Creamery’s market keeps growing . . .

Friday, March 14, 2008

Traders Point Creamery’s market keeps growing through winter
By Susan H. Miller
Indy Star correspondent
March 13, 2008
Farmers markets flourish in every community throughout the spring, summer and early fall, but there is one farmers market that courts consumers year-round.
Traders Point Creamery, just south of Zionsville on Moore Road, provides space inside a heated barn for local farmers to sell their products Saturday mornings from November through April. In the summer, the market moves outside and switches to Friday evenings.
Besides being the only year-round farmers market in the area, it’s also the only one exclusively for organic growers. Farmers who use pesticides and chemicals on their produce, or growth hormones in their meat, aren’t allowed to market their products at Traders Point.
There aren’t many fruits and vegetables to be had in the dead of winter, but these farmers have proven themselves resourceful.
Redwine Farm in Westfield sells dried versions of the same fresh produce it sells in summer — tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers — “anything you can grow in Indiana,” Jacob Redwine said.
All the dried vegetables Redwine sells in winter can be reconstituted in soups and stews. He grinds some of the dried vegetables and puts them in jars for consumers to use in cooking.
Another local farm has found a way to grow some of its produce year-round. Homestead Growers in Sheridan, owned by Anita and Steve Spencer, built a specially equipped barn to grow exotic mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms. In the summer, the Spencers grow a full range of garden vegetables to sell, as well.
The Spencers also have branched out to start Local Folks Foods, a local company that makes a mushroom pasta sauce, vegetarian mushroom patties and mushroom ravioli.
Traders Point Creamery’s own products — milk, yogurt, ice cream, beef and award-winning cheeses — come from grass-fed cows that are free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
With food contamination scares in recent news accounts, consumers are flocking to Traders Point and other farmers markets.
Federal farm policy, however, makes it difficult for local growers to supply area supermarkets with produce.
The Spencers grow their produce on about 15 acres rented from Steve Spencer’s parents, Fred and Sandy Spencer, who grow corn and soybeans on about 100 acres.
Under current farm policy, the government subsidizes farmers who grow traditional crops, such as corn and soybeans, but does not subsidize farmers who grow fruits and vegetables. So, if the elder Spencers lease land to their son and daughter-in-law instead of using it for corn and soybeans, they lose money, they said.
“It’s more expensive for us then to farm because we want to find a way to pay back my parents,” Steve Spencer said. “And with grain prices being so high now, they lose even more money than just the subsidies.”
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., has been trying to reform federal farm policy for the past several years to address such concerns. Lugar’s press secretary, Andy Fisher, said Lugar wants farmers to decide what they grow, not the government.
Lugar voted against the Senate farm bill in December because it didn’t offer significant reform to current policy, he said. The bill is now in negotiations in the House and Senate conference committee. Fisher said he expects it will move out of committee sometime in April.
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About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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