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Farmers’ Market Profiles: St. John’s Bakery

October 2, 2011

Happy Sunday guys!

Today I’m here to introduce a new series on this blog: Farmers’ Market Profiles! As regular readers will already know, I love my local farmers’ markets. Toronto has an astounding number of them, including a handful that are open year-round, and I’m lucky enough to live close to three excellent ones: Trinity Bellwoods on Tuesdays, Dufferin Grove on Thursdays, and my personal favorite, The Stop’s Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns on Saturday mornings. Beyond providing me with some of the best produce money can buy, these markets also feature some unique and excellent local vendors. And so I thought it’d be a fun new series to feature some of the stands I particularly love, both to show you what you may be missing and to give them a little extra buzz.

And so, for my first Farmers’ Market Profile, I’m pleased today to feature St. John’s Bakery, which in my mind is without a doubt the best bakery in Toronto.

St. John’s is an artisan bakery run by the St. John the Compassionate Mission, located in Riverside but serving the whole city. The bakery opened up 10 or so years ago, after Fr. Roberto brought back a sourdough starter from the Brittany region of France, and that same starter still fuels the bakery’s loaves today. Fittingly, St. John’s specializes in sourdoughs, though they do offer a small assortment of other loaves and sweet breads as well. You may think that focusing on sourdoughs would be limiting, but that is not at all the case: St. John’s has a remarkable variety of loaves, almost all of which I’ve tried—and almost all of which are vegan, I might add (the only exception being the Walnut Raisin, if I’m remembering correctly (which includes honey)). For example, here we have their famed Olive Cilantro…

…followed by their Celtic Multigrain Demi (probably my personal fave)…

…next we have their Country Rye…

…here is their Maria (Italian-style) loaf…

…and finally, their baguettes!

St. John’s breads are available all over the city. I usually get them at The Stop’s Saturday morning farmers’ market at Wychwood Barns (at Christie & St. Clair, more or less), but you can also find them at several other markets (including Trinity Bellwoods and Evergreen Brickworks) and many local grocery stores and retailers (such as my nearby and beloved Fiesta Farms), as well as at a select few cafes and restaurants around the city (including my nearby and beloved Hub Coffee House & Locavorium). But I particularly like Saturday mornings at Wychwood, and largely because I love seeing and talking with this guy:

This is Corey, the amazingly friendly and knowledgeable baker on duty at The Stop’s market. He’s always there to help me come to a decision (which is not easy when all the breads are so good!), and really good at telling you what to expect from what you’re getting. And extra thanks today to Corey for chatting about St. John’s with me for this feature, and for allowing me to take all these photographs!

So there you go: St. John’s Bakery in a nutshell. Visit them yourself and try their breads—you won’t be disappointed.

VeganMoFo #2/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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9 comments

  1. These breads look AMAZING! I wish I lived near your farmers market.


    • Which is why: you must come to Toronto!


  2. Oh man, that is some fine looking bread. Makes me want to bake/eat/move to Toronto and become a bakery stalker right now. Cool post, and I love the idea of profiling your favorite farmer’s market vendors!


    • Thanks! You should totally bake/eat/move to Toronto. There are many bakeries to stalk 😉


  3. Let me know when you hit the Evergreen market! I`m generally volunteering Saturdays, and we can hang out (except next week. Kingstoning for Thanksgiving!).


    • Awesome! I will for sure, although it will be hard to drag me away from the much closer Wychwood—but maybe I could do both?! And next week is out for me too (North Carolina-ing for Thanksgiving), so no worries there. Also, I’m really looking forward to your Brickworks Picnic recap—I don’t know too much about the event itself, but from what little I’ve read and the tidbits you’ve tweeted, it sounds like a blast!


      • It was SO fun, and I ate way, way, WAY too much. As you’ll see tomorrow. I didn’t know much about it going in either, but have come out with a lot more info!


  4. That bread looks gorgeous. So many beautiful loaves! I’m happy to hear they have them at Fiesta Farms too (I think I’ll give it a try soon)

    When I moved to Toronto, I was amazed at how many farmers markets happened every week, and now I’m surrounded by them. 🙂


  5. […] very happy to feature a very special farmers’ market vendor as part of my recently started Farmers’ Market Profiles series. Who is it, you ask? None other […]



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