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What’s On at the Saturday Farmers Market in April

It’s Earth Month! We hope you celebrate our planet and its amazing diversity here with us at the Saturday Farmers Market. 

Radishes in a basket surrounded by lettuce.

Published on March 26, 2018

As the new growing season begins, it is a great time to remember why shopping at our market is an amazing way to treat our planet well. Not only is it a great place to learn more about produce directly from the source, it is a space that reminds us that price should not be the only consideration when we think about good food. By choosing to shop at the Saturday Farmers Market, we’re demonstrate that we support environmentally sound food practices.

Weekly Themes

Saturday, April 7 | Spring Lamb

With spring finally here, we are excited to see what is sprouting out of our farmers’ fields. Seeding usually begins when the average daily temperature is above 5°C, according to Canada's Ministry of Agriculture. That means many of our farmers have been busy seeding since the end of March!   

While we wait for the sprouts to turn into lush greens, the time is just right to enjoy spring lamb. Don’t worry if you missed out during your Easter celebrations, it’s never too late to indulge in some this spring weekend!

What exactly is so special about spring lamb? Traditionally, lambs are born in the winter, so spring is when lambs are the first brought to market for the year. Fed on grass and milk, spring lamb is especially sweet and tender. We recommend preparing spring lamb with very few ingredients, so that you experience its full flavour profile. 


Recipe: Slow Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shoulder

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3.5 hours

Roast lamb in a pan with potatoes. Image from Recipe Tin.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 lb / 1.8 kg lamb shoulder (bone in)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut into 4 chunks
  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml water

Gravy

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock (or 1 cup red wine + 1 cup water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 240°C/465°F or 220°C/425°F if convection
  2. Rub lamb shoulder with olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Use a thin, sharp knife to create 12 punctures evenly throughout, leaving about 2 cm from the base
  4. Peel and quarter 3 cloves of garlic lengthwise
  5. Cut twelve 7.5 cm sprigs of rosemary
  6. Stuff garlic and rosemary into each hole with a chopstick
  7. Place onions, carrot, remaining garlic cloves and rosemary in the base of a roasting pan. Place the lamb on top of this bed of vegetables
  8. Cover with lid. Place in oven, and TURN DOWN to 180°C/350°F or 160°C/320°F if convection
  9. Roast, covered, for 3 hours. Remove lid, add 1/2 cup of water into the roasting pan and turn up the oven to 220°C/425°F and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and crisp
  10. Remove lamb and carrots from the roasting pan and transfer to a plate. Cover loosely and let it rest for 20 minutes before serving

Gravy

  1. Tilt roasting pan and skim fat from juices, leaving 2 tbsp
  2. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium high heat. Use a potato masher to mash the onion and garlic, making sure that all the garlic squeezes out of the skin. Remove and compost onion, garlic skins and rosemary from the pan
  3. Add flour and stir to mix in with the fat. Cook for 30 seconds
  4. Add chicken stock and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash garlic more if needed. Allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until it is slightly thinner than your desired consistency (it will thicken a bit as it cools), then remove from the stove. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Event: Green Living Show

After you've completed your Saturday morning shop at the market, head to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for this year's Green Living Show and learn about ways you can live a more sustainable life. 

What: Green Living Show (#GLS18)
When: April 6-8, 2018
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Click here to buy tickets!

Saturday, April 14 | Greenhouse Sprouts

Greenhouse sprouts are a great way to have your greens when the spring harvest is still growing in the fields. Maintained well, a greenhouse is capable of producing food much longer than the average growing season. At Ripple Farms, they have combined greenhouse technology with aquaponics to produce greens 365 days of the year.

Mustard sprouts grown by Ripple FarmsStop by Ripple Farms' demonstration lab here at Evergreen Brick Works to learn more about their mission, and pick up some spicy mustard sprouts (pictured) while you are there. Kind Organics also bring a wide range of sprouts to the Saturday Farmers Market, so you can mix and match for a delicious sprout salad.

In November of 2016, Ripple Farms (formerly Ripple Aquaponics) dropped a shipping container at Evergreen Brick Works. Over the next two months, the steel box was transformed into an Urban Farming Unit as a greenhouse was placed atop and fish tanks were brought in to fill the inside. Since January of 2017, the owners of Ripple Farms have been seen around the Evergreen Brick Works spending a majority of their early days working from the tables inside Cafe Belong bringing their startup to life and introducing aquaponics to the Evergreen community. Ripple was a new face to the Farmers Market in the summer of 2017, selling some fresh greens and their 'Local Lime' simple syrup while opening up the doors to engage visitors in a discussion about fish poop and the soil-less system that grows their food. During the celebration of Toronto's First Urban Agriculture Day, September 15th, Ripple partnered with Jose Arato (the owner of Pimenton) to produce a hyper-local Tilapia Paella, selling out in minutes.

Over one year later, the Ripple team has been making more frequent appearances at the winter farmers market with 'Fresh Harvest' microgreens and some of their syrup. The team has big plans for the summer as they now have two farms and worked through a number of 'growing pains' while working in their micro-climate farm. We can expect to see a variety of leafy greens and herbs this summer along with a team of young, passionate entrepreneurs who brought the farm to the city to engage Evergreen's visitors with a taste of hyper-local food. 

To read more about Ripple Farms, visit our blog How Fish Might Grow Food of the Future.

Event: Wild Foragers Society's 5th Birthday Party

As we prepare for Earth Day next week, why not join the Wild Foragers Society for their 5th birthday party! Led by Lee Earl and Rebecca Lamb, this is a great event if you are interested in learning more about our edible landscape in a safe space with other enthusiasts.

What: Wild Foragers Society 5th Birthday Party
When: Sunday April 15th, 2018 from 10 am – 1 pm
Where: Toronto (exact location to be announced)

Visit their Facebook event for more details!

Saturday, April 21 | Earth Day Weekend

It’s the day before Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate than by coming to the Saturday Farmers Market?

This year’s Earth Day campaign is focused on Ending Plastic Pollution. From injuring and poisoning marine life, disrupting human hormones and littering our landscapes, over-use, over-reliance and poor plastic waste management is damaging our ecosystem. Take a look around the Saturday Farmers Market and give appreciation to all our community members who choose not to package in plastic.

Plastic pollution floating in the ocean.

Image courtesy of Singularity Hub.

Here are 5 easy ways for you to contribute to ending plastic pollution:

  1. Bring a reusable shopping bag  
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle or travel mug – we have plenty of drinking fountains on site!
  3. Do not use disposable plastic straws – Evergreen Garden Market sells glass ones if you need to use a straw
  4. Do not use cling wrap to store food – consider using reusable glass containers
  5. If you do use plastic, make sure you dispose of it responsibly and recycle

Interested in learning more? Click here to download the Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit (PDF, 1.6mb) created by the Earth Day Network.

Event: Advance Drop-Off for Drop, Swap & Shop

While you are here on Saturday, drop off your items for our popular Drop, Swap & Shop event happening on Sunday, April 22. We will have intake from 10am–3pm, so that all Earth Day you can focus on swapping. Bonus: by dropping off early, you only pay $2 for your admission ticket! 

What: Advance Drop-Off for Drop, Swap & Shop
When: Saturday, April 21 from 10am–3pm
Where: FIDO Kitchen, located on the first floor of the Young Welcome Centre at Evergreen Brick Works

Event: Drop, Swap Shop

Drop, Swap & Shop banner.

And of course, come back tomorrow to celebrate Earth Day at our fan-favourite Drop, Swap & Shop!

What: Drop, Swap & Shop
When: Sunday April 22, 2018 from 10am–4pm 
Where: Young Welcome Centre at Evergreen Brick Works

Visit the Drop, Swap & Shop event page for more details.

Saturday, April 28 | Wild Leeks/Ramps

Wild leeks laying on a wooden table.

Locavores celebrate spring for the return of wild leeks, known for their wonderful blend of garlic and onion flavour. Unfortunately, their unique flavour has created a high demand that risks their long-term sustainability. Wild leeks actually have a very long life cycle – it can take up to 7 years to mature enough to flower and potentially produce seed pods. When we harvest them too young, we effectively eliminate their ability to reproduce.  

In order to maintain a healthy population of wild leeks, it is very important that we do not over harvest them. How can we enjoy wild leeks sustainably? Aside from not eating them, ask your forager questions and make an informed choice when you buy!

Read through this Maclean's article if you're interested in learning more about over-harvesting of wild leeks.

We hope you are all looking forward to the return of the outdoor market in May! Until then, see all the events happening here this month on our What's On calendar.