the 1200 communities and what they do, what they are trying to preserve. I will bring it to the park market for people to look at.

Ciao bellas


posted on October 9, 2004

Commentary On Feature In Now Magazine

The October 7, 2004 issue of Now Magazine contained article entitled "Organic Toronto: Farmers Markets Keep It Fresh" featuring the Dufferin Grove Framers Market under "Dufferin Delectables". We appreciate the attention and recognition, but wish to state for the record an error and an omission.

The error of fact is that we have NOT, as NOW magazine says, been running a market for "nearly ten years." This November 7 it will be TWO years. The pioneer of park organic markets in Toronto is Elizabeth Harris, who just went ahead and began the Riverdale market four years ago. We are just following in her footsteps. If it hadn't been for all Elizabeth's very considerable leg work finding the farmers and showing everybody that it could be done, our market wouldn't have happened. She's our hero.

Omission: the reason, I imagine, why Stonehenge Farms (and our park oven bread) are not listed in the NOW article is that the article focuses exclusively on certified organic. For reasons of cost, Ute Zell feeds the birds, the goats, the boars and the lambs conventional feed during the time of year when they can't graze outside. We use certified flour, oil,etc. but we have never had the bake ovens certified (and with community use we're not sure we could).

The consideration that finds no place in the article is "local." If you buy food at our market because you don't want to poison your body with what you eat, then perhaps it doesn't matter whether the organic food was grown on California organic mega-farms and trucked across the continent as long as it carries the certified stamp.

But if you also want to know the farmer who grew/raised what you eat, if you want to cut down on oil use, if you want to eat chickens that had a decent life, if you want people to be able to make a living on a human-scale farm, the question becomes a little more nuanced.

Comments welcome -- we'll post them on the web site:


P.s. it is, nevertheless, flattering to have our park market be called "Dufferin Delectables"

From the author:

From: Steven Davey
To: Jutta Mason
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 2:16 PM
Subject: Re: NOW organic article, error

Thanks for your input!

posted October 9, 2004

Now Magazine "Organic Toronto: Farmers Markets Keep It Fresh"

Toronto's Now Magazine features the Dufferin Grove Framers Market and our "Dufferin Delectables".

Farmers markets keep it fresh
NOW Magazine Online Edition, VOL. 24 NO. 6 Oct 7 - 13, 2004

Say no to the Frankenfoods and preservatives dominating our diet and follow NOW's guide to the best in Toronto's organic food shopping, eating out and living. Read More (pdf)>>

posted September 9, 2004 from our Sept 9, 2004 weekly market notes

Credibility of Organic Farming Under Attack, and a neighbour's response

Last but not least: attached you'll find an article Wallie Seto forwarded from the LA Times. Apparently organic farming is about to come under expert attack, on the grounds that claims made for the superiority of organic produce can be scientifically disproved. There is no mention in the article about the joys of eating food grown nearby by farmers you can get to know, on local soils that are more likely bolstered by legumes or manure than by numbered fertilizers synthesized in a lab. Who can quantify the pleasure of linking the foods on the plate with the people who grew them/ raised them and picked them, and with the people who did the preparations to ready them for the market? Not me. ("Beyond rubies" is as precise as I can get.)

Read the article (pdf) >>

posted September 9, 2004

A neighbour's response

From Reema Tarzi

I read the attachment about organic food. It's been a while since I've read such an unscientific load of nonsense. Mostly it's about 'scientists' making unspecific claims. They mention one person who is 'on the cusp of retirement' and 'has kept his head down' who says something vague about there not being enough proof for the claims of organic food producers - very damming. Another person claims - there's not a lot of literature out there - hmm. There are no references, and just one study quoted:

"Last June, the Organic Center released a study, based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that found conventionally grown fruits and vegetables were eight times more likely to contain pesticide residues than organically raised crops."

Then they say Michael F. Hare working for 'American Chemical Society' found of the fewer than 20% of conventionally grown samples in which a pesticide residue was found, the amount usually fell between 1% and 5% of the limits considered safe by federal government standards.' Do you need a translation for that one?

Other than that, there are no specific studies, just general claims about fecal matter and pesticides. In what? Organic crops. Hmm that's specific, we know organic crops are the same the world over.

In fact this reminds me of a documentary that aired in the states, 20/20, a few years ago. My friend saw it and it said pretty much the same things about pesticides and fecal matter in 'organic crops' . He believed it and was gloating. The next week they issued a quiet retraction - it turns out the documentary wasn't based on any specific studies and the presenter was on the payroll of some big Chemical corporation to the tune a few million bucks.


posted August 19, 2004

Toronto Star Guide to Farmers' Markets 2004

Our own Farmers' Market is listed in this province wide survey.

The Toronto Star Online Edition May 5, 2004

So you want to buy local food?
1st annual listings will help you
Read More (pdf) >>

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