This Holiday Season, Start a New Tradition — Shop Locally

BY CARMEN SIERING When holiday shopping starts in earnest on Thanksgiving weekend, many folks can’t wait to pack into the big-box stores, pushing and shoving to snag a bargain. But Talisha Coppock, executive director of Downtown Bloomington Inc., suggests a different scenario for those who want to create a more meaningful holiday tradition. “It all starts with the lighting ceremony downtown,” Coppock says. “The Canopy of Lights the Friday evening after Thanksgiving really kicks it off.” On Saturday, the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market turns into the Holiday Market, offering locally grown farm products, arts and crafts, entertainment, food vendors, and a visit from Saint Nick and his reindeer. From there, Coppock encourages everyone to visit local retailers for their holiday […]

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Local Farmers Saving Monarchs and Offer Kits So You Can, Too!

BY JULIE GRAY Sean and Denise Breeden-Ost, owners of Getty’s Creek Farm, have long sold mushrooms and vegetables at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market. But if you stop by their stand this year, you’ll discover they are offering milkweed, a plant most people wouldn’t think you could even give away, let alone sell. It’s not that the two are marketing wizards seeking to buff the image of what used to be a relatively common plant. Rather, they are conservationists who want to save monarch butterflies. Milkweed and monarchs are inextricably linked. Milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and the only food source for developing monarch caterpillars. As milkweed disappears — due to urban sprawl, intensive […]

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Hop Jockeys: Sharing Passion For Craft Homebrew (Photo Gallery)

BY CARMEN SIERING Finding craft beer in Bloomington isn’t difficult, but for some hardcore beer aficionados, the fact that you can purchase beer you love is no reason to stop crafting it yourself. Better yet is the ability to share that beer with other homebrewers, get some feedback, and try a sample of what they’ve been brewing. That’s the thinking behind Bloomington Hop Jockeys (BHJ), a local homebrew club started in 2004 with just four members. Nowadays, anywhere from a dozen to 30 brewers meet at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Upland’s West Side Beer Bar, 4060 Profile Parkway, to share homebrews, talk about beer, and participate in beer-related activities. Everyone is welcome, says club president Rod Myers. “We have guys who’ve been brewing for 10 years or more, but we […]

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The Winter Farmers’ Market Is Up and Running at Harmony (Photo Gallery)

BY AUBREY DUNNUCK On December 5, the Bloomington Winter Farmers’ Market picked up right where the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market left off, making locally grown products available year-round. And there’s far more than fresh produce at the market. Every Saturday morning until March 26, there’s also a concert, a café, and a gathering place, all in the Harmony School gymnasium. Now entering its 12th season, the winter market was founded by Linda Chapman of Harvest Moon Flower Farm with support from Slow Food Bloomington and the Local Growers’ Guild. Today, the farmer-run market is a project of the Center for Sustainable Living, with more than 40 farmers and vendors participating. Katie Zukof, co-owner of Muddy Fork Farm & Bakery, has […]

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