Category: News

IFC Cart *Timing Change*, now opens Sunday at Noon!

IFC Community,

We have been exploring changing when the cart opens. Based on feedback, we are moving the cart open time to Sunday, July 7th at noon. The cart will still close at the usual Monday, July 15th at noon. Sunday is a busy shopping day for the IFC, and this change will allow our consumer members to shop every Sunday afternoon. 

Things to bear in mind with this change: 
Producer members will need to try and get their inventories adjusted prior to the new cart opening time. 
Consumer members may notice that their account may show a balance from the previous cycle as we may not have all of the previous cycle’s information finalized prior to the cart opening. You do not need to do anything about this, please be patient with us and feel free to email me directly with any concerns.

Thank you for your support and encouragement as we make this change. If you have any thoughts, comments, or concerns please reach out to me at and title your message CART TIMING. 

Happy Shopping,

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!

Alt. Thursday Market Offers New Opportunity to Shop Local

Iowa Food Cooperative, your online source for local food, is hosting a farmer’s market in the parking lot of the Franklin Avenue store on August 4 from 4-6:30 PM. The store, which has Iowa made cheeses, milk, yogurt, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, pastured poultry, artisan flours, and more will be open for business during these hours as well.

The farmer’s market will continue every other Thursday from August 4 to October 27 at 4944 Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.

From our consumer survey we learned that some costumers would like the option to shop IFC more than every other week. This farmer’s market and open store hours is our first attempt to help meet the needs of those costumers. It’s also an opportunity for community members who have never shopped at IFC to come learn what it’s all about–we encourage you to invite your friends! The market and store are open to all non-members during these hours.

Stayed tuned to Facebook for more info on what producers will be there this week!

Happy Earth Day (35)

From the Board: Member Survey Results

Thanks to board member Susan Seitz for writing these notes about our most recent consumer survey!

Several months ago you were asked to fill out an online survey about your experiences with the Iowa Food Coop. The board appreciates the time and thoughtfulness that went into filling out those surveys and would like to share some information about the results. The following is a small snapshot of the total results. If you would like more details about these results, we can make that happen. For now here are some overall general observations of what our members have experienced while ordering from IFC.

Our membership is pretty much divided into thirds when it comes to length of time in the coop with a little over 1/3 being members for one year or less, a little over 1/3 belonging for one to four years, and a little over 1/4 of our members belonging for more than four years.

The vast majority (86%) of the respondents seem satisfied with their over-all shopping experience. Of the 86% sixty-five percent were very satisfied. Respondents also gave high marks to their pick-up experiences, using words like friendly, competent, organized, and great volunteers.

Happy Earth Day (20)

When asked their reasons for being a member of the coop, 135 responded. The word local was used 85 times, and both high quality and healthful were mentioned 50 times. Other multiple responses were good for the environment, less carbon foot print, know where my food comes from, like to support sustainable farming, and lots of support for local farmers.

Around half of our members first learned about the coop from personal contacts, i.e., friends, family, and IFC producers. Around one quarter found IFC on line, and the rest from other ways.

Happy Earth Day (19)

The vast majority of members (79% )spend less than 25% of their food dollars shopping with the IFC. Only 2% of members spend 75% or more of their food dollars with the IFC. There were 39 responses to what would increase spending with the coop. Fifteen mentioned more pickup frequency or convenience of location/time and fourteen mentioned more variety. Lower prices and quality were mentioned by a few.

The individual comments were varied, thoughtful, thought-provoking and very helpful to us as a board. We randomly picked one comment to share and it could have been a hundred or more. One person responded to her/his experience of picking up food at the Franklin site with…

“I love it! I noticed there are some staples on the shelves there. I never asked but assume these are for sale. I need to take time to look around more and see if there are last minute items I can add to my order.”

Just another reminder… this is a small part of a lot of data we learned from you, our valued customers. We will continue to process this information and use it to improve and expand IFC while keeping the quality of products and experience as high as possible.

Thank You Jennifer Miller!

Jenn MillerThe Iowa Food Co-op thanks Jennifer Miller, who has been our Communications Coordinator since April 2013. The reason is she’s decided to take a break to concentrate on making her farm – Clarion Sage Farm – a success.

Jen spent many hours helping the IFC mature into an amazing enterprise. Her work included getting us established on Facebook, planning many different events, visiting with producers and consumers, reaching out to media, and working on our e-newsletter, website and software.

One measure of her impact is that during her tenure we added 500 new members (now almost 1,100 total!). Another is that average sales per distribution grew from $7,765 the year before she started to $13,685 in her final year – an increase of almost $6,000 per distribution!

The IFC wouldn’t be where it is today without Jen’s efforts. For this we are extremely grateful.

And the icing on the cake: she helped us find our new Communications Coordinator, Ash Bruxvoort. We are lucky to have Ash to continue a great IFC tradition of reaching out to the IFC community and keeping our co-op growing!

Thank you Jen – we will be seeing you around!


Meet Ash Bruxvoort – IFC’s New Communications Coordinator!

We have some exciting news!

Jennifer Miller, who’s been our Communications Coordinator since April 2013, is moving on so she can focus on her farming enterprise (Clarion Sage Farm). Jennifer did an amazing job helping us grow. For that we are deeply grateful.

She also helped us find her replacement, so please help us welcome aboard Ash Bruxvoort!

Ash recently returned to the Des Moines area after taking a year to work on organic farms in western Iowa, northern California, and central New York. She grew up on a conventional farm in Mitchellville, Iowa, where she is starting her own homestead.

ashbruxvoortAsh has a BA in English, Nonprofit Management, and Philanthropy Communication from the University of Iowa. She is a passionate online marketer who specializes in nonprofit marketing and marketing for farms.

“When I lived in New York most of the food I ate was grown within fifteen miles of me. I never thought that kind of local diet was possible in Iowa until I discovered Iowa Food Co-op,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of providing more local food options for consumers.”

Ash has done writing and online marketing for several organizations, including The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network, and Local Foods Connection. Her writing about agriculture and conservation has appeared in Edible Omaha, Modern Farmer, Seedstock, and Precision Ag Magazine.

Ash will focus on streamlining our communications processes to ensure members can stay up to date with our cart cycle. She will also update our Facebook and Instagram, produce our e-newsletter, and update our website. We greatly appreciate her enthusiasm and skills. You can connect with her on Twitter or Instagram @campcreekpunk, or shoot her an email at


From Iowa With Love

From Iowa with Love

By Rita Pray


Being of the age when I need to start getting rid of clutter instead of collecting more, I am inclined to give gifts that are consumable rather than “stuff” that sits around.  Hence, for the last couple of years, I have shopped the Co-op for holiday gifts.   I especially like to send all-Iowa gifts to my family that is flung all across the country—a sort of “look what you could have if you lived here” reminder.


A recent blog posting on this website listed the wide variety of products that would make great holiday gifts.  Obviously, you have to consider things like mailing and timing of the gift-giving when purchasing food-related items.  I recently boxed several collections of items to send to out-of-state family—things that won’t be spoiled if they aren’t opened for a month.   I love that all of the items show the from-Iowa label.


My finds for a non-perishable, family-friendly, general-happiness gift box were as follows:

Salamander Farms Popcorn on the Cob ($2.00/2 ears)

Elements of Rejuvenation Soy Candle  ($7.50)

Fieldstone Farms Beeswax Candles ($6.50/2 3” pillars)

Two Rivers Honey Bear Sample Size ($2.00)

Wildwood Farms Spiced Cocoa Mix ($2.00)

Twin Girls Autumn Jam ($5.50)

Country Harvest Blueberry Jam ($5.00)

Timber Ridge Summer Sausage  ($6.00)

Heart of Iowa Soapworks Pot Scrubbie ($2.50)

Fieldstone Farms Honey Straws  ($1.25/5)


Approximate Dollar Value=$40.00;

Recipients’ Iowa-Product Induced Happiness=Priceless.



IFC Christmas Gift Ideas

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us! If you’re like me, you probably struggle over what to get for everyone on your Christmas list. Why not give them something from the IFC this year? You can not only find something for everyone on your list, but your shopping dollars stay in Iowa as well! Here are a few ideas.

For the Beauty Product Lovers:

-Rosebud Botanicals has several really great all natural and environmentally friendly health and beauty products that would make great gifts. They offer 3 facial gift baskets with everything needed to moisturize, exfoliate, and cleanse. Their lip balms would make cute stocking stuffers too!

-Heart of Iowa Soapworks offers homemade soaps with real essential oils and natural ingredients. I can tell you from my own personal experience that all of their products smell great! Their shampoo bars would be a nice gift for ladies who are looking for a more natural way to care for their hair.

-Grandma’s Soap, a sixth generation old-fashioned soapmaker, has aromatherapy packs. These are perfect for the holiday season, which can be a bit stressful.

-Griffieon Family Farms, our beef producer, now has a daughter making soaps and lotions from natural ingredients. The lotions and soaps would make a nice gift, or a perfect addition to your own guest washroom.

For the Ladies on Your List:

-Our four candle producers: Two Rivers Honey, Fieldstone Farms, Elements of Rejuvenation, and Ebert Honey Co have all your candle needs covered. You can find the perfect scent for your friend who loves aromatherapy, or an unscented beewax candle for someone sensitive to smells. I can personally say the scented candles smell amazing!

-Live Now, Rest Later has handmade sterling silver jewelry. She can even personalize what will be stamped onto your jewelry, perfect to add a meaningful touch to your gift.

For Everyone Else:

-Get the birdwatcher on your list a suet-cake or suet-lollipop from Ebersole Cattle. They are sure to draw birds into your recipient’s yard!

-For the knitter on your list, add some yarn from Hedgeapple Fiber Studio. The yarn comes from sheep hand-reared on Hedgeapple Farms, and are available in many beautiful colors.

-If you have a wine-lover on your list, Rosey Acres Winery offers wines ranging from dry to sweet. These Iowa wines are made and hand bottled in Runnels, Iowa.

-Iowa Orchard’s Fudge makes the perfect gift for ANYONE on your list. You really can’t go wrong with their rich chocolatey fudge.

Also be sure to check out our awesome assortment of baked goods from our hardworking producer members. Every product is made by hand locally, and will make a great addition to your holiday get together or work party. Gift memberships are also a great option for friends and family who aren’t already an IFC member! Be sure to look through our product listings when you’re looking for that hard to find gift, you may be surprised what you can find at the IFC. Happy holiday shopping to you all!

Rosey Acres Rising Sun Red Wine Review

The Rising Sun Red is one of the best [non-sweet] Iowan reds I have

had.  My first taste was a small pour, from the bottle, and the bouquet

was smooth and jammy.  The wine gives hints of cherry and cocoa, with

a very smooth finish.  Next, I used an aerator, which simply enhanced

the flavors and subtle finish.  This is an Iowan wine that I would be

proud to purchase, share, and/or give as a gift.  After checking out

the winery’s website, I definitely need to get some of their Brutus

Red, next.


Review by Christine Bissinger