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Indiana Blogs: Bloom

This marks another addition to the regular feature here at little Indiana: Indiana Blogs! If you are an Indiana Blogger, please use the contact form and send me an email. You may be featured right here on little Indiana.

Claire writes today’s featured Indiana blog, Bloom. If ever there was someone who fit the “bloom where you are planted” motto, it would be she. Growing up didn’t include plans to marry a farmer but that’s what she did!

She picked up and moved to a small town that possessed less people than her high school. If that wouldn’t be a shocking adjustment, I’m not sure what is! Claire shares her journey and all that she has learned along the way.

From farming knowledge she’s gaining to tasty recipes she’s cooking, and bits of gardening tucked in, it’s a great read with a truthful, thoughtful voice. Please welcome Claire from Bloom.

Indiana Blogs: Bloom

Indiana Blogs: Bloom
Indiana Blogs: Bloom
Why did you start Bloom?
When I started I didn’t imagine gardening to be the main focus. I originally set out to have a bit about gardening, but also some post-grad career advice and mid-twenties inspiration.

I had some uniquely challenging situations through my young career, yet I still didn’t know what I really wanted to do. The plan was to share tips and encourage other young people to find their passion as I tried to do the same.

But, after giving myself a platform for expression, it didn’t take long to find my true passion. It was gardening, creating recipes, and learning about local food all along.

Bloom will turn two in late May.

What about that name? Why Bloom?
The saying, “Bloom where you are planted” served as my muse for the blog.

As a kid, my family moved often. I love trying new things and meeting new people, so I didn’t really mind. But, I felt like I never got the opportunity to learn what I really loved to do because I was constantly introduced to something new.

Then, I married Adam, a guy in the agriculture industry, and I moved to a large piece of land in the country. He is in business with his Dad and the likelihood of us ever moving again is pretty small.

So, I am now planted.

Because of this, I had the opportunity to learn what I really enjoy and what I am good at.

It’s been surprising and fun to find myself literally “in bloom.” I feel like I am becoming who I am meant to be through gardening and local food.

What are three of your most favorite posts?

What keeps you ready and raring to post? Why do you blog?
I have always been pretty chatty and that translates pretty well to the blog. I write like I talk. I write about things I like to talk about. And, I haven’t run out of things I want to say. In fact, the more I blog, the more I want to say!

What also helps to keep me going is hearing from someone that wants to try to plant something or someone who is going to try cooking with a fresh herb for the first time because of something I wrote.

Nothing is more encouraging than knowing that you are inspiring people.

What can people expect when they hop onto your blog?
Bloom is a lot of different things with a common thread: real food.

I write about backyard gardening and homesteading. I share my adventures away from home with local food be it visiting markets, locally sourced restaurants, or meeting with other people who grow food. All the recipes on the blog focus on scratch cooking and will always include at least one ingredient that I grew or purchased from a local grower.

Readers will also get a chance to get to know me. Local food and gardening brought me to life so I share my stories where there is a little bit of humor, inspiration and heart.

You’ve lived in the city–now you are in the country in a small town. What was the biggest adjustment? What’s the most surprising benefit?
There have been quite a few adjustments and some have been easier than others. (Thank goodness for online shopping!)

One thing I really wasn’t prepared for was the amount of animals I would encounter on a daily basis.

One of my first nights living with Adam I awoke to what sounded like someone screaming. It was a baby raccoon that Adam had to fish out of our pool because it was drowning. Since then, I have learned that Tom Cats make similar noises. (I have also learned what Tom Cats are…) It’s not out of the ordinary to see coyotes or deer outside our backdoor. And, I almost don’t scream when I see a mouse in the garage anymore. Almost.

One of the most surprising joys of living so far out in the country are the stars on a clear night. It’s beyond amazing. I had a group of girlfriends from Chicago over last summer and they spent much of the evening with their heads tilted back, looking up in awe.

How does your garden grow? Have you always liked to garden and dig around in the dirt?
Definitely not. Growing up, I wasn’t much of an “outdoor” girl. I took extra precautions to keep shoes clean and even had a manicure birthday party when I was, like, eleven… so dirt was not under my nails then, like it is now.

2013 was my first garden. But, I have always been into food.

My mom is and has always been an excellent cook. I watched and helped her in the kitchen often. I was a Hospitality Management major at Purdue and took culinary classes while studying abroad in Europe. As an adult, I have made my career in the food service industry. (I am a Development Manager for a company called “Campus Cooks” that partners and manages professional chefs in sororities and fraternities across the nation. I love it!)

I have learned that the best ingredients are the freshest ingredients. Gardening allows me to make the best meal possible. And, it’s really fun to not only cook a great meal from scratch, but also be a part of the ingredients from start to finish.

You do like to cook! If you could invite five people over for dinner (living or dead) who would they be, what would you serve, and why?
Oh gosh… Hmm.

My mom would have to be there. Like I said, she is a great cook and entertainer. She taught me so much about cooking, finding nutritional balance through meals, and the importance of eating as a family.

Then, Ina Garten. Ina’s fresh and simple style of cooking is so inspiring to me. I would love to cook alongside her to pick up some of her tricks. I would also want to pick her brain about her gorgeous garden.

Like many other twenty seven year old girls, I think Lauren Conrad and I could be great friends and kind of feel like I grew up with her. She dabbles in cooking, but I really look up to her for her entrepreneurial spirit. I would love to have a conversation with her and get some advice for the many different business ideas I have running through my head everyday.

Another person I would love to chat with is Barbara Kingsolver. She wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which has served as inspiration for Bloom and my new local food lifestyle. I think she would be super interesting.

Finally, Jeni Britten Bauer. Jeni is the owner and creator of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where her business originated. I spent many nights with friends and family in her first scoop shop. I love recreating her ice creams at home, but I would love to learn more about how she got the business off the ground. Especially how she made connections with local growers to create such a quality product.

As for the menu, I would keep it simple. A fresh and local cheese and charcuterie plate to start. Something like filets or even our pastured chicken that we raise in our backyard on the grill paired with a great local wine for the main entrée. Some grilled garden veggies with an herby marinade on the side. Homemade ice cream for dessert. (Maybe Jeni could help with that!)

Is there anything else that you would like little Indiana readers to know about you or your blog?
I am new to blogging and relatively new to Indiana, so if you know of a great locally sourced restaurant or a grower with a unique story, let me know. I would love to check them out!

Blooming in Indiana

We can probably help her with those restaurant requests, right long-time readers? Thanks to Claire for sharing her world today! Please, visit her blog and let her know how much you love it. Don’t forget to email subscribe (it’s in her right-hand sidebar) and let her know you care.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little More than a website, Little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and a book. Look for "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in April 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration.

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