Renamed as the Taste of the Food Terminal (personally I liked the name Fresh Fest better - more unique and describes perfectly what the focus of the event was - fresh food!), the event was also moved to May (last year it was held in September) so we were curious what seasonal products would be available.
Quick facts about the Ontario Food Terminal (which is only open to the public this one day of the year):
- the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada and the third largest in North America after New York City and Los Angeles
- consists of a Farmer's Market with 550 stalls, a 100,000 square foot cold storage area, two restaurants and 4 acres of Farmers' Market stalls
- 1,001,210 tons of produce distributed annually
Presented by the Ontario Food Terminal Board, the Toronto Wholesale Produce Association and the Farmer's Market Tenants, the Taste of the Food Terminal raises funds and awareness for FoodShare, a charitable organization that runs a number of wonderful food initiatives, including one that focuses on student nutrition and school food literacy.
The event itself is a lot of fun and filled with chances to sample and purchase fresh produce (all proceeds go to FoodShare), listen to live music and enjoy a great day outdoors (although this year was a little cold and windy!). From the amount of cars in the parking lot and people walking around, it seemed that the event more than tripled in size from last year - I guess news about great events travel quickly! There were a lot more kid-friendly things as well, like face-painting and balloon animals, so it's a great family event.
Last year there were a lot more vegetables on offer, but I can't complain because this year because there were SO MUCH fruit! I love fruit. We ended up with apricots, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples and BAGS of cherries. I've been (happily) eating fruit salad for days! :)
Ok, seriously - have you ever seen a strawberry THIS BIG?
My only worry is that next year is going to be even more successful and this event is going to get a little too big for itself. The lineups weren't bad this year, but it was really crowded. The vendor spaces aren't made for such crowds, so it was a little difficult to move. Plus, by the time we decided to have lunch (which is included in the $10 ticket price), there were only two stations left and the lineup was so large that we gave up (the event was only half over at this time). Maybe next year!