Finding fresh, organic produce in the city and suburbs is getting easier, thanks to farmer’s markets like the Village Market. Mike Lanigan’s the man, offering home-grown organic produce at this location for years.
Situated on the bottom floor of the Toronto Waldorf School in Thornhill, the Village Market is only open Saturdays from 8:30am to 1:30pm. It pays to come early and check with Mike to see what’s fresh. It’s also inspiring to see local chefs rummage through the produce, pestering him with questions:
“Hey Mike! What the hell is this? How can I cook with it?”
The farmer, offering advice to the chef – now that’s a conversation worth participating in. What a great way to pick up ideas and recipes!
Although I’ve been here many times, I’m a relative newbie compared to some of the regulars I keep seeing every week. It’s a Saturday morning ritual for many, I’m sure. Again, it’s all about connecting with the growers, asking questions, sharing recipes, and building a community. You just don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling in a mega-corporate-supermarket, do you?
As the seasons change, I sense the regulars know what produce to expect from Mike’s farm. They’re in tune with seasonal eating, something I think many of us have lost touch with. Thanks to globalization, food may be readily available year-round, but good food – that is, top quality food that’s grown naturally by people you actually know – that’s precious. I appreciate local strawberries and tomatoes even more than I did before, now that I know they’ve got a short window of availability.
I discovered Mike’s purple haze carrots one week, and mistakenly bought only enough for one meal. They were delicious and beautiful, and I started planning dishes around them. Upon my next visit, they were gone. Done for the season. I’ll know better next year.
As for freshness, well you just can’t beat vegetables that were picked the day before you arrived. They’ll have the most taste, nutrients and colour. It’s harder to fuck up a recipe when you have fresh ingredients on hand