The New Header
"The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity
is right where you are." 
- John Burroughs

  It's countdown to Christmas!     
Couple shares their gift for pie     
They'll make yours a berry, merry Christmas
Tara Campbell has been known to transform into a Christmas elf bearing gifts of pie at this time of year. Busy as an elf would be a good way to describe she and her husband Matt, shown below, as they begin moving their Mountain Pie Co. business into a new commercial kitchen at 1228 E. Fillmore (adjacent to Ranch Foods Direct.) Here, they share more about what the holidays mean to them and what's ahead in the new year.
Q. When it comes to food at the holidays, are you personally more traditional, unconventional or a combination?

A. It's kind of a combination. We usually do a prime rib or something along those lines, which is pretty traditional, but we like to do some different sides to spruce it up a little bit.

Q. Is there a food you can't do Christmas without?

Mine would have to be pumpkin pie. My grandmother always made one for me at the holidays, and hers were the best.

Q. How will the holidays be different now that you have new baby Rory?

I'm really excited about his first Christmas. He'll be five months old. He's always been a really expressive little baby so it's going to be a lot of fun. For me, it's a little bit like seeing Christmas through a child's eyes again.

Q. Are you selling any special pies for the holidays?

We're doing some 9-inch family-size sweet pies: a local organic pumpkin and buttermilk made with locally grown, organic pumpkins; a berry, berry cherry (mixed berries and cherry pie) and a festive apple rum raisin; classic flavors, but with a little bit of a twist.
Q. Have you sold 9-inch pies before?  

No, this is a new thing for us! We plan to offer them throughout the year, in both sweet and savory flavors. They are a great family option; warm one up and you can feed the whole family.


MOVING INTO THEIR NEW KITCHEN SPACE at 1228 E. Fillmore will allow Mountain Pie Co. to expand their menu. Here's Matt Campbell's overview: "We're bringing back our chicken mushroom gouda and introducing an Italian sausage and ricotta torta, pork-apple-and-fennel pasties and chicken-apple-and-tarragon sausage rolls, as well as a new quiche menu, and Indian-style baked samosas (with potatoes and other veggies.)" Also in the works: five-ingredient unbaked, frozen pie crust! "Pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw for an hour or two and it's ready to bake," Matt says. "It's easy to find frozen pie shells but one thing we didn't see out there was a crust made with just a few simple healthy ingredients."

Find these new pie flavors,
pre-made pie crusts
and more at the new RFD,
scheduled to open
at 1228 E. Fillmore
 in January!
A recipe recommendation from Matt...
 For the holidays, Matt lined up 24 organic pie pumpkins and roasted them himself to make Mountain Pie Co.'s handmade buttermilk pumpkin pies (available at Ranch Foods Direct, photo at right.)

But Matt has another suggestion for how to use up your pumpkins this winter. Try Alton Brown's super-easy version of Pumpkin-Soup-In-A-Pumpkin.

"Take a pumpkin, cut the top off and de-seed it. Then add cream, broth, different spices and vegetables and put the lid back on it. Be sure to put it in a similarly sized dish so it doesn't collapse," Matt explains. "Then put it in oven for a couple of hours. After that, take off the lid and mix the contents with a spoon, and cook it for another half-hour or so in the oven and it's ready!"

To see the original recipe for Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup from Southern chef and Food Network star Alton Brown, CLICK HERE.

So how does Matt answer the question of which food he just can't do Christmas without? "Roast lamb with gravy and mint sauce," he says. "We wouldn't have Christmas without that. Also, a Christmas ham. I've noticed here in the United States you serve a lot of sweet dishes. You wouldn't see that in New Zealand; it's all very savory over there."

Coming soon! More holiday cooking and baking tips from Matt and some of our other favorite local chefs and bakers! Watch for our next edition in a few days.
A Chef on a Mission 
Seeds Cafe founder spreads charity and cheer all year  
Chef Lyn Harwell's pay-as-you-can dining concept, Seeds Community Café, exemplifies the spirit of Christmas all year long; no one is denied a meal for lack of funds and everyone is given the chance to develop work skills in exchange for food. Most of the protein on the menu comes from Ranch Foods Direct and the produce is lovingly chosen and often locally sourced.

  Q. When it comes to food at the holidays, are you traditional, unconventional or a combination?

Probably a combination. It's nice to have the traditional turkey or ham, but it's also a great time of year to use roasted filet mignon, pork loin or lamb. Those are great items to create a holiday meal around.

Is there a special food you can't do Christmas without?

I don't think there's anything I can't do without, simply because there's always so much new stuff to try. I'm somewhat eclectic. I'm trying new recipes all the time. Working with local farmers and ranchers, like Mike Callicrate, there's always something creative coming out of the meat case that I can work with. I like to see what those new things are. A winter stew, using lamb or different cuts of beef, can make a great hearty holiday meal.

Q. Talk more about the pay-as-you-can model, which you introduced in Colorado Springs two years ago.

I grew up on a farm in rural Ohio. The seeds for Seeds Cafe came from that. Back then, we traded our fruit to other farmers for their produce and meat. In grade school, the other kids told me I was a poor farm kid, but I didn't feel that way. I ate like a king! It was a way of life we've lost in America, of living and working together and spending time together over meals.

The really neat thing I love about this concept is that since we don't put prices on the menu, no one really knows who is paying what. So you have people of very different socio-economic status sitting together, sharing a meal and talking to each other. We have some folks who come in and pay $100 because they know we'll pay it forward. It breaks down barriers, and I think that's phenomenal.

We see lives changed here. Forty percent of folks who come in exchange their meal for service. Over the past two years, 30 people have been able to obtain living wage jobs after working here. That's feeding a million dollars back into our economy. I see the food industry as a vehicle for empowering people. But we're still a new concept. A lot of people haven't eaten here because they think we're a soup kitchen. But I say: just come try us. We are a nonprofit social enterprise but we've also won a bevy awards for our fresh, local cooking.
Contribute a holiday donation to SEEDS CAFE and other valuable local non-profits by participating in the annual IndyGive campaign! CLICK HERE to learn more.   
Catering with a conscience

 Need holiday catering?

Seeds Community Cafe and Mountain Pie Co. both offer catering for groups of  any size.

Seeds Cafe provides traditional full service catering which also creates jobs for those in need of developing vocational skills.

Meanwhile, Mountain Pie offers "drive-by" catering: "We bring everything already bagged up and ready to display," says Mountain Pie's Matt Campbell. "We make sure everything looks good and then the party takes care of itself. We do a lot of business lunches but we even did a wedding recently." What makes it an affordable option is that you pay for the food you buy with only a small delivery fee added.

Either choice is healthy for your guests and supports the local economy.
Baking up a storm      
The Sourdough Boulangerie brings back holiday favorites
When Ranch Foods Direct moves into the new retail store at 1228 E. Fillmore, baker Shawn Saunders will be move into the adjacent space and ramp up his bakery business. Here, he talks holiday bread offerings and more.
  Q. When it comes to food at the holidays, are you personally more traditional, unconventional or a combination?

Probably a little bit of both. I really like turkey and, for Christmas especially, a prime rib. I've done that for the last two years in a row, and I really liked it.

Q. Is there a special food you can't do Christmas without?

My dad and I are both the same about this. I hate to say this, but canned cranberry sauce is like my poison. My mom - or now it's my sister-in-law, because that's where we'll be having Christmas this year - she makes sure to have the canned cranberry sauce for my dad and I. It just reminds me of old times. But I do like homemade cranberry sauce too.

Q. Are you making any unique specialty breads during the holiday season?

I'll be doing grandma's butter rolls again, a pumpkin brioche and challah. Those are the ones I'll do for sure. I also want to do a mint chocolate bread for Christmas. Mint just goes hand in hand with Christmas.

Q. As you move into your new commercial baking space, are you changing up your offerings?

I've had people requesting my bagels for years, ever since I stopped doing them. I'll have a steam kettle to boil them and do them right, so I'll be making bagels again. I'm bringing in at least one person to help me do some pastries. We'll have danishes, croissants and that sort of stuff. I want to start doing brownies and assorted dessert bars, and in the future we'll be able to keep up better on the sweet breads, the muffins, cinnamon rolls and that kind of thing. Whomever I bring on board, I want them to bring new ideas to the table too.

Lots of exciting new products, services and offerings to come at the new RFD retail store, scheduled to open at 1228 E. Fillmore in January!