Indiana means corn, and lots of it. But locally produced foods are more more varied. It's just that the state hasn't done a great sales job of it.
Sure there's Purdue's listing of area farmers markets and farm stands, as well as directories (somewhat updated) on localharvest.org. But easily locating producers who are still active has been a challenge.
That's what intrigued me about Home Grown Indiana. Written by Christine Barbour and Scott Hutcheson, the guidebooks keys into more than 400 local producers across the Hoosier state. As a person who's interested in sustainable living and supporting our local economy as much as possibly, the book's concept appealed to me: a geographic guide to local producers, including produce, meats, beer and wine, restaraunts and more. I learned Indiana is home to many food products that might surprise you: caviar, bison and elk, for example.
Home Grown Indiana offers an eclectic mix of listings, local eating tips and recipes. Interesteing stories and anecdotes help you learn the story behind what you're eating. One of the great advantages of locally produced goods is that you can get to know the producer, and this is just one step into the experience.
Vendors are listed by seven geographic regions that are an early attempt to organze but are not always the most intuitive. (For example, Bloomington and Columbus are left out of the "Central" region, which is instead limited to the eight-county Indianapolis metropolitan area.) Four or five regions might have made more sense.
Each chapter includes market and local producers, lists of restaraunts featuring local food, farmers market lists, wineries, breweries and food festivals. However, these topics aren't clearly marked; in some instances, CSAs and some markets are mixed among the producers, for example.
Suggestions for future editions would be to consolidate or make clearer the geographic boundaries, such as "Chicagoland" or "Evansville area." In addition, each chapter could be somewhat better organized.
Despite these small limitations, Home Grown Indiana is a fabulous first attempt at quantifying the bounty that's available within Indiana's borders.