Farmers’ markets are more than just local produce—or summertime staples. Many are incubators for entrepreneurs, from bakers to bacon makers, and act as a gathering place for some of the best local products you might not otherwise meat—er, meet. Next time you suit up and head out to your winter market, stop by these local vendors with even better local stories.
Laotian food isn’t well-known in the Midwest, but owner Bea Gustin has expanded into markets in Carmel and Fishers, and both Nameless Catering and Market Wagon will sell them to you in bulk. The paper-thin wrappers come out crunchy and the filling soaks up the sauce. No judgment for circling back twice.
Pastry chef and owner Cindy Hawkins built her pastry business with some creative budgeting, used equipment, and labor donated by family. Now, she’s the game to beat when it comes to laminated breads like croissants. If they’re available, snag a four-pack of the obscenely decadent croissant cinnamon rolls.
It’s one of those old-fashioned stories: Jeannie Marrugo and her mom, Sherri Sego, were tired of the processed baby food they found in supermarkets, so they decided to offer something a little better. Word on the street is that Jeannie’s lactation cookies are some kind of wizard magic, and they’re available at the market and by delivery.
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Finding a good gluten-free bread is a hard journey for the gluten intolerant, but owner Hayley McGinley has made the way so much smoother. She loves real bread — artisan sourdoughs with air pockets and a chewy crust — and she kept trying formulas until she achieved it without the gluten. It’s an amazing dupe for the real thing if you have to go without.
Owner Mark LaFay’s billboard items are sausage and bacon, from South African boerewors to a delicious sugar-free paleo bacon. The secret, though, is to ask for the ground bacon ends, which can be formed into a patty and cooked on a hot skillet until it’s lacy like a smash burger. Your breakfast sandwiches will never be the same.
Locations: Fishers; Carmel; Binford
Maria Johnson learned to bake from her Grandma Hattie, and brings that same passion for scratch ingredients into her pies. It doesn’t hurt that Johnson also has her business admin bachelor’s and an MBA to help propel her food business, though a bite of pie is the best marketing.
Locations: Downtown; Broad Ripple
Genesis McKiernan-Allen and Eli Robb manage their farm with holistic practices in mind. The husband-and-wife team employs a small group of folks to help them with the back-breaking work of “beyond organic,” low-carbon, sustainable farming. The excellence of their methods shines through in their produce.
Sarah Murrell is a regular Indy Maven contributor.