July is Independent Retailer Month, a time to recognize and raise awareness about local businesses. Part of our identity at Blue Banana Market is supporting local artisans, in keeping with the independent, sui generis spirit of Kensington Market, where our retail store is located.
But what do local artisans offer, besides uniqueness? Often, a strong sense of community and responsibility, as well as the beauty or flavour of the lovingly handmade. In other cases, or in addition, the knowledge contained in family and ethnic traditions. Always, a personal passion for their products.
Are any of your favourite sauces, chocolate, coffees, teas, or soaps by Ontario companies missing? Let us know and we'll see what we can do!
We've got beautiful gleaming bottles of sauces to spice up your summer. The new Badass Barbeque line from Toronto company Wildly Delicious Fine Foods includes not only sauces but also rubs and gourmet burger condiments for an unforgettable cookout.
Our wildly extensive and popular hot sauce section features Ontario-made gourmet sauces by Hawberry Farms, on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron...
...as well as Toronto's own No. 7 Mexican hot sauce!
2. Chocolate and fudge
Our chocolate section shows the diversity of Ontario artisan chocolate culture. On the left: the 5 Chili Bullet flavour by ChocoSol Traders. Their chocolate uses cacao that's sourced directly from horizontal trade relationships with Indigenous communities in Mexico, while their other ingredients come from Southern Ontario whenever possible. This organic, vegan, trans-local chocolate has as much conscience as flavour.
On the right: if you favour a more European, but still unique, approach to chocolate, Stubbe Chocolates, with shops in Toronto and Ottawa, is a family business of several generations that started in Germany in 1845 and moved to Canada in 1989.
Our well-stocked fudge and brittles section also offers mouth-watering Ontario-made candy from My Favourite Fudge and Brittles 'n More & The Fudgery Shoppe.
Toronto coffeeholics: with so many local roasters to choose from, why would you ever want your morning cup of coffee to be less than fresh? As a bonus, local brands like Balzac's, Ezra's Pound and 23 Degrees offer lots of options for coffee lovers looking for brands or blends committed to issues like sustainability, fair trade, and local sourcing of ingredients.
New to Blue Banana Market, though familiar to frequenters of Ontario farmer's markets, is Merchants of Green, whose flagship Cafe Solar coffee is organic, fair trade, bird-friendly, and processed using renewable energy!
4. Tea and Tisane
Tea and tisane lovers, we've thought of you, too. And on the back wall of our tea section you'll find a wide selection of loose leaf teas and tisanes by our merchant Tea 4 U. The attractive 100 g packages also make a great gift for the tea connoisseurs in your life.
Our eye-catching soaps are ideal gifts. Ontario company Bean'Stock's naturally moisturizing, glycerin-based soaps are handmade and animal-byproduct-free. And on the right, Crosswind Farm's goat's milk soaps, produced on a family farm in Keene, Ontario, are skin-nourishing and preservative-free. They also smell amazing!