A serious sandwich habit is like a healthy love life – it never gets boring if you experiment with variations, and add a liberal dash of your favourite condiment. Or maybe that just applies to sandwiches. Either way, this week I decided to add some adventure to my pledge and check out a local farmer’s market for inspiration.
Sometimes doing things the hard way yields the best results, so it was with enthusiasm that I trekked out to the Sorauren market through deep snow and bitter cold, in search of… surprise?
Part of my motivation for taking on this challenge is a growing interest in getting closer to my food – more intimately involved, you might say. Now, I realize this verges on the laughable ‘entitled ethical hipster’ territory that is the (locally-sourced!) bread and butter of Portlandia – “The chicken you’ll be enjoying tonight … his name was Colin, here are his papers” – but there’s a truth to it. Knowing who makes your food and where it comes from feels good, and somehow less alienated than the usual consumer experience.
(Ed: Our other Green Champion Nathan also gets to know the fish he’s about to eat, in this post.)
Shopping at a small farmer’s market disrupts our usual food creation process. Rather than deciding on some fancy recipe and hitting up a big box grocery store for the ingredients – likely shipped here from all over the world – you instead begin from whatever is fresh and locally available and improvise a meal based around it.
Typically this means you’ll be working with fresh, seasonal ingredients – varieties of produce that have been cultivated more for flavour and nutrition than for the ability to withstand long-distance shipping and still look shiny under fluorescent lights.
My bounty from this market trip was a loaf of whole grain bread made with Red Fife wheat, some blue cheese (made from water buffalo milk – sounds weird but is it really any weirder than cow’s milk?) and a bag of surprisingly substantial, nutty-flavoured organic pea sprouts. All of it was farmed and produced by the friendly folks standing right across the market table in rubber boots and faded polar fleece.
The resulting sandwich was so effing delicious… I can’t even. The bread alone is remarkably rich and tasty, much more so than a preservative-laden supermarket loaf. It may not be as photogenic but what the hell… With flavour like this, I’ll happily continue my modest battle against the corporate food monoculture, one damn sexy sandwich at a time.
Why not spice up your lunch life with a visit to one of Toronto’s year-round farmers’ markets? You can also check out the Toronto Farmer’s Market Network for more info and a complete list of markets in the Toronto area.
Sorauren Farmers’ Market
Monday, 3 pm – 7 pm
Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market
Thursday, 3 pm – 7 pm
Brickworks Farmers’ Market
Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm
St. Lawrence Market
Saturday, 5 am – 3 pm
The Stop’s Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns
Saturday, 8 am – 12:30 pm