Emily from Indulge Eats shares why food, especially local food, matters to her, and how the Farmers Market Community has shaped her business. Often, when you buy/eat local, you're supporting a whole network of local producers that work together to create their beautiful products. Find Indulge Eats at the Wheeler Farm Farmers Market, Sugarhouse Farmers Market, and Holladay Village Farmers Market.
How did you get started?
I come from a family that is full of food lovers. My mom’s side is all farmers, my dad’s is full of foodies and amateur chefs. While I was surrounded by food, I came to it a little later. In my first life, I got my start as a photographer and I worked on movies. Cooking was more of a hobby that I picked up in between jobs. My dad likes to joke that I could barely boil water.
While I loved photography, I found more and more that it wasn’t what I felt most passionate about. I decided to have an early midlife crisis and go back to school. So I moved to NYC, where I went through an intensive program for six months. I followed that up with a string of jobs as I worked my way back west.
Eventually I wanted an outlet to express my ideas through food, and Indulge Eats was born. After going through a giant stack of notebooks to jot ideas down and a few years of recipe testing, I launched Indulge Eats on Pi Day (March 14) 2015.
Have you always worked to source locally when possible?
When I started my business, I drew a lot of inspiration from my family’s style of cooking: If you start with a good quality ingredient, you don’t need to do a lot to it. Knowing where your food comes from and being able to find something closer and fresher to where you live can do wonders for your cooking.
I think also having a direct connection to farmers helped push me in sourcing locally. Getting to see an actual working farm whenever I would visit my grandparents definitely fostered a greater appreciation for the work that goes into it. My mother would tell us all kinds of stories growing up and every year we would have a giant garden. I cannot tell you the amount of peas would eat straight out of the pod, freshly picked in our backyard. Surrounded by good, fresh, local food, I don’t think I ever wanted anything else.
What benefits do you see in doing so?
As I mentioned earlier, it makes your cooking shine without a lot of effort. A quality ingredient doesn’t need a lot of flash or flair. In my family, salt and pepper shakers on the dinner table are just for show. We never really needed it, because we were eating quality local food. The same idea applies to my business. For example, I barely have to add any sugar because the fruit is so fresh. Most of my work is in the flavor combinations.
In addition, the impact it has on the families who produce your food is everything. There’s a reason why you see farms that are multigenerational. There’s a reason why you see children playing or doing homework or working in a family-run restaurant. Food production is often a family affair, because the family well-being is directly connected to the success of the business.
How have Farmers Markets affected your business?
Farmer’s Markets have been a great resource for my business. When I started, I intentionally wanted to sell through the markets. They’re a great way to get direct feedback and the relationships you build with both your customers and your fellow vendors is priceless.
What is available at the market has actually influenced what flavors I create and how I write my recipes. Without the markets, I don’t know if I’d have a Chili Caramel or a Lemon Meringue Marshmallow. I cannot think of a better source of inspiration for me as a chef than to just walk around the market.
What do you think people stand to gain when they support local vendors?
I think people get a connection to their food and their community that you can’t get any other way, especially by going to the farmer’s markets. It’s more than just a faceless company label. When you see their names on products, you get to support your friends. Whenever you eat local products, you know exactly what’s in it. It’s a great feeling.