Food, Culture and Community - Goose the Market and The Smoking Goose
photo by Andrew McGaha
When Christopher and Mollie Eley moved back home to Indianapolis from Chicago to start Goose the Market, the odds seemed stacked against them. Driven by a passion to provide their hometown with quality products direct from local food sources, the Eleys opened up shop during the Fall of 2007 in Fall Creek Place, an unassuming location for an all natural meat and produce shop. To this day, their love for the city of Indianapolis and the desire to bring the people closer to local food sources has helped increase the community's general interest and awareness of where food comes from.
Goose the Market runs very much in the way that an old time butcher shop would, where the family lives upstairs above the shop (which the Eley's do) and makes direct contact with local farmers from where they get their meats. This helps not only the buyer obtain a quality product that is fresh but also assists the farmer who sells the animals. Buying a whole animal from a farmer and butchering it instead of buying only certain parts helps the farmer not have to worry about where or when they will be able to sell the other cuts of meat. This mode of operation therefore benefits both sides of the local market extremely well and helps eliminate possible waste.
image provided by Goose the Market
Since opening, Mollie and Christopher have enjoyed keeping a garden behind the store and being able to inform customers about when certain produce is in season and when it is not. Besides selling meats, cheeses and produce, Goose also offers made to order menu items using ingredients available in the store. They create the menu based on input by employees and a general desire to encourage customers to try something new and different. One of the joys of running a shop like Goose, Mollie explains, is getting to know customers and whole families that come in, seeing their kids grow up over the years and knowing that they are able to provide them with the best product possible. Goose the Market certainly brings people together who love good food and does it in an area that people had thought highly unlikely for such a place to thrive.
When asked if there were any challenges to running a store like Goose, Mollie mentioned that sometimes new customers are taken aback by the price of their products; however, she explained that this provides an opportunity for the customer to learn where the food comes from, the quality they can expect and why that makes such a difference in the cost. She added that supporting a local supplier does not mean you have to spend all your money buying local, organic foods; if you have a desire to eat anything local then you should do it when you can, but not feel forced to buy strictly local all the time.
photo by Kelley Jordan Heneveld
After four years of dedication and commitment to the city, Goose added a second location in 2011 geared towards larger scale production: The Smoking Goose. This added location allows for easier distribution to business partners and provides more space for their products. In addition to fine tuning their distribution, Mollie says Goose the Market plans to keep on serving the community with fresh, local products as well as keep an eye out for any new and interesting projects to get involved in.