Monday, May 30, 2011

Star of Indiana

I have been trying to stay in the creative realm with my blog.  Although, this may seem to be a little off the path, I had to write about a new discovery in Indianapolis. 

On the MONON bike trail, that spans across Indianapolis, there are a few neighborhoods that a cyclist, runner or walker can venture into.  One of the best stops is not far from the Broad Ripple area.  Brian and I have been riding everyday stopping at antique shops and places to eat.  My new favorite is a farm stand called Locally Grown Gardens.

There is a grassy knoll before you get to the street that has a picnic bench and some vintage garden furniture looking over the trail.  Before you make a quick left into the parking lot you hear the reggae music playing loudly.  It's not obtrusive... more inviting on a hot day.  Then you see all of the herbs and vegetable plants for sale in front of the converted automotive station which is now a small produce market and kitchen.

The doors are wide open so you can see all of the fresh produce and most inviting are the crispy crust apple pies. The whole place has an artful aesthetic.  Beautiful urns with plants on the top of a table that is covered with giant red tomatoes. Green shopping baskets neatly in the entrance.  Old appliances showcasing loaves of pumpkin, wheat and white breads baked by the proprietor.  A small dining room is off to one side with a long wood table and chunky wooden chairs ready for guests to come and enjoy a slice of pie. This is like heaven on a hot day.  We have stopped several times for a natural soda.  Ginger Beer goes down well after a long bike ride.

The owner, Ron Harris, shyly comes out from the kitchen to say hello.  He has a humility about him that is endearing and he seems very appreciative of comments and the business.  He has been a chef since he was a teenager and has the resume to prove of his abilities. 

It's obvious that he has an appreciation for local products. Along with the fruits and vegetables you can buy local honey, molasses, cheese and farm fresh eggs. As a compliment to his selections of produce there are also fine salts and oils.

There are the pies, breads and sticky buns that Chef Ron bakes but there is also the lunch and dinner options... just two.  Pulled pork sandwiches and grilled salmon.  Either with fresh greens or coleslaw.  One night we went for dinner and had the salmon.  Brian had the greens and I the coleslaw.  Both plates were beautifully adorned with oils and vinegars.  A different flavor for each of us. 

On another morning ride we stopped for a basket of strawberries and a bottle of Aqua Panna.  It was nice to sit on the lawn watching all the people pass on the trail as we enjoyed the juicy fruit and cool water.

I can't stop saying more good things about this place.  I wish we had this in San Francisco but maybe this why it is so charming to me.  A place like this can only happen and be truly appreciated in a small town.  One more reason to come to Indianapolis.