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News 2009

Latest Market News 2009

From the December 2009 Newsletter:


This year, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are on a Thursday. There will be no farmers’ market on those days. On all the other Thursdays, the rink clubhouse will be shared between the skaters, the farmers, and the food customers – tricky but not impossible. The late frost this year means there is still a lot of freshly harvested produce, and also meat, baked goods, cheese, olive oil, honey, chocolate, preserves, and more. Sometimes it gets crowded, but it’s a friendly crowd. And the rink staff will stash your groceries for you if you want to have a skate after shopping.

From the October 2009 Newsletter:


From market manager Anne Freeman: “Nobody is ready to say goodbye to the summer that hardly got started, but we can't stop the clock. Due to the shortening days, this will be our last market on the summer path. Next week, you'll find the full market set up on the rinkpad on the east side of the building. It's fun "up top" too, and we love those rink lights when sunset comes. We'll be there until mid-November. Please spread the word among your friends who may not read the news. Sadly, we also ask you to warn them to carefully guard their wallets and purses, as the pickpocket has not been caught yet. The police urge anyone who thinks they've had money stolen to report it.”

The pickpocket Anne is referring to is possibly a young woman, who unzips purses and opens wallets to remove the contents, as well as outright taking the wallets. The market is such a friendly place that it’s hard to remember to guard your belongings – any park in a city of two and a half million is going to have some thieves, even at farmers’ markets.

Every Wednesday Anne puts out a weekly market newsletter, which is linked on farmers’ market page. If you want to get it by e-mail, go to the link on the market page. Here’s a sample item from the September 30 market news, from pie baker Jacinthe Koddo: "With Thanksgiving coming up, pies are available for pre-order from "Artisan Pies and Preserves", made with organic produce sourced from Eastcliff Farms and others in Grey County, Ontario. Stop by this Thursday to place your order for pick-up October 8th. There are four delectable choices: Pear-Cranberry, Apple, Pumpkin, and Pecan. They're all made with buttery pastry crusts that are melt-in-your-mouth good. You're sure to be the best dinner guest ever when you arrive with one of these! An individual pie of your choice is $20. Can't decide on just one? Get two for $38."

From the September 2009 Newsletter:


This summer was rather odd for weather, and the strike didn’t help either. For the first confusing weeks of the strike, Parks managers felt they should prohibit the farmers’ markets from being in parks or civic squares. It took a little persuading to remind the managers that crops don’t wait for the end of a strike, and that throwing out a whole harvest of strawberries (just coming to market when the strike began) was not acceptable, strike or no strike. The union quickly made it clear that they had no intention of blocking markets, and so the markets resumed despite another four weeks of strike.

The remarkably cool and wet July was tough on the farmers in other ways. Lettuce did very well, but tomatoes were a disaster. When Dufferin Grove market vendor Jessie Sosnicki went out to her “100 varieties” heirloom-tomato field one morning, she found that the whole field of plants had turned black overnight. A tomato virus had destroyed the crop (the same virus, the newspapers reported, as the one that caused the Irish potato famine in the 19th century). Jessie said she wept, and then went back to doing her farm work – what was the use of shaking her fist at the weather?

In August the weather warmed up and got a bit wild for a few days, with tornados in some places. On Thursday August 20, a storm hit Toronto at 7.05 pm, just as the Dufferin Grove farmers were packing up at the end of the market. As the sky turned black and then green, market tents blew over or buckled in the wind, jars of preserves were smashed on the ground, and the rain drenched everyone who was trying to help. An adventure! People took shelter, shoulder to shoulder, in the zamboni garage, with babies and little kids at the very back in case the lightning struck too close.

Afterwards there was the reward of a rainbow, and the very wet farmers were finally able to get home. The damage was less than it might have been, and the next week the farmers were back (in lovely weather), their tables once again loaded with good food. One vendor had a new market tent, but there was not much talk about the storm of the week before. Farmers always have to think ahead, planning for tomorrow – lucky for us eaters.

From the June 2009 Newsletter:


Market manager Anne Freeman sends out weekly market news. To get on her list, go to the market page at A sample from her June 4 news: “The Greenfields report: Cool weather with night temperatures dipping dangerously close to freezing, may not be everyone's favorite, but it makes our spring greens tastier than ever. Right out of our fields we'll have wonderful tender bunches of CHARD in all colours, Green and Black KALE, COLLARDS, Red MUSTARD, mild Red RADISHES, RHUBARB, ASPARAGUS and the last of the SUNCHOKES until fall. The farm is a buzz of activity with planting, harvesting, weeding, and of course farmers' markets all happening at the same time now.”

From the May 2009 Newsletter:


From market manager Anne Freeman: “The arrival of spring has seen a surge in signups for the market news, and we've now hit about 700 addresses on our weekly news list. We're very pleased to have so many people taking an interest in the market. This week, Laura Sabourin of Feast of Fields vineyard and orchard in Jordan Station sends word that her peach trees are in bloom. And already at the market, the vendors' tables are getting greener every week.” To get on the market news list, go to the market page at

From the March 2009 Newsletter:


Market manager Anne Freeman sends out a weekly e-mail to market list subscribers every Wednesday, telling what’s on offer that week. She writes: ”The power of the sun must be what’s making the phone ring and the internet lines buzz this week, as outdoor season vendors get in touch about plans for Dufferin Grove this year. I'll keep you in suspense about the details for now, but I can say there's lots to look forward to, both familiar and new.” Some of the new this year will be more fruit, more fresh lamb, more early greens, and a farmer who grows “the world’s best asparagus” (according to another farmer). To get on Anne’s market news list, subscribe on the market main page of the website. That way you won’t miss the news of the first asparagus, or the first strawberries, or the first corn, all local and in season.

posted on March 02, 2009

She helps bring farm to fork

Anne Freeman is the manager of the Duf ferin Grove market,
where organic farmers sell their goods year-round.
Organic market worker reconnects people to earth

Published: March 02, 2009
Source: The Star

Anne Freeman grew up on a country road north of Kingston, among apple orchards and maple syrup and a vegetable garden she toiled in since the age of 7.

"We didn't pick the corn on the cob until the pot was on the stove to boil the water," the waif-like 46-year-old says, sitting on a wooden bench near the skating rink at Dufferin Grove Park. "You ate the strawberries in June until you couldn't eat another strawberry."



From the February 2009 Newsletter:


This year-round market is in its crowded period, inside the changerooms and also packed into the zamboni garage. But oh my, is it ever full of good smells and beautiful foodstuffs! The market has storage vegetables, augmented by wintertime-only imported organic produce (only the market’s own farmers are allowed to import). There is meat – beef, pork, venison, chicken, lamb, and (often) Georgian Bay fish. There’s bread and cake, olive oil and cheese, sheep’s milk and yoghurt, mushrooms, honey, perogies and sauerkraut. And at the zamboni café: Mary Syklwester’s best winter soup.

From the January 2009 Newsletter:


From market manager Anne Freeman: “Happy New Year and welcome back to the no-kidding-it's-winter market, where the pleasures of good company and wonderful food add a lot of warmth to the season. We'll have a slightly smaller crew now. Still lots to choose from, though, with the priority on local as always, and some extras where we need them provided by our producers. Shopping at winter markets provides important support for our farmers, and we appreciate your loyalty at this time of year when 'a walk in the park' is slightly more challenging!”

Two of the park cooks got a small grant from the Big Carrot Foundation last year, to try canning and selling tomatoes and tomato sauce, using the market tomatoes. In the hot days of late summer, Anna and Lea, joined by Jenny, were roasting the tomatoes in the park ovens, peeling and seeding them, cooking down the sauce, sterilizing the jars in a giant pressure cooker. All the processing that the far-away (for organic tomatoes) canning plants do, the park cooks did by hand. They fittingly named the results “Red wagon preserves.” Are they ever park-local, and labour-intensive! And really tasty.

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