Category: Iowa Food

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!
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
Instructions
  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.

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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).

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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….

 

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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.

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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.

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.
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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.

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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.

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Anything else we should know?

Visit them online at yokesranch.com!

Shop their products online here!

Producer Profile: Lucky George Farm

Lucky George Farm is located in Derby, Iowa, about one hour south of Des Moines! You can shop their products online here. Thanks Jason and Angela for sharing your story with us! 

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

Lucky George Farm is our little patch of Grace where our family works to make the world a better place. We have reclaimed a forgotten farm in the southwest corner of Lucas County. Just 20 acres of land outside of Derby, IA where we are raising our children and creating a future for them.

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

Lucky George Farm is a conservancy farm specializing in breeds of critically endangered heritage breed livestock. Our signature item is the Large Black Pig, one of three breeds originating from the U.K. that are the ancestors to all the North American Pig Breeds. The Large Black is a deep dark red meat pork with a denser muscle fiber and marbling of fat. The meat has a unique taste that is robust yet not gamey. We also have meat goats, ducks, geese, and chickens.

What does your farm specialize in?

Lucky George Farm is a small conservancy farm where we raise a critically endangered breed of pig called the Large Black.

We also raise a variety of Heritage breed chickens, Milking Devon cows, rabbit, meat goats, sheep, Angora goats, quail, geese, and ducks on the farm. We look to preserve species that have fell out of favor due to factory farming and industrial food practices. Going back to outdoor farming where livestock is nurtured on grass, in the sun, and running in multi-species herds is the essence of our farm.

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

Large Black are beautiful, loving, great mothers, docile, and wonderful to raise because they are the kind of family pig that people used to have on their own small homesteads centuries ago. Our pigs are grazers taking Iowa grasses and converting it into deep red meat with amazing marbling that give them an exquisite flavor.

For the second year in a row our farm provided the Large Black Pig that was used by the winning chef at the Cochon555 Minneapolis event.  Here we are at the end of the night. From left to right: Our daughter Rian, my husband Jason Johnson, the winning Chef Jorge Guzman of Surly Brewing Company, myself (Angela Johnson), our daughter Harrisen, and Chef Thomas Boemer the 2015 Minneapolis winner as well as the 2015 National Grand Cochon winner. Thomas used our Large Black pigs both times.

For the second year in a row our farm provided the Large Black Pig that was used by the winning chef at the Cochon555 Minneapolis event. Here we are at the end of the night. From left to right: Our daughter Rian, my husband Jason Johnson, the winning Chef Jorge Guzman of Surly Brewing Company, myself (Angela Johnson), our daughter Harrisen, and Chef Thomas Boemer the 2015 Minneapolis winner as well as the 2015 National Grand Cochon winner. Thomas used our Large Black pigs both times.

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

We take great care in raising our animals in an environmentally sustainable fashion. We also take care to honor the whole animal by using every bit possible whether that be in converting into a processed product or into a specialty cut. We work hard to offer a diverse product mix where customers can find something that meets their interests and tastes. interests and taste.

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

We bought a foreclosure farm that was essentially uninhabitable until repairs had been completed on the house. We, a family of 7 lived in a 1972 Winnebago for four months until the house was “done”, still a work in progress.

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Anything else we should know?

During the Summer of 2016, we imported 3 new bloodlines of Large Blacks from the United Kingdom. This is the first import since two bloodlines were imported to the U.S. in 1997. Expensive, cumbersome, problematic, bureaucratic. The new bloodlines will help reinvigorate the American Herd that has some signs of small genetic footprints and possibly some inbreeding. We believe it is necessary to create an island for a breed, in this case away from what is actually there origin, an island, the U.K., to protect against threats of disease that could wipe out a small country herd. We intend to have all the English Bloodlines, sourced directly from Great Britain in the next 3-5 years.

Shop their products online here!

Producer Profile: Country View Dairy

Country View Dairy produces all natural farmstead yogurt in both Original and Greek styles from their family dairy herd in Hawkeye, Iowa. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Bob, Dave, and Carolee for sharing your story with us! 

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

Country View Dairy is located in Hawkeye, Iowa, which is in Northeast Iowa on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

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

Dave and Carolee Rapson own and operate their family dairy farm in the hills of Northeast Iowa. While Carolee grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas Dave began working on one in his teens, rented a dairy farm in Michigan where he was from and started a family but decided to purchase a farm in Iowa to plant roots and create a long lasting dairy future for their 5 children.

We milk 180 Holsteins 3 times per day. On the days we make yogurt the milk gets pumped directly over from the milking parlor into the new creamery they built right on the farm 5 years ago. Around 2009, 2010 they knew they had to do something different and add value to the milk they were already producing or they would be forced to get out of the dairy business all together so with lots of research and visiting on farm dairy products producers around the country they arrived at making yogurt and in a leap of faith broke ground on the creamery and started their first small batch in the Fall of 2011.

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What does your farm specialize in?

We specialize in yogurt products. We sell locally as well as to some food service distributors in Iowa and neighboring states but most of our product is sold at Natural Food stores and Co-op Food Stores.

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

Our Greek yogurt would be our signature product and our best seller is our Aronia Blackberry Greek yogurt. All of our yogurts are all-natural with no artificial colors, flavors, no gelatin, no high-fructose corn syrup, made with milk from cows not treated with growth hormones. Also, we can control the quality of our milk since it is single-source all happening right here on the farm from working with a nutritionist on the cows diet to how we milk to processing the milk. We have made many tweaks over the past 5 years and our yogurt is truly an artisan yogurt. We were also recognized in the past year by winning 2nd place in the American Cheese Society contest for our Aronia Blackberry Greek yogurt and at the Iowa State Fair this year swept the yogurt categories for 1st 2nd and 3rd place ribbons with placement right next to the famous Butter Cow. We make our products that we are proud to offer to your families.

 

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What is your farm’s biggest season?

Our cows produce milk 365 days per year and we also make yogurt every week but our busiest seasons are Spring and Fall.

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

It is made in small batches with simple natural ingredients, all happening right here on the farm.

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

The Rapsons are a Mennonite family that moved to Iowa from Michigan in 2002 to start their own dairy farm and plant roots in Iowa which is 1/2 way between their home states of Michigan and Kansas. Since then, there are now 25 Mennonite families in the 10 mile radius and they have their own Church and school in Hawkeye.

Anything else we should know?

We have a small farm store in front of the creamery on the farm which sells other locally made foods in Northeast Iowa. We encourage folks to stop by and visit when they are in the area 7-days per week. If you stop during the day during the week you can watch the yogurt making process through our viewing window. We also always have soft-serve frozen yogurt on tap at the farm store for a buck for a cup or cone.

Shop their products online here!

Producer Profile: Special K Ranch

Special K Ranch has been in business for 34 years and specializes in grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free Texas Longhorn beef. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Kent for sharing your story with us! 

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

Special K Ranch is located in Chariton, Iowa, just a little over an hour from Des Moines.

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

Family Farm part has been in the family for over 100 years. Raising Texas Longhorn cattle for 34 years.

What does your farm specialize in?

Texas Longhorn cattle and Texas Longhorn grass fed beef fed with no hormones or antibiotics

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

Longhorn beef is lower is calories, fat and cholestoral than other beef

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

Our Texas Longhorn beef products are grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics.

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Shop their products online here!

Producer Profile: Greene Bean Coffee

Greene Bean Coffee is a coffee shop and roaster based in Jefferson, Iowa. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Rich and Reagan for sharing your story with us! 

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

Greene Bean Coffee. We are located in an 1880’s commercial building facing the downtown square of Jefferson, which we restored ourselves.

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

Small family business. Roasting for 10 years, the coffeeshop has been running for 4. Outside of DSM/Ames, we might be the only roaster/retailer in West Central Iowa, until you reach Omaha.

What does your business specialize in?

Good speciality coffee. Lots of Fair Trade, Organic, and bird friendly offerings.

 

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

We’re picky And we only create what amazes us on a daily basis by using top shelf ingredients, lots of training, and consistent high standards

Are there any special processes involved with harvesting or processing your products? Can you tell us about them?

We do compost all of our coffee waste.

What's the difference in these coffee samples? Nothing, except the speed they were cooled down coming out of the roaster.  Is there a difference? YES. This is the kind of stuff we wonder about, and why we have the best coffee around.

What’s the difference in these coffee samples? Nothing, except the speed they were cooled down coming out of the roaster. Is there a difference? YES. This is the kind of stuff we wonder about, and why we have the best coffee around.

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

We source and research all the farms that grow the beans, to make sure if they are not certified, are they using the best practices that we agree with.

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

We were coffee snobs when we moved to Iowa and said “Where’s the coffee?” There was none, so we started roasting for ourselves…..and look where it got us.

Anything else we should know?

No, but you should come have a drink with us.

Shop their products online here!

2016 Annual Meeting Recap

The Iowa Food Cooperative’s 2016 annual meeting and potluck was held on Saturday, Dec. 3rd at Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines. We had a great meeting with wonderful food. As we finished our meal, Gordon Graham of Novae Vitae farm shared pictures from a market in Peru his family visited – inspiring us with both the wonderful colors and the overwhelming amount of food.

Gary Huber, General Manager, shared some information regarding the evolution of the IFC since it started in 2008. Carrie Cook, IFC Treasurer, presented the financial picture of the organization. The fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 was a good year, ending well in the black. The fiscal year that we are currently in is not looking as good – we will need to cut some expenses from the budget and increase sales. Tony Thompson, outgoing board president, made special mention of the need for all of us to work together to help the IFC succeed by reaching out to new members. IFC business cards were shared with everyone so that they could be given to friends, family, and co-workers.

We talked about having been at the downtown (Des Moines) winter farmer’s market the weekend of Nov 18-19, and being there again Dec 16-17. Volunteers are still being recruited to staff the table (contact Lisa Bean if you would like to help out for a couple of hours). We are also starting a distribution site in Pleasant Hill on the east side of Des Moines, with the first distribution there being Dec 8th.

Board Election Results

New Producer Board Members
Ryan Marquart, Wild Rose Pastures
Andrew Joseph & Catherine Rihm, Meadow BlazingStar Honey

New Consumer Board Members
Kelly Bassett
Susan Ekstrom

Potluck Cooking Contest Winners

Most Iowa Ingredients
Brant Kassel (recipe here)
Norma Ames

Crowd Favorite
Linda Hanson (recipe at Iowa Girl Eats)

Golden Okra Award Winner

Kim Riemenschneider Jackson won the Golden Okra award for referring the most members to Iowa Food Cooperative. 24 members have joined because of Kim during the last five years. Thank you Kim!

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Special thanks to Iowa Orchard for donating cider for the meal.

Please read outgoing board president Tony Thompson’s comments here.