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If you are interested in becoming a vendor, please read our market guidelines first.
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS: please request a separate application form from info[at]withrowpark.ca.
Produce & Other Farmed Products
Feast of Fields's (certified organic) fruits might look like any other fruits, but there’s a world of difference. Feast of Fields, located on the Niagara Escarpment near the town of Jordan, is Ontario’s only Demeter Certified, biodynamic vineyard and orchard. As owner, Laura Sabaurin says, the biodynamic method goes well beyond organic in an effort to mimic natural systems and work in harmony with nature. Unlike most horticultural farms, which favour monocultures, Feast of Fields strives for diversity. In addition to grapes, apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, berries and figs, the farm grows a rotation of annual crops like melons and tomatoes. As well as arable land, there are forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds and streams. And to contribute to the farm’s fertility, Feast of Fields keeps a small herd of Dexter cattle. The goal of biodynamic farming, says Sabourin, is to develop a closed-loop system, in which the farm produces everything it needs to thrive. The end result is delicious, nutritious fruit which requires no artificial fertilizers or pesticides. For more on Biodynamic agriculture visit www.biodynamics.com or www.biodynamics.on.ca.
Introducing: Fiddlehead Farm (Demorestville ON) - Produce – ecologically grown
Haystrom Farm -- Jim Hayward, owner of Haystrom Farm in Prince Edward County, loves good food. “Cooking the food you love and loving the food you cook” is more than his motto—it’s his way of life. He grows 400 varieties of heirloom and exotic fruits, vegetables and herbs on his 5-acre plot. Farming is Jim’s third career, but his background in classic French cuisine and banking only contributes to his success. He delights in reintroducing old and obscure varieties of produce: Bulgarian carrot chili peppers, jelly melons, Mandoria cucumbers and bull’s blood beets are names that roll off the tongue and onto the fork — and Jim gladly shares how to cook each one. Whatever he doesn’t sell during the growing season he puts up as preserves and you’ll find a selection of them at the market. Although Jim is Haystrom Farm, he is knowledgeably and courteously represented at Withrow by Lou.
The Fresh Veggies (certified organic) -- Bob Baloch, owner of The Fresh Veggies, is a veritable vegetable sleuth. He’s combed the province looking for rare and delicious varieties. So far, he’s planted over 20 different kinds of garlic and 30 varieties of potatoes as well as a full range of other vegetables--everything from arugula to hot peppers to zucchini. Until recently, he worked behind a desk as a computer programmer, but he grew up on a farm in Pakistan and began to feel the urge to reconnect with his roots. He got his start in farming with Farm Start, a non-profit organization that mentors new farmers and provides access to land and equipment for a nominal fee. Bob is now in his third year at Farm Start’s McVean farm in Brampton. He's worked his way up from a quarter acre plot in his first year, to four acres this summer. After his 5th year, he hopes to be able to buy his own farm. He credits markets like Withrow for making it possible for new farmers like himself to succeed. Bob is happy to share his favourite South Asian inspired recipes.
Healthy Choice Farm (certified organic) -- Manmeet and Rupinder Singh are part of the Farm Start Program at the McVean Incubator Farm in Brampton. They come from India, where Manmeet’s family has farmed for generations. He’s passionate about farming and longed to carry on the tradition when he came to Canada. He’s grateful to Farm Start for giving him a “great opportunity.”
The Healthy Choice Farm is currently in the third year of production at the incubator program, and is already offering a wide variety of organic greens, vegetables and salad mixes. Later in the season, the farm plans to offer microgreens--those tender and tasty young shoots that are harvested when they are only an inch or so high. They are intensely flavourful and are used as garnishes in fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and vegetable dishes. According to Manmeet, microgreens represent the healthiest phase of plant growth.
Health is one of Manmeet’s main concerns—the health of the soil and the health of the plants he grows. His farm’s motto is “make the healthy choice when it comes to food.”
Introducing: Kind Organics (Newmarket ON) - Salad greens, kombucha, herbal teas – certified organic & biodynamic
Potager Du Kanada -- Iqbal Mauthoor hails from Mauritius. He’s been in Canada for more than a quarter of a century and has been waiting for the opportunity to farm. Finally, Brampton’s Farm Start program gave him that opportunity. He’s currently working full time for a telephone company but is spending every spare minute growing vegetables organically on his quarter-acre plot. He hopes to make a go of farming and is on the lookout for a farm of his own. He’s always searching for new vegetable varieties, and is most excited this year about a white cucumber which he says is very tasty and crunchy. He's also looking forward to his first time cultivation of watermelon, green beans, okra, eggplant, beefsteak tomatoes and green zebra tomatoes among others. Iqbal is concerned about the decline of the bee population and has recently purchased some hives to help with pollination at the McVean farm site. You can find his honey at the market, too.
Cookstown Greens (organic certification in process) -- Dazzling displays of perky greens and colourful root vegetables are the specialty of the Cookstown Greens team.
Danbrie Farms -- Jay Thoman couldn’t have picked a better spot for his maple syrup operation. His 25 acre sugar bush is located at the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, near Milton. “Our tree roots penetrate into the karst limestone, providing our maple syrup with a unique flavour,” says Jay. He's always eager to educate consumers about the benefits of maple syrup. As well as the great taste, his syrup is loaded with amino acids, antioxidants and minerals like calcium and phosphorus, making it a far healthier choice than refined sugar. "More than a sweetener" is printed on each of his bottles. As well as maple syrup, Danbrie Farms offers maple sugar, maple butter (whipped syrup), maple candy and maple marinade.
Jay is a former IT entrepreneur and standard-bred horse trainer, but he finds practicing small-scale farming and contributing to the local economy deeply satisfying. He thrives on the family festival atmosphere of the sugar-off season — a time when Danbrie Farm opens its doors to celebrate a distinctly Canadian harvest. Visitors are welcome to explore the farm's woodlot and watch maple syrup being made.
Brian Hamlin's honey is as local as you can get. His hives are scattered throughout the city in such locations as the Leslie Spit, Toronto Islands, the Portlands and even the 8th floor of University of Toronto's New College at College and Spadina. According to Hamlin, the diverse vegetation in the city leads to honey with more complex tastes than honey from rural areas, where bees generally gather pollen from mono-cropped fields. Each city location produces honey with its own unique taste.
Brian has been a beekeeper for nearly four decades. He began as a self-described hippy in the Ottawa Valley back in 1975 and has remained true to his roots. Unlike commercial beekeepers, he raises his bees as naturally as possible, with no antibiotics, no sugar supplements to boost production and no access to sprayed fields. The result is healthier bees. He believes the city offers enormous potential for beekeeping, but currently Toronto is far behind cities like New York, Paris, Chicago and Vancouver where by-laws are less restrictive.
In addition to pure honey, Brian sells honey infused with organic spices like cocoa, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. He’s happy to offer tastes at the market and to talk to anyone interested in learning about wonders of bees and bee keeping.
Introducing: Murray's Farm (Cambridge ON) - Rare breed pork, heirloom chickens & fowl, heirloom vegetables & fruit - ecologically grown.
Weber's Natural Meats -- Ellen and David Weber along with their five children sell pasture-raised chicken, beef, veal, lamb, poultry and pork from their farm in Paisley, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Huron. All the meat is hormone and antibiotic-free. The Webers’ methods of raising animals are as far from factory farming as you can get. Each day, they move their cows and sheep to new pasture so they get only the freshest, most tender new grasses. Unlike commercial animals, which spend their last days in feedlots being fattened on grain and corn, the Weber’s cows and sheep eat only forage and grass. As Ellen Weber says, “it’s what ruminants were designed to eat.” The result is healthier animals and healthier meat. Meat from grass finished beef and lamb is leaner, has less cholesterol and more Omega 3 fatty acid--the good fat-- than animals that are fattened on grain. The Webers’ chickens are even more labour intensive. They’re moved twice a day in an elaborate rotation, so that they get the tastiest bugs and grubs, and the manure they leave behind fertilizes the fields. When they’re not tending their animals, the Webers make sausage and maple syrup. Despite all the chores, Dave Weber still has to work off the farm in order to make ends meet. But the Webers have a vision that with the right approach, farming will once again be able to support farm families. The Webers’ farm is certified by Local Food Plus. The family welcomes farm visits. http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html
Field Sparrow Farms -- Henry and Sarah Bakker are committed to producing premium beef in an ecologically sustainable and humane way at their Kawartha area farm and to providing their customers with a local alternative to factory-farmed beef. Their certified Black Angus cattle are raised on pasture with no growth hormones or antibiotics. Their diet is supplemented only with non-GMO oats, barley and a little bit of wheat protein. Unlike feedlot cattle, they’re fed no corn. As Sarah says, “they don’t really need it. We’re not looking for massively huge animals with a lot of fat. Our animals are smaller, and they taste better.” In late summer and early fall, after the cattle have fattened on summer pastures, Field Sparrow Farms will be offering 100% grass-finished beef. All the farm’s beef is aged for a minimum of 14 days to enhance flavour and tenderness.
As the farm’s name implies, protecting habitat for grassland bird species is an important part of Field Sparrow Farms’ management practices. Grassland bird species, including the Bobolink, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Harrier, and, of course, the Field Sparrow, are declining significantly due to habitat loss. Bird-friendly agricultural practices, such as rotational grazing, delayed haying, and protecting riparian areas, work to increase usable nesting sites for these species. This is the Bakker’s third summer running the farm. Henry still has to work part-time off the farm to make ends meet, but the family hopes one day to be able to support themselves on the farm. To make that happen, they plan to expand their offerings over time to include poultry, sheep and pigs.
Here’s one of Sarah’s favourite recipes for marinating steaks:
Rub steak with cut clove of garlic. (I toss it in the marinade as well). Season olive oil to taste with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Add lemon juice and pour over steak. Marinate for 1-2 hours.
You’ll find more recipes on their website.
Hooked Inc. -- Confusion about what fish was sustainable and safe to eat prompted Kristin and Dan Donovan to open their Leslieville store. Their connections to fishers and distributors is close and personal; no links in this food chain are invisible, and that's how they like it.
At market they will be selling all Ontario lake and farmed fish, but will have an occasional oyster shuck just for giggles.
St. John’s Bakery: Bread With a Mission! St. John's Bakery is a social enterprise business owned and operated by St. John's The Compassionate Mission. The bakery serves as a training ground and employer for people on social assistance, and currently employs 20 people.
The bakery offers over a dozen varieties of handmade organic bread made in the traditional French way. Most of the breads are sourdough. The process requires a lot of time, but it brings out the full flavour of the grain and is more nutritious than conventional bread. On a typical Friday in summer, the bakery produces up to 1,200 chewy, delicious loaves ranging from spelt, to olive/cilantro, to walnut/raisin, to multigrain. The bakers use certified organic grains and source their ingredients locally as much as possible. Unfortunately, the price of grain has more than doubled since September, 2007, and the bakery has had to raise their prices. They’re hoping consumers will understand. They welcome consumer feedback.
Prepared foods and other
Coffeecology -- The next best thing to eating close to the foodshed is supporting remote communities by practicing fair trade.
Roger Abbiss roasts coffee in Dundas, and gets his beans from sustainably grown sources and by practicing fair trade relations with some of the poorest coffee growing communities in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.
Cofeecology goes even a step farther by offering their coffee in 12 oz glass jars with a $1 return policy. You can enjoy a fresh brew, or take home beans from a light to dark roast, and freshly ground on the spot to your liking.
Monforte Dairy -- In 2010 Monforte launched its new dairy in Stratford, Ontario, and owner Ruth Klahsen has big plans. Her artisanal goat and sheep cheeses have already won her accolades, but this year she’ll be adding to her repertoire with cheeses made from cow and water buffalo milk. Ruth loves to experiment and try new things. She’s even got a drink made from fermented horse’s milk in the works!
Ruth originally trained as a chef at the Stratford Chef’s School. She switched from cooking to cheese making because she was “trying to find a career to get old in”. As she says, “the theory was to find something less intense than cooking. It hasn’t worked out that way.” She worked tirelessly to build her new dairy and developed an innovative micro-financing scheme to raise capital. Using Community Shared Agriculture as a model, she raised more than $400,000 from her cheese-loving customer base. (Contributors can redeem their vouchers at Withrow Market.) She’s convinced that the dairy would never have happened without the support of her customers. Of course, the dairy couldn’t operate without the shepherds and farmers who supply the “astonishingly good milk”. Ruth credits them with helping to build a sustainable dairy and with assuring the welfare of their animals.
Tiffinday -- Seema Pabari, founder and owner of Tiffinday, escaped the rat race and is living her dream: sustainably catered Indian food with the goal of maintaining a triple bottom line. To honor the environment Tiffinday delivers healthy and delicious vegan lunches to offices by bike in reusable metal containers called tiffins. To support their social agenda, Seema has made a commitment to hire primarily new immigrant women from the South Asian community at a fair wage as the business expands.
At market you will find samosas, pea stuffed kachori, sweet potato roti wraps, breakfast-friendly chickpea dhoklas, and Swiss chard timpa wheels.
Manning Canning -- This is the perfect name for Christine Manning's canning enterprise. An Alberta transplant to the Big Smoke, Christine fell in love with big city living, but started missing the aspects of her former small town life. One of them: preserving food from scratch.
Christine grew up with an Italian grandmother who not only grew her own vegetables, but also preserved them for rainy days. The cool room shelves were always filled with mason jars filled with jams and pickles, so it was only natural that when Christine's own garden started producing more than her family could consume, that she, too, turned to the mighty mason jar and started to make jams, jellies, marmalades and more.
Today not only does she use the vegetables she grows in her own garden, she is forming relationships with local farmers to capture the best of what Ontario grows inside her jars. Some products include (among many others) caramelized onion & roasted garlic jam, sweet n' spicy pickled carrots, apple Earl Grey jelly.
Read Christine's blog or follow her @misscackles on twitter to find out more about Manning Canning and Christine's approach to preserving.
Introducing: Eudora's Fine Foods (Brampton ON) - Indian sauces & chutneys
Introducing: Sweet Sammies (Toronto ON) - Ice cream sandwiches; gluten-free available