Local food has been playing a key role in many communities for years now. This isn’t so much a new concept, and it is really picking up steam in Indianapolis. As you get started learning more about where your food comes from and how it is grown finding local stories with a friendly staff that can answer your questions will be a huge help.
The list of resources below will help get you started. It is not exhaustive, though I am happy to add to it if I missed a good one. Step into any one of these stores and you will probably find someone happy to help answer questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for there they may be able to get you in the right direction. Same goes for the farmers you will meet at the farmers markets.
A big part of shopping local is about becoming part of the community and learning more about the people who make your food. These people are all very passionate about this and would love to talk to you about it so don’t hesitate to ask and get involved.
Why you should by local
- fresher produce
- money stays in your local economy instead of the coffers of the humongous grocery store
- you can ask how it was grown or prepared
- your kids, if you have them, get to learn more about where their food comes from
- you are creating a community
Where to find local food
One of the best places to buy local is from Farmers Markets. You can cut out the middleman and go straight to the grower which means they get all the money and you get the product at a better cost. Most importantly though it means you get the freshest produce possible. It is likely that what you buy at the market was picked just a day or two before. This is important because ones something is picked it starts loosing flavor. Waiting for that corn to show up at the grocery store means it has zero chance of tasting as good as the corn you get direct from a farmer.
One of the best places to find local food is a farmer’s market. If you are lucky to live in a mild climate you probably have a large variety of markets all year round.
Small independent grocers – even though everything on the shelf might not be local you are still supporting a local spot instead of a big business.
direct from makers – as you start going to local stores, farmers markets, and restaurants that support local you will start seeing products made by local people. Sometimes they sell their products directly to customers via a website or their own store front.
Where to buy local food in Indianapolis specifically
Slow food indy snail of approval – this list is compiled yearly to keep it up to date. There are a few criteria to be on this list, but one of them is to source local products. So if you find something on this list you can feel good about the impact you are having on local food and the Indianapolis and greater Indiana economy.
Indy local food guide – this is put out by the Hoosier Farmers Market Association. They do a great job of identifying not only all the farmers markets, but also restaurants, local makers, local farmers and more to help you shop local.
Green Bean Delivery – This company is headquartered in Indianapolis, though they currently deliver and farm in other states in the midwest, and offers delivery of local produce, meat, and groceries. Not everything you find one the site will be local, but it will tell you where it comes from so you can make a better decision.
Farmers Market.com – This is one of two option in the Indianapolis area to shop an online farmers market. If you are a listener of the podcast you might remember that this is one of the ways you can buy bread from Hayley at Native Bread. How this works is you shop online and get your orders in and select your pick up location by the Tuesday deadline. One Wednesday the growers and makers deliver the items you order to your pick up location. On Thursday you stop by and pick up your order. An easier way to get to the farmers market, if like me you work on Saturday mornings.
Hoosier Harvest Market – This is option two to purchase online from local growers and producers. They also have pickup locations in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. I believe their deadline is Wednesday at Noon, but please check to make sure that hasn’t changed since the writing of this article.
Tyner Pond Farm – Want an easy way to get quality local meat? This farm allows you to shop their online store and then have it delivered to your house. You can also have it saved at a store and pick it up there. Your meat will arrive frozen, on your doorstep as soon as the next day.
There is a growing collection of local markets where you can do some of your grocery shopping. Some of these spots are big enough that you can do most of you shopping with them. Not everything in their walls will be from local growers, producers or artisans, but it is a better place to start looking and you can support a local business while you are doing it.