Category: Iowa Food

Fall Comfort Food: Beef Burgundy

Beef burgundy – this classic French peasant dish is as easy as can be, and will fill your kitchen with such a comforting aroma, so break out that French or Dutch oven, and let’s get to it!
Note: This makes enough for 4 or 5 good size dinners and reheats very well.
Fall Comfort Food: Beef Burgundy
Author: Robin Meadows West
Note: This makes enough for 4 or 5 good size dinners and reheats very well.
  • 3-4 lb chuck roast cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 3 TB tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TB sherry wine (I do not recommend cooking sherry – use wine that would drink)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups red wine (burgundy, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, pinot noir)
  • 8 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 – 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 TB fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Mashed potatoes (potatoes, milk, butter, salt & pepper) and rustic bread (farm house, French, Italian, baguette, brioche or any other) with butter for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the beef broth, flour, and tomato paste. Set aside. Make an herb bouquet with parsley, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves by placing it in a large square of cheesecloth and tying it with kitchen twine, or by simply tying the herbs together – cheesecloth will prevent any pieces from coming off into the sauce, but it’s not completely necessary if you don’t have it.
  2. In a large, heavy French or Dutch oven with a snug fitting lid, heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Season beef with salt & pepper. Add half of the beef to the pot and brown on all sides, remove to a clean bowl, and repeat with the remaining beef, removing it the same bowl when browned.
  3. Add the sherry wine followed by the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Give the beef broth mixture a good whisk or two, and pour into the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a rapid boil. Stir in the red wine. Return the beef to the pot, and nestle the herb bouquet in the center.Cover and braise in the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the mushrooms. Remove the herb bouquet from the pot and discard. Stir the mushrooms into the sauce and serve over mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of parsley for garnish and side of bread.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe Type: Local Food
Author: Robin Meadows West
This soup has been taste tested and raved about!
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot from Country Roads Produce
  • 8 cups cubed butterkin squash from Glenwood Century Farm or any winter squash
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cubed
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 pieces of bacon from Griffieon Family Farm, fried and crumbled
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 TB Olive oil
  • 4 TB chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup roasted pepitas
  • 2 TB whole milk from Radiance Dairy
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Toss squash with olive oil and spread onto a rimmed cookie sheet.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a large, heavy pot on medium-high heat. Melt butter in the pot and let it foam up. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté for 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the vegetables begin to brown.
  5. Add the squash, apples broth, and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Purée the soup using an immersion blender, or transfer to blender and purée in batches.
  7. Blend in the milk.
  8. Serve garnished with parsley, pepitas, and bacon crumbles.
  9. I served it with a grilled cheese made with Farmhouse White Bread from The Wooden Bakery and Herbs de Provence Gouda cheese from Frisian Farms Cheese.


Marsala Burgers featuring goat, mutton, or beef

Our newest board member + brilliant chef, Robin, shared this recipe featuring goat from Lucky George Farm. Robin says mutton, goat, or beef all work Give it a try!


Marsala Burgers
Author: Robin W.
  • 1 lb. ground meat such as goat, mutton, or beef – I used the ground goat from Lucky George Farms
  • 1 large Novae Vitae Farm egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 clove of Pickle Creek Herbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp olive oil, if frying in a pan
  • Provolone cheese for topping
  • Ciabatta rolls for serving
  • For the sauce:
  • 4 oz. of diced pancetta – I use La Quercia
  • 2 cups of mushrooms (white, cremini, or baby bella), sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry Marsala wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp of butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  1. Mix the ground meat, egg, onion powder, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl. Form 4 equal size patties and refrigerate until ready to use. Note: for even more flavor, make the patties several hours before cooking.
  2. For the sauce, heat a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté, stirring occasionally until the pancetta is crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Sauté, stirring occasionally until the liquid released by the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms are browned – about 8 minutes. Add garlic and shallot, sauté for 1 minute longer.
  3. Return the pancetta to the pan and add the tomato paste. Stir while sautéing, until the the tomato paste begins to brown. Add the Marsala wine to the pan, increase the heat to high and simmer vigorously, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the sauce is syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups – this will take anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice followed by the butter. Keep the sauce warm, over low heat while cooking the burgers.
  4. Slice and lightly toast the cut side of the ciabatta rolls.
  5. Grill or pan fry the burgers until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side. Place a slice of provolone cheese on each burger and allow to slightly melt.
  6. Serve the burgers on the ciabatta rolls, spoon sauce over each burger and enjoy!


8 local foods to try in 2018

Iowa may not be known as the food trend capital but our local farmers + producers know a thing or two about healthy + delicious food. Here are eight items to try this year–all eight are made, grown, or raised right here in Iowa, quite possibly on a farm near your own neighborhood.

  1. Kombucha, the fermented, probiotic tea with herbs, fruit, and a burst of energy. Made from scratch and packed with nutrition, Agri-Cultured’s ‘World Famous’ kombucha is a local gem.

  2. Artisan-baked breads, focaccia, croissants, brioche, and other baked goods made fresh based on your order. Small-batch, high-quality items from local bakers.

  3. Alternative sweeteners ‘grown’ right here–of course you’ve had honey + maple syrup, but have you had creamed honey? Maple cream + maple sugar? And sorghum syrup? Try each and swear-off so much refined sugar this year.

  4. Pass the goat, lamb, rabbit, and duck eggs. These alternative proteins expand your culinary experience and support the small, diverse offerings of small farms.

  5. Fresh herbs year-round take ordinary dishes to the next level with a bold dose of flavor. Nothing like fresh basil to make a cold, Iowa winter seem sweeter!

  6. Aronia berries, Iowa’s native superfood. Try them frozen (add to a smoothie), in yogurt, freeze-dried, covered in chocolate, or in a syrup. Try the berry with one of the highest antioxidant content recorded!

  7. Heritage + rare breed dairy + meat. Try non-homogenized milk from Jersey cows–higher in protein + flavor. Try poultry from capons, heritage pork, and beef from Corriente, Dexter, Belted Galloway, Maine Anjous, Limousin, and other less common breeds of cattle, each boasting their own flavor + nutritional profile.

  8. Microgreens, the mini salad greens that pack a lot of flavor and a huge punch of nutrition. With up to 40x the nutrients of full-grown counterparts, microgreens are the young sprouts + shoots of common greens.

    Ready to shop or still need to join the co-op? Click here for more info (like how to join for free + start shopping today).


Save money–buy BIG from Small farmers–but how?

Small farmers often sell their hogs or cows by the eighth, or quarter, or half…but what does that even mean? What does it look like? Do you need to buy an extra freezer to store all that meat?

Jason Johnson from Lucky George Farm explains the details of buying in bulk from small farmers using a couple of his farm’s bundles as an example.



Lucky George Farm lists several bundles through the Co-op website, including their popular eighth + quarter bundles.


1/8   (18 lbs):

1/4  (36 lbs):

  • 1 Ham Roast (3 lbs)
  • 1 Shoulder Roast (2.5 lbs.)
  • 4 Pork Chops (2.5 lbs.)
  • St Louis Style Ribs or Pork Hock (2lbs)
  • Bacon (2 lbs.)
  • Ground Pork (2 lbs.)
  • Bulk Pork Sausage (2 lbs.)
  • 1 Quart Fully Rendered Lard (Total Weight 2 plus lbs.)

  •  2 Ham Roasts (6 lbs.)
  • 2 Shoulder Roasts (5 lbs.)
  • 8 Pork Chops (5 lbs.)
  • St Louis Style Ribs (2 lbs.)
  • Bacon (4 lbs.)
  • Pork Hock (leg portion, 2 lbs.)
  • Ground Pork (4 lbs.)
  • Bulk Pork Sausage (4 lbs.)
  • 2 Quarts Fully Rendered Lard (Total Weight 4 plus lbs.)

VALUE: $175

VALUE: $300

SALE: $125

SALE: $225

The eighth will definitely fit in a standard over-the-refrigerator-freezer and the quarter will, if the freezer isn’t already packed.

“These bundles allow a savings over buying by the per cut price without having to buy a whole or half pig.”

Jason says, “The purchase of these bundles supports the farmer, because it honors the harvest of the animal in a manner that is sustainable for the small farmer where all the cuts are valued and used, as opposed to the commercial model where the choice cuts like pork chops or pork loin and bacon are “farmed” off and the rest of the animal is turned to ground pork, or more likely some form of sausage…or made into highly-processed pork products.”

“Lastly, it honors the animal in using all of its parts which it lost its life to provide.  It is not that much unlike Native Americans that would use every part of the animal, and let nothing go to waste.”

“Food is most certainly sustenance, but in a successful society,  it is not merely that.  Food is connection, to the land, to the farmer, to the earth.”

Thanks, Jason!

See Lucky George Farm’s bundles by clicking here. See other meat bundles here.

Producer Profile: Rosebud Botanicals


Rosebud Botanicals is all about natural health + beauty.  You can shop their products online here. Thanks Mindy for sharing your story with us! 

What is the name of your farm and where are you located?

Rosebud Botanicals, LLC, located in Afton, Iowa.

Tell us a little about the make-up of your farm.

Rosebud Botanicals, LLC was established in 2009 by Mindy Skarda, Biology instructor at Southwestern Community College. The vision for this company is to provide handcrafted skin care products that utilize the power of plants to care for the skin. Ingredients are carefully chosen for their beneficial properties to the health of your skin. Organically grown and locally grown are other criteria that is considered in choosing the ingredients used in Rosebud Botanicals, LLC skin care products.


What does your farm specialize in?

Organic Skin Care Products

Can you tell us a few things that make your signature product(s) special?

The skin is very absorbent. Most things applied to your skin have direct access to the blood stream. To carve out a more healthy way of living with less toxins consider Rosebud Botanicals’ handcrafted skin care products. Over-the-counter products, even some of the products labeled ‘Organic’, contain toxins such as SLS, parabens, phosphates and many other chemicals that are harmful to human and environmental health. Rosebud Botanicals avoid such toxic substances



What is the most important thing for consumers to know about your products?

A new product line includes aronia berries grown in Carlisle, Iowa. Aronia berries contain the most amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants bind up free radicals that do damage to your cellular components including the genetic code (DNA) and mitochondria – energy producing organelle. Applying skin care products with aronia berries is like applying an invisible force field of protection against environmental hazards.



Shop their products online here!

Pork, Apple + Sauerkraut Stew

Enjoy delicious Iowa flavors in this simple recipe from IFC member Lisa!

Pork, Apple + Sauerkraut Stew
Author: Lisa Bean
A wonderfully winter meal using local and seasonal ingredients!
  • 2 jars of Agri-cultured sauerkraut
  • One onion, chopped
  • 4 T WW Homestead butter
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt + pepper
  • 1 boneless Pork roast, 2.5-3 lbs
  • One bag Iowa Choice Harvest apples
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water or broth
  1. –Soak 2 jars of Agri-cultured sauerkraut in water for 15 minutes, drain and squeeze liquid out , set aside
  2. – Saute one chopped onion in 2 T of WW Homestead butter
  3. – Add roughly chopped carrots from Country Roads Produce
  4. – Add one bay leaf, ground pepper, one teaspoon of salt
  5. -Transfer all to crock pot for slow cooking or a heavy duty pot for braising in oven.
  6. – Brown one pork roast in WW homestead butter on all sides and add to pot above.
  7. -Add one bag of Iowa Choice Harvest apples
  8. – Add one teaspoon of caraway seeds and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  9. – Add 1/4 c brown sugar
  10. -1 cup of water or broth
  11. -Cook until done 4-6 hours in crock pot on low, or 2-3 hours in oven at 325F.



Producer Profile: Garden on Garden

Garden on Garden is an urban farm right in Des Moines growing on a third of an acre! You can shop their products online here. Thanks Linda for sharing your story with us! 

What is the name of your farm and where are you located?

Garden on Garden is located at the corner of SW 23rd and Garden Road in Des Moines.

Tell us a little about the make-up of your farm.

I just finished my second growing season on this 1/3 acre space that I rent from the city of Des Moines. It is basically a large urban garden. I own the business under my Food and You, LLC. I was new to growing on this much space as I have had a backyard vegetable garden for over 35 years, but wanted to expand to get more local, fresh produce into the mouths of Iowans. I am a registered dietitian and have always supported food and health.


What does your farm specialize in?

I grow a variety of vegetables. I try to include a few veggies that few growers have such as celery, delicata squash, and okra. I donate extras to DMARC and the south senior center.

Can you tell us a few things that make your signature product(s) special?

I include healthful recipes sometimes (and plan to do this more).


What is your farm’s biggest season?

I have vegetables from May through November as I grow a variety that are ready to harvest a variable times during the growing season.

What is the most important thing for consumers to know about your products?

I purposefully grow on a small scale so I can devote enough time to each product. I really want the produce to be healthful and in the best shape when the customer receives it. I continue to learn and appreciate when customers contact me with questions.

Do you have a funny/interesting/surprising story about your business?

My garden has been called the “Jurassic garden” for the tall fence we needed to keep the deer out….



Anything else we should know?

I have worked in local food system work for a number of years. I love to talk with others about having a large garden in the city and hope that others will start growing some of their own food or enough to share and sell to others.

Shop their products online here!

6 Reasons to Eat Local in 2017

2017 is finally here! At Iowa Food Cooperative, 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 2017.



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.

Producer Profile: Yoke S Ranch

Yoke S Ranch is a family owned and operated free range cattle operation raising Corriente cattle, a heritage breed! You can shop their products online here. Thanks Rick and Marshal for sharing your story with us! 

What is the name of your farm and where are you located?

Yoke S Ranch are located at Russell, Iowa about 65 miles South East of Des Moines.


Tell us a little about the make-up of your farm.

I grew up on a farm in Eastern Iowa, went to Iowa State University and got a BS in Fisheries and wildlife biology and proceeded to be a state conservation officer for 32 years. I retired from that in 2003, I always had a passion for cattle and just couldn’t get that out of my mind. In about 1997 my wife and son and I decided we would try raising Corriente cattle. We bought a single yearling heifer that year and it has since developed into a 400 head cow herd.

What does your farm specialize in?

We raise Corriente cattle. We calve them out and keep and use them until they are ready to harvest at 3-4 years old. They are 98% grass-fed and free range. We don’t use any steroids, hormones or indiscriminate antibiotics in raising them.

Can you tell us a few things that make your signature product(s) special?

Corriente cattle are a heritage breed. They are probably the oldest breed of cattle in North America. They were brought here by the Spanish Conquistadors in1493. They are small breed of cattle and are naturally quite athletic. They also happen to be low fat, low cholesterol and high protein. They are the athletes of the cow world where most beef breeds would be the couch potatoes. Our cattle are never confined to a feed lot, the gate is always open and they have pasture available whenever they want it. I think the free range aspect of it is tremendously important. It promotes a healthy quiet lifestyle. While they are here we like for them to be happy and content.


What is the most important thing for consumers to know about your products?

I think the most important thing for consumers to know about our product; is that we truly believe in it. We also go to great lengths to make sure that it is a healthy and safe buy for the consumer.

Do you have a funny/interesting/surprising story about your business?

Our cattle have horns. My son and I have both been seriously gored since we have been raising them. Even with that, we wouldn’t have it any other way.



Anything else we should know?

Visit them online at!

Shop their products online here!