Serving Toronto's most liveable community with the Annex Gleaner

The Bloor Bordon Market is up and running again

September 8th, 2013 · No Comments

By Beth McKay

The Green P parking lot is nestled in between Bloor Street and Lennox Street, and though this lot appears ordinary, it is yet another example as to why the Annex is such a thriving and eventful community. The Green P parking lot is used for cars throughout the week, but on Wednesdays from 3:00pm to 7:00pm it is the location of the Bloor Borden Market, which is one of four markets in Toronto’s MyMarket program. This program aims to bring certified local farmers into the city to sell their locally grown products, while simultaneously enabling them to share the importance of purchasing food from farmers rather than the common grocer.
The Bloor Border Market has consistently drawn cuisine conscience crowds from the downtown community who enjoy learning the benefits of using local products. The market also gives farmers big city business, and provides area residents with the opportunity to purchase food directly from certified local farmers; an option that is not always available in the downtown core.
The Bloor Borden Market is an energetic scene in where live steel drum music permeates the Green P lot. People carry cartons of fresh strawberries, bags of local carrots, and crates of cheese. Amongst the exchange of cash for produce there is an interaction between seller and purchaser that cannot be found in a grocery store and it is this individualized contact that farmers and customers greatly enjoy. “We take pride in quality produce, and thoroughly enjoy working one on one,” explained Gary Godelie, owner of Godelie Family Farm in Otterville Ontario, which is just South of Woodstock Ontario. Godelie grows his produce on his own farm, and therefore he speaks confidently of his products.“We only sell what we grow, and we enjoy meeting our customers. My wife even works a roadside [produce] stand at the farm in Otterville,” he enthusiastically said. The Bloor Borden Market has been occurring for six years, and Godelie has been attending since the market’s beginning. Godelie is not the only one who likes customer interaction though, as customers alike benefit from meeting the famers.
John Harstone, an Annex resident who lives minutes from the market, has been attending the Bloor Borden Market for the past five years. He explained that he frequently asks questions regarding the food which he purchases and enjoys hearing a response that is straight from the beginning of the production line. He also noted that the Bloor Borden Market has a very different culture than others in the area, such as the Trinity Bellwoods Market. “The Bloor Borden Market is more affordable, and it has all certified farmers. Whereas Trinity Bellwoods is not all certified farmers but it is all organic,” Harstone compared. He expressed the importance of attending as many of the downtown markets as possible as they are all different but all equally unique.
“Business is not as busy for us, but it is always steady and consistent,” said Stacy Denhaan of PrimerRidge Pure cheese farm. Denhaan has made the two hour drive from Markdale Ontario to the Annex for the past two years, and she frequently makes the trip alone. Though her cheese stand does not experience the high frequency of customers that the Godelie Family Farm stand experiences, she expressed that the loyalty of her customers is invaluable. “It is great to see how interested people in this area are when it comes to purchasing their food,” she said.
Though Denhaan only frequents the Annex weekly to attend and sell her products at the Market, some of her cheeses are sold at the local Rowe Farms on Bloor St. “Some of the best things that go on at this market are stores working together,” recurring marketer Harstone explained. “Rowe Farms and Cobs Bakery interchange products, and now Rowe sells this [PrimerRidge Pure] cheese in their shop” he said, gesturing to Denhaan’s cheeses. Therefore, though the market occurs only once per week, some of the fresh products linger in the Annex and surrounding regions year round giving shoppers the ability to buy these market fresh foods whenever they desire. This beneficial overlap of products would likely not have occurred had the Bloor Borden Market not introduced certified local farmer’s products to the Annex.
The Bloor Borden Market is an experience that neighbours and tourists alike should take the time to both shop around and be entertained with live music and the charismatic personalities of the certified local farmers. The MyMarket program is volunteer run and is one of the great benefits of living in the Annex. “There is a good energy at this market,” explained Amanda Vanhart of Vanhart Greenhouse. “The market seems to get busier each year, and we have been coming here for six years.” She said. Be sure to attend the Bloor Borden Market as it runs every Wednesday from 3:00 to 7:00 throughout the months of June to October in the Green P parking lot.

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