Biking fiercely down Washington Street, we flew towards the garden like Elliot’s gang fighting to save E.T. Cars sped by, businessmen shuffled back from their lunch breaks, and sewer grates belched up hazy summer steam, but we maintained our steady pace. Laura, a now-empty vegetable cart rambling behind her, was followed by Matthew, wearing his signature bemused expression. Audrey’s belly was filled with many a soft pretzel, which could be blamed for her lethargic pedaling, and Sara rode alongside her, a jovial sunflower bobbing from her drawstring backpack. The vegetable cart’s emptiness, the pretzels, and the merry sunflower were all attributable to the Downtown Farmer’s Market.
Last Wednesday, we joined the friendly ranks of the regular vendors, draping our “Slow Food Garden” banner across the front of our vegetable-laden table. It was a unique experience, having always been the customer at farmer’s markets, never the farmer. The most rewarding part proved the connections with customers, including one eager little fellow who asked if we had “kalantro.”
Besides our shining faces, the major attraction at the booth proved to be our husk cherries, a delightful, petite relative of the tomatillo that comes wrapped in a papery, lantern-like shell. Many a conversation stemmed from the unfamiliar fruit, one that is seldom sold in Indiana, and thus a good example of our work at the Slow Food Garden. These invaluable chances to connect with the food patrons of Indianapolis prove the worth of buying local, as it is in these chances that the circle of land, farmer, and consumer is fully realized.