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posted June 8, 2006

Dufferin Grove Farmers' Market

Every Thursday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

All the farmers have now returned to the market for the season and every week brings new requests by other vendors to join. Market manager Anne Freeman reported at a recent market vendors meeting that she gets about 30 new requests a month. Anne recently went to a North American farmers’ market conference in Los Angeles, where the question of “the right mix of vendors” was much discussed. Markets like ours, that seek to support local family farms, are a delicate balance of friendly competition and protection. Anne is involved in helping to spread the wealth – working with other neighborhoods (South Etobicoke, Withrow Park) which want to start a farmers’ market.

Meantime, the Dufferin Grove market is raising the table fees slightly to cover the staffing costs for set-up and clean-up. The idea is for the vendors to cover the whole market cost without any outside subsidy. That works well. But the vendors give us more than a place to shop for good food. As a social space, the market is unsurpassed. And people are gradually getting better at remembering their vegetables after ten minutes of chat with long-lost friends whom they ran into at the market. It’s an art, buying food like that.

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