Stacy gets ready to dig into fresh apple fritters.

Oh, to be in Toronto right now, where the temperatures are in the 80s (okay, the 30s, if you’re a stickler for Celsius and clueless about Fahrenheit). Here, we’ve been caught in the grip of devil rain for a week, with no end in sight. It’s downright depressing and I worry about all the veggie seedlings – rainbow chard, sugar snap peas, bush beans, beets, carrots, squashes, mizuna and other greens – that may drown if this doesn’t stop. And the heritage tomato plants are still in their cold frame, looking healthy and sturdy but quickly outgrowing their pots and sure to turn blue if taken out of their comfy little shelter in this weather.

I’m ready for happier thoughts though, which is why when I heard about Toronto’s current heat wave, I was reminded of our visit there in late April (no heat waves then, but nice weather nonetheless). Our favourite eastern rellies, Stacy and Dean, took me on a road trip to St. Jacob’s Farmers Market in the heart of Mennonite country. It’s in the Waterloo-Kitchener area about an hour’s drive from the big city.

Outside the main market buildings, numerous vendors were selling fresh fruits and vegetables, most of them imports as the growing season was just starting. I did see fresh wild garlic – or ramps, as they are called locally – and lots of  local maple syrup. In summer, I’m told, there’s a huge selection of local fruits and vegetables available there, but truth be told, we had come for a more wicked treat: the market’s famous fresh apple fritters. (more…)