Local Vendors

Meet the Bruno Family. Posted on 09 Feb 11:19

If one word could describe Gary-based Organic Bread of Heaven bakery, and the way it conducts its business, it would be family.

Not only have Abigail Bruno and her family owned and operated the certified-organic bakery since 2014, but she considers the local community that they serve family as well.

“We’re very, very local,” says Abigail, who handles customer service. “We’re not really looking to build a big corporation. We just want to be able to support our family and help people around our area.”

Thirteen years ago the family launched their own organic food market, Bruno’s Organics, in Gary before relocating to Kentucky in 2011 to run their own organic farm. After a few years the Brunos felt a calling to return to their native Gary community, and as they’d always enjoyed using family recipes to make breads, pies and cookies for each other, a bakery seemed like a natural next step.

“We missed being able to help people through offering great food products, which is why we had first opened the organic store in the first place,” Abigail explains.

Those products now include breads that are certified organic and free of GMOs, preservatives, chemicals, nuts, soy or added gluten. It’s all part of the family’s mission to provide the cleanest, freshest products possible, and Abigail says the family never makes anything they wouldn’t be proud to eat at home themselves.

“There’s a big difference when you know the people who actually make your food,” she emphasizes. “The massive corporations that put out a lot of the breads in groceries are going to do whatever is most convenient for them. You just have to look at the labels on those breads – they’re putting in chemicals and other things that are going to help them produce on a large scale, and their focus isn’t on caring for the person who eats it.” 

Shop the Bruno family’s organic breads, pies, cookies, pizzas, granola and more right here on Market Wagon.

Meet Loren & Dion Graber: Growing Quality Produce 365 Days a Year. Posted on 12 Jan 08:15

While the physical size of Bremen-based Micro Farms LLC might be relatively modest at a quarter of an acre, the idea behind the operation is vast.

Loren Graber grew up on his family’s corn, soybean and dairy farm, eventually taking over the operation before deflated milk prices drove him near to bankruptcy. After a 20-year absence from farming during which he worked in the vinyl fencing business, Loren’s natural passion for horticulture and interest in vertical growing brought him back to ag.

Four years ago, Loren and his son Dion constructed an 11,000-square-foot greenhouse after deciding to try their hand at hydroponic produce cultivation and vertical growing methods.

“You can’t get more fresh than what we’re doing,” says Dion, who manages the greenhouse. “I think vertical farming is slowly catching on in Indiana, and I hope to see it show up more and more.”

If you’re wondering just how in the world vertical farming works, it’s actually fairly straightforward. Towering inside the Grabers’ facility are rows of 12-foot vertical tubes lined with removable cups for their plantings, each of which is watered via nozzles that run down the middle of each tube. The result? Nine varieties of fresh, leafy greens including kale, butterhead lettuce and poc choi, produced year-round with significantly less water than traditional farming methods.

“Our tubes are what makes us different by far – it’s my dad’s own unique design using some of his knowledge from being in the vinyl business,” explains Dion, who also grows tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers on a trellis system in a separate space within the greenhouse. ”We use collected rainwater and growstone, which is recycled glass, as our soil for our vine crops. Our peppers are about five times as sweet as what you’d buy in the store, and our tomatoes are about three times as sweet.”

Passionate about both local food systems and worldwide food accessibility, Dion plans to scale up the Micro Farms model in the coming years in order to eventually construct greenhouses in third-world countries, while further expanding the selection of produce in his own greenhouse throughout 2018 and beyond.

“When buying local, you’re keeping the money in the community,” he adds. “When you have a community that lives off of each other, your community’s going to take care of itself. And with us there are no preservatives and no chemicals ever sprayed on the plants. So you know it’s healthy, and almost any time you get anything from us it was harvested that day or the day before.”

So if you thought you couldn’t get your hands on fresh-harvested, Indiana-grown produce smack in the middle of winter, think again. The Grabers’ products are available right here on Market Wagon.

Indiana’s First Certified Organic, 100% Grass-Fed Dairy Farm Delivers Posted on 15 Sep 14:43

Tucked away near the heart of Indiana, in a triangle of 3 interstates, hidden in the woods is a farm.  Traders Point Creamery is owned today by Fritz Kunz and Jane Kunz, and it’s been in their family for three generations, since long before those interstates were buzzing nearby.  It’s here that Indiana’s first modern-day organic, 100% grass-fed dairy farm sits.

Fritz & Jane believe in “nourishing the land that nourishes us all.” Since 2003, they have blended tradition and innovation to craft artisan dairy products in harmony with nature’s design.

From the earliest days, they had a vision for the future their grandparents’ land.  It began simply enough: cattle on grass.  But today the Kunz enterprise has grown to include a farmstead restaurant, dairy bar, farm tours, summer camps, exclusive event spaces, and relationships with partner farms.

Fame of the Trader’s Point Creamery products has spread far beyond Indiana’s borders, but their commitment to our local community remains the same.  That’s why we are so excited to be delivering their products to local Hoosier households like yours at MarketWagon.com.

Shop their products here.

Cara Turned her Backyard Garden into a Local Food Business Posted on 08 Sep 15:30

It’s been almost 7 years since Cara Dafforn got the idea that her 1/3-acre garden could be a business—a real, full-time income from a space smaller than most back yards. But, just one meeting with Cara and you’ll know why her wild idea was bound to succeed. Her dedication to her goals and her unmatched passion for her craft color every conversation. Cara now farms over 2 acres of urban garden, and partners with two Indiana farm co-ops to source what her own small beds can’t meet.

Cara’s creations -- U-Relish soup mixes -- are truly as local as any meal you can buy, and Cara’s contribution to our local farm and food community is a really big "hill of beans."

When Cara was first incubating her business in a shared kitchen, she wanted to provide local food that was delicious and affordable. She devised a product that makes cooking easy and eating fun. Her slow-cooker kits are vegan, healthy, delicious, and perhaps most importantly, they’re *simple*. Just add water. Set the timer. And come back hours later to enjoy any one of six different flavors of bean soup.

Cara learned early on that, while her urban garden would anchor the flavor and be the heart of her products, they could not supply the bulk of the ingredient: chili beans, pintos, chick peas, and a litany of protein-rich legumes that make for hearty and healthy soups.

So, Cara turned her own farming focus to permaculture. She would grow dense beds of dozens of micro-ingredient crops. From just 2 acres, she reaps mint, lovage, thyme, sage, savory, oregano, annuals like celery leaf and basil, and even a selection of soft fruits grow on the tiny urban farm--currants, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

The flavor packed in each bag of U-Relish soup is a product of Indiana soils. And what flavor it is!

For the “meat” of the soup (figuratively speaking, of course), Cara partners with larger farms through two co-ops where she can source naturally-grown legumes. Dozens of acres around Indiana are busy producing the varieties of beans that Cara meticulously chooses for her own recipes.

Today, six years later, Cara’s touch is still on every bag of U-Relish—from the dried thyme that Cara picked and dried with care, to the hand-stamped label on the bag. And, at under $6.00 per bag, these kits are the most affordable local meal you can find.

We’re excited to have Cara join our online farmers market. You can order a bag of U-Relish soup today at MarketWagon.com, and say “thanks” to Cara for all her hard work to feed our local community.

Vendor Highlight: Rainfield Farm Posted on 31 Aug 16:07

For nearly 10 years, you could find Shane Hansen, sleep-deprived and groggy, but volunteering faithfully at his local farmers market in Chicago.  You can’t blame him for being a bit sluggish on Saturday mornings.  Shane was a professional nightlife promoter by trade.  But he had an appetite for fresh food—and little did he know, that appetite would soon lead to a whole new path in life.  Trading in the skyline for a hilly horizon, Shane’s biggest crowd now is the flock of hens waiting to see him every morning.

“Most of my friends were sleeping on Saturdays,” Shane said with a chuckle.  “I’d known them for years, but couldn’t tell you much about them.  Then I show up at this farmers market and everyone seemed like family.”  Shane’s foray into local food began simply enough: he loved fresh food, and the freshest he could find was at the farmers market.  If that meant he had to shop early on a Saturday, that was a price he was willing to pay. 

 Soon, shopping led to volunteering.  Then, volunteering led to working at a community garden.  It was there that Shane finally realized he liked the early mornings in the field more than late nights in a club.

“I’ve got 13 acres and a car for the same price as I was paying for an apartment and no car,” Shane boasted.  “I’d say that’s an upgrade.”

Today, you can find Shane on his 13-acre organic farm most days, when he’s not delivering fresh produce to chefs or to Market Wagon’s delivery hub.  On his small farm, Shane has figured out how to produce over 70 varieties of produce through intensive rotations and soil conditioning.  His commitment to avoid chemicals of any kind means he has to be incredibly resourceful—using cover crops, green manure, and even the natural predator of bugs (chickens) to keep his produce healthy and pest free.

What Shane had in his first decade post-college was a job—and a fun one at that.  What he has now is a life, and for decades to come he’s building a legacy for him and his family.  Shane takes immense pride in feeding his community.  Support Rainfield Farm on MarketWagon.com today.   

That's My Food. Posted on 23 Aug 15:20

One of the hallmarks of local food is the community that builds around food.  Yesterday morning, as dozens of farmers and artisans buzzed about our building, putting the product for customers like you into your tote for delivery, a casual comment from one farmer struck me.

“That’s my pork.” Alan said, pointing to a package of Pancetta.  Alan McKamey and his wife Amy raise heritage-breed hogs on their small farm, Heritage Meadows, near Clayton, Indiana.

But the package Alan was pointing to wasn’t “his” package, per se.  It was delivered from a different vendor, Turchetti’s Salumeria. 

Turchetti’s is an old-world style butcher in Indianapolis.  The founder, George Turkette, makes artisan charcuterie, cured meats, broths, and the like. 

But Alan, a local farmer, was able to point to another artisan’s work and see his contribution because George Turkette sources his meats locally from Alan’s small farm.

As a kid growing up on an Indiana farm, I never was able to point at a box of frosted flakes and say, “that’s my corn” or bite into a store-bought sausage and say, “that’s my pork.”  The industrial food system has had a dehumanizing effect both on farmers and the people that they feed, but it’s not a norm we ought to accept.

That morning, seeing the farmers and artisans buzzing about as they participated in the Market Wagon delivery process, reminded me of why we do what we do here.  It’s so farmers like Alan can say, “that’s my food,” and more importantly, so can you.

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