Digging the Indianapolis Food Scene

Six years ago my wife and I started gardening. We created two 4×4 plots and planted some tomatoes and peppers. Today, our garden measures closer to 20×30 and this summer we’ve harvested strawberries, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli, onions, lettuce, edamame and more. It seems that I am not alone in my relatively new-found love of things that grow. My city shares my passion.

One sign of Indy’s green thumb sprouted in White River State Park last summer. I was a lunchtime runner at the time and my path led me by a plot of land that transformed from standard greenspace to an enchanting garden. A sign emerged labeling it as the Slow Food Garden (it was later sponsored by Wishard Hospital). All summer I tracked the progress of the garden and its somewhat unusual offerings. It’s a great addition to the park and a very visible reminder that truly fresh food doesn’t come from the grocery store.

Next, came the first annual Dig-IN event at White River State Park. I missed the inaugural event but made it this year and was not disappointed. Dig-IN is a celebration of Indiana’s farm-to-fork flavors, prepared by our foremost chefs. Over the course of a beautiful afternoon I enjoyed Kobe beef hamburgers prepared by Aaron Butts and his team from Roanoke-based Joseph Decuis, and pork tacos prepared by David Tallent of the acclaimed Restaurant Tallent in Bloomington. Of course, there were also plenty of Indy-area chefs doing their thing. It was great to see Regina Mehallick of Mass Ave’s R Bistro, and a joy to meet the ridiculously friendly Sam Brown and his students from Second Helpings. There were also breweries and wineries from across Indiana supplying local libations. It was one very tasty afternoon.

While you may have missed Dig-IN 2011 (don’t make this mistake again!) you can enjoy the practitioners of the farm-to-fork philosophy year-round in Indianapolis. Click here for a list of the restaurants featured at this year’s Dig-IN. Supporting these establishments is a boost to the innovative chefs running the kitchens and the farming families stocking their shelves. More importantly, you are treating your body to food the way is should be. Simple. Fresh. Delicious.

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  • Nathan Miller

    Very hip article. My parents too have two HUGE food plots that they look after, and I get to enjoy the bounty of their harvest! And I must saw the summer squash was amazing this year. But I also too missed Dig In last year, but made it a point to go this year, and you are right. It was spot on. Top class. And worth every penny. Thank you for spotlighting some of the local chef’s, restaurants’ businesses and artisans. Great day and amazing work put in by all. My favorites was the Tomato Gazpacho and the Corn Chowder. Also the amazing Rum Syrup from Burton’s Maple Farm, the Chocolates from Chocolate for the Spirit, Puffs from 240 Sweet, and the refreshing juice bar from Natural Born Juicers!