Category: New Producer

Producer Profile: Meadow BlazingStar Honey

Meadow BlazingStar Honey joined Iowa Food Coop during the summer of 2016. They are urban beekeepers that wowed our members with their unique beeswax luminaries and delicious creamed and raw honey. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Andy and Catherine for sharing your story with us! 

What is the name of your farm?

We chose the name Meadow BlazingStar Honey to honor one of our favorite native plants, Meadow Blazing Star. It is a beautiful prairie plant that is very beneficial to bees, monarchs, & other important pollinators.

honey supers

Honey supers loaded up on the truck (to bring to the honey house to extract)


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

We are a small family business located in Des Moines. Andy manages on average about 135 hives that are located in & around Polk County. Our workforce includes our young son, who is our dedicated product tester, especially when honey is involved. We started with two hives on a hill in Kentucky, & when a series of fortunate events led us to Iowa, we continued to build our bee business as we’ve found our place here.

What does your farm specialize in?

We sell raw honey, handmade beeswax products, & Northern-bred bees. We work hard to keep our bees healthy by boosting their nutrition, controlling pests, & choosing great locations for the hives in the Des Moines area. We believe sustainability can be found in well-managed hives consisting of good genetic stock, & we’re relieved to have never experienced tremendous losses. Another focus we maintain is education & community outreach. We are always learning from others, & we give information when we can. Andy is on the board of the Iowa Honey Producers Association & also teaches a popular beekeeping class each winter. He is an Eastern Apicultural Society Master Beekeeper & enjoys helping other beekeepers get better at what they do.

Beekeeper field day led by Adam of Meadow Blazingstar

Beekeeper field day led by Andy of Meadow Blazingstar


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

We take care to ensure our honey retains its raw form. We offer creamed honey, also called spun honey, which is raw honey that has been purposely crystallized by controlling its temperature. The result is a smooth, spreadable luxurious treat! We produce unique beeswax products that are crafted from wax from our own hives. We breed our own queens to be gentle, productive, & well-suited to our Northern climate.

What is your farm’s biggest season?

Honey is extracted in late summer, & it is our goal to always have it in enough supply to be able to provide it year round. Beeswax is a by-product of the extraction process & is available throughout the year. We are looking forward to offering new beeswax products such as fire starters, ornaments, & beautiful molded candles for the fall & upcoming holiday season.

Honey extractor

Honey extractor


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

Lucky for the beekeeper, bees have a natural tendency to store surplus honey above all else in the hive. This allows us to remove the upper boxes from the hive & bring the extra honey into our honey house, away from the bees. An electric hot knife is used to slice the wax cappings off of the frames of honey comb that are in the boxes. These frames of comb are placed in an extractor reel, where they’re spun. The resulting centrifugal force throws honey from the frames. It flows from the stainless steel walls of the extractor & is collected into tanks & buckets. The honey that is extracted is in the same form as it was when removed from the hive. The wax cappings that are removed in the extraction process are rendered in a time- and labor-intensive process, & we use this wax to create our beeswax products.

This luminary won 1st Place at the Iowa State Fair for beeswax art--and they're available in the shop!

This luminary won 1st Place at the Iowa State Fair for beeswax art–and they’re available in the shop!


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

We are a small, local, family-owned business. What we have to offer is ours: it’s legitimate. It’s a world where it can be hard to determine the authenticity or origin of a product that you’re buying, & it can be difficult to make consumer choices because of so much deception. Our products are simply what we say they are.

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

We once reveled in the glory of a 5-lb bucket as our sole honey crop, & now we’ll see well over 5,000 pounds of honey as our harvest this year. As we sell our honey & beeswax products in fantastic local stores such as Beaverdale Books & the Iowa Food Cooperative–& at our neighborhood Beaverdale Farmer’s Market–we cannot be more amazed by & appreciative of the support from our community. We are very proud to be honey suppliers to Buzzed Bee Meadery, a brand-new meadery in Melbourne, Iowa that is owned by a great, talented family. We submitted a handful of entries to the apiary division at the Iowa State Fair this year, & we were very excited to earn a handsome collection of ribbons. In each step of the way, we never saw the next step coming, & we are looking forward to seeing what happens next. While it’s all been semi-crazy & a lot of hard work, it’s all been very rewarding & a lot of fun.

Shop their products online here!

New Producer Interview: Catching Up With Wimmer Farms

Lettuces from the last order cycle.

Lettuces from the last order cycle.

Last month, the IFC welcomed Wimmer Farms as a new producer. For their first order cycle debut, they offered three types of immense but tender lettuces. Based in Arispe, Iowa, Wimmer Farms’ property has been in their family for over 86 years; owners Patty and Denny recently moved back from Chicago to pursue growing produce that promotes healthy lifestyles. A few days ago I caught up with Denny about his farm and involvement with the coop.

What made you exchange your big city living for farming in rural Iowa?

We had an opportunity to get back to the farm and took it. We are excited to work on making the farm an asset to the community and to future generations.


Tell us about a favorite product you offer and how you like to prepare it:

We are in our second year so right now my favorite is tomatoes just because they taste so great, and people seem so excited to see nice tomatoes that are fresh and delicious.

Why did you join the IFC and/or what has been your experience with the IFC so far?

We joined IFC to reach a broader market with our products. We live in a small town (89), and a rural community, and needed to reach more people and this seems like a good avenue to do that. We have only just begun, but so far our experience has been excellent. All the people have been very helpful.

What does a typical day look like during the growing season at Wimmer Farms?

We get up early have a cup of coffee together, discuss our plans for the day and then head out and start working. Many days have ended at dark this spring as we haven’t been able to spread the work out over several days because of all the rain fall.

What is a little-known fact or hidden talent you’d like to share?

Well I don’t know that it’s talent but I do like to paint, I also have done wood sculpture and some brass sculptures. Also, that I still hold a record at the high school for most passes caught in a football season(45) from 1972 , that I held the high jump record for 23 years, and I had the career scoring record in basketball before the three point line and dunking. So now you know I am really old.

Wimmer Farms (by Denny Wimmer)

Wimmer Farms (by Denny Wimmer)

  • Product Types:

  • Vegetables, 30-40 different types. Fruit, watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe. Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Lettuce, Spinach, and Salad Greens.

  • Wimmer Farms standards & growing practices:

  • Chemical free and a member of certified naturally grown. In the transition stage of organic certification. Have never used any synthetic products on vegetable crops.

  • What members can look forward to in the next shopping cycle:

  • We hope hope we still have some lettuce for the next cycle, maybe cherry tomatoes, kale and radishes.

  • Wimmer Farms Product Listing

  • Thank you for the interview, Denny!


IFC Welcomes Corazon Coffee Roasters!

We are excited to introduce a new producer member, Corazon Coffee Roasters! Scott at Corazon has emailed us with a bit of background about his new business and we would like to share his story with you.

Scott and Laura are the owners and operators of Corazon Coffee. The couple began roasting coffee only a few short months ago, but their story goes all the way back to 1993, when they first met. Scott says they had their first date during the flood of ’93, when Scott was working in the wine industry. Together they traveled the world and developed their knowledge of fine wine, and food pairings from all over the globe. Of course, they sampled coffee from foreign places throughout their travels, and it became a passion of theirs as well.

Scott and Laura’s interest in coffee blossomed out of their knowledge of wine, and when they decided to go into the coffee industry they realized the two beverages had many things in common. Coffee, just like wine, gains its rich flavors from many variables along the growth and production process. Scott plans to offer “cupping” classes where he’ll explain how the coffee gains flavor from every step along the way, from where it was planted and grown, to how it was roasted and brewed. He believes these factors affect the flavor of coffee, just the same as they do the flavor of a fine wine.

Corazon’s dedication to excellence in coffee doesn’t just include the rich flavor of their coffee beans. Scott and Laura believe an excellent cup of coffee should come with a promise of responsibility, too. They are a “green operation,” and use only certified organic beans. They also strive to maintain social responsibility by acquiring a majority of fairly traded coffee beans. The “Coffee with a Heart” motto extends to personal relationships with their growers, and their long term goal is to travel to the farms where the beans are grown and build a relationship with the people who grow their coffee.

It’s really great to have Scott and Laura as new producer members of the IFC, and we hope you will enjoy the delicious coffee they have to offer!