You know INgredients Field to Fork Market is a different kind of store even before going in: The garden out back is the giveaway. Nestled next to the old drive-through lane of a former Taco Bell, several raised beds are still loaded with kale, beets, and arugula, all gleaming under the November sunshine.
Inside, you find an air of rustic comfort where fast food once reigned. Across from a table piled high with pie pumpkins and knobby gourds are wooden bins of kabocha squash and cabbages as big as your head. Behind the counter, the day's menu is posted on panels made of reclaimed barn wood. Every shelf in the store boasts products from Indiana vendors — from potato chips to granola to barbecue sauce.
Co-proprietor Kevin Logan says, "We wanted the store to have a little bit of the old mercantile, old general store kind of feel."
INgredients was conceived as a one-stop, week-long farmers' market, growing out of Logan's and his partners' two-year-old farming enterprise, Abundant Harvest Farm. The beef and many of the vegetables featured on the menu come from Abundant Harvest.
Co-owner Tom Wiles says the farm ran afoul of anti-competitive clauses when seeking to sell at the largest farmers' markets. Opening a store was the next logical step, and the idea of a commercial kitchen and lunchtime fare soon followed. "We were very interested in growing, producing, processing, and storing the foods," he says. "And then we wanted to be able to train others to do that and to give them access to the wonderful foods we have."
Logan is a holistic physician who knows firsthand food's power to heal. In his practice he daily counsels people toward nutrient-dense food — meaning local and chemical-free. Produce ripened to fullness and eaten soon after harvest is simply more nutritious than typical grocery store fare.
His wife and co-proprietor, Jacqueline Logan, would someday like to see customers picking tomatoes straight from the beds out back. "Just to give them that connection back to the land, knowing that they just got it today off the vine."
In the meantime, chef Allison Godinez introduces guests' palates to potentially unfamiliar foods in an accessible way: spaghetti squash carbonara, for example. Instead of BLTs, Godinez makes BATs with arugula harvested just steps away from the kitchen. As much as 70 percent of the store's produce comes from local sources, the closest being the onsite garden.
Catering to several dietary plans, from gluten-free to paleo to vegetarian/vegan, Godinez relishes the chance to get creative with seasonal abundance. The autumn menu features butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and kale in various tempting incarnations. Even the baked goods are made with healthy and local in mind — using eggs from an Amish farm and Traders Point milk. Juices, smoothies, and a daily agua fresca round out the offerings.
In keeping with Abundant Harvest Farm's commitment to sustainable and organic principles, the shop carries produce, meats, and dairy from carefully vetted Indiana growers and producers.
"I spend a lot of time at (farmers') markets," says Logan. "Part of the reason I go to the market is to get good food, but the other part is to talk to the people who are growing it." Realizing that many people don't have the time to chat up farmers on Saturday mornings, Logan has done all the legwork. To give customers that sense of personal connection, farmers' bios will be posted with their products.