Hoosier Home Cooking

A question we are exploring this year around the 2016 Spirit and Place Festival is “What does home mean to you?”

To us, one answer to that question is food!

New Orleans is known for beignets; Maine is famous for lobster; Texans love their barbeque.

So what is Indiana known for?

If you’re hungry in Indiana, tenderloin might come to mind. Perhaps a sugar cream pie or corn on the cob. Maybe it’s even more personal, such as the taste of your mom’s famous Christmas morning quiche; your grandpa’s mouthwatering grilled chicken on a warm summer night; a deep fried funnel cake at the state fair with your friends.


We challenge all Indiana residents to explore the theme of home and doing it with food certainly is a tasty way to do so. Check out one of the following orchards or farms to pick your own produce for some Hoosier home cooking:

Marion County

Growing Places Indy U-pick Farm

Driving Wind Blueberry Farm

Waterman’s Family Farm

Franklin County

Alpine Berry Farm

Hamilton County

Spencer Farm

Stuckey Farm Orchard and Cider Mill

Hancock County

Tuttle Orchards

Johnson County

The Apple Works

So whether it’s shopping local directly from a farmer listed above, trying a recipe from a neighbor or visiting a new local ethnic restaurant, open your mind – and your mouth – to food that ties us together and shapes our community.

Have any additional suggestions about where to buy Indiana produce? What recipes or dishes remind you of home? Please share with us!


The Space Within

Ellen Mail

The Space Within By Ellen Mail, Intern, Growing Places Indy

The body.  Such a word more often than not evokes a sense of physical form and space.  But I am inspired most by the space within.  The space filled with thought and emotion, with memories and dreams, with ideas and visions. 

This space within is dynamic. Mine draws inspiration from those who surround me, from travels, from laughter, experience, and observation. 

Earlier this year I worked and traveled throughout Ireland with a very dear friend. For three months we submerged ourselves completely and with total abandon in the country and its people.  Despite having been home now for nearly five months, my Irish jig continues to resonate and influence my internal space.  Relationships formed, memories made, laughs had—they whirl and twirl their way into my daily thoughts.

I kept a blog of my travels as a means to document and share the experience in its entirety—time and space, people, serendipities—in short, the subtleties that enrich and transform place into much more.  I recently re-read the opening blog post I wrote before leaving in March.  It began as follows:

Dance. Sing. Floss. Travel.

Four words.  And yet, when I saw them displayed in a window the other day, I was inspired—and clearly enough so to let them guide me through my debut into the blogging world. 

I am an observer, often struck by the simpler bits and pieces–pieces that are too often over-looked despite adding a necessary element of awe, wonder, and depth to a day.  Lavender grey skies of Indiana winter afternoons.  Reflections of trees in puddles, framing the intricate designs of their limbs and branches, appreciated only during a post-snow-melt-run.  Wispy clouds.  Twinkling stars.  Bits and pieces.     

Dance. Sing. Floss. Travel.  Each word reminds me of something more.  And I just love that.  

Dance.  Unwind, be carefree, let your inner spirit shine through.

Sing.  Laugh, be joyful, seek happiness in all that you pursue.  

Floss.  Run, be healthy, achieve balance of body, mind, and spirit.   

Travel.  Explore, be curious, desire to expand your knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of different people and cultures.

As I reflect on the time I spent in Ireland, as well as the experiences and opportunities I have had since returning home, I realize it is through the sharing of experiences, ideas, and dreams from the internal space that enliven, enrich, and influence the external space surrounding the body of community and community members.  The space within is great, to be sure, as is the knowledge, growth, and development that stands to be gained—at personal and community levels—from sharing it and listening to each other.