Artisan Thursday | Another Fortville Son Comes Home in the Name of Local Fresh

This week the Fortville Mama crew got to meet Garst Gardens of Fortville. We learned tons about commercial vegetable gardening, bringing local fresh to the community, cooking delish veggies and entrepreneurship #farmsmatter style. Oh and the kids loved learning about broccolini, more than just a fun word to say!

The Next Generation of Local Fresh in #fabFortville

Garst Gardens is owned and operated by the talented Tim Garst. You may recognize the last name. The Garst family has been a part of Hancock County and Fortville for generations. Farming is just in their blood, but Tim will be the first to tell you that he was the last one they all expected to carry on the family legacy of farming! However, he's really excited though to take farming to a different place. Commercial vegetable farming hasn't really been done by the family since his great uncle and aunt, Paul and Josephine. Most of the family that still farms grows corn and soybeans.

Tim, the youngest of four siblings, is a trained chef by trade. He is a graduate of The Chef's Academy and spent his early career at a local Hamilton County favorite - Uptown Cafe - serving up unique dishes. Due to a new owner of the cafe, Tim found himself at a fork in the road with a great opportunity at hand that would tie his love for all-star culinary creations and quality produce together beautifully. After reflecting a bit on the possible path ahead, Tim decided to dive into his own business, embrace the spirt of the farmer within and launch Garst Gardens in his hometown of Fortville.

With this being his inaugural year, he knows there is going to be a bit of a learning curve, but he is ever thankful to have the support of his father, Dave Garst, uncle Rick Garst and tons of friends and family as well.

In a field that formerly yielded corn crops, Tim has lovingly planted his first crops of lettuce, radishes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and more. Soon the tomatoes and strawberry plants will go in the ground as well. He says he is loving doing things himself and always having a new project.

Tim, his Garst Gardens seedlings and spring produce (mostly greens and radishes) will be at the opening of the Fortville Farmers Market next week. The market takes place 4-7 p.m. on Thursdays in the Fortville Nazarene Church parking lot. Eventually Garst Gardens may explore selling organic quality produce to local restaurants who value locally sourced fresh as well (think Fox Gardin peeps), but Tim has to explore the ins and outs of that first.

One of the things I most loved about talking with Tim is that he shared a new way to eat veggies with my kids. He gave them a whole new perspective on beets, yes beets. I'm ashamed to say, I don't think they have ever had a beet. So here's the 411 from Tim.

Roasted Beets Recipe

Grab yourself a medium to large beet. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place wrapped beet(s) on a baking sheet; bake until beets are slightly soft to the touch or a fork goes in easy, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool beet(s), then rub off skins. Goes great in a salad with citrus.

See you at the market next Thursday. We can't wait!

May - September Artisan Thursdays brought to you by The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!

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