Category: News

“Bonne Femme” Cooking with IFC ingredients


Lately I have been enjoying recipes from the Bonne Femme Cookbook, recently released by the former Des Moines Register dining critic Wini Moranville.¬† ‚ÄúBonne Femme‚ÄĚ cooking refers to everyday cooking that the average French ‚Äúhousewife‚ÄĚ would prepare using fresh, locally available ingredients. ¬† I have found the recipes to be a great opportunity to use some of my finds from the Iowa Food Coop.


For example,¬† ‚ÄúMelty Goat Cheese Salad with Honey and Pine Nuts‚ÄĚ (p. 38) provided the perfect stage to feature Reichert‚Äôs Dairy Air‚Äôs Robiola di mia Nonna goat cheese.¬† This is a simple tossing of greens (I used a mix of Berry Patch lettuce and spinach with green leaf lettuce from Krieger Greenhouse) with a light vinaigrette, topped with toasted pine nuts.¬† But what makes this salad special is melting ‚Äúsoft-ripened goat cheese‚ÄĚ on toasty baguette slices, then drizzling with honey, and serving the crispy melty toasts on the bed of greens.¬† Now, whether Lois Reichert would call her Robiola a ‚Äúsoft-ripened cheese‚ÄĚ is not certain to me—but it is perfect for this application.¬† I used Novae Vitae‚Äôs Pure Honey to finish the toasty morsels.¬† Though it is virtuous to serve them with a fresh green salad, it occurs to me that the toasts alone would be a lovely appetizer or a great accompaniment to any other kind of salad or light supper.


To make the toasts, slice a baguette into half inch slices and toast on both sides, either in a toaster or oven.  Brush one side of toasts with olive oil, top with 1/8th inch thick slices of Robiola di mia Nonna, and place under oven broiler for 3 minutes or until melty but not scorched.  Cool slightly and drizzle with a little honey;  serve on a bed of greens, or however you want to eat them.


The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food that French Women Cook Every Day, by Wini Moranville, is available online or at local bookstores.  You can connect with the author on Facebook at Chez Bonne Femme.



Review by Rita Pray, 11/10/12

Thanksgiving Turkey Orders at the IFC

Can you believe the holidays are almost upon us again? Holidays often mean turkey for family meals, and in the past a lot of turkeys were sold through the IFC. But the extreme heat this summer posed challenges for our growers.

For example, LaVon at Griffieon Family Farm said they lost quite a few birds due to the heat, and Ryan and Janice at Wild Rose Pastures ran into the same problems. Neither of them will have turkeys to offer through the IFC this season.

Knowing that a lot of you were probably planning on getting your turkeys throught the IFC, we asked around to find out what was going to be available.¬† Here’s what we found out:

Tai with Foxhollow Farm speaks on her own behalf as well as for one of our Amish producers, Valley View Poultry. Together they will have around 60 turkeys to offer IFC members. There will be both heritage breed birds and white birds to choose from. All birds are raised according to Animal Welfare Approved standards, but only the heritage breeds are considered certified. They are not treated with antibiotics, and all are raised outside with access to shade during the day and shelter at night. The two producers both process their birds in Bloomfield at Valley View Processing, where they are air-chilled and not injected with any substances such as brine or water. The birds will range from 5 to 16 pounds in weight, depending on the breed.

Carrie with LaVentosa Ranch also had good news for us regarding her turkeys. She will be able to offer 25 heritage breed birds to IFC members. There will be several breeds available including: Black Spanish, Narragansett, Royal Palm and Chocolate breed turkeys. Carrie says her turkeys have been happily roaming the farm all summer, and while the summer heat posed some difficulty, the flock did well overall. All of the birds are free of antibiotics and hormones, and will weigh between 10 and 15 pounds on average.

In addition to turkeys, this year we will also have some Capon whole chickens to offer for the holidays. Holdeman ABF Poultry produces Capons, a type of chicken, which is considered an old-fashioned delicacy. These birds make a great alternative to turkey due to their large size and tender, juicy meat. All birds are free range and fed a vegetarian diet, and not treated with antibiotics. Holdeman ABF’s producer profile states: “Most people say this is the best chicken they have ever had.”

We are pleased to be able to offer you a great selection for your Thanksgiving meal this year. Be sure to add a turkey or Capon to your next order, as well as all the other holiday dinner ingredients to make a delicious meal for your friends and family. The IFC wishes everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

IFC Annual Potluck and Meeting Is Set For November 3rd!

IFC members and producers, MARK YOUR CALENDARS! We will be conducting our annual meeting on the 3rd of November, a Saturday, at the Mickle Neighborhood Resource Center in Sherman Hill from 5-7. All members and producers are encouraged to attend! There will also be a tour of the Mickle Center’s kitchen facilities beginning at 4, highlighting the kitchen’s progress to become a¬†licensed¬†facility.

At the meeting we will discuss our struggles and successes over the past year, and where we will go in the coming year. We will also elect new board members. This meeting will be fun and informal, and children are welcome to attend.

Please bring along a main or side dish for the potluck if you can. IFC will provide drinks. Table service is requested as well, we will need some people to bring silverware and plates.

The address of the Mickle Center is:

1620 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA  50314

Please contact us at  if you have any questions regarding the meeting. We look forward to seeing you there!

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!

Local Food Connections Workshop

News Release for Feb 27 Local Food Connections Workshop

Local Food Discussion Set for Feb 27

Taking the mystery out of the rules and regulations that govern buying and selling locally grown foods is the goal of a workshop featuring Scott Platt with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Platt, a field inspector with the department and spokesperson for the local food perspective will inform and clarify the regulations for both buyers and sellers desiring to support the demand for locally grown food.

The workshop will be held in two locations on Monday, February 27.


The workshop will cover practices and procedures that growers need to be able to address with potential buyers. Southern Iowa Regional Food System Coordinator, Sharon Wasteney, encourages institutional buyers who want to be better informed about buying food from local producers to attend as well. At both sites there will also be discussion of progress on community kitchen facilities. At the Chariton workshop there will be an update on discussions regarding the need for a community kitchen serving that area, and continued plans to cooperate with the Iowa Food Cooperative.

The program is being sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Southern Iowa Resource Conservation and Development and is also appropriate for continuing education credit of Master Gardeners. There is no fee for the program but registration is requested by February 24 to insure adequate materials are available for attendees.

  • Questions and reservations can be directed to Sharon Wasteney via email at or by calling the Union County Extension office at 641-782-8426 for the Creston meeting.
  • To register for the Chariton meeting, call Joe Sellers at 641-203-1270, or e-mail

More News

Producer Member Profile

Ebersole Cattle Company is located on 160¬†acres in southwest Iowa near Kellerton. This majestic land is the home farm to Shanen, Beau, and their three children along with their herd of Main Anjou cattle and working quarter horses. Shanen refers to their slogan ‚ÄúHappy.Healthy.Beef‚ÄĚ to describe their style of farming. She says their cattle are happy when they get to play and be cows. She and the kids make sure the calves have plenty of exercise and room to play. Their¬†beef is healthy because it‚Äôs simply natural. ¬†The harvested cattle are never given antibiotics and are grass fed or pastured-raised. Pasture raised beef has received less than 2% of their body weight in grain. Grass fed means they are never fed grain.¬† Ebersole Cattle is an¬†animal welfare approved¬†farm.Read more about the Ebersole family.

Local in February

This month you can chose from local eggs, potatoes, spinach, beef, pork, chicken, delicious pies and other baked goods, frozen-custard (including dark chocolate cherry!), whole grains, popcorn, honey and more.Prochaska Farms has listed 6‚ÄĚ pots of ferns for February that can be transplanted into a 10″ or 12″ hanging basket and will be ready for you to hang outside in the spring. Antler Ridge Elk has a whole new line of elk mittens in case winter isn‚Äôt really over! These are so warm and soft you will never wear anything else to shovel snow again.


Co-op Recipes

Even though it has seemed like spring for most of January it still pays to have a couple of tried and true recipes for winter needs. Here are a couple of cold weather recipes that can be made with products available through Iowa Valley Food Co-op!

Simple Roasted Chicken
1 (about 6 lbs) Whole Roasting Chicken
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Simply Organic Powdered Garlic mixed with Salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Rosemary
1 lemon, quartered

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan.

Place chicken on pan; rub with oil. Coat chicken thoroughly with seasoning garlic/salt/pepper and rosemary. Place quartered lemon in the cavity.

1. Roast on center rack of oven 15 min; reduce heat to 350 degrees. Roast about 1 hour, 30 min, until internal temp is 165 degrees (check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of the inner thigh where the leg connects to the body, away from any bone).
2. Transfer chicken to clean serving platter. Let rest 15-20 min before carving. If you like you can squeeze additional lemon quarters over each portion.


Ginger Honey Tea
Take a 1-inch piece of peeled ginger root, 6 cups water, 1/3 cup honey, the juice of one lemon and four bags of your favorite tea. Add the rind if your lemon is organic.
Slice the ginger into coins, combine with the lemon juice, the lemon rind, water and honey and bring to a boil in a small pot. Add the tea bags and steep for a few minutes. Strain and serve.
Keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be made with all kinds of tea, including white, green or black.

News from the IFC for the Spring of 2012

IFC Board 2011Donec venenatis lacinia enim, at feugiat metus hendrerit vitae. Nullam magna ante; laoreet lobortis mattis ut, euismod sit amet arcu. Vestibulum euismod quam eget ligula pretium congue. Sed tellus metus, blandit vitae ultrices eget, congue in sem. Integer id ante eu justo congue suscipit quis sit amet ipsum. Vivamus sodales porttitor sem et tempor. Pellentesque eu arcu enim. In congue feugiat tortor sit amet suscipit. Vestibulum at nibh ut urna accumsan imperdiet? Integer ultrices, arcu ut placerat faucibus, mi odio tincidunt urna, sit amet porta quam urna vehicula nisi. Curabitur libero massa, rutrum ac fermentum pretium, tincidunt eu arcu. Nunc pretium neque eget augue gravida tincidunt. Donec ac ligula at purus tristique ultricies nec vitae nisi. Sed at elit mi, a venenatis augue!


Aliquam tempor facilisis faucibus. Duis luctus nisl sed metus fringilla quis luctus mauris ultricies. Aenean tempus porta rutrum. Nam condimentum leo vel neque viverra commodo. Etiam et risus id turpis adipiscing rhoncus gravida a leo. Vivamus suscipit, felis ut fermentum pulvinar, est mauris accumsan mi, et consequat nibh odio eget tortor. Ut nec sem dui; id accumsan lacus. Vestibulum sapien urna, mollis eu pellentesque vel, congue ut nulla? Sed pellentesque nisl eu tellus consectetur scelerisque. Aliquam hendrerit molestie massa, in lobortis tortor commodo eget. Quisque hendrerit ornare leo, sed aliquam libero egestas eget. Praesent neque tortor; pharetra vel dictum sit amet, malesuada vel nunc. Proin ut quam non neque varius convallis. In sit amet egestas eros. Donec suscipit, metus pellentesque dignissim faucibus, libero diam commodo nisi, ut vulputate mauris odio id risus.

Pie with a link to Poundcake

Vestibulum velit enim, mollis in vehicula vitae, pellentesque non tellus. Sed urna nulla, condimentum nec tempor sit amet; egestas nec neque. Nulla fermentum, dui vitae luctus ultrices, leo dolor fringilla leo, dictum egestas lorem sem ac erat! Fusce et elementum elit. Vivamus quis leo et mi pulvinar posuere sed ac ante. Aliquam felis sem, placerat ut tincidunt quis, eleifend ac lectus. Nam mi est; tempus et tempus eget, condimentum ut sapien? Proin sit amet odio tellus. Mauris vulputate turpis vel libero scelerisque et convallis eros cursus. Cras tortor lorem, placerat eu sollicitudin vitae, viverra a ligula. Nulla orci nisi, euismod in gravida mattis, mattis pellentesque mi!

What is your favorite?

When I joined the Coop last year, all that was available made it difficult to make those first choices.  Whose eggs?  Which bacon?  So I just dived right in and chose producers with pretty names.   Of course, now I realize there really isnt a bad choice to make, they are all good!

But my first choice on my first order was the one that sealed my loyalty to the Coop.¬† The eggs.¬† Anna’s jumbo eggs to be exact.¬† I realized after cooking those first two eggs that I had never really had good eggs before.¬† Those eggs were so good, they didn’t even need salt and pepper, or toast, or even bacon.¬† They were so good they had to eaten alone to savor every bite.

Of course, over the last year and a half, I have ordered many items that have become favorites, Griffieon smoked ham hocks, anything from Homestead, (especially the seedlings, only ones to survive this year in my garden!), La Ventosa chicken, Tesdale garlic, Huber carrots, well you get the picture.

So what are your favorites?  Must haves?  What things do you stay up until 1 am, waiting for the shopping cart to open so you can get it before anyone else?

Dirty laundry…

This last cycle, several orders of laundry liquid and laundry powder crossed my cashier table.  Many of the consumers had never used homemade laundry soap, and wondered how well would it clean?

I have in the past made my own laundry powder and was quite pleased with the results.¬† My clothes were clean, I mean really clean.¬† No perfumy residual odor, and more so than that they felt clean.¬† My towels seemed more¬†absorbent, plus¬†more lint, and I’m embarrassed to say, cat hair wound up in my lint trap.

I emailed Kelly of Grandma’s Soap and was pleasantly surprised with the information she sent me regarding her soaps.¬† They are free of dyes and perfumes which can not only aggravate your skin but its safer for our lakes and streams.¬†¬†She is also the sixth generation of her family to use this same recipe.¬† She puts alot of care and integrity into her product, each soap is¬†cured 6 month or more, she will sell no soap before its time!¬†

As Kelly says “It is simple, basic and pure”.¬† Her liquid laundry detergent is low sudsing so its ideal for HE washing machines.¬†

She also offers an exceptional deal in her Sample gift set #1513, you receive a sample of the liquid laundry detergent and old fashioned soap, so if you are hesitant to commit to a gallon, at least try the sample set. 

If you want to wow and impress just about everybody,¬† get¬†a Make Your Own kit #1368.¬† You will receive the instructions and materials to make 3 gallons of your own liquid detergent, how cool is that? Add a bar of Grandma’s Old Fashioned Soap #1365, and that is a cool green gift!

Tips for using Grandma’s Liquid Laundry Soap #1367

A cup of vinegar added to the wash will whiten clothes and eliminate odors and bacteria.

Soaking clothes in lemon water prior to washing will naturally whiten them.

A moistened bar of Grandma’s Soap makes a great pre-wash stain stick.

If you would like to see Kelly and her mom of Grandma’s Soap, they are demonstrating at the following dates:

Sept 18-19: Farmer Days, Center Grove Orchard, Cambridge, Iowa

October 2:  Country Celebration at Center Grove Orchard, Cambridge, Iowa

October 3:  Artist Bazaar at Snus Hill Winery, Madrid, Iowa

October 8-9:  Osborne Heritage Days, Clayton Country Observation Center, Elkader, Iowa

Karla of Heart of Iowa Soapworks also offers  a great laundry detergent in a powder form.  As with the liquid soap, its all handmade, even down to the bar soap she grates to make the mixture.  Its compact profile and low sudsing formula makes this a no brainer for your laundry room.  Karla also indicates that a Stain Stick is coming soon, so keep your eye out for that! 

Karla tells me that she has not tested her soap on delicate items, so if in doubt, she says don’t use it, take them to a professional cleaner. ¬†But it does do an exceptional job on towels, bed linens, jeans and your regular laundry.¬† The powdered detergent comes unscented, but¬†can also be purchased in a¬†lavender scent #1168.

As with all of Heart of Iowa products, you can be sure of the love and care put into your soap!

Tips for using Heart of Iowa Powdered Laundry Soap #1167

 Turn the washer on and run some water in the botton.  Add 2 heaping TBSP of the soap and swish it around to dissolve.  Add clothes.

If  its a heavy load, like towels, do a double rinse.  Also add a big cupful of  white vinegar to your rinsewater.  Towels seem to like to hold more soap than other items.

For really stinky, grimy clothes, add an extra TBSP of the laundry mix and 2 cups of white vinegar.  Letting the clothes soak for a while before agitation helps too.

For white clothes, Karla uses a bleach alternative or regular bleach for a little boost.

I hope this answers any questions you have about using the homemade laundry detergent.  Both Kelly and Karla are happy to answer any other questions you have, and truly, their products are of exceptional quality.

Happy Washing!

One Iowa Egg Farm Takes a Free-Range Approach

by Helena Bottemiller | Sep 07, 2010
Re-posted with permission from:

This isn’t your typical egg farm. In Elkhart, Iowa, about 70 miles south of Wright County Egg–the mega-farm at the center of a 550 million egg recall tied to almost 1,500 Salmonella illnesses–colorful hens are milling around Foxhollow Farm. Lyric-less rock music is playing in the hen house, and it’s for the hens. The head rooster, a five-year-old Black Cochin Bantam named Shadow who appears to run the place, is friendly and strutting for the camera.

In many ways, Foxhollow Farm represents the antithesis of large-scale egg production in Iowa, which produces more than twice as many eggs as any other state.

egg2.jpgFoxhollow has about 200 laying hens. Wright County Egg, one of the top 10 egg producers in the country, has millions. Foxhollow allows its chickens to roam, following Animal Welfare Approved guidelines. Wright County Egg uses battery cages, a practice animal welfare activists are trying to ban. A dozen Foxhollow eggs will run you about $4.50. Wright County Eggs, sold under more than a dozen labels in more than 20 states, are closer to $1.

And then there is the issue of transparency. Despite numerous attempts, Food Safety News and the Iowa Egg Council, were unsuccessful in finding a single large-scale producer willing to give a tour or in-depth interview on egg production and the new Food and Drug Administration egg safety rules. Tai Johnson-Spratt, who runs Foxhollow Farms with her husband Thomas Spratt, offered a tour with less than a day’s notice.

Well under the 50,000 bird cut off, Tai’s farm doesn’t have to follow the new FDA egg regulations, but she’s actively managing chicken health and food safety.

“They don’t get sick unless something tragic happens,” she says. “We don’t usually have a problem with disease. I think the fact that they can go outside and do what they want to–we have dust baths, we have nest boxes, we have enough perch space–is important, they can express they’re natural behaviors. They’re doing what chickens do.”

If a chicken shows signs of illness, it is taken to the Iowa State poultry extension for a diagnosis. Drugs are administered only at the advice of Foxhollow’s poultry veterinarian.

Salmonella is much trickier to control, because birds do not show symptoms. The hatcheries are monitored for Salmonella, explains Tai. “All the hatcheries are supposed to be 100 percent pullorum-free, which should prevent Salmonella from reaching anybody’s plates, but that’s not always the case,” she says, because the bacteria can creep into a poultry house on the farm.

“You can get Salmonella from a bird flying over, from the feed, in the water–it can come from anywhere,” she says. Foxhollow manages pests and keeps its facilities clean. Tai also believes that giving the birds space is the best way to prevent disease from spreading. “In confinement, if one gets sick, they all get it.”

Foxhollow collects eggs three times a day and refrigerates them right away to stop any bacterial growth. The eggs are then sanitized and refrigerated until they reach the consumer. Tai has an Iowa egg handler’s license and she takes her keeping-the-eggs-below-40-degrees duty seriously. “We do things the way we’re supposed to,” she says.

eggfarm1.jpgWhen asked about the big producers upstate, Tai simply says: “There’s a lot better ways to do it. This takes a little more room, a little more time, a little more effort, but what you get out of it–these chickens are happy, they have everything they need, and it’s not much.”

“I think part of it, though, is that consumers aren’t educated about where their eggs come from,” she adds. “People think all brown eggs are farm eggs. That’s not true. People think all eggs are the same. That’s not true. Taste one of mine, taste one of DeCoster’s; you’ll see right there–even if you don’t cook it–just look at it. Look at the yolk. Mine are orangey, theirs are pale yellow.”

Though Foxhollow can hardly keep up with demand for its eggs–and its heritage chickens and turkeys–the farm represents only a tiny, though growing, fraction of Iowa’s poultry industry.

Foxhollow sells somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,600 dozen, a little more than 43,000, eggs per year. Iowa produces 14.25 billion eggs per year, according to the Iowa Egg Council.

Tai admits cost also has a lot to do with it.

“If people are used to getting eggs for 99 cents, why do they want to spend $4.50 for mine? There’s a lot of value in my eggs; they just don’t see unless they’re educated about it.”