"Picnic Food

With so many takeout options, the art of picnicking is definitely becoming a thing of the past. But you’ve got the basket, the thermos and those matching plastic plates. It would be a shame not to use them. Whether you need some brats for the grill or a pound of potato salad for your next potluck in the great outdoors, Indianapolis has no shortage of local delis, bakeries and food emporiums where you can pick up some perfectly delicious picnic-friendly foods.

Sure, your neighborhood big box grocery store will sell you a tub of pasta salad that was made in a factory in another state. But if you want your picnic food a little fresher, go local for the classics. Drop in at Taste Café & Marketplace (5164 N. College Ave., 317-925-2233) for curried chicken salad, homemade soups, rotisserie chicken, as well as great pastries like iced cinnamon buns and pain au chocolate. Just avoid the lunch rush. Or swing by Zest Exciting Food Creations (1055 E. 54th St., 317-466-1853) for such innovative salads as edamame succotash, as well as some great brownies and cupcakes. While you’re in Broad Ripple, don’t forget to pick up a baguette or a loaf of brioche at Rene’s Bakery (6524-B N. Cornell Ave., 317-251-2253), as well as some of the city’s best scones, muffins and cookies.

If grilling is in order, head to Claus’ German Sausage & Meats (317-632-1963), now at its new location at 1845 S. Shelby St. Known for decades as Klemm’s, this place has some of the best brats in the state, as well as a delectable — and spicy! — smoked kielbasa that will be the hit of the barbecue. Head north to Slaviansky Bazar (12540 N. Meridian St., Carmel, 317-566-9422) for delicious veal wieners, as well as wonderful Russian potato and beet salads, pickles and marinated mushrooms. Not to mention some great Baltic beers. To make your al fresco buffet even more international, don’t forget to pick up some mammoth tamales at The Tamale Place (5242 Rockville Road, 317-248-9771). Be sure to get a tamole, made with mole sauce, as well as a spiced tamale with raisins for dessert.

A host of local barbecue joints will do the slow cooking for you. True to its name, Hank’s Smoked Brisket (3736 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, 317-925-1689) will pack you up some extremely tender, nicely smoky brisket, as well as some nice sides and pies. For slightly more down-home appeal, don’t forget Ruben’s Que (2440 Lafayette Road, 317-423-7001) for excellent ribs, chicken and some of the tastiest accompaniments in town.

Need to feed a crowd? Just Cause Catering (1121 Southeastern Ave., 317-632-2664) will help plan your next picnic — and you’ll be aiding Second Helpings in its mission to end hunger in Indiana. All American Picnic Co. (950 N. Meridian St., 317-833-0025) will help with company picnics and box lunches just in time for race day or your next garden party.

Festival Food

Of all the many joys of summer, few are as patently Hoosier as the freedom to eat standing up, strolling through stands at a local festival. After such a seemingly endless winter, the first lick of an ice cream cone or the first sugary, tooth-tingling mouthful of cotton candy is a rare treat that’s sure to send you back to your childhood days at carnivals and family picnics. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of festivals focused around food to get you out of the house and grazing your way to some great eats.

Among those tributes to Indy’s local ethnic populations, the Italian Street Festival (520 Stevens St.) kicks off the season on June 8-9 with plenty of toasted ravioli and cannoli in the shadow of Holy Rosary Church. The annual Indian Market (500 W. Washington St.) pairs Native and Southwestern American art with a sampling of traditional indigenous eats the weekend of June 23-24. Some of the most authentic and eclectic eats can be found July 20-22 at the Middle Eastern Festival (4020 N. Sherman Drive), featuring live music, dancing and delectable homemade pastries in the parish hall of St. George Church. While Holy Trinity Church has broken ground on a new church construction on 106th Street, its very popular Greek Festival will still be held this year on the old church grounds (4011 N. Pennsylvania St.) Sept. 7-8. Bringing an end to the festival season are Indy Irish Fest (700 W. New York St.), running Sept. 14-16 at downtown’s Military Park and Fiesta Indianapolis (1 W. North St.), bringing the American Legion Mall to life on Sept. 15.

Wine lovers can tip back a glass or two in celebration of Indiana’s many vintners at Vintage Indiana on June 2, a day featuring regional wines and foods from local restaurants, as well as demonstrations by area chefs. Local wine is also a cornerstone of Taste of Downtown (205 N. College St.), sponsored by Easley Winery on Aug. 11. Plenty of food and a kid zone make this a perfect event for the whole family. Fruit of a less fermented sort reigns queen at Christ Church’s beloved annual Strawberry Fest, celebrated on Monument Circle Thursday, June 14. The only question is, do you want ice cream, whipped cream or both? You can have your fill of the former at the Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social, now an annual July 4 tradition at the Benjamin Harrison Home (1230 N. Delaware St.). But perhaps nothing brings out a bacchanalian treatment of Hoosier eats like the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 8-19. It’s such a popular event that in 2009, the event will be expanded to a full 16 days. That’s a lot of corndogs and lemon shakeups!

Farmers Markets

Marion County

38th & Meridian Street Farmers’ Market

Corner of 38th and Meridian streets

May 25 to Oct. 31

Thursdays: 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Abundant Life Church Farmers’ Market

Corner of 82 Street and Hauge Road

June 7 to Sept. 27

Thursdays: 4 to 7 p.m.

Binford Farmers’ Market

Southwest corner of Binford Boulevard and East 75th Street

June 2 to Sept. 29

Saturdays: 7 to 11 a.m.


Broad Ripple Farmers’ Market

Broad Ripple High School, south parking lot (1115 Broad Ripple Ave.)

May 26 to Oct. 27

Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Cumberland Farmers’ Market

Southside of Washington Street between Meijer and Speedway

May 5 to Oct. 27

Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Irvington Farmers’ Market

Northwest corner of Ellenberger Park

June 2 to Oct. 14

Sundays: 12 to 3 p.m.


The Original Farmers’ Market at the Indianapolis City Market

Market Street between the City Market and the City County Building

May to October

Wednesdays: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Traders Point Creamery Green Market

9101 Moore Road

Open year round

Fridays: 4 to 7 p.m. (May to October)

Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (November to April)


Boone County

Zionsville Farmers’ Market

Parking lot at corner of Hawthorne and Main streets

June 2 to Sept. 29

Saturdays: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Hamilton County

Carmel Farmers’ Market

South parking lot of Carmel City Hall

June 2 to Sept. 29

Saturdays: 8 to 11:30 a.m.


Fishers Farmers’ Market

Fishers Train Station

June 2 to Oct. 6

Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Noblesville Farmers’ Market

Riverview Hospital overflow parking lot

May 19 to Oct. 13

Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Johnson County

Franklin Farmers’ Market

396 Branigin Blvd.

June 9 to Sept. 8

Saturdays: 8 to 11 a.m.


Greenwood Farmers’ Market

Greenwood Public Library parking lot

April 28 to Oct. 13

Wednesdays (June to September): 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.