Last evening, instead of stalking Russel Brand’s hotel room all night as i originally had planned, a girlfriend and I were feeling earthy enough (after a couple cups of icey cold spritz) to head down to busy King West in search of the Farm Lot Launch Party.
Anything hosted by a place named The Detox Market is fine by me.
At 369 King West we found the Launch Party quietly tucked between two buildings and completely cut off from the world by rustic fences and herb gardens.
The Detox Market, Fresh City and Tas hosted the party together, successfully creating a stunning green space in the heart of downtown toronto.
They had beautiful herb gardens set up at the enrance, along with a painted mural stating “Farm The City” on the side of The Detox Market’s storefront.
Once we got behind the fences we found a small handful of local vendors offering their goods, and a large turnout of bloggers, gardeners, hipsters and drunks (aka myself and Alana) all there to celebrate #farmthecity.
We headed right for the craft brewer booth at the back of the venue named the Indie Ale House Brewing Company. Two devious looking men sat behind the booth filling up cups of ice cold Belgian beers for only $5.
We of course decided on the Belgian Fruit Ale weighing in at a hefty 8% alcohol content (ding ding ding).
This beer was FANTASTIC. It was brewed with plums and something else, and my God was it delicious. I usually get a bitter after taste from beer, and Cider’s are on the sweet side for me. This was the perfect in- between mix, and so so satisfying.
We headed down the aisle of vendors making a point to ask questions at each booth. We found that most vendors were located in the Juncation area. They join these events to publicize their craft to the right crowd, and to gain a group of loyal fans and followers.
Each man and woman standing behind their booth has put their entire heart and soul into creating something they love. They are hardworking individuals who love nothing more than to see people interested and engaged in their product. And so we tango’d
Our first stop was Urban Acorn Catering, a vegan restaurant run by two outgoing individuals who are self- proclaimed “flexitarians”, and have based their entire business off of this concept. We thought this was clever. It is hard to be Vegan, on top of all meat products you ahve to give up cheese, and seafood…and cheese. We applaud Urban Acorn for creating tasty Vegan treats, and for making it look so easy! (we know its not)
Next was my personal favorite of the evening, Cookie Martinez! who was offering up her home- made organic sweets, empanadas, and vegetable bread.
Look at that smile! And her empanadas were dynamite. Instead of being filled with meat, cheese, or potatoes, they were so light with red peppers, greens, garlic and onion.
Might as well call that sh*t a mini calzone. (haha?)
She was also giving out tastings of her award winning Guava Dipping sauce which was to die for. It was sweet and tangy, and was a delicious dip for our vegetable bread.
I ended up buying 3 empanadas from her, with dip of course. Alana bought a Vegetable Fourassa, whatever that means. mm mm good.
Next we moved down the line to Stasis Preserves, or what i liked to call Dip City.
On display they had 8 of their homemade dips/sauces/ jams to taste. My favorite were the Black Walnuts in honey which would be pefect for making baked brie. The carmelized onions were quite tasty as well since they had a slight pickled taste to them.
The couple who own this company also make house- made hummus, baba ganouj and flavored honeys at their Dundas West location, among many other creations. All of their products can be found in their store, or at any Rowe Farms locations across the city.
There were two flower vendors set up. One adorable lady named Jessica Gale from Sweet Gale Gardens grows her own organic flowers at her small, urban flower farm in Downsview Park.
For sale she had flower displays in mason jars in two different sizes: mini and small.
She fit the part perfectly of a gardener. She was bright and giggly, and had the most perfect red dress on. What a sweet woman. She believes wholeheartedly that local flowers are just as important as local food since they are fresher, last longer and have better scent. Keep up the good work Jess, can’t wait or you to harvest those sunflowers you were telling me about.
The second flowergirl’s company was named Sweet Woodruff. This copmany does not grow the flowers themselves, however they make beautiful by- order arrangements, some of which she had on display.
My favorite was the mini terranium they had created housing a tiny flag with Sweet Woodruff written on it. So adorable, it reminded of a summer snow globe. A sun globe? Yes, a sun globe.
Inspired Soap Works who sells their homemade products in The Detox Market, were giving out 1oz samples of their decliiously scented bath salts.
I took the ‘detox’ sample and Alana grabbed the ‘Cleanse’ one with tea tree and lemon.
The Detox Market has its own shop at 367 King, right beside the green space. They stayed open 2 extra hours last evening so people could puruse their shelves. They offer all organic, natural and earth friendly products from local vendors in Ontario.
Another favorite of mine was Nud Fud, a cleverly named organic crackers company that was actually featured on Dragons Den (Season 6 Episode 6).
The tall blonde woman standing confidently behind her booth told us that each cracker is made with a base of banana, coconut and chia seeds.
She handed us a sample of the carrot flavor, the green flavor and the cacao flavor. I really enjoyed the green cracker. It may look a little messed up but it is damn tasty.
After we finished talking to the vendors, we headed back for another Belgian Fruit Ale & to discuss our thoughts.
On our way out we tasted some of the delicious herbs they had in the front garden.
Fresh Dill cannot be beat. Sometimes i wonder if i actually like pickles, or if i use them as excuse to get my dill fix. (i like pickles)
Another delicious herb was the Nasturtium, which oddle tastes a lot like mustard. It hits you at the end, the bold taste of mustard. I was a little tipsy at this point and i found this idea of a mustard flavored herb absolutely giggle- worthy. Not so sure why now…
We ended our night by exploring a thin alleyway, climbing up a rusty staircase, hopping onto a fence, and then onto a high roof to eat our snacks and watch the sunset.
What a perfect evening, and a perfect idea.
The Detox Market, Farm Lot and Tas really showed how busy areas of Toronto can be transformed into living green spaces without intruding on the city.
They also successfully celebrated those hard working men and women who go out of their way to farm, cook, create and grow local, organic and earth frienly products in Ontario.
Cannot wait to see more of these spaces popping up in the future.
Way to go Toronto. I haven’t greened out in years, but for the first time i thoroughly enjoyed it 😉