A few weeks back I met Paola Guarnieri, the vivacious Director of Communications, at the Toronto Wholesale Produce Association. She offered a personal tour of the Ontario Food Terminal and even with a 6am start I jumped at the chance.
I’ve been driving by that massive facility South of the Gardiner for years. Arriving at 5:45am I felt a sense of anticipation, though I quickly saw I was a latecomer, the terminal in full swing, most farmers and vendors having been there since 4am.
The scale is staggering, stall after stall with towering cases of avocados, peppers, tomatoes, romaine and less familiar beauties like bitter melons, kumquats, taro and lotus root.
Supplying our city with fresh produce is no easy task, it’s perishable, unpredictable and relentless. Yet the vendors wake up before many of us have gone to bed to hull their load. If it wasn’t for farmers we’d be eating boxed cereals and canned meat.
Farmers do feed cities and it’s their food we need the most.