The City Market is an old Indianapolis tradition

While this post is mainly for my friends in Central Indiana, I’d hope it also provides encouragement to anyone who reads the post to find Winter Farmers Markets in your community. But it’s not just about farmers markets either. Small retailers, especially wine retailers, need you more than ever in the first quarter of the year. Business falls off and they need your support.

One of my favorite Saturday morning activities year round is driving 45 minutes south to Indianapolis and visit several stops where I can buy food and wine items I just can’t get in a town of 16,000 where I live.

The farmers market delivers fresh produce in winter!

My Saturday started at the Indianapolis Winter Farmers Market inside the old City Market in downtown Indy. The City Market is worth the trip with its interesting food stands and variety of vendors. I bought a dry lentil/BBQ soup mix for the crock pot from U-Relish Farm before ever getting to the Farmers Market.

The winter market draws a huge crowd. I worked my way around the market then doubled back to buy some goodies. I picked up some very flavorful pastas at Your Family’s Pasta stand. I’ve found many flavored pastas I’ve bought in the past not very flavored. I had a bite of some of the pasta at the Rubenstein’s stand and the flavors popped.

The lemon/pepper pasta rocked.

I’m a sucker for chocolates, especially truffles. I picked up some chocolate-covered orange rinds from friend Julie Bolejack’s Chocolate for the Spirit. Julie was working a different market Saturday but I was able to visit briefly with her husband. But you can never have enough, so I stopped and chatted with Suzanne Litteral at Litterally Divine Truffles and picked up a couple of dark chocolate truffles.

One of the more interesting and fun stops was with a young man behind the Smoking Goose table. The smoke and cure meats from Indiana farms with an eye toward handcrafting their products. I bought a Duck, Pear, Port Sausage. Really! I can’t wait to try it.

I bought some fresh greens for a salad and was then off for other stops.

Buttercream icing to die for!

One of the real finds of the morning was Sweet Tooth Bakery on Indy’s Massachussett’s Avenue. I had driven by the place before but had the time to stop Saturday. Cupcakes! Oh my goodness, they have cupcakes. I bought some red velevet cupcakes with rich, smooth and creamy butter cream icing. Owners Jennifer Taylor and Anastasia Duis told me they feature speciality cakes – extreme decorations might be another way of putting it.

Just an interesting side note. I asked the two nice ladies how a tiny little business in the downtown area prepares for the Feb. 5 Super Bowl? They’ve already had one order placed for 5,000 snickerdoodles! Wow!

I had lunch and a glass of wine at old friend Jill Ditmire’s Mass Ave. Wine Shop. Then I picked up a friend and we drove to the far northside to Vine and Table – a gourmet grocery and wonderful wine shop. V&T has one of the best gourmet cheese selections I’ve seen in Indiana. I bought a bottle of Loire Valley Rose’ over on the wine side.

The next stop was at Ashley Lockwood’s Cork and Cracker. I mainly stopped in just to say hello but anyone reading this knows how that works! I left with three bottles of wine.

We stopped at Fresh Market to pick up some grocery items to wrap up our day. A stop I didn’t make Saturday but is normally part of my routine is just down the street from Fresh Market. I frequently buy pasta at Nicole Taylor’s Pasta and Market.

One of the most frequently asked questions on this blog and my newspaper column is where I buy my wine. I have about four shops I visit frequently but the two above are certainly great ones for value wines in the Indy area.

Additionaly, I hope this serves to motivate you to get out and support small businesses like these during these slow winter months!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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