Nathan Phillips Square Farmers Market
100 Queen Street West
Wednesdays, 8:30am – 2pm
June 4th – October 15th
I’ve got to admit that the Wednesday morning market at Nathan Phillips Square is still my favourite of all the farmers markets in the city. There is no face-painting, no snack stalls, no fun activities for the kids. Heck, usually there are no kids. And while there are “Fresh Wednesdays” concerts from noon to 1pm, it’s mostly just farmers and customers who are serious about their produce.
Most of the customers are, in fact, workers from within City Hall or the nearby office towers on Bay Street. To accommodate these customers, many of the produce vendors selling stone fruit ingeniously offer mixed baskets of seasonal items to accommodate snacking. Usually retailing for around $8, baskets can include cherries, peaches, plums and apricots, and as the season moves on, will see the addition of small sweet pears, apples and grapes.
After the creation of certified markets in the city last year as a response to a few vendors at Nathan Phillips Square selling items from the Ontario Food Terminal, almost all the 20 vendors at the square are now the farmers or producers of the products they’re selling. Vendors such as Willowtree Farm, Andrew’s Scenic Acres, Elfsong Apiaries, Bilski Farms, Sweetee Belle, Warner Fruit and Thames River Melons are fixtures here. Gurth Pretty and his Cheese of Canada booth is a welcome addition, as is the display of bread from St. John’s Bakery, and Domenic’s Meats in the airstream trailer rounds out the selection with meats and sausages.
A few regular vendors are still missing in action at this point in the season, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fellows from Brantview Apples and Cider with the first apples of the year.
One concern I’ve heard from some of the vendors at Nathan Phillips Square is that the new market at Sick Kids hospital on Tuesdays is cutting into their business. Previously, people working in the Dundas and University area would make the quick walk down to the market on Wednesdays, but as they’re shopping at Sick Kids on Tuesdays, they don’t need anything else only a day later. Obviously, we want to see all the farmers at all the markets doing well so they can support their families and continue to farm the land and supply our city with food. So anyone who hasn’t been out to the Nathan Phillips Square market yet this year should check out the great selection and competitive prices. Almost everything is in season right now, from berries to corn, watermelons to tomatoes. Stay and listen to some music at lunchtime, pick up a mixed basket of fruit to snack on, or just enjoy the fruit and flowers and friendly faces.