Notes from a Farmers’ Market Junkie: Toronto Office Markets

I wish I’d thought of that title when I began blogging about markets, but anyway…

It was via a tweet by Janet Diamond of Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops (twitter) that I learned last week that there was a new market in town. Being at ING Cafe a few blocks away from my office, I went to check it out and say hi. The tweet had been vague enough that I didn’t know what it was really about until I arrived to discover a mini-farmers’ market featuring locally grown and prepared food.

Toronto Office Markets was created by Alimentary Initiatives to bring fresh, local fresh and prepared foods to office workers. As founder Aruna Handa told me, finding local food can be a time-consuming challenge. People want it now without wanting to wait until the farmer’s market on the weekend, and they want it year round. They don’t want to take the time to look for local food.

From their website:

Alimentary Initiatives is dedicated to making locally grown and locally produced food convenient. Through the Toronto Office Market initiative, local food finds its way to our tables. By situating these markets within places of work and offering both produce and prepared foods to enjoy at work or to take home, Alimentary Initiatives is making purchasing local food as easy as strolling down to the lobby.

Toronto is truly one of the best eating cities in the world. We don’t have to settle for food shipped thousands of miles or for industrial food products. Toronto Office Markets makes fresh, local food convenient.

Everybody wins.

In October a 4 week pilot project began at the Centre for Social Innovation’s Annex branch. The pilot was successful and the market continued.

This market now runs every Tuesday. The newest Toronto Office Market at ING Direct Café at the corner of Yonge and Shuter (where Pier One Imports was until last year) had their soft launch on March 1 and officially launched on the 8th.

Markets run weekly from 11:30-1:30.

Participants at the ING location (might not be a complete list):

  • Monforte Dairy – Constance, who works the Wychwood Barns market was working the table last week
  • ChocoSol Traders – organic fair trade chocolate, tortillas. I currently have their cocoa nibs and their hemp seeds
  • Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops – selling soups and stews last week. I don’t know when the ice pops will return. Maybe this week.
  • de Floured – gluten-freen baked goods
  • Hooked – sustainable seafood. This one excites me, because they’re a store in Leslieville, coming to me. Alientary’s goal is working.
  • Luscious Dips – selling beet hummus, spicy sweet potato hummus, cabbage bowls with vegetables and more.
  • Yorktown Pie Company
  • Fresh City Farms organic produce
  • Nice Buns bakery. – Sarah does her baking at The Depanneur, where I’ve gone for two dinners and where The Pork Ninjas catered their Porknography dinner last month.
  • Earth & City – raw, vegan wraps, sandwiches, “pizzas” and more.
  • Tiffinday – Indian and vegan ready to eat food.

Oh yeah – and since last Thursday was the Jewish holiday of Purim, and one of the traditions of Purim is giving prepared food as gifts, Janet gave me a jar of roast parsnip, beet and green apple soup.

Toronto Office Market locations:

  • The original CSI Annex location at 720 Bathurst Street in the Annex Lounge, Tuesdays
  • CSI Spadina, 215 Spadina Ave., 4th floor, Wednesdays
  • The ING Direct Cafe. 221 Yonge St., main floor., Thursdays.

Follow Toronto Office Markets on Twitter. Go visit the market today. I’ll be getting lunch there.

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