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Liz Biro/IndyStar

Find food as good as you get in restaurants at farmers markets in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville and Indianapolis

Some of the best places to eat in Indianapolis are not restaurants. They’re farmers markets.

I spend a half-day almost every Saturday hitting as many markets as I can, and eating my way through all of them. Late summer and early fall is the best time to visit markets. That’s harvest season in Indiana, a time when the largest variety of produce is available. Winter markets happen, too, meaning you can nosh your way between the stands year-round.

These are my favorite things to eat at Indy area markets.

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Carmel summer market

8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May-September 5 Center Green, carmelfarmersmarket.com

I can’t think of a farmers market that has more stuff to eat than this one. The cheddar sausage gravy on biscuits at Old Major Market is worth every minute of the marathon you’ll have to run to burn off those luscious carbs. St. Anthanasius Byzantine Catholic Church sells can’t-stop-eating poppy seed rolls, by the slice and loaf, and buttery apricot kolachy cookies (good luck getting that dozen home). And, oh, the 3 in 1 stand’s tamales, my favorite in Indianapolis. But the best things at this market are the ribs and pulled pork chef Rosine Lewis moves direct from the smoker onto your plate at her Rosie’s Riblets food truck. Tender, not too smoky and never over-seasoned or sauced, it’s pure pork heaven. Cash only. Remember, the winter market runs 9 a.m. to noon from November through mid-March at Wilfong Pavilion in Founders Park.

Fishers summer market

8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, 6 Municipal Dr., 317-595-3150, fishers.in.us/farmersmarket

I like to compare this farmers market to the Indiana State Fair. There’s a band, a crowd and a whole section dedicated to food ready to eat on the spot. The longest line is always at Mathoo’s Egg Rolls. Owner Bea Gustin brought the recipe from her native Laos. The egg rolls are hot, crisp and rolled tight around cabbage, carrots, onions and noodles. The winter market runs 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, November through March, at the Roy G. Holland Memorial Park Building.

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Broad Ripple summer market

8 a.m. to noon May-September and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, October-November, 1115 Broad Ripple Ave., broadripplefarmersmarket.org

Follow your nose to the market’s rear where Byrne’s Grilled Pizza cooks top and grill their signature thin, crisp pies to order. Sausage, Smoking Goose bacon, jalapenos and scrambled eggs top Morning Heat, but I like the California with eggs, tomatoes, spinach, avocado and Smoking Goose bacon. Broad Ripple also hosts a Wednesday market 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. from June through September at Bent Rail Brewery, 5301 N. Winthrop Ave., where you don’t want to miss the RJ’s Bologna sandwich. A toasted bun holds thick-sliced German bologna, housemade pimento cheese, tomato jam, sliced tomatoes, mustard and bread and butter pickles. Bent Rail also hosts the winter market December-April.

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Byrne’s Grilled Pizza cooks top and grill their signature thin, crisp pies to order at the Broad Ripple summer farmers market. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)

Garfield Park summer market

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, May-October, garfieldparkfarmersmarket.com

When hunger strikes, vendors and shoppers visit Turchetti’s Salumeria for the market special sandwich. It might be house-cured pepperone salami and provolone cheese with basil, lettuce, pepperoncini and tomato sauce on focaccia. The capocollo with charred garlic scape pesto, housemade herbed ricotta, red onions and lettuce on a ciabatta sold out in a flash. Arrive early.

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Meals from the Market brings serves outdoor, communal, farm-to-table dinners during the Noblesville summer farmers market season in Noblesville. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)

Noblesville Meals from the Market

6 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 7 and 21, 839 Conner St., (317) 776-0205, noblesvillemainstreet.org

The oldest and largest Hamilton County farmers market is grand, 80 vendors, 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday May-October. But the most delicious part happens Thursday nights at Meals from the Market in the town’s south alley, next to visitors center.

The farm-to-table dinner is served to soft, live music at a long communal table that stretches the length of the red brick alley. Chef Adam Gushwa of Chef Adam’s Kitchen deli and market in Noblesville serves a changing menu. The night I attended it was boneless pork chops with cherry tomatoes and blackberries.

Tickets cost $45 each for a four-course meal . You must book online at noblesvillemainstreet.org. 

Original Farmers Market

9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, May-October, 222 East Market St., indycm.com/farmers-market

When I want pie, I want a whole pie to myself. Who doesn’t? My long-term health for one. That’s why I hit Kun’s Bakery. What seems like a mile-long display of every imaginable sweet thing includes mini pies. Always flaky, always perfect, always homemade and full of fruit. The Amish bakery is based in Logansport.

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When Bloomington’s massive summer farmers market ends its season, Muddy Fork Farm & Bakery brings its delectable croissants to the Indy Winter Farmers Market. The ham and Swiss cheese combo has crispy, cheesy edges. (Photo: Liz Biro/IndyStar)

Indy Winter Farmers Market

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., November-April, 1125 E. Brookside Ave., growingplacesindy.org/indy-winter-farmers-market

When Bloomington’s massive summer farmers market ends its season, Muddy Fork Farm & Bakery brings its delectable croissants to Indianapolis. The ham and Swiss cheese combo is my favorite because you get those crispy, cheesy edges thanks to the Swiss melting out just a little and onto the pan. If Muddy Fork’s not around, or if I’m just feeling like eating more, which I always am, I visit Pots & Pans for the s’mores tart, a thick graham cracker crust filled with silky chocolate under a mountain of gooey, flamed marshmallow.

Follow IndyStar food writer Liz Biro on Twitter: @lizbiro, Instagram: @lizbiroFacebook and Pinterest. Call her at (317) 444-6264.

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