Farmers markets are teaming up with more Hoosier supermarkets thanks to Indiana Grown, a state agriculture department initiative spotlighted Monday at Baesler’s Market.
“Baesler’s Terre Haute store has more locally grown products than any other store in the state,” Ted McKinney, state agriculture director, said during a stop at the eastside store to promote Indiana Grown.
Baesler’s has merged its Hoosier HomeGrown program with the state campaign launched in 2015 to increase opportunities for Indiana growers and producers.
“To the community, it means that we’re now going to be able offer them even more Indiana products,” said Kristine O’Hare, Baesler’s marketing manager. “It is something that we’ve worked very hard on our own … but Indiana Grown can open the doors to so many other suppliers.”
Products from at least 20 Indiana producers, many of them located in Terre Haute and nearby communities, are now available.
Appleseed Farm has been selling its “pour pie” at Baesler’s for about 10 years but has seen a surge in interest after a tasting last year at the Indiana State Fair.
As the name implies, the product is ready-made pie filling – apple or cherry – in a jar.
“A lot of places you go, it’s trucked in from other places,” said Jennifer Ciemann, one of four generations of women who operate the Graysville business. “Here at Baesler’s they’re offering you stuff here in Indiana and you can meet your farmer. We allow people to come out … and view our farm.”
Apples and strawberries from Ditzler’s Orchards near Rosedale have also been a longstanding fixture at Baesler’s but Judy Ditzler appreciates the added exposure from Indiana Grown.
“It’s delightful to have people excited about things that are grown regionally,” she said. “We’re kind of an unusual thing with being orchards and berries in this part of the world. We really appreciate the fact that Baesler’s is willing to sell these things for us and increase our market.”
Greener Scenes of Brazil is a more recent addition, offering lettuce, basil, spinach and other salad greens.
“We are using aquaponics to raise fish in tanks and then use their wastewater to grow produce in pallet racks,” said Zac Chambers.” The produce that we grow in February is every bit as good as what we make in June.”
Indiana Grown recognizes the increasingly popular “locally grown” movement, McKinney said.
“It’s a chance to let people know in this area they’re celebrating a local farmer or a local producer of foods,” he said.
Baesler’s, which also provides Indiana Grown products at its stores in Sullivan and Linton, also benefits from the program, O’Hare said.
“With the contacts we have there, we can say, ‘Hey, we’re looking for this hard to find item, like persimmons grown in Indiana and we’re having trouble,” she said, adding that Indiana Grown can not only help locate a supplier but provide information on when its products can be delivered.
About 700 producers are part of the Indiana Grown program and about five more are added each day, McKinney said.