A phone caller last week wanted to know where to find pick-your-own strawberries in Bartholomew County. One answer was Whipker’s Market and Greenhouse. If you know of others, please pass that along.
Other times, folks have contacted Bartholomew County’s Purdue Extension office wanting to know how to find a whole hog to roast, or where/when they can find farmers markets open. We now have seven through the year in our county. And then there are the farm markets of long-standing: Daily’s, Whipkers, Hackman’s, Nienaber’s, all located on major thoroughfares into and out of Columbus, who have been doing the local food thing for a long time.
As you can imagine, the intelligence on who-raises-what-where is constantly changing, and this is why one solution offered by the Columbus Food Co-op is looking like a home run.
Hometown food guide
Story continues below gallery
Communities and growers guilds have printed local food guides connecting consumers with local producers over the years, which has become a great service as buyers find their way back to the farm.An early Columbus-area attempt at this was in the early 2000s, thanks to sponsorship from the Winding Waters Group of the Sierra Club. With a grant from the national Sierra Club, Shondra Zaborowski and Patti March organized progressive farm-to-fork dinners around downtown Columbus and produced a local food guide. I keep my copy as a reminder of those early efforts.The problem with printed guides is that they’re out of date often by the time they’re printed. Now comes the Columbus Food Co-op, with its interest in connecting local consumers with local farmers even before its doors open, and you have the Hometown Food Guide. Developed over the winter by devoted volunteers, the online guide has both interactive and printable versions listing 32 local producers of fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey and other items. It also lists farm markets and farmers markets.
Because the document is online, it can be continually updated. If fact, the Web page invites producers to submit their information for new listings — so it’s never too late! What a nice public service. Find the Hometown Food Guide online at tinyurl.com/hmtnfd.
More on markets
With the season in full swing, we hope you are finding the markets that suit your interests and schedule, whether they be the Saturday markets in Columbus, the Farmers Market of Hope, the family farm markets or the mid-week Cummins markets, which — Sarah Joyner of Cummins Corporate Hospitality wants you to know — are open to the public.Here is a summary:Columbus City Market: at the FairOaks Mall south parking lot, open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through September.
Columbus Downtown Farmers Market: on Brown Street between Fifth and Eighth streets, open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 16. It offers live music and double SNAP benefits.
Cummins Irwin Plaza Market: 501 Jackson St., Columbus, open 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 11.
Cummins Engine Plant Market: 500 Central Ave., Columbus, open 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 11.
Cummins Fuel Systems Market: 1460 N. National Road, Columbus, open 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 11.
The Farmers Market of Hope: On the town square on the first Friday of each month from 5 to 8 p.m. June through October, featuring live music and a cruise-in.
As for the caller looking for pick-your-own strawberries? She picked 26 pounds the next day. Connecting people who can help each other is part of what we do, so keep Purdue Extension in mind if we can provide a connection for you.