Farmers Market Update: Indianapolis

by | Mar 6, 2011

Radishes from Harvestland Farm

Radishes from Harvestland Farm

Midwest represent! I’m thrilled to have reader Chandra Flack share with us what farmers markets are like in the winter in Indiana. Who says you can’t eat well if you don’t live in CA or FL? We’re calling bollocks.

By day Chandra is a first year medical student at IU School of Medicine. By night she’s a techie, foodie, and geekgirl extraordinaire. She hopes to one day integrate her knowledge of medicine, social media, and healthy eating to focus on preventative care for her patients. Follow Chandra @chandraflack on Twitter.

Farmers Market Update: Indianapolis

by Chandra Flack

It was a brisk 32 degrees this morning as I bundled up in my winter coat to head over to the Indy Winter Farmers Market, an urban market located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, IN.

Many of the people who live, work, and shop downtown are young 20 and 30‐something college students and beginning professionals, so the market tends to have a youthful feel to it. However, being a diverse urban environment the personality of the market’s patrons is refreshing in its variety, which is characteristic of our city.

Swiss Chard (look, color!) from Good Life Farms

Swiss Chard (look, color!) from Good Life Farms

Salad greens

Salad greens

Snow is on the ground and greenery is hard to come by this time of year, unless you’re a fan of evergreens. The weather this morning is a perfect indicator of why I think the best way to enjoy a winter farmers market is to first adjust your expectations. The food simply isn’t going to be as flashy when we have to rely on tiny greenhouses and cellar stores of food harvested last fall. Don’t walk in expecting the vibrant reds and oranges and purples that you would see in the summer. Our produce comes dressed instead in subtle greens, whites, and tans.

Also, don’t necessarily expect to leave with an entire week’s worth of groceries. It will, more than likely, be necessary to supplement at the local Whole Foods or Kroger to get acceptable variety in your 5‐a‐day of fruits and veggies.

Schacht Farm

Schacht Farm

To fully enjoy the experience, its instead best to focus on what the winter market does provide — year long access to high quality meat, eggs, and milk products, as well as a more relaxed chance to form relationships with those vendors that will be selling you your long awaited strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes in the summertime.

Oh, and our market is inside so you get to enjoy climate control and as a bonus, most vendors accept credit cards.

Shiitake Mushrooms and Salad Lettuce from Homestead Growers

Shiitake Mushrooms and Salad Lettuce from Homestead Growers

Raw Milk Cheese from Sunset Acres (Rockville, IN)

Raw Milk Cheese from Sunset Acres (Rockville, IN)

Even though it is late February and our fresh food supplies are dwindling, we do have a healthy stock of salad supplies. Thanks to greenhouses, hothouses, and hydroponics we can still enjoy arugula, radishes, basil, spinach, and many other varieties of fresh greens.

Swiss Chard (look, color!) from Good Life Farms

Swiss Chard (look, color!) from Good Life Farms

Broccoli Rabe from Harvestland Farm

Broccoli Rabe from Harvestland Farm

One of the more dangerous things about our farmers’ market are the artisan vendors that take over while many of our produce vendors enter hibernation for the winter. Placed conveniently near the entrance you can enjoy samples of artisan marshmallows roasted over an “open fire.” They come in all sorts of tempting flavors like roasted pineapple, chai spice, and of course, elephant ear.

Marshmallows from 240Sweet

Marshmallows from 240Sweet

Marshmallows from 240Sweet

Marshmallows from 240Sweet

If sweets aren’t your thing there are plenty of other options. There are an unbelievable amount of baked goods, my personal favorite being freshly baked bread. After trying out a crusty baguette with baked‐inn parmesan and garlic or the flavorful, nutty sunflower bread, you’ll never be able to go back to Wonder bread.

Sunflower Bread from Brotgarden

Sunflower Bread from Brotgarden

Every week I am reminded that I need to purchase the supplies to make looseleaf tea so I can try one of the many varieties that Peace Leaf Tea has available. The tea flavor is fresh and vibrant, leaving me with absolutely no desire to overly sweeten with sugar and honey. It is delicious all on its own.

Apples at the Indy Winter Farmers Market

Apples at the Indy Winter Farmers Market

Looseleaf Tea from Peace Leaf Tea

Looseleaf Tea from Peace Leaf Tea

Indiana farmers’ markets have two main signature items. In the summertime it is corn — lots and lots of corn. In the winter, its apples. Because many orchards sell their apples on‐site during the main fall harvesting months, you’ll actually have an easier time finding apples at the farmers market later on in the winter. While slightly past their prime, they still have a crispness that is unmatched by supermarket varieties.

Ultimately, the farmers’ market (winter or summer) is a chance for me to spend time with my two most favorite things in life: people and food. Although some weeks are more plentiful than others, I enjoy knowing that I am contributing to my local economy and feeding my body food that is both delicious and healthy. I am a relative newbie when it comes to local food consumption, but I was hooked the moment I saw Darya’s first SF Farmers’ Market Update. I couldn’t wait to visit and share what we had here in the Midwest. We may not have quite as much variety as they get in sunny California, but I am still quite satisfied with our community’s effort to focus on locally produced, high quality food.

My purchases this week:

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4 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: Indianapolis”

  1. This swiss chard looks amazing! Bloomington, Indiana also has a great farmers market if you are ever in the area!

  2. Nathan Miller says:

    Very nice article, thank you soo much for shedding some light on some of the greatest folks in the Indianapolis/Indiana Area.

    The ladies at 240 Sweets are so warm and friendly and willing to go out their way to help and fill ANY orders for customers. Amazing company and even people people!

    Thanks again for the article!

  3. Patrick Monahan says:

    Chandra — thanks and great work sharing with others the treasures we have here in Indianapolis. I am also a scientist at IU School of Medicine, I am so glad to hear that you plan to integrate healthy eating and preventive medicine with your patients! I think in about 10-20 years the projection is that about 30% of USA children will have Type II diabetes and this is largely preventably through proper eating. Keep up the great work! And a big thank you and cogratulations to you, Darya, for your amazing web site and the fantastic contribution you are making to our society by spreading your knowledge to others. Patrick Monahan, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, IU School of Medicine, pmonahan@iupui.edu.

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