Category: Announcements

An Inside Look: Country Roads Produce

The Seals Family at Country Roads Produce wanted to give Iowa Food Coop customers an update about what’s happening at their farm. They’re cutting back on their sales through IFC for the next few cycles while they prep their high tunnel for the first crop of tomatoes. We thought we’d take the opportunity to give you a behind the scenes look into a veggie grower’s life.

Country Roads Produce has provided us with amazing, high quality produce throughout the winter, including carrots, Chinese cabbage, kohlbrabi, lettuce, and more. We know our customers (IFC staff included) have looked forward to fresh veggies from Country Roads’ heated high tunnel.

 

Baby tomatoes waiting to be transplanted.

Baby tomatoes germinating in the greenhouse.

 

As consumers who have spent most of our lives shopping in conventional grocery stores it’s easy to forget that farmers grow food according to seasons and weather. At IFC we’re lucky to have several producers growing year-round in greenhouses and high tunnels, which means we can all enjoy fresh lettuce during a blizzard! The downside is that we have producers fall off for periods of time while they prepare for the next season. The old adage is really true in this case: A farmer’s work is never done.

 

High tunnels are not just a place for growing veggies on our farm, but also a great place to "grow" better ball players. The first game of catch for 2016.

High tunnels are not just a place for growing veggies on our farm, but also a great place to “grow” better ball players. The first game of catch for 2016.

 

While we’re sad we won’t see Country Roads Produce listing for the next few weeks, we are excited for what is to come. This summer they will have tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, sweet corn, and cucumbers. They specialize in high tunnel tomato and pepper production, and hope their customers can enjoy a great tasting tomato in June. We can’t wait!

-I feel like I have bags of gold when I bring home my order from the coop! (3)

 

Locavore Cooking Class at the Des Moines Social Club

This spring Iowa Food Cooperative is hosting the first Locavore Cooking Class series at the Des Moines Social Club. The first class in the series was January 5 and was a fantastic time! The theme was cooking with storage vegetables and featured frozen corn and apples from Iowa Choice Harvest, fresh greens and sweet potatoes from Lee’s Greens, and carrots from Huber Family Farm. Be sure to join in the fun by registering for our next class on February 2 where we’ll make Fettuccine Alfredo using Country View Dairy yogurt, Zaza’s Pastas, and Pickle Creek Herbal Garlic!

Local Food Cooking Classes

How the Class Works

Once everyone arrived in class we shared a champagne toast and introduced ourselves. Amanda Mae Phillips, Des Moines Social Club’s Culinary Director, said every time you cook it’s a celebration. We agree, especially if you’re cooking with fresh local ingredients! We divided into teams of 2-3 people to tackle the menu Amanda created for our class. Throughout the class Amanda was available for help, but we learned as much cooking with each other as we did from her!

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Salad with Corn-Apple Topping
One team created a warm topping for our salad mix from Lee’s Greens by heating the frozen sweet corn and apples from Iowa Choice Harvest and adding in pomelo, champagne, and seasoning for extra flavor.

Sweet Potato Wedges
We sliced our sweet potatoes from Lee’s Greens and coated them thoroughly with olive oil and spices from AllSpice. Then we grilled them until they were crispy but soft.

Carrot Gratin
The star of the show was Carrots Au Gratin made with Huber Family Farm Bolero carrots, WW Homestead Dairy Butter, and La Quercia pancetta. This was rich, creamy, and delicious!

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What Did People Say?

Once the meal was complete we sat as a group to enjoy our food and talk about why eating local is so important. We all agreed that even if it wasn’t good for our environment and community, eating local is still worthwhile because the food tastes so good!

It was so fun learning new ways to cook with local food! I love that the IFC is doing this and definitely plan to attend future classes.

-Shelene Billups, IFC member and class attendee

This class was both entertaining *and* educational! I learned how to turn locally sourced ingredients to fancy-pants dishes that could impress friends and family alike! The best part was sitting around with my classmates, enjoying the delicious foods we prepared and extolling the virtues of local veggies and the perfect egg sandwich. I will definitely be attending future classes.

-Liz Johnson, class attendee

As local food lovers it was refreshing to enjoy an amazing meal without having to do all the work, pick up a few new tricks, and get to take home leftovers. Included in the course fee was culinary instruction from DMSC’s Culinary Director, champagne, a delicious meal, leftovers to take home, and a bag of salad greens from Lee’s Greens!

Register for February’s Class Here!

6 Reasons to Eat Local in 2016

The New Year is well underway and our resolutions are going strong or forgotten. At Iowa Food Coop, we feel strongly there’s one resolution we should all commit to keeping: Eating local. Luckily, eating local is a great resolution to keep because it supports so many of things we want in our lives. Things like being healthier, being part of a community, and trying new things. Here are six reasons why you should eat local in 2016.

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1. Healthier, fresher food. Most of us start the new year with a goal of being healthier. We start going to the gym more, eat more salad and fewer chips, and pull out that yoga mat that was collecting dust in the corner of our living room. One way to stay on track with your healthy eating goals is to buy more fresh, local produce. You’ll find the food is more flavorful and lasts longer, which makes eating healthier more joyful. It tastes fresher because it is fresher. The salad mix you ordered was picked the day before you picked it up and traveled fifty miles instead of 1,500 miles.

2. Try something new! Maybe you said you’d try something new every week or every day in 2016. Maybe you have a Pinterest board full of bucket list items. If you’re adventurous you’ll love eating local and you’ll really love shopping at IFC. Our producers are always adding unique items like aronia berry brats, cardoon, and lard. Challenge yourself by ordering something you’ve never tried during every cycle. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite food!

3. A greater connection with your environment. By eating local food you’ll automatically learn about when foods are in season. You’ll find meals that represent winter to you, like hearty soups with lots of root vegetables, and meals that represent summer to you, like sweet corn and BLT’s. You will know that goats produce milk after they give birth, that you can eat the beet greens as well as the roots, and if you pay attention to what your local farmers are sharing on Facebook you might learn about farming too. Maybe you’ll start growing a few things yourself… or maybe you’ll decide to leave that to the professionals.

4. Become part of something bigger than yourself. When you eat local you do so much more than “just” eat local. At IFC we’ve seen our members and producers become friends who exchange holiday cards and congratulate each other on weddings and babies. At our annual meeting each year our members and producers sit together to share food and talk about the challenges and triumphs of farming, the environment, health, and the meaning of life. Okay, maybe not the meaning of life, but we wouldn’t put it past our members. By eating local you’re supporting a different kind of community that cares for each other.

5. Support Iowa’s economy. You love shopping in the East Village, bought your bike from the Des Moines Bike Collective, and prefer local restaurants to chains. You’re proud to be from Iowa and have the Iowa Native or Transplant sticker on your bumper to prove it. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend locally $68 of that comes back to your community in the way of taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. When you shop at a national chain, only $43 comes back. And shifting just 5% of your out-of-area spending to support local produces and businesses would have a $1 billion impact on Greater Des Moines.

6. Local food preserves Iowa farmland and makes Iowa a more beautiful place to live. If you’ve ever visited one of our producer’s farms, or any diversified farm, you know they are beautiful places. Imagine if the drive across Iowa had more diversified farms raising vegetables, meat, dairy, and flowers, for miles and miles. It would be magical, but those farms and barns won’t be there for future generations if we don’t support them today.

IFC’s Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us and this is the LAST cart cycle before Christmas and New Year’s! We know the stress is on for finding holiday gifts for everyone in your life, which is why we’ve created an easy list of gifts in a range of prices. Sharing gifts from Iowa Food Cooperative is great for so many reasons, we had to make a list!

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1. Introduce people in your life to the Iowa Food Cooperative. This is not only a gift to your loved ones, but a gift to IFC and our producers! By introducing new people to IFC you help us build a strong network that can support more Iowa farmers and producers. Want to introduce a friend to IFC in an easy and direct way? Order a gift card here.
2. Direct your extra holiday spending towards a retail system you believe in. IFC is a positive place to spend your holiday money. 85 percent of every purchase goes directly to the producer and the remainder goes towards supporting IFC’s efforts, including marketing our products for our producers and helping them reach a wider audience. You vote with your dollars as an IFC member, so why not extend it to your holiday shopping?
3. There’s really something for everyone! We have a lot more than “just” food! Check out our holiday shopping guide below and you’ll find gifts that are great for spouses, co-workers, friends, youngsters, dogs, and more!

$10 or Less Gift Ideas

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Infused Oil & Vinegar Gift Sets from Pickle Creek Herbal
Our mouths are watering the flavor combinations Pickle Creek Herbal has put together for their gift sets. Basil Olive Oil and Strawberry Basil Vinegar would make a fantastic sweet salad dressing. For something more savory try Greek Basil & Garlic and Rosemary Vinegar. A fantastic gift for salad lovers, chefs, fitness gurus, or yourself! Browse their selection here!

Dip Mixes to your holiday potluck. Our eyes are on the Garlic Galore Dip Mix and the Sun Dried Tomato Basil Dip Mix. Order yours here.

Handmade Soaps
We have a wonderful selection of handmade from soaps that range in scent from plain lye to floral lavender and crunchy, earth mother soap! These are great for stocking stuffers, gifts for co-workers and friends, or just a fun pick-me up for yourself! Browse our selection here.

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Handmade Candles from Elements of Rejuvenation
These handmade soy wax candles have amazingly strong scents that are not overpowering. We know many of our members only burn these candles in their homes and we think this is an excellent way to introduce your friends and family to the unique products Iowa Food Cooperative offers! Browse the great list of scents here.

Jams and Jellies
Iowa Orchard and Twin Girls Garden have a selection of locally made and grown jams and jellies for sale this cycle. These are great for taking or sending to family and friends in far-flung places our for your Aunt Sally who has toast for breakfast every morning. See your options here.

Lip Balm and Lotion Bars
Several producers are selling lip balms made with environmentally conscious practices and lotion bars in unique scents. These are great stocking stuffers, white elephant gifts, or just a fun treat for yourself! Browse our selection here.

Treats for Your Pup
We all love to spoil our pets at the holidays! Purrfect Muttchies has (pre-wrapped!) pet treats in a variety of flavors sure to please pups of any size, shape, and hair-length. Browse the flavors here.

$10-25 Gift Ideas

soap gift bag

Soap Gift Bags from Pickle Creek Herbal
Pickle Creek Herbal has wonderful gift bags that include lip balm, bath salt, and soap in four unique scents. This is wonderful gift for a friend, co-worker, or loved one–and a fantastic deal at only $12! Browse their offerings here.

Fudge from Iowa Orchard
Everyone loves fudge! But not everyone has the time to make it themselves. Order an 8×8 dish of Iowa Orchard’s rich fudge for your holiday party, as a gift for a chocolate-loving friend, or to divide as small gifts for friends, family, or coworkers! Order yours here.

iowa roasted coffee

Iowa Roasted Coffee
Corazon Coffee Company and Greene Bean Coffee are favorite producers among our members and we are sure their friends and family will love these amazing coffee bean flavors as well! This is a great gift paired with a coffee mug for the coffee lover in your life! Order yours here.

Gift Cards
Let your gift recipient decide for themselves! IFC has gift certificates for sale in increments of $25 as well as gift memberships. This is a great gift for friends and family, but you’re also giving the gift of growth to IFC! As our way of saying thank you we do not charge a 15 percent fee on these products.

$25-50 Gift Ideas

ww homestead dairy gift box

Gift Baskets from WW Homestead Dairy
WW Homestead Dairy has three fantastic gift baskets available for the dairy lover in your life! Choose from a Cheddar Cheese Sampler gift box, a Cheese Curd Sampler gift box, or our personal favorite, the Taste of WW Homestead Dairy gift box. Browse their selection here!

pancakes

Holiday Breakfast Gift Box and Soup & Bread Gift Box from Wildwood Farms
These unique gift boxes are full of yummy gifts that keep on giving! The breakfast gift box includes pancake mixes, bread and muffin mixes, cocoa mixes, and energy bars, all worth much more than the price tag! The soup and bread box includes two soup mixes and two bread mixes for $18 plus shipping. Browse Wildwood Farms’ offerings here!

beauty gift box

Gift Baskets from Rosebud Botanicals
Rosebud Botanicals has a Moisturizing Gift Basket, a Facial Gift Basket, and a Scrub Gift Basket available. This is a great gift for pampering a friend, family member, or significant other with amazing organic bath and beauty products. We know once they try these all-natural clean beauty products they will feel beautiful inside and out! Browse the selections here.

4 Reasons to Buy a Local Iowa Turkey This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time of year to share wonderful food with family and friends and give thanks for Iowa’s rich soil and the farmers producing healthy food on it. We have producers who still have local Iowa turkey available for Thanksgiving this year! Have the best at your celebration–and don’t forget you can order a second frozen turkey for Christmas as well! Order your turkey here!

Iowa Food Coop vs. Grocery Store

What Is Iowa Food Coop?

If this is your first time visiting our website you might be wondering, what is Iowa Food Coop?

To put it simply: Iowa Food Coop is an online ordering system for Iowa produced food. Our members have access to over 1,500 Iowa produced products, which they order on a bi-weekly schedule.

There are a lot of special things about Iowa Food Coop besides our selection of Iowa produced products. Here are just a few more things that set us apart.

Order Exactly What You Want From Home
Logon to iowafood.coop/shop and browse our selection. You can sort by producers or by item. You’ll find that we sell all of the staple items you need like bread, eggs, milk, cream, and meat. We also sell specialty items like Iowa produced maple syrup, soap, hummus, kombucha, dog treats, baby food, and the list goes on and on. Our producers are expected to share their growing practices and ingredients with you so you know exactly what is in the food you’re eating.

 

Visit our producer profiles and pick one out. You can read about their business and practices, and if they currently have items for sale you can read more about their individual products.

We Don’t Have Food Waste
We’re not a store and we don’t have inventory. When our consumer members place an order online they are ordering directly from the producer. When the cart closes the producer gets a list of everything that was ordered that cycle and brings it to our Des Moines location the day before or morning of distribution. Since we only receive what was ordered we don’t have excess food to throw away.

85% of the Money You Spend Goes to Our Farmer-Owners
When you shop at Iowa Food Coop you are not supporting corporate interests. The money you spend goes directly into the pockets of our producers and into making IFC a great alternative to the conventional food system. You can feel great about the money you spend at IFC.

Shop Less Often and Eat Healthier
Several IFC members buy at least half of the food they eat through us. By ordering on IFC’s bi-weekly schedule they cut their trips to the grocery store down significantly and know more about where their food comes from. No longer tempted by grocery aisles full of cookies and chips, they often find that their diets improve dramatically. And this is not a fad diet. An #iowavore diet (mostly local, Iowa food diet) is a way of eating that not only makes the consumer healthier, but helps local farmers and our local economy.

 

We Sell Iowa Grown Food Year Round
Iowa Food Coop is a year-round option for eating local. Just because the farmer’s market season has ended or your CSA is done doesn’t mean you have to stop eating local. Purchase meat, greens, milk, vegetables and more through IFC all winter long.

Step One: Check to see if the cart is open.

You’ll notice in the left sidebar of this site we list our Upcoming Order Cycles. Check here to see when the cart opens or closes. You can also check our Facebook Events page and subscribe to be notified of upcoming order cycles. When you become a member at this page you’ll be signed up for our cart-is-open reminder emails. Your first six months as a member are free, which gives you a chance to fall in love with IFC!

Step Two: If the cart is open, fill up that basket!

Go to iowafood.coop/shop and login (you’ll get your login information when you become a member in Step 1). On the member panel page you’ll see your “Basket Status.” Click open a shopping basket. Select your delivery type and pick-up location. Once you’re in, click shopping and browse our list of products by category, producer, or search for the item you want!

Step Three: Pick-up the following Thursday!

Whatever is in your cart on Sunday night is ordered. You can set up payment online or you can pay when you come to pick-up on Thursday. Here’s a list of our convenient pick-up locations. Find the location closest to you and become a regular at Thursday pick-ups!

Step Four: Enjoy food and share with us on social media

We love to see what are members are eating and enjoying. Share your photos with us on Facebook and Instagram using the #iowafoodcoop hashtags.

So what are you waiting for? Click to join!

What’s in Shelene’s Basket?

What’s in Your Basket is a new feature of “The Dirt: IFC’s Blog,” where we feature a consumer of IFC and what is in their basket that week. Want to be featured on What’s in Your Basket? Send an email to Ash.

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Shelene Billups started shopping at IFC in 2013 because she wanted to support local producers and know where her family’s food came from. A few short years later she is IFC’s Consumer Vice President and feeds her family of three 80-90 percent local, Iowa produced food. Half of that comes from IFC.

In addition to shopping through IFC Shelene’s family purchases meat in bulk directly from farmers and belongs to a CSA.

Shelene's

1. Juan’s Supremo Habanero Salsa (Add to your cart here!)

“My husbands absolute favorite snack is chips & salsa, and Juan’s Supremo Habanero is his preferred salsa (and he’s tried so many through the years!) I order at least a few of those every cycle to keep our pantry stocked.”

2. Soap from Heritage Hill or Pickle Creek (Add to your cart here!)

Maple syrup from iowa(1)
3. Iowa Sourdough from Wild Yeast Bakery (Add to your cart here!)

She said her son loves this bread so it’s become a regular staple in their cart.

Recipe Idea: BLTs – with bacon from Lucky George Farm, Head lettuce from our CSA, and Tomatoes pictured from Wilted Leaf (I like to add onion and my homemade mayo) served on toasted Iowa Sourdough.

4. Seasoning Blends from Curbin’ Cuisine (Add to your cart here!)

Maple syrup from iowa(2)

Recipe Idea: El Taco Suave seasoning from Curbin’ Cuisine seasoning ground beef from Hickory Hills, tomatoes from Wilted Leaf, bell peppers and lettuce mix from Red Barn Produce, and salsa from Juan’s for my hubby (too spicy for me!)

5. Fresh produce! Right now they love Huber Family Farm’s Carrots. (Add to your cart here!)

“I’m always excited when there is a rainbow of fresh produce available – our favorites are bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, beautiful winter squash, and lots of greens.”

Recipe Idea: Immune-boosting vegetable soup and broth

6. Maple Syrup from Great River Maple (Add to your cart here!)

Maple syrup from iowa

7. Agri-Cultured’s Fermented Dill Pickles and Garlic Dill Sauerkraut (Add to your cart here!)

Thanks Shelene for letting us take a peek in your basket!

What’s in Lisa’s Basket?

What’s in Your Basket is a new feature of “The Dirt: IFC’s Blog,” where we feature a consumer of IFC and what is in their basket that week. Want to be featured on What’s in Your Basket? Send an email to Ash.

What's in

If the “Iowavores” were a baseball team on their way to the World Series right now, Lisa Bean would have to be our most valuable player. As board president it’s natural that she supports IFC, but Lisa feeds her family and guests almost entirely from locally produced food.

“Most of my shopping is done through IFC and I never buy meat anywhere else. I have to know that the animal was raised well outside,” -Lisa Bean

Lisa added that all of her produce comes from her personal garden or IFC, and because she buys fresh produce it lasts 2-3 times as long as food bought from the store.

Since Lisa is a long-time #Iowavore she must have it figured out. We asked her how she’s using the items in her basket for the next couple of weeks and well… we think we want to go to her house for dinner this week!

Breakfast
Raisin Bread from Threshing Floor
Milk & Butter from WW Homestead Dairy
Coffee from Corazon Coffee

Snacks
Apples from Berry Patch Farm
Yogurt from Country View Dairy
Cheese Curds from Frisian Farms

“I also love the Aged Gouda or Sneed from Frisian Farms. “It’s divine, nutty with great texture!” -Lisa Bean

Salad
Lisa says her family eats a lot of salads, and that leafy greens from IFC will easily last two weeks. They make their regular salads more exciting with additions like

 

Soup
Another staple meal in Lisa’s family is soup. Right now they’re enjoying creamy potato soup with kale or braising greens from Wabi Sabi, creamy squash soup with greens, and bean soup made with beans from Global Greens and greens, carrots, onions, and garlic.

Curry

“Almost any meat or vegetable can be curried. Add a dollop of plain yogurt and you have a perfect meal.”-Lisa Bean

She was nice enough to share her standard curry recipe from her old boss Rafia!

rafia's easy Curry Recipe

National Co-op Month Promotion!

October is National Co-op Month and we want to thank our members! Thanks to all of the great #iowavores that support the Iowa Food Coop, we have been able to work with more than 150 producers since 2008 and have an amazing 1,500+ products available online. We hope you continue to help us expand our reach!

Today we are starting a promotion that will run through November 30th. It’s pretty simple, the IFC member who refers the most new members to Iowa Food Coop will receive a $25 gift card. We will announce the winner at our Annual Meeting on December 5th

3 Easy WaysYou Can HelpIFC Find NewMembers! (1)

Three Easy Ways You Can Help IFC Find New Members:

  1. Share our business cards. If you came to distribution on October 8th you should have received a stack of business cards in an envelope. Please share these cards with your friends, family, coworkers, yoga buddies, and neighbors!
  2. Share our Facebook postsThe more people who like and share our Facebook posts, the more people see them! Even by simply “liking” one of our posts on Facebook you’re helping us spread the word. Not a fan on Facebook yet? Join here.
  3. Use the #iowafoodcoop and #iowavore hashtags on social media to let everyone know you support Iowa producers! We LOVE seeing what you’re making and buying on Instagram and Facebook, and we know your friends are drooling over your tasty food pics too!

 

With your help we know we can grow IFC into an even bigger community that supports more Iowa producers and gets more healthy, local food onto Iowa tables. Think about it this way, if every member brought us one new member we could potentially double our sales! And since we are cooperatively owned and not a corporate run grocery chain that growth goes directly back to our mission, which is to facilitate farmer-consumer relationships and build our farms and communities through web-based marketing of primarily Iowa products.

So really, thanks so much to every single one of you who has help Iowa Food Coop get to the point we are today. We couldn’t do it without you.

Thanks for being#IOWAVORE