by Lorrie Wehr

Cara Dafforn, her collaborator, Chef Andrew Whitmoyer, and their 1-minute meals are “solving the chore of dinner,” with real, healthy food, every day. U-Relish offers slow-cooker mixes made with locally sourced, preservative-free, all-natural ingredients that can be assembled in less than one minute. Just add water or broth, turn on your slow cooker, and by the time you come home a hot healthy meal will be ready and waiting. You can add more protein if you like (the bag offers suggestions). 

How did this minor culinary miracle come to be? Cara says she was influenced by a couple of realizations. While working as Director of Development with the IU School of Medicine, she read some alarming statistics about how few American families were sharing healthy, home-cooked meals. In addition, Cara’s sister, a single mother whose young son had a medical condition with a very restricted diet, was struggling to prepare fast healthy meals on a budget.

Over the next few years, Cara developed a variety of slow-cooker meals that were easy to prepare, nutritionally dense, affordable, and delicious. “I took my BBQ Lentils to a bacon-themed Tweetup,” she says. “That’s when I knew I had a business on my hands.” Today, U-Relish Farm is a fixture at the City Market, where a young customer recently told Cara he loved her Pizza Lentils even more than playing video games and now his family eats healthy meals together. “That’s why I do what I do,” says Cara.

Enter Chef Andrew Whitmoyer, who met Cara and loved the idea behind her distinctive slow-cooker mixes. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Chef Andrew developed additional recipes and spear-headed the opening of the U-Relish booth at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find everything from Chipotle Black Chili to Lemongrass Lentils, Smokin’ Hot Grits, and even oatmeal mixes for breakfast. To find out more about U-Relish Farm, visit their Facebook page here, or their website here.