Home for the Holidays

All of us from the Indy Winter Farmers Market hope you have had very happy holidays thus far, including the sharing of good food with great friends and family. Traveling out of Indianapolis to my childhood home for the holidays has already made me grateful for my Indianapolis home. We have shared some lovely meals with both family and friends, but I have really been astonished with the realizations of all the wonderful food items that have been brought to my daily meals through the farmers market. Observing the difference of grocery store reliant food shopping and the tastes of subsequent meals at home makes me very aware and very thankful, again, for this market – including all the many volunteers, growers, producers and patrons that make it possible.

The market is open tomorrow, though it will be a little smaller in vendor numbers. Nonetheless, we encourage you to make it out and make the most of the broad variety of options that will be available tomorrow. Sweet potatoes are back with Heartland Family Farm, Capriole Cheese, onions and greens from Stout’s Melody Acres, the wonderful pasta sauces and mushroom patties of local folks foods, and plenty of delightful baked goodness from Valentine Hill and Rene’s, and of course chicken, eggs, and so much more! Take you visiting friends and family and share with them Indy’s new winter delight!

Also, the new Indy Food Coop will be back with information and taking memberships. Find out how you can be one of the founding 150 members!

We’ll be back in full swing with some fun new additions on January 3rd. Gradually the days will be getting longer again, and before we know it spring will be blooming. Personally, I’m going to enjoy winter while it is hear, and continue to delight in the wonders of winter bounty that fill the tables of our growers and producers each week.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you Saturday!

A little holiday in life

I realized last Saturday that spending the morning at the Indy Winter Market make every Saturday feel like a holiday. That is not to say that organizing a farmers market is not a lot of work, should you be considering it. It is. But the pleasure of spending Saturday morning in a room filled with loving grown and produced food, and people who are passionate about growing and producing it bringing their passion to people who are immensely excited and grateful to be taking that food home to share with their families and friends is nearly indescribable. Watching friends – be they 4 or 40 or 80 years old – meet and chat and share life while buying good food nourishes my soul in a way I could not have imagined. 

A friend of mine put it well I thought, when she told me that going to the market was like walking into summer. Yes, it has been a summer-like treat to buy produce from Seldom Seen Farms, but she meant something more. To her, the gathering of friends felt like summertime when everyone is outside and about more, and you just run into friends in your neighborhood. In the winter we all tend, quite naturally, toward hibernation – staying in more and consequently missing those unplanned moments with friends. At the market, she feels she gets some of those summer-like moments in the midst of winter. 
Another friend was telling me that her two boys (aged around 4 & 6 years) REQUEST to go to the market now. Just like my friend who enjoys the summer-like feel of the market, these boys know they will get to see friends, and enjoy special treats. Much to my surprise, the desired treats are not cookies or chocolate, but rather APPLES & CIDER! My friend said before they even got in the door, one of the boys was begging for apples, which he wanted to select and eat one immediately, and cider for later. That gives me hope for a future with lower rates of childhood diabetes and obesity, and a future that believes in, buys and otherwise supports sustainable local food production.
With 4 more months ahead of us, I am looking forward to my Saturday morning holidays with you. Please continue to share your stories, as this is about so much more than a farmers market. It’s about community and the future we hope to create.
New this week:
Heartland Family Farm – sweet potatoes, multiple potato varieties, multiple winter squash varieties
Also returning in their second week are:
Alan’s Catered Events – canned fruits & vegetables, preserves, sweet treats, salsas, chutneys & more
BlackBird Pies – specialty dessert pies
Stout’s Melody Acres – onions, mustard greens, winter squash
Ragamuffin Diapers – great holiday gifts for parents looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle with and for their children
Returning this week after a week away:
Capriole Goat Cheese – fresh, ripened and aged goat cheeses
This is the week to make all of your pre-holiday purchases – last minute gifts, items for holiday meals. The market WILL BE OPEN DEC. 27 & JAN. 3, but buy those critical items this week, and then enjoy no-stress post holiday marketing with visiting family next week.
See you tomorrow!

Always something new!

Or so it has been thus far, each week there is another great new vendor to find at market. This week you’ll find the following new growers and producers:

  • BlackBird Pies – decadent dessert pies for your delight
  • Melody Acres – Randy Stout will be joining us from Franklin, Indiana with his red and yellow onions, as well as remaining winter squash, and mustard greens.
  • Ragamuffin Diapers – Kendra will be joining us from right around the corner, as she says, offering the many market moms the cloth diaper & baby wipe alternative!
  • The Indy Food Co-op – Some folks on the near east side of downtown Indianapolis have been working very hard for over a year to open a food co-op on E. 10th St. They have now purchased a building and are looking for founding members. Stop by their table (next to the Englewood book co-op table) to find out more about Indy’s aspiring alternative grocer.
If you missed them last week, but sure to check out a HOT tamale from Koy at Harvest Lodge Catering. Notice Koy also has cookies, cakes and granola that will have you back next week begging for more. Don’t miss Brandon at Feel Good Foods either. Brandon is milling Indiana grown, chemical-free whole wheat. We used it in for our first bread loaf this week and it’s one of the best loaves we’ve made in a while! Make sure to get your favorite Endangered Species Chocolate this week or next. Excellent for your afternoon chocolate cravings, or in holiday goodie bags.
Capriole is home on the farm, working hard to fill all the holiday goat cheese demands, but they will be back at market on December 20th.
As always, drop an email to Market Master Laura Henderson if you have questions, suggestions, or ideas for the Indy Winter Farmers Market! We want to continue to make a place where community gathers and grows. Thanks to all who came out last week. It was an especially festive feeling week with the snow falling outside, hot tamales inside, and folks standing around to visit for a while.
See you tomorrow!

Rembering, Celebrating & Thanking Bob Landman

Bob Landman, owner of Good Earth Natural Foods in Broad Ripple, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday night, December 6th. The news hit hard in our household, as I know it will in households across Indianapolis, the state, and even the nation as the online store services customers all over the United States. 

I never saw Bob without receiving a boisterously friendly greeting, usually accompanied by a funny quip or spontaneous serenade. As a customer, he (and the staff) made me feel welcome and made me want to come back. I’ll admit that I’ve sought out the Good Earth on a “bad day,” knowing the warmth and coziness of the store always makes me feel happy. If Bob was there, he would be sure to make me laugh, and I could top the whole experience with an indulgent Mocha Pie or oatmeal cake! Who could ask for more?

While I know people for whom the maze-like, filled-to-the-gills store and “everybody knows your name” atmosphere is at first intimidating, I am sure that those Bob-like qualities of quirkiness, warmth, welcoming, (and slight uncertainty of what might happen next when you’re there) have been to the key to keeping the Good Earth open for nearly 40 years. Yes, the shoes are great, the inventory is vast, the staff are patiently helpful, and the prices are great. But I believe the greatest success of the Good Earth has been building a community of customers that make it more than just a place to shop. Bob gave this city an alternative to the big box grocery when there were no other options, and even as other options have come and gone, the Good Earth has remained – locally owned and operated, supported by a community of local customers. 

Bob will be dearly and deeply missed. The presence and energy he gave the store are irreplaceable, and yet I believe the heart he gave the store will continue to beat strongly in the community he helped create. And so, a thousand thanks to Bob for being himself, and for believing in his little store with big heart! His greetings, jokes, songs and musings will echo within the walls of the Good Earth, and leave smiling ripples in the community for years to come.

HOT TAMALES!!

As if you needed any more great reasons to come to market, three new producer-vendors will be joining the already stellar market line-up this week.

Starting tomorrow, Dec. 6th, Koy – lovingly known as “the tamale guy” – will have hot (and frozen 4 packs of Harvest Lodge Catering’s specialty tamales ready for your in-market indulging pleasure. Don’t miss out!

Also new this week, Brandon Hamilton of Feel Good Foods will be bringing Indiana grown and milled whole wheat flour to market for your home baking needs. Other Feel Good Foods products include homemade salad dressings, healthy snack bars, and roasted chickpeas.

Rounding out the trifecta of new producers, Endangered Species Chocolate joins the market tomorrow with their locally produced line of decadent and socially responsible chocolate bars.

Of course all your other favorite growers and producers will be there, with a full house of 26 vendors this week. Don’t be left out in the cold this week! Come inside the warm and inviting Indianapolis Winter Farmers Market. It will remind you of all there is to love about winter in Indiana!

Been looking for a little more light in your life? The King Park neighborhood has just the thing for you – giant whimsical luminaries! The Light the Way luminaries created by artists and individuals around the city as part of Tom Turlemke’s Great Ideas Project will be available for sale this Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00 in the central wing of the Indy Winter Farmers Market building. Each luminary is $25 and you will receive an individual light strand and light bulb with your purchase. All profits will be reinvested in additional public art in the King Park neighborhood! We can accept cash or check for your purchase.

See you in the morning!

Taking Inspiration from Alice Waters

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Alice Waters speak at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the exciting experience of participating in the Planet Indy networking event following the talk. The Indy Winter Farmers Market (IWFM) was one of 25 information tables related to food education, local food advocacy and sustainable living. I met some wonderful people who were new to me and the market, and saw many folks familiar to IWFM – both our grower/producer vendors and patrons. Alice Waters talk was inspiring as always, and standing in a room full of hundreds of people sharing a passionate belief in our local food culture and economy was hugely encouraging and inspiring. Other participants included Slow Food Indy, our own Seldom Seen Farm, Traders Point Creamery, other local producers, the Indy Food Coop, elementary schools, chefs in training, Indy Living Green Magazine, Green Piece & Endangered Species Chocolate (coming to market for the first time this week), the recycling coalition, the Hoosier Environmental Council, and many more. Many thanks to the IMA and Planet Indy for putting on this important event.

I wanted to share a few notes that I scribbled down while Alice was speaking. If you don’t know anything about Alice Waters or the work she does look her up and be inspired.

  • She spoke of living in France during her junior year abroad, where she made friends with French people, for whom “everyday was puncuated by food related decisions” – in a positive way. People built the day around getting to the right shops for fresh, local food items, and meeting friends for long, relaxed, truly social meals, and making meals at home. I wish that for every one.
  • She noted that food which you can eat directly (as in from the garden or the tree) puts you “in harmony with the natural world.” I believe this to be true, and again wish it for everyone.
  • On the other hand, food that has been mass produced and shipped from far away truly engenders a sense of alienation, often suffered with no awareness of this relationship.
  • As a yoga teacher myself, I could feel what she was saying when she expressed the pleasure of watching patrons in her restaurant, Chez Panisse, transform from stressed out diners to happy eaters. I believe I have experienced myself and witnessed in others something similar in folks at farmers markets. Just the closeness to real food and the people who grow it can be for some of us very soothing.
  • Alice Waters has taken up the charge to “bring values of good food” to society, largely through advocating a national commitment to an edible education. She has successfully established a working model for edible schoolyards, and believes this is possible not only of the Berkley, CA school system, but for every school in the nation. Not only do school lunches then become an interactive growing and learning experience, but making food bridges students (and indeed all of us) to exploring cultures different from our own, local & international history, biodiversity, even biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics can all be easily and interestingly taught in relation to real life examples in growing, producing, preparing and eating food.
  • She quoted a bummersticker that reads, “If I am what I eat, then I’m fast, cheap and easy.” Sure, it is cleaver and makes us laugh, but she asked, do we want to raise children who are “fast, cheap and easy?” Is that what we want for ourselves, our friends, our families, our nation?
  • She encouraged us that the goal is not just to build gardens for show, but to integrate our relationship to food into the educational system, and in doing so, to revive, strengthen, and grow our local economies. Hundreds of small family farms are lost every year, (while 17,000 new mass, industrially produced products hit grocery stores YEARLY). We can SAVE farms that are growing real, sustainable, natural, directly edible foods – good & clean by Slow Food standards, by paying fair prices to bring their products into our homes, schools, restaurants, museums, work places, churches, grocery stores! and everywhere else we eat.
  • In closing she unapologetically avowed that “What we are feeding our children is immoral.” Of course I know that if you are reading this and coming to the market, this probably does not apply to you. However, she is asking us to take responsibility not only for our ‘own,’ but for actively working to bring (and be) the change we want to see. It should not only be a handful of children who get to enjoy the pleasures of good food now, and good health as a result, but all children, all people.

So, while we have worked hard to bring growers and producers with food that is “Good, Clean & Fair,” to the Indy Winter Farmers Market, I know our work is not done.

  • It is our goal to make accessible to you – the consumer – growers and producers who set the standard for “good, clean & fair” in our area.
  • It is our goal to encourage vendors who do not meet this standard to make the necessary changes so that they too can participate.
  • It is our goal to provide a our growers and producers with patrons who understand the difference, and are willing to pay fairly to support them.
  • It is our goal to support growers, producers, patrons, and ourselves in standing firm, not compromising to foods that do not meet the standard or promise of sustainable change for our future.
  • It is our goal that this food and this future will be accessible to all people, not just a select few.