Annual Event Gives State Fairgoers a ‘Taste From Indiana Farms’
Food, farming and the Indiana State Fair just go together, and one spot where this connection is made deliciously evident is Taste From Indiana Farms, a three-day event in which food samples representing crops grown across the state are served – for free – to fairgoers.
Sponsored and organized by the Indiana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, this year’s Taste From Indiana Farms will be Aug. 18-20. The state fair itself is Aug. 7-23.
Farm Bureau has sponsored the event for around 30 years. Last year, more than 5,000 people came to the Farm Bureau Building for the free food samples.
“The focus has always been the same: to offer a taste of a food that is grown in Indiana and provide some information about family farms,” says Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president and chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee.
Samples are provided by each of INFB’s 10 districts, as well as some individual growers and commodity groups. What is offered changes every year, but anything that can be produced in Indiana and served to fairgoers is a possibility. In the past, fairgoers have been offered samples of watermelon, salsa, corn chips, tilapia, cantaloupe, roasted soybeans, lamb summer sausage, elk, wheat crackers, hardboiled eggs, honey, cucumbers, apple juice and beef sausage, to name just a few.
“We feature something from each district,” she says.
Last year’s event included two new features: the “Experimentation Station,” which offered food-related science demonstrations for kids age 4 and up; and a cooking demonstration. Last year’s cooking demonstration focused on the combined pressure cooker/slow cooker usually called an “InstaPot,” and this year’s demonstration will be how to make a complete meal with food highlighted at the event, Chism says.
While the 11-member Women’s Leadership Committee sponsors and organizes Taste, the event relies on a great deal of volunteer labor. Chism estimates that approximately 220 volunteers – most them from family farms – help out over the three days.