Take Our Challenge to Go Corn Syrup Free in February!

There have been a lot of Eat Local challenges, in Indy and around the country over the past year. The books, magazine articles and general media attention to the efforts of people to eat local has certainly helped to build the movement. The National Public Radio show Splendid Table, was among those presenting a year of local eating through their Locavore Nation project. You can read and listen to more at Splendid Table. Look for the January 17th episode, which also features great interviews with Barbara Kingsolver, author of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and maker of the documentary film King Corn, Aaron Woolf. Both offer great reasons for eating local.

I was then shocked while listening to the January 24th episode of the Splendid Table. Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper laughed off a listener’s suggestion that the show follow-up the Locavore Nation project with a new project, in which a group of volunteers would eat nothing that contains corn syrup for one-month. Lynne’s response to the suggestion was, “Lots o’ luck. Because when I think about it, I think the only thing that doesn’t have corn syrup in it is tap water, and I’m even a little dubious of that.”
Now, let me say that I have enjoyed listening to the Splendid Table for years, and will continue to do so. AND,  I am astonished that they would let such a splendid opportunity to educate the public on just how many grocery store mainstays do unnecessarily contain corn syrup, and how exceedingly easy it is to avoid this glut of corn syrup if you are eating local, fresh foods. While I have not read every label on every product at the market, I would stake my reputation on the fact that not a single product at the Indy Winter Farmers Market contains corn syrup.  
When I brought this up at last week’s annual Slow Food Indy meeting, a room for nearly 60 people roared back at me that they were corn syrup free and had been so for a long time. And so I decided to bring the challenge to all of you. 
We want you to post your commitment to go through the month of February without eating any products containing corn syrup, and most especially free of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). February is an especially great month for this challenge, as it will give you an excuse to leave behind the handfuls of store bought Valentine candies, and look for local folks making tastier treats that truly offer something from the heart in their homemade, handmade preparation.
How do you participate?
Just post a response to this blog post and tell us:
1) You don’t have to give your name, but we’d like it if you don’t mind.
2) How many members of your household will be participating, and ages if you don’t mind. 
3) Are you already corn syrup free? Do you have tips for others.
4) Each week I will ask for posts on your experiences of going corn syrup free that week. You then post your stories, tips, even your pitfalls to help others possibly avoid them.
5) We’d love to know what you are surprised to find contains corn syrup, especially HFCS.
THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT INTENDED TO PASS JUDGEMENT ON WHAT ANYONE IS EATING. It is simply to open discussion, and to invite interested readers to make new discoveries about the food options we are given through mainstream food production. Perhaps some readers will decide they want more personal control over what they are ingesting, perhaps not. We just figure every one should have the right to know what they are eating, and to decide what they want to eat.
Why care about eating or avoiding corn syrup?
The corn syrup lobby has come out to avidly defend itself this past year, with claims that corn syrup is no more fattening than regular table sugar. This may be true. I am not a scientist, nor any sort of expert on the matter, and I am not a nutritionist. I would suggest that way too many products contain entirely to much sugar or other kinds of sweeteners as well. The bottom line is the sugars are being added as fillers and preservatives, and I don’t believe the negative health repercussions of this are under debate. Instead they are just primarily being ignored while rates of diabetes and diet related illnesses continue to soar.
But let us set aside matters of personal health for a moment, and consider matters of social and environmental health. Foods containing corn syrup (certainly HFCS) are of the industrially processed, mass produced, petroleum reliant, cheap at all costs to labor and society model. While the sticker price in the grocery may be low, the true costs of these foods is hidden in the damages to our environment, in our reliance on oil, in our reliance on overseas production, in the damage to our health and well being, and in the loss of culinary skills, knowledge, and traditions. These types of food products encourage us to give up our food independence and self sufficiency. They are not foods that support local growers, local artisans, sustainable production, stewardship to the environment, or preservation of food traditions or cultures. Foods containing corn syrup are very unlikely to meet the standards of “good, clean, fair food.”
Yet they are ubiquitous. You are likely eating any number of products containing corn syrup, and you don’t even know it. Unless you take a moment to read labels, you will find corn syrup and HFCS has made its way into the most unsuspecting places – yogurt, bread, “healthy” prepared meals and snacks, and even vitamin water drinks found in yoga studios and fitness centers across the country. It is not a necessary ingredient, it offers NO health benefit. It is no better for you than eating sugar at best, and at worst who knows. Unfortunately, it is often the most disadvantaged members of our communities who are most reliant on these foods, and we think that is a great social injustice. 
I’m sure many of you will have plenty of other comments on the matter to post, so I will open it up for discussion. My hope to have at least 10 families commit to the challenge, and I hope a few will be just beginning to explore where corn syrup has snuck into their diet.
I will repeat: THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT A JUDGEMENT ON HOW ANYONE IS EATING NOW. It is further encouragement to keep eating local, as much as you can. The more locally you source your foods, the more homemade, small-scale the production line, the more likely you are already well on your way to being 100% corn syrup and HFCS FREE! This challenge goes hand-in-hand with eating locally, and it’s one of the many reasons that eating local offers such great health benefits.
A little more info for your interest:
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – also called isoglucose and glucose-fructose comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to increase its fructose content, and then been mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose). HFCS is used in nearly all industrially processed foods and beverages, including soft drinks, yogurt, cookies, salad dressing and tomato soup.

You can read the following two articles at Jen Dalton’s blog, civileats.com or link here: High Fructose Corn Syrup & Austism and High Fructose Corn Syrup & Mercury.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Big week at Market, Vendors in the News, Slow Food Indy Annual Meeting

This is going to be another GREAT week at the IWFM. We have 30 fantastic growers, producers and food artisans bringing their unique, quality, delightful goods to market. Available products will include apples & cider, honey, goat cheese, Black Bird Pies, yarn, soups & chowders, and all the usual great selection as well. Don’t miss out!

Indy Winter Farmers Market vendors in the news!

In today’s Indy Star! If you have not tasted them for yourself, read here about Leanne & Jeananne’s unique & wonderful artisan Black Bird Pies.
The “baked & sweet” treats of Circle City Sweets were covered by Joelene Ketzenberger on January 21, 2009. Read about it here.
Tracey Clean’s non-toxic, all natural household cleaning products for greener living were featured in a January 17th Indy Star atricle. You can read it here.
The delightful, individual serving pie creations of Daina’s Petite Pies were featured on January 7th. If you missed, you can go back and read the article at this link.


Slow Food Indy
We’d like to bring a little attention to the Indianapolis Chapter of Slow Food, and the upcoming annual meeting.

What is Slow Food?
“Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global,
grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the
pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”

(www.slowfooduse.org)

Slow Food Indy is the Indianapolis Chapter of the national branch of the
international Slow Food organization. You are invited to attend the annual
meeting of Slow Food Indy. This year’s meeting will feature the stories and
photos of some of your favorite winter market vendors who attended the Slow Food
International meeting, Terra Madre, in Torino, Italy this past October. Here are
the details:

Slow Food Indy’s Annual Meeting
Torino Tales from Terra Madre: How a world food meeting will impact
Indiana’s food culture
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2pm
Normandy Barn, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St.

Bring your favorite winter comfort food to share during a potluck meal
following the event.
Slow Food Indy’s delegates to Terra Madre in Torino, Italy, will speak
about their trip and how their experiences will impact our food culture in
central Indiana. As Slow Food Indy continues to grow, plans for 2009 will be presented to the membership and Slow Food USA members can vote on bylaws and chapter leadership for the coming year.

Vote for an Edible Garden at the White House

The Change.org vote ends on January 15th, but you can still support the effort to bring an edible garden to more household yards, including the national lawn at the White Houes, at: 
  • www.eattheview.org, 
  • www.thewhofarm.org – at this site you can also send them an email and ask them to bring the amazing WHO Farm Mobile to Indianapolis, perhaps even to our happy winter market.

Kitchen Gardeners International has been waging a web campaign–called Eat The View–to turn a portion of the White House grounds into an organic, edible garden. In fact, they have turned it into an even larger initiative called Victory Gardens 2.0 (asking the Obamas to lead the nation by example), and it’s in the running on the Ideas for Change in America contest on Change.org. The top 10 ideas will be presented to the Obama administration just before inauguration day and form the basis of a nationwide advocacy campaign to turn each idea into actual policy. You can view and vote for Victory Gardens 2.0 at http://www.change.org/ideas/view/green_the_white_house before January 15. 

We’d like to hear about your home gardens as well. As delightful as fresh food from the market in winter is, nothing beats fresh produce straight from your own garden during the warmer months. Home gardens also help us all to understand the care and effort taken by those who grow, raise and produce our food as their livelihood. Not to mention, kneeling on the ground and digging your hands down into the earth is a brilliant way to truly connect to the earth, to deeper awareness of the natural ways and rhythms of the world in which we live, and to soften, open and soothe the soul. In March, Slow Food Indy will be holding an heirloom seed sale during market. Keep posted for more information!

Braving Winter!

In case you are wondering, we will be open this Saturday, January 10th, so put on your snow boots if need be, and come on over for some warming winter goodness at the market!

This week there will be some great new and returning products to check out. Traders Point Creamery will be back with their array of milk, yogurts, cheeses and spreads. Market favorites including Capriole Goat Cheese, BlackBird Pies, Endangered Species Chocolate, Flower Child Aromatherapy, Daina’s Petite Pies, and Valentine Hill Farm will all be back this week after a week or two away. Rumor has it that Heartland Family Farm will be bringing frozen strawberries and blueberries this week – yes, frozen fresh from their fields this summer! Don’t miss out. They are sure to go fast!

The following wonderful new producers will be joining us as well.

Wildflower Ridge Honey – You have been asking for honey, and we have been working hard to find another Master Beekeeper to bring true Indiana honey to market. Many thanks to New Day Meadery for suggesting Wildflower Ridge Honey. Wildflower Ridge provides the fabulous honey used to make New Day Meadery’s magnificent mead. With hives in Madison and Hamilton counties, this honey comes from close enough to home to give you all the wonderful health benefits that local honey has to offer. Stop by Saturday to find out more!

Joseph Decuiswww.josephdecuis.com – The restaurant, inn and heritage farm in Roanoke, IN will be bringing the restaurants signature soups and gumbos to market. The product is sold frozen for you enjoy at home.

BW Bags, Paper or Plasticwww.paperorplastic.org – Neither paper or plastic are an option from BW. BW makes his bags himself, and he designs the funny, sometimes provocative quips that he stiches onto each bag. You have got to stop by and meet BW this week. You have never met a bag maker like him! He will also do customized bags and group orders. Check out BW’s Top Ten reasons to buy one of his canvas shopping bag (this is your introduction to BW’s sharp humor!):
1. You’re being forced to by the city or state, or your pretentious friends

2. That hottie you see at the store carries one and you want a date (same reason you bought the puppy)

3. You want that nickel the grocery store refunds when you bring it in

4. You’re tired of the ‘green’ thing being crammed down your throat, and you’ve decided to give in

5. You want your bag to be better than your neighbor’s

6. You’re not ‘green’, you just have class

7. You don’t know what to do with all those plastic bags. (check out our ‘Bag Management’ products)

8. You forgot someone’s birthday, and you need a gift FAST

9. You’re a closet bag collector

10. You really are ‘green’, and your other bag is worn out

Remember, this week starts the Frequent Shopper Challenge. Stop in to pick up your card and get your first hole punched! We are also still accepting IWFM logo designs for the competition. More information on both below in last week’s post.

We look forward to seeing you at market this week!

New Years Resolution

Happy New Year!

From all of us at the Indy Winter Farmers Market, we hope 2009 will be a year of happiness, passion for local food and inspiring community, and a year full of positive change and growth. We also hope it is among your new year’s resolutions to make it to the Indy Winter Farmers Market every week to support the fabulous growers and producers offering great choices for positive change in the ways we think about where our food comes from, how we shop, and what/how we eat. Without a loyal patron base, we have no market, so please continue to support yourself, your community and the local economy by making the Indy Winter Farmers Market a primary stop for your weekly grocery and personal care products. I personally hope you will also add to the resolution list to find out more about Slow Food Indy, attend one of their fantastic events, and maybe even become a member!

Frequent Shopper Challenge:
In case all the great products available at market each week are not quite enough to get you there every week, we are starting a frequent shopper challenge! How do you win the challege?

  1. Starting January 10th, we will have Frequent Shopper Cards available for you to pick up at market.
  2. Get your card punched at the Market Info Table each week that you attend.
  3. Attend at least 12 weeks between Jan. 10th – April 18th.
  4. Turn in your card on or before April 18th at the Market Info Table (there will be a box).
  5. We will draw one winner from the box at the end of market on April 18th.
  6. The winner will be notified and will pick up a Market Goods Basket worth $50 featuring items from their favorite vendors on April 24th!

Indy Winter Farmers Market Logo Design Competition:
Now that we have successfully made it through a month and a half “trial opening” and are extending through April, we think it’s about time we got a proper logo. This logo will appear on our upcoming proper web site, and in future ads, posters, and other promotional information. Since a big part of our market mission is developing a community – rather than just a place to come and shop – we thought it would be fun to invite YOU to help create our new logo. And thus, we are announcing….

The Indianapolis Winter Farmers Market (a.k.a. Indy Winter Farmers Market or IWFM) Logo Design Competition! Here’s what you need to know to submit a design:

  1. We will accept logo designs from Saturday, January 3rd through Wednesday, January 14th.
  2. Logo designs must be submitted via email to: laura@indywinterfarmersmarket.org. You are welcome to bring a printed copy to market on January 3rd or 10th in addition to your email.
  3. The Market Advisory Committee will select 4-6 finalist from all designs submitted.
  4. Finalist designs will be posted AT MARKET for the IWFM community to cast their votes on January 17th!
  5. The winning design will be posted at market on January 24th.
  6. The winning designer will receive a market gift basket valued at $100! As well as recognition on the IWFM official web site (coming soon), in the e-newsletter and on the blog, and unending gratitude from market organizers.

Tips:
Finalist market designs will likely be simple yet engaging and eye-catching, as well as easy to reproduce on a variety of promotional materials of varying sizes and medium.

Dive in to the creative energies of the new year and send us your logo design ideaslaura@indywinterfarmersmarket.org.

Market this week:
There will be a few new vendors this week. Namely, Harvest Cafe Coffee will now be attending weekly with fresh brewed coffee, a selection of whole beans, and a coffee grinder for on-site grinding to your brewing needs. Harvest Cafe Coffee empowers patrons to create personalized blends from the beans on offer each week, or ask the Harvest Cafe staff to create a blend based on your taste preferences and brewing needs!

Also new to market this week is Circle City Sweets. Be sure to find Cindy’s table of delights and treat yourself to a new indulgence in the first market of 2009. 🙂

Some Changes:
Sunset Acres, producer of the fabulous raw milk cow cheeses will be attending market on a bi-weekly basis through April. They will be at market this week, but not on January 10th. Once we get the web site up, we will post a calendar to help you keep track.

Capriole, producer of the fabulous goat milk cheeses will also be attending market on alternating weeks, beginning January 10th, not this week.

Last week was a small week for vendors and patrons a like. Most vendors will be back this week, and we hope you will too. Next week we’ll be welcoming more new vendors! Stay tuned!

Be well and we look forward to seeing you at market this week!