A HISTORIC ROAD TRIP
WORKING COWS ARE WORKING MOMS FOLLOWING THE FOOD DOLLAR
A HISTORIC ROAD TRIP
WORKING COWS ARE WORKING MOMS FOLLOWING THE FOOD DOLLAR
IN THE SUMMER ISSUE OF FRESH PICKINGS MAGAZINE, YOU’LL FIND STORIES THAT CELEBRATE THE INCREDIBLE FOOD, FARMS AND FAMILIES THAT MAKE IOWA A SPECIAL PLACE TO LIVE.
THIS QUARTERLY PUBLICATION IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IOWA FOOD & FAMILY PROJECT. WE ARE AN INITIATIVE THAT INVITES IOWANS TO EXPLORE HOW FOOD IS GROWN AND RAISED AROUND THE STATE AND MEET THE FARMERS WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN; 24/7, 365 DAYS A YEAR.
WE NETWORK WITH NEARLY 35 FOOD, FARMING AND HEALTHY LIVING ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE PROUD OF IOWA’S HOMEGROWN FOODS AND HOMETOWN VALUES. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PARTNERS ON PAGE 5.
WORKING COWS WORKING MOMS
The stunning Jersey cows at Jones Dairy are the epitome of sustainability, turning crops into wholesome milk and, in turn, feeding the land and people.
TURKEY: TASTY AND TIMELESS
Turkey is a flavorful protein to enjoy in every season. Discover ways to cook and prepare turkey, along with tips from a world-champion cook.
EXPLORE THE FUTURE OF FOOD
New technologies, from bio-based food packaging to robots, are poised to enhance the farm-to-fork experience.
Countless pieces of the past are waiting to be discovered along the historic Lincoln Highway in Iowa, also known as Highway 30.
SIZZLING AND SENSATIONAL
Savor Iowa’s spectacular summer season with recipes that hit all the right notes for an afternoon barbecue or a relaxing evening meal.
FOLLOWING THE FOOD DOLLAR
Many factors impact the price of your home-cooked or restaurant menu favorites. Discover the places and faces rewarded for bringing food to fruition.
42 EGYPT, MOROCCO FERTILE GROUND FOR IOWA AG
Iowa soybean farmers travel to North Africa to promote and learn about the growing market for soy-fed proteins.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IOWA FOOD & FAMILY PROJECT
AARON PUTZE, APR
ANN FOSTER THELEN
Thelen Public Relations
Food & Swine
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Darcy Maulsby & Co.
Iowa Soybean Association
Iowa Beef Industry Council
Iowa Pork Producers Association
Iowa Corn Growers Association
Iowa Poultry Association
Iowa Egg Council
Iowa Turkey Federation
The Soyfoods Council
Anderson Erickson Dairy Cargill
Cookies Food Products
Earl May Garden Centers
Farm Credit Services of America
Heart of America Group
Iowa Grocery Industry Association
Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant
Iowa State Fair
Latham Hi-Tech Seeds
Live Healthy Iowa
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You’re invited to explore how food is grown around the state and meet the farmers who make it happen. At the Iowa Food & Family Project we’re all about celebrating farm families, uniting rural and urban communities and providing the information and experiences you need to make informed food choices.
Funded in part by the soybean, pork, corn, beef, dairy, egg and turkey checkoffs.
A smoky barbecue grill is one of the most iconic smells during the summer. Whether gathering with friends and family or cooking a quick evening meal, grilling turns Iowa-raised proteins into the stars of flavorful meals. Discover a new favorite grilling recipe by browsing this issue’s recipe spreads (Page 34) highlighting sizzling-good ingredients.
In every season, certain things pair perfectly together. In spring, it’s rain and flowers. Tailgating and football are signs of fall. Winter pairs snow with sledding.
When I think about warm-weather months, many pairings come to mind, awakening the senses. Fresh-cut grass, tangy cold lemonade, sizzling barbecue grills and newly applied sunscreen are at the top of my list. With the sun setting well into the evening hours, there’s plenty of time for fun and relaxation.
When I think of the warmest weather months, I find delight in the following pairings:
There’s something quintessentially summer about packing up the family and hitting the open road. Whether traveling across the country or staying within the great state of Iowa, road trips are a perfect way to explore new and exciting places. In this issue, you’ll read about a historic road trip idea (Page 28) that spans the entire state and allows travelers to experience history and agritourism.
Nothing says summer like enjoying a frozen dairy treat with the family on a warm evening. Cookie dough, strawberry, chocolate or rocky road, the flavor options are endless. Those frozen delicacies are thanks, in large part, to Iowa’s dairy farmers. Iowa ranks near the top 10 when it comes to dairy production in the U.S., producing about 500 million pounds of milk per month (if used solely for ice cream, that’s equivalent to more than 40 million gallons of ice cream!). Read about a familyowned dairy focused on sustainability on Page 14.
The enjoyable warm-weather days are made sweeter when paired with the sights, smells and tastes made possible, in part, by Iowa farm families. Whether you’re traveling near or far, to a ballgame or the local ice cream shop, know that Iowa farmers are dedicated to producing the safe foods that fuel your summer adventures.
Enjoy the issue,
WIN A $75 ICE CREAM GIFT CARD to the shop of your choice and enjoy frozen dairy treats. Enter to win at iowafoodandfamily.com/contest/ice-cream .
Cristen Clark is a pig farmer, creator of the Food & Swine blog and an award-winning baker and cook. She lives on a farm near Runnells with her husband Mike and children Halle and Barrett.
Ilove to indulge in food history. The kabob is thought to have originated in Turkey during medieval times when Turkish soldiers dined on freshly hunted game skewered on swords, cooked over fires in open fields. Our translation of shish kabobs comes from the Turkish word “sis,” meaning sword, and “kebap” meaning meat, specifically mutton or lamb. The popularity of kabobs is not surprising because of the myriad of ways to customize this dish.
In my early cooking experiences, I grilled kabobs purchased from the grocery store. They consisted of meat and vegetables on the same bamboo skewer. It was impossible to cook the kabobs perfectly because the ingredients had different cooking times and temperatures.
Fast forward through many years of trial and error, and I’ve found some great kabob recipes my family enjoys.
A simple blend of ingredients within a marinade can add flavor and moisture. A quality marinade has a balance of acid, oil and seasonings.
Adding an acidic component to a marinade weakens the surface proteins in the meat, which helps introduce flavors and improve texture. My favorite acidic components are citrus juices, dill pickle juice and red wine vinegar.
Fat in a marinade helps retain moisture and transfer fat-soluble flavors onto the surface of the meat. Fats help round out flavor profiles and keep sharp or acidic flavors from taking over. Examples
include soybean oil, olive oil, mayonnaise, yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream.
Herbs, seasonings, salt and sweeteners give a punch of flavor. Salt helps water-soluble flavors in the marinade penetrate the protein tissues and retain flavor. It also loosens the muscle fibers to make tough cuts easier to chew. Examples of salty marinade ingredients include sea salt, kosher salt, pickle juice, mustard or soy sauce.
Finding the right skewers is essential. Bamboo skewers are best for foods with short cooking times. Metal skewers are best for foods that take longer to cook. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before adding food so the skewers don’t burn. Most foods fit for kabob-making can turn or twirl on traditional skewers. Using a double skewer, two skewers parallel to each other, to pierce the food can keep the ingredients in place.
Make ingredient-specific skewers and cut all pieces a uniform size for even cooking. Placing meat and veggies on separate skewers helps ensure each ingredient is cooked to the proper doneness.
Be sure to cook off the marinade. A 2- or 3-minute cook time after applying the last brushing of marinade is essential for food safety. Alternatively, you can use extra, unused marinade that has not touched raw meat for dipping or drizzling post-cooking. Cooking off the marinade also helps it stick to the meat. If there is sugar content in the marinade, it will become caramelized in the last minutes of grilling.
• 2 pounds sirloin steak
• 1 tablespoon seasoned salt or garlic salt, divided
• 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
• 1/4 cup soybean or vegetable oil
• 6 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
• 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Trim steak and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place into a gallonsized zip-close bag. Season meat with 2 teaspoons seasoned salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Combine oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and golden brown. Remove pan from heat, add
butter, herbs, red wine vinegar and mustard. Stir until mixture is combined. Pour half of the mixture over the meat in the zip-close bag and massage together; marinate 30 minutes. Set remaining part of the mixture aside until serving.
Preheat grill to 375 degrees F. After beef is done marinating, thread beef onto skewers, leaving a small space between each piece on the skewer. Grill kabobs for 8-11 minutes, turning occasionally until beef reaches 125-130 degrees F on a digital-read thermometer or until your desired doneness. Rest 5 minutes before serving, and drizzle with remaining garlic butter sauce and herbs. Serve warm and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs.
Make s 6 generous kabobs.
In Iowa, approximately 200 farmers markets provide direct marketing outlets for fresh and locally grown produce; baked goods; and various products from eggs to meat, wine, cheese and crafts. Situated along city blocks, in parks or at other central locations, open-air markets offer bushels of goodness for patrons.
Along with fresh foods, shopping for the perfect finds is a chance to use your feet as the ultimate transportation. While the steps are tallying up, the team at Live Healthy Iowa says you can also bolster your nutritional routine by purchasing a rainbow of foods and pairing them with your favorite proteins.
A jewel of foods, red fruits and vegetables are luscious and contain vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber – all of which are good for your heart. Research has also shown that these vibrant foods can help fight cancer, boost immune function and improve skin health. They also contain lycopene, which helps to protect from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Examples: Apples, beets, cherries, radishes, raspberries, red peppers, strawberries and watermelon.
These fruits and vegetables are a dose of sunshine for your body by improving immune function and supporting eye and heart health. Loaded with vitamin C (especially the citrus fruits), they also boast vitamins A and B6, folate, potassium and antioxidants.
Examples: Carrots, cantaloupe, orange and yellow peppers, peaches, pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes.
Refreshing and crisp, green produce is rich in vitamin K for blood and bone health, lutein for eye health, and isoflavones for cognitive function.
Examples: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green beans, green peppers, kale, lettuce, pears, peas, spinach and zucchini.
Stunning to look at and delicious to eat, blue and purple foods are rich in antioxidants, which have been found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, protect cells from damage and improve memory.
Examples: Aronia berries, blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, plums and purple cabbage.
White fruits and vegetables are anything but bland. These powerhouses keep bones strong and your heart healthy while helping to reduce the risk of cancer with vitamins C and K, folate, potassium and antioxidants.
Examples: Bananas, cauliflower, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes and turnips.
There is more to a grain bin than what meets the eye. To some, they are iconic fixtures of the heartland, but to farmers, these sturdy units of corrugated steel store their livelihood.
The Grain Bin Lodge and Retreat near Le Mars offers guests a oneof-a-kind experience inside one of the cylindrical structures found on grain farms across the state.
Iowa natives and Airbnb Superhosts, Greg and Ronda Jahn, are the visionaries behind the vacation rental that has been recognized as one of the top ten unique stays in Iowa.
Twenty-seven years ago, the Jahns purchased a 10-acre site that included the farmhouse where the couple resides today, along with other outbuildings and a grain bin that once stored the previous owner’s corn crop.
In 2016, the Jahns renovated the grain bin into an antique store where they sold a collection of historic treasures sourced from local markets and auctions across the Midwest. When the retail
industry was disrupted in 2020, the Jahns decided to convert the building into an Airbnb.
“Our neighbors thought we were crazy,” Greg shares. “Even we were a little apprehensive at first since we had moved to an acreage to enjoy the peace and quiet, and here we were about to host guests about 500 yards away from our home.”
Despite the hesitation and work that went into adding a shower and hot water heater, the same qualities that attracted the Jahns to the countryside made their new homestay accommodation a huge success.
“We’re conveniently located 2 miles east of Le Mars on a gravel road where guests can really get away from it all and enjoy the beautiful country scenery,” says Greg. “There is plenty of room to wander and the interior of the grain bin offers a unique aesthetic.”
Inside the rural retreat, the perimeter walls feature reclaimed barnwood saved from a nearby farmstead. Many of the Jahn’s
antiques are on display including a buffalo hide scale, vintage signs and a staircase railing made from the wooden handles of scythes – an agricultural hand tool once used for clearing land or cutting hay.
The 700-square-foot main floor includes a full bath, retro kitchenette, seating and a large dining area. Upstairs, guests can make themselves comfortable in one of three beds overlooking the 500-square-foot open loft.
Beyond the covered porch outside, guests can enjoy a stroll through an orchard and garden or gather around a fire pit. Approximately seven acres of trees and shrubs surround the bin and host a variety of wildlife and songbirds.
“We’ve welcomed visitors and repeat guests from coast-to-coast who are drawn by the novelty of staying in a grain bin,” says Greg. “The most rewarding part of the experience has been meeting people and sharing our hospitality to ensure guests enjoy their stay.”
Book your stay at the Grain Bin Lodge and Retreat at Airbnb.com.
When Patrick and Nancy Jones were married in 1977, they continued a dairy business legacy Patrick’s grandfather began in 1906. Jersey cows were among the first livestock on the family farm in Spencer, now being operated by the fourth generation of the Jones family. Jersey cows are affectionately known as loveable, gentle, brown beauties. The breed’s milk is known for its high butterfat and protein content, making it ideal for cheesemaking.
“When I joined the family operation in the 1960s, Dad was milking about 30- to 40-head of Jerseys,” Patrick explains. “In the early 1980s, we built an 80-cow free stall barn with a double-four milking parlor.”
The barn and milking parlor stood the test of time for a quarter of a century as Patrick and Nancy grew their business and family. As parents of eight children, they wanted to cultivate an environment where their kids could be involved in the business as adults. Over the years, they gradually expanded and built a new barn, growing to a herd of 700 cattle by 2006.
Today, the couple’s daughter Aaron Titterington and their son Nathan oversee the family business. Aaron manages the herd of 1,300 cows, and Nathan heads up the construction and fieldwork. While Patrick and Nancy’s six other children aren’t involved in the day-to-day activities, they each have a role in the farm’s success.
A new 64-stall rotary milking parlor is the latest addition to the family business, which builds on the Jones’ commitment to building a legacy for the next generation.
In every aspect of the business, the family’s passion for cow health, innovation and working toward more efficient and sustainable production is paramount.
“We are always working to see how the different pieces of agriculture can fit together,” Aaron says. “Our goal is to keep making the sustainability circle bigger.”
On the farm, the cows provide a full circle of sustainability.
Every day, each 1,000-pound milking cow – which Aaron fondly calls “working moms” –eats 60 pounds of feed, drinks the equivalent of a bathtub full of water and produces 50 pounds of milk and 20 gallons of manure. Patrick and a nutritionist work closely to ensure the cows receive topnotch nutrition. A healthy and well-fed dairy cow is a happy cow, which means she’ll produce more nutritious milk.
“The cows are fed a ration that would rival the nutrition a pro athlete receives,” explains Aaron, who adds that all the family’s crops go into feed. “One of Dad’s favorite crops to plant is a flowery corn kernel instead of a flinty corn kernel because he believes it’s easier for the cows to digest.”
To achieve optimal feed quality with the crops they grow, there are many essential decisions in production, from planting to fertilizing (using liquid components of the cows’ manure) to harvesting. The length the plant is cut, its moisture level and how the processed feed is stored all impact the nutrients. Precise computer- and human-aided formulations generate the perfect recipe of corn silage, alfalfa haylage, corn earlage and other vital ingredients. It’s a science mastered by those who raise pristine and healthy livestock.
Inside the buildings, climatecontrolled open stalls with 3-inch soft rubber mats lining the floor provide the cows with ideal barn amenities. Curtains automatically raise and lower to accommodate Iowa’s fickle weather and to keep temperatures comfortable for the cows, whose hair coats change with the seasons. Every day, new bedding is placed in the stalls, and beyond fertilizer, manure has a variety of beneficial uses on the farm.
“Our goal is to keep everything around the cows as dry as possible,” explains Aaron, who adds this effort is paramount for overall cow health. “All of the bedding comes from manure that goes through a screw press. The liquid is extracted for fertilizer, and the other ingredients create a dry, fluffy ingredient that has a consistency of something you could almost form into a ball.”
The cows receive high-quality and nutritious feed rations that are a precise recipe of corn silage, alfalfa haylage, corn earlage and other vital ingredients.
Not only does this bedding add to the cycle of sustainability, but the dry environment also keeps the cows’ udders and hooves clean, reducing potential bacteria growth in the stalls. Aaron equates the fluffy fertilizer to creating a “mattress” for the cows to sleep on in their stalls.
It’s the ultimate cycle of sustainability; the sun and rain grow the crops. The crops feed the cows, which produce milk – a nutritious food for people. In the process, the cows make manure, which becomes fertilizer for crops and fluffy bedding for the cows.
“Decisions for the farm are always made with the cows in mind. They are most comfortable with routines, habits and moving as a herd. The barn is tempered from the outside elements, dry, well-bedded with ample feed and fresh water available at all times,” Aaron explains.
Every day, new bedding is placed in the stalls for the cows. All of the bedding comes from manure that goes through a screw press. The liquid is extracted for fertilizer, and the other ingredients create a clean and dry, fluffy ingredient.
EACH COW DRINKS A BATHTUB FULL OF WATER EVERY DAY. THAT’S ABOUT 35 GALLONS OF WATER!
“A happy cow generally produces more milk, and that’s our ultimate goal – happy and healthy cows.”
Every cow at Jones Dairy produces about 50 pounds – or 7 gallons – of milk per day. The milk is sold to Agropur in Minnesota to make cheese. A cow who has had a calf within three weeks is milked four times a day.
The addition of the circular, rotating milking parlor adds routine and consistency to the daily processes for the cows, the family and the dairy’s employees.
Sustainability plays a role in all aspects of Jones Dairy. Proper land management allows them to harvest crops for quality feed, and practices across the farm ensure they use natural resources to the fullest with minimal waste.
“We use many different strategies to protect our natural resources, including crop rotation, buffer strips and cover crops,” Aaron explains. “By doing this, we can improve soil quality, prevent soil erosion, and manage crop pests and diseases.”
Water is reused in several places throughout the farm. One example is the water used to rapidly cool milk is saved to water the cows later.
“Maintaining the nutrients within our soil is a priority because we hope the next generation will want to stay on the farm or come back one day,” says Aaron, who realized once she left the farm, working on a dairy farm was her life’s passion. Her husband operates his family's soybean and corn farm, and their two boys, ages 13 and 11, are often helping on the farm.
“America has a wonderful, plentiful food system that’s safe, efficient and environmentally
conscious. Helping people to understand what goes into their food and where it originates is important,” explains Aaron, who often leads tours on the farm for all ages, from preschool children to adult groups. “I’m passionate about showing how cows care for the land and how the land, in turn, cares for humans by producing nutritious dairy and meat products.”
The family’s goal is to show visitors that their dairy farm’s carbon footprint is small, and they are operating sustainably.
“An observation area was incorporated in our newest barn, which houses the milking parlor,” Aaron says. “Visitors can experience a working dairy farm and learn about the amazing milk production process. For me, there is no place on Earth as wonderful as a farm.”
THE JONES DAIRY COWS EAT ABOUT 60 POUNDS OF FEED PER DAY. FORAGES, SUCH AS CORN SILAGE AND ALFALFA, COMPRISE MOST OF THEIR DIET.
CELEBRATE AND ENJOY THIS VERSATILE PROTEIN IN EVERY SEASONBy Ann Foster Thelen
Turkey is loaded with flavor and nutrition, no matter how you prepare it. It’s a delight to enjoy because the meat drinks in whatever seasonings or marinades it is cooked with, making it a versatile choice in any cuisine. From the All-American turkey burger to turkey fajitas, turkey is a flavorful protein.
IOWA RANKS SEVENTH IN U.S. TURKEY PRODUCTION WITH APPROXIMATELY 12 MILLION TURKEYS RAISED ANNUALLY.
Turkey is a nutritional powerhouse. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless turkey breast is low-fat and provides a whopping 26 grams of protein. Protein is important in helping you feel full longer, and it is also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in your blood.
Turkey is naturally low in sodium, containing less than 25 milligrams per ounce. It is rich in nutrients, such as iron, zinc, potassium and chromium, which contribute to a robust immune system and how blood sugar is regulated in the body.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Turkey is high in L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid. The body can’t make it, so foods must supply tryptophan. While it’s a myth that tryptophan causes sleepiness, it may improve sleep quality.
• 1 cup onion, minced
• 11/2 pounds ground turkey
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato puree
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 4 English muffins, toasted
• Cole slaw
• Barbecue sauce
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, add ground turkey, onions, tomato paste, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix just until everything comes together; do not overmix.
Form the mixture into four equal portions and shape into 1-inch-thick patties. Transfer the patties to the lined baking sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes. This can be done up to a day in advance.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Once the grill has reached temperature (around 450 degrees F), oil the grates by using grilling tongs and rubbing the grates with a wad of paper towels dipped in canola oil. Give the grill 5-10 minutes to get back up to temperature after oiling.
With a metal spatula, transfer chilled patties to the grill. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until the burgers are slightly charred and golden. Cook until burgers reach 165 degrees F.
Serve on toasted English muffins with a dollop of coleslaw and barbecue sauce or ketchup. Or top with your favorite burger toppings.
Enjoy turkey in your favorite recipes or try new dishes to let the protein superstar shine at any meal.
Grill turkey tenderloins with your favorite seasoning – like Cajun, Greek or Italian – until they reach 165 degrees F. Let them rest for 5 minutes, then slice for a sensational salad topping.
Soups are the perfect way to pack vitamins and minerals into mealtime. Use leftover smoked turkey breast and ingredients like fresh kale, sweet potatoes and cannelloni beans for a bowl of goodness.
Whether it’s deli-sliced turkey or leftover turkey breast, creating signature sandwiches is a breeze with this versatile protein. For a sandwich that’s anything but ordinary, try adding a variety of cheeses, veggies or fruit (apple or pear slices), and condiments for perfect paninis.
Cube and cook a turkey breast, then add colorful vegetables, savory spices and delicious sauces for an easy meal that will taste amazing while being nutritious. Serve over a bed of brown rice or other healthy grains.
Often made with simple ingredients, these one-dish wonders are full of flavor and nutrition. Experiment with adding nuts, cheeses or other fresh items to enhance the turkey cut of your choice.
WIN A $100 SUBWAY GIFT CARD to enjoy deli-sliced turkey on your favorite sandwich. Enter to win at iowafoodandfamily.com/contest/subway .
Whether you’re grilling out for one or barbecuing for family and friends, turkey offers a variety of options that strut their stuff over the coals.
A bone-in turkey breast offers a robust white meat alternative to the whole bird without the lengthy cook time.
The boneless breast provides a tender, juicy cut that can be sliced into any size or shape.
Ground turkey is a utility player that can be used as a versatile protein.
This dark meat cut is a fan favorite. It calls for long, slow cooking, but the result is worth the wait. Tender and flavorful, turkey legs are more than an Iowa State Fair novelty, they are a timeless classic.
• 1/2 cup soy sauce
• 1/2 cup ketchup
• 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons sriracha
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Turkey thighs are the perfect cut for those who reach for the dark meat on the plate. Brine it for the grill or smoker, and let the flavor speak for itself.
Turkey wings are larger than other poultry options and a prime choice for more substantial appetizer portions. They are great on the grill or in the smoker.
It’s not just for Thanksgiving. An entire bird has the flavor, tenderness and versatility to satisfy anyone at any time of year.
• 1 tablespoon raw sugar
• 2 cups diced smoked turkey
• 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias with some of the green reserved for garnish
• Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
• Carrots, thinly cut into julienne strips, for garnish
• 8-10 lettuce cups (Bibb or green leaf)
In a medium bowl, combine sauce ingredients and mix well.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Add cooked turkey, scallions and carrots and mix. Cook, mixing occasionally until the mixture is bubbling and heated through.
Let cool just for a few minutes, and then fill the lettuce cups. The number will vary based on the size of the cups and how much you choose to fill them.
Garnish with carrots, scallion tops and sesame seeds.
Photo and recipe credit: Iowa Turkey Federation and National Turkey Federation
The Iowa Turkey Federation (ITF) was formed in 1948, prompted by W.R. Whitfield, who worked at Poultry Extension Service at Iowa State College (later renamed Iowa State University). Its founding came when the turkey industry was in transition. To feed the troops during World War II, farmers raised more turkeys under
government contracts. When servicemen and servicewomen came home in 1945, the contracts ended, and farmers needed a new market for their turkeys.
Over the years, ITF and the Iowa Turkey Marketing Council (founded in 1972) have passionately served the industry with the goal of providing healthy, nutritious turkey for Americans.
Since its founding 75 years ago, Iowa’s turkey farmers have promoted their product in many ways to appeal to consumers. Highlights include:
The National Turkey Federation begins the “Eat More Turkey” campaign.
ITF ran print ads encouraging Iowa grocers and restaurants to sell local “Iowa golden grain-finished turkeys.” Beginning in the early 1950s, the “ovenready” turkey accounted for 90% of the American turkey crop.
At Warehouse Barbecue in Ottumwa, turkey is always on the menu. It’s a popular offering that owner Dusty Ware is proud to feature. He also owns the Iowa Barbecue Store, where his enthusiasm for cooking with turkey led to a World Turkey Smoke championship in 2022.
“I love turkey because there are so many ways to cook it and enhance the eating experience with different flavors or food pairings,” Ware explains. “At our store or in barbecue competitions, it’s fun to show consumers or judges how different flavor injections, rubs or marinades can work incredibly well with turkey.”
Through his businesses, Ware sponsors eight competition barbecue chains in Iowa. Collectively, a group from these organizations called the “Iowa BBQ Store Corn Cookers” took home the Turkey Smoke trophy from the 2022
Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
The award-winning entry, which beat out 365 other teams, was a smoked turkey breast that was cubed and wrapped in cream cheese and bacon. Each bite-sized portion was dunked in a blue salt, raspberry chipotle sauce for an irresistible savory and sweet winning combination.
When it comes to cooking turkey at home or his restaurant, Ware has simple advice for locking in the moisture in one of his favorite cuts – a turkey breast.
“We take the turkey out when it reaches 155 degrees F. Then, it’s instantly double-wrapped very tightly in cellophane, wrapped in aluminum foil and put in a holding cabinet,” he explains. “It reaches its finished temperature with all the moisture locked in. Home cooks could apply this same technique.”
Turkey is a natural fit for the grill or smoker, and its versatility makes it the perfect protein to let your pitmaster skills speak for themselves.
When putting a big cut of meat on the grill, such as a turkey breast, a fire directly under the food isn’t ideal. Higher temperatures have their place for a quick sear on turkey tenderloins, but otherwise, cooking turkey lower and slower is best.
Using indirect heat allows for cooking at more moderate temperatures, maintaining the perfect amount of heat and keeping the turkey masterpiece from burning. Instead of cooking directly over the heat source, cook adjacent to it.
Turkey marketing centered around fitness and eating deli meat, with a campaign called, “Get perky, eat turkey.”
Campaigns focused on incorporating international flavors, such as Italian, Oriental and Indian, into lowcalorie salads and meals.
June was proclaimed Turkey Lover’s Month to emphasize the versatility of turkey all year. Turkey bacon was introduced.
Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving; it’s a nutritious protein to be enjoyed any day of the year.
Preheat a smoker to 300 degrees F.
Lay the turkey tenderloins on a cutting board and inject each one with Cajun butter.
Combine smoked paprika, kosher salt, coarse black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
incorporated. Store in the refrigerator until the salads are ready to serve.
Brush each tenderloin with a tablespoon of barbecue sauce, then continue to smoke for another 10 minutes –or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Building the Salad
• 11/2 pounds turkey tenderloins (2 tenderloins)
• 1/4 cup Cajun butter injection
• 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
• 2 cups romaine lettuce
• 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
• 1/2 cup sweet yellow corn
• 1/2 cup black olives
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Turkey Dry Rub
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
• 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1/2 tablespoon coarse black pepper
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Once combined, sprinkle the dry rub all over the turkey tenderloins until they are thoroughly coated.
Place the turkey directly on the grates of the smoker and smoke for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.
While the turkey is smoking, combine all the barbecue sauce vinaigrette ingredients in a measuring cup or Mason jar. Blend with an immersion blender or whisk until they are
For more recipes, visit iowaturkey.org and turkeysmoke.org.
Let the turkey tenderloins rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, sweet yellow corn, black olives and crumbled feta to a bowl.
Slice the turkey tenderloins into ½-inch slices, then lay them on top of the salad and sprinkle the chopped green onions on top.
Finish with a generous drizzle of the homemade barbecue sauce vinaigrette.
FROM BIO-BASED PACKAGING TO RESTAURANT ROBOTS, DISCOVER THE INNOVATIONS COMING TO A GROCERY STORE OR RESTAURANT NEAR YOU.By Darcy Dougherty Maulsby
Tons of food waste dumped in landfills. Health concerns linked to “forever chemicals” in the environment. Restaurants struggling with labor shortages. The news headlines are filled with big challenges facing the food industry. The good news? New technologies,
from bio-based food packaging to robots, are poised to enhance the farm-to-fork experience.
“We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from material producers about industrial compostable, soy-based adhesives and coatings for food
packaging and labels for food packages,” says Barry McGraw, Chief Laboratory Officer for Airable Research Laboratory.
Food packaging is a lot more complex than people realize, he adds. A snack chip bag, for example, typically isn’t made of just one material. It may contain eight different polymer layers, McGraw notes. “The challenge is that food packaging needs to protect the food's freshness while providing a cost competitive product to consumers, but the various materials that make this possible can be difficult to recycle.”
Plastics have long been a key component of food packaging, but they’re also a rapidly growing segment of municipal solid waste. In 2018, landfills received 27 million tons of plastic, including bags, sacks, wraps, bottles, jars and more, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Reducing only the amount of packing material isn’t enough to address sustainability issues. Think about disposable water bottles that “crunch” when you grab them. “This lightweight plastic is the minimum thickness,” says Rachel Petropoulos, a sustainability specialist with the Center for Innovative Food Technology in Ohio. “At that point, you can’t use less packaging material and still contain the product before it’s consumed.”
Food waste is also driving the need for more compostable food packages. In 2021, the U.S. generated 91 million tons of “surplus food,” defined as all food that goes unsold or uneaten, according to ReFED, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste. Households generated nearly 50% of this surplus, which often includes food packaging.
“Food packaging doesn’t have to be considered waste if we can compost and recycle it,” Petropoulos says.
Scientists are tackling these issues by developing improved, bio-based packaging materials made from soybeans, corn, coffee grounds, eggshells and other natural materials. While this technology has been around for more than 20 years, biopolymers still only make up a small percentage of plastic parts due in part to affordability.
“They aren’t as cost-effective as petroleum-based materials,” McGraw says. “When you’re selling millions of packages of food a year, pennies matter.”
Bio-based plastics have also had performance challenges. “They haven’t provided as good of a barrier to moisture and air as petroleumbased plastics,” Petropoulos says. “Food producers aren’t going to switch to bio-based packaging that compromises the food’s shelf life.”
A transitional solution might be polymer blends (materials made with bio-based polymers and petroleum-based polymers), Petropoulos says. “Food companies are looking to increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging, in addition to pushing material standards to compostable. Plastic made from corn, soybeans and more can be part of this solution.”
PepsiCo is interested in PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) for flexible packaging since PHA offers biodegradable properties and a lower environmental impact. SoFresh, Inc., a Wisconsin-based company focused on mitigating food spoilage and addressing food waste, is also researching new food packaging options. The company has developed “active packaging” with antimicrobial properties to extend the shelf life of bread and other foods.
The active component of the packaging, which includes an ingredient approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, helps control mold spores that naturally occur on food, according to SoFresh. This mold-inhibiting film technology allows food to stay fresh longer with few or no preservatives. “While SoFresh is focusing on bread, this technology can also be used with fruit and cheese,” Petropoulos says.
Restaurant Robots Cook, Serve Food Technology in the food industry is also focusing on automation – specifically robots that can cook French fries, flip hamburgers and transport food from the kitchen to the dining room.
“It’s fascinating to see this technology,” says Clara Chaplin, director of Bolton and Hay, a Des Moines-based restaurant supply company. “Instead of replacing people, these robots, which we call server assistants, can help address the labor shortage in the restaurant industry and allow employees to provide better service for customers.”
In the last few months, Bolton and Hay has started offering robots that customers can lease monthly from the manufacturers, complete with the latest technology. The machines operate through a remote sensing system called LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mapping. “A technician from the manufacturer helps ‘map’ the restaurant, so the robot knows where the kitchen and dining tables are located,” Chaplin says. “If the robot detects an obstacle on its route, it will stop and wait for the obstacle to move.”
The battery in the robot can power the machine all day (at least nine hours). While this technology is still in its infancy, Chaplin is excited to see what’s possible. “This is the biggest technological leap forward in the restaurant business in decades. It’s a game changer.”
If you’ve ever traveled on an interstate – or any paved road, for that matter – you owe a debt of gratitude to the visionaries who promoted the Lincoln Highway. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway became the first coast-tocoast highway, connecting New York City to San Francisco. It passed right through Iowa, from Clinton to Council Bluffs.
The Lincoln Highway is what we know as Highway 30. As much as 85% of the original highway is still drivable in Iowa, according to the Lincoln Highway Association. Today, countless pieces of the past are waiting to be discovered along the historic Iowa route.
When you enter Iowa from the east on the Lincoln Highway, you’ll pass through Clinton and DeWitt. Check out DeWitt’s 1727 German Hausbarn, which was originally located in Schleswig-Holstein in central Germany. It was reassembled in DeWitt’s Lincoln Park in 2008 with the help of many community volunteers. The Hausbarn retains its historical integrity, including an impressive, thatched roof and a German Hausbarn Museum.
The need for improved roads (ones that would be graveled and eventually paved) was evident in the early 20th century, especially in Iowa. The state's dirt roads turned to mud when it rained, leaving motorists stranded in the muck.
The past also comes to life in Lowden. Since 1915, a hotel influenced by the Prairie School style of architecture championed by Frank Lloyd Wright has graced the downtown area. Today, Don and Mary Schliff and their family own the Lincoln Hotel, which they refurbished in 2019. “We appreciate the Lincoln Hotel for its unique architecture, its place in American transportation history, and its connection to the Lincoln Highway and Lowden,” Mary says.
While there are plenty of attractions in Cedar Rapids, don’t overlook the Youngville Café west of the city. In 1931, Joe Young, a widower in his 70s, built this destination near the presentday junction of Highway 30 and Highway 218 as a business and home for his recently widowed daughter Elizabeth “Lizzie” Wheeler. The Youngville Café was a prime example of new economic options available to women, thanks to the Lincoln Highway.
Another popular pit stop is the Lincoln Café in Belle Plaine, which has been serving meals since 1928. When Travel Iowa assembled the ultimate county-by-county restaurant tour in 2018, featuring one must-visit restaurant in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, the Lincoln Café made the list. Heading west out of Belle Plaine on the old Lincoln Highway, you’ll drive by Preston’s Station, with its riot of color from vintage metal signs
When you arrive in Tama, be sure to check out the iconic Lincoln Highway Bridge, which was constructed in 1915. The county supervisors opted to add architectural expression to the otherwise typical concrete slab structure to distinguish the bridge from the hundreds of others along the route. Guard rails spelling the name “Lincoln Highway” on both sides of this bridge showcased this structure as an early advertisement for the Lincoln Highway.
When you reach State Center, you’re in the “Rose Capital of Iowa.” For decades, the town has celebrated the Rose Festival each June. You can also visit State Center’s beautiful, landscaped garden, where residents have spent decades nurturing and showcasing many varieties of roses, old and new.
As you cruise past farms and barns on your way to Story County, you might notice signs pointing to the historic Reed/Niland Corner. Located at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and the Jefferson Highway (which ran from Winnipeg, Canada, to New Orleans), the Reed/Niland Corner started in the 1920s. Today, you can stop by for a slice of pie.
There’s plenty to see in Nevada, Ames and Boone, as well as Greene
County. You’ll find the Iowa Lincoln Highway Museum in a former bank in downtown Grand Junction.
In Jefferson, the Lincoln Highway passes near the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower, which has graced the town since 1966 and chimes throughout the day. You can ride to the top of the tower via an elevator and view the horizon from the glassenclosed Paul Nally Observation Deck. You may even spot some art in surprising places – on the rooftops of downtown Jefferson. The rooftop art includes “Patches of Greene,” featuring four quilt squares painted on sheets of aluminum representing Greene County, from the railroad to wind energy.
When you’re back on the ground, discover more art in the pocket park south of the courthouse square, or head over to the Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County, Iowa (TJGGCI), southeast of the courthouse square. TJGGCI features themed gardens
and honors the legacy and ideals of President Thomas Jefferson, who frequently extolled the virtues of the agrarian life and championed self-government.
Explore more horticultural heritage west of Jefferson at Deal’s Orchard. The fourth generation of the Deal family runs this orchard and agritourism destination, whose roots date back to 1917. In the fall, enjoy the family fun zone and Apple Acres, which includes a corn pool, pedal tractors and more.
Like movies and classic TV? Check out the Donna Reed Theatre in Denison after passing through interesting communities like Glidden, Carroll and Arcadia. The theatre honors the Hollywood star who grew up on a farm south of Denison and starred in movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Just down the road in Dunlap, you’ll notice a vibrant Lincoln Highway mural. In 2021, Jill Schaben teamed up with the
Niland’s Café and historic gas station offer great food and hospitality for Lincoln Highway drivers.
Dunlap Community Development Corporation and a small crew of local volunteers to paint six murals in six months. “Ambition met funding, and Dunlap became a lot more colorful,” says Schaben, a graphic designer who coordinates Dunlap’s annual Art at the Park event.
Community spirit is also alive and well in Woodbine, which is known for its classic brick streets along Lincolnway Street. Woodbine’s ability to redefine what’s possible for small-town Iowa began to take root several years ago in an unlikely place – an old grain elevator by the railroad tracks at the edge of town. While most people saw a decrepit building that should be torn down, Deb Sprecker saw potential.
Sprecker, the executive director of the Woodbine Main Street program, explained her vision for what the old elevator could become – namely, a towering piece of artwork. The community agreed and chose a design featuring a field with contour farming strips, a conservation practice that protects soil and water quality. The design also honors the unique formation of wind-deposited soil in the nearby Loess (pronounced “luss”) Hills, located in parts of western Iowa along the Missouri River.
Not only did the grain elevator help revitalize the town, but so did businesses like Good Fellows, a restaurant located at the former Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 405 in downtown Woodbine. “People see that good things are happening here,” says Todd
Waite, co-owner of Good Fellows. “Woodbine proves there’s still opportunity in a small town.”
When you travel the Lincoln Highway in Iowa, leave room for serendipity – those times when you find something good unexpectedly. It might be the Squirrel Cage Jail, a three-story, rotary-cage jail built in 1885 that is now a museum (and allegedly haunted).
Then, there’s Pizza King in Council Bluffs. The menu includes everything from steaks to lasagna to pizza, with flavors as diverse as the Athenian Delight, a flat-crust pizza topped with gyro meat, tomatoes, onions, black olives and feta cheese.
Dan Poulos and his wife Kathy have owned and operated Pizza King for more than 50 years. Attention to detail and exceptional customer service have helped Pizza King thrive for decades. The Poulos family is a classic example of how ambition, hard work and grit can still help you achieve the American dream. “We’ve accomplished a lot of things,” Kathy says.
That’s just a sample of what you can explore along the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. Whether you want to spend a few hours, a day or a week, this ultimate road trip offers the opportunity to wander off the interstates and savor an authentic taste of Iowa.
“People see that good things are happening here. Woodbine proves there’s still opportunity in a small town.”
GRILLING IS THE SOUNDTRACK OF SUMMER, AND THESE SPECTACULAR RECIPES WILL BE A HITBy Ann Foster Thelen
Celebrate Iowa’s warm-weather seasons by firing up the grill and serving sizzling-good foods. Taking mealtime outside and cooking delicious foods over an open fire creates the perfect harmony for flavors and creativity to shine. These Iowa-inspired recipes, featuring delicious proteins, are sure to become part of your regular barbecuing playlist.
As you step away from the indoor stove, savor Iowa’s spectacular summer season by taking in the delightful smell and sizzling sounds of grilling creations wafting through the air. These recipes hit all the right notes for a summer afternoon barbecue or an easy, relaxing evening meal. Knowing that Iowa’s farmers had a hand in creating these irresistible foods will have you dancing and singing along to a fantastic melody of chart-topping new dishes.
• 1 pound ground beef (96% lean)
• 9 small whole wheat hamburger buns, split and divided
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ½ teaspoon ground chipotle or regular chili powder
• 2 slices pepper jack cheese, cut in quarters
• Barbecue sauce
• Tomato slices
Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in a food processor or blender container. Cover and pulse on and off to form fine crumbs.
Combine breadcrumbs, ground beef, garlic and chili powder in a medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight ½-inch-thick mini patties.
Place patties on the grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8-9 minutes (over medium heat on a preheated gas grill, 9-10 minutes) until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center registers 160 degrees F, turning occasionally. Evenly top with cheese during the last minute of grilling.
Place burgers on bottoms of remaining eight buns. Serve with desired toppings.
Marinades are used to add flavor or tenderize. While the two different types of marinades may contain similar ingredients, the key is the length of marinating time. To add flavor, marinating for 15 minutes to 2 hours is adequate. To tenderize cuts, marinate for 6-24 hours.
Always marinate in the refrigerator , never at room temperature.
Marinate in a foodsafe plastic bag or a non-reactive container, such as glass or plastic. Turn or stir the meat occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
Before cooking, remove meat from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel to promote even browning and prevent steaming. Reserve a portion before adding it to the protein , if a marinade is to be used for basting or as a sauce.
• 4 boneless ribeye pork chops
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• ½ teaspoon onion powder
• 16 corn tortillas
• Pico de gallo
• Fresh cilantro
• Cojita cheese
• Avocado salsa or avocado
In a small mixing bowl, combine chili powder, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin and onion powder to
make the rub. Liberally sprinkle the rub on both sides of pork chops.
Prepare a medium-hot grill. Grill chops over direct heat, turning once, to medium-rare doneness, 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 minutes. Use the hot grill to heat the tortillas, if desired.
Thinly slice the pork chops. Place the pork slices in tortillas and top with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, cojita cheese and avocado salsa.
Photo and recipe credit: Iowa Pork Producers Association
Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the pork when flipping, as piercing allows flavor-filled juices to escape. Use spatulas or tongs for turning.
There are two types of marinades – one will tenderize the meat and the other is primarily for flavor – so use the type best suited for your meat cut.
• 1½ pounds beef skirt steak, cut into 4- to 6-inch pieces
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
• 1 can corn (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
• ¼ cup red onion, diced
• 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
• 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
• ⅓ cup Italian dressing
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 3 tablespoons water
• 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
• 1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place beef skirt steak pieces and marinade in a foodsafe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.
Combine tomatoes, corn, red onion, basil, garlic, Italian dressing, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on
grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 7-12 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 8-12 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees F) to medium (160 degrees F) doneness, turning occasionally. Carve steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices; season with salt, as desired.
Note: Whole grilled corn on the cob can be used in place of canned corn. Place four corn cobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, 10-14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 8-10 minutes) turning on all sides. Remove corn and let cool. Carefully cut corn kernels from cob and let cool.
• 3-4 pounds pork ribs
• ⅓ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup honey
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
• 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• White rice
• Green onions, sliced
Remove membrane from ribs and season both sides of ribs with salt and pepper.
Place ribs on the grill over indirect heat (keep the grill around 250 degrees F). Let ribs cook for 1 hour (with the meaty side of ribs touching the grill grates).
Make a glaze by combining brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, gochujang, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Flip ribs and brush with glaze. Continue cooking ribs for at least 1 hour more, or until tender, brushing with glaze several times. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
Cut ribs between the bones and serve as is or over white rice, sprinkled with sliced green onions.
• 1 beef tri-tip roast (3-4½ pound)
• ⅓ cup olive oil
• 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
• 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
• 1 teaspoon paprika
Grilled Corn Elote
• ¾ cup mayonnaise
• 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
• 3 ears fresh corn, husked
• 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
• ½ cup cotija cheese
Combine oil, salt, pepper, garlic, chile powder and paprika in small bowl to form a paste. Spread evenly onto all surfaces of beef tri-tip roast.
Add wood chunks, chips or pellets to smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F.
Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of roast, not resting in fat. Place roast in smoker, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Set timer for 2 hours depending on desired smoke flavor. Smoke roast 2-3 hours for medium doneness. Carefully remove roast from smoker when meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise
to 145 degrees F for medium rare, 160 degrees F for medium. Carve roast across the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Serve alongside grilled corn elote.
Place corn on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, 10-14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 8-10 minutes) turning on all sides. Remove corn and let cool. Carefully cut corn kernels from cob and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine mayo, lime juice, seasoning, corn, cilantro and cheese; let chill covered, for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Photo and recipe credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council
When cutting tri-tip, watch for the grain change while you cut. The grain changes direction toward the thicker part of the roast. For the best eating experience, cut in the opposite direction of the grain.
As leading producers of many commodities, including soybeans, pork, eggs and corn, Iowa farmers play an invaluable role in producing the foods that keep consumers healthy and fed. On average, a farmer receives 7.4 cents of every dollar spent on food in the U.S. This reflects the share farmers receive after paying for production inputs like seed, fertilizer, electricity and more.
Scot Bailey, a Cass County farmer, says while commodity prices change over time based on supply and demand, the farmer’s cut of the food dollar doesn’t.
Today, farm production’s share of the food dollar continues to narrow. The remaining portion is spread throughout the supply chain as it travels to consumers.
Food processors, including frozen food manufacturers, bakeries and dairy and meat processors, transform agricultural products into the items seen in stores and restaurants. This can include grinding grains, pasteurizing milk and deboning and cutting meat. Twenty-nine of the largest 100 food manufacturers have operations in Iowa, including companies like Barilla, Hormel, Kraft Heinz, Tyson and Wells Enterprises – the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream.
Packers help prepare food for sales, distribution and delivery. They utilize plastic, cardboard, bottles and other materials to ensure food remains fresh and undisturbed. The creation of renewable-based plastics, also known as bioplastics, is growing in popularity as consumers increasingly prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions. Bioplastics can be created from crops grown right here in Iowa, including soybeans and corn.
Food has a long journey after leaving the farm. It must be transported, processed, packaged and transported again. This process involves a steady stream of trucks, trains, boats and planes. The average food product travels 1,500 miles before reaching the consumer.
Both fuel and labor shape overall transportation costs. As a leading food-producing state, Iowans enjoy food costs 1.7% below the national average. That’s an annual cost difference of between $2,800 and $3,200. Despite the savings, inflationary pressures continue to drive up costs for consumers.
“Wholesalers are companies that sell to other businesses instead of directly to consumers,” says Michelle Hurd, executive director of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. For example, a company selling fresh vegetables to neighborhood grocers or restaurants is a wholesaler. These companies typically sell bulk products at lower prices and sometimes offer discounts for buying larger quantities.
“Farmers don’t set their prices like other aspects of the supply chain do. We sell our products based on market price, meaning if my production costs increase, I don’t pass that increase along.”
SSavory skewers, fresh vegetables or the perfectly crisped potato – all crowd favorites at summer backyard barbeques. The scents and sounds make it easy to overlook the long journey foods undergo before simmering on the grill.
The food supply chain, or a food item’s process from farm to store, shapes the costs consumers see at local supermarkets and restaurants. From the farmers growing crops and raising livestock to transporters, packers and more, many people receive a share of every food dollar spent.
The largest cost share of the food dollar goes to food services, including fast food and dine-in restaurants.
This pays for the workforce who prepare, serve and clean up after meals. The food service share has again reached an all-time high, following a sharp dip in 2020.
This food dollar share covers all financial services and insurance related to producing food.
sources such as oil and coal mining, gas and electric utilities, and refineries are essential to operate equipment and buildings necessary to produce a food item.
are produced, businesses need to raise awareness that specific items are available for purchase. This share covers the promotional marketing of items and deals.
This share provides accounting, legal and record-keeping services. It may also contain subcontractor work needed to produce food in the supply chain.
IOWA SOYBEAN FARMERS TRAVEL TO NORTH AFRICA TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, MAKE SALES
Article and photos by Aaron Putze, APR, Iowa Soybean Association
Think of the places you’ve traveled and the things you’ve seen … from beaches and snow-capped mountains to historical sites and far-off places where your ancestors were born. Returning home, your family and friends often ask, “How was it?”, “What did you see?” and “Do you have pictures?”
For Iowa soybean farmers participating in a trade mission this spring to Egypt and Morocco, the first question was, “Why Egypt and Morocco?”
The query is understandable. After all, what do countries home to pyramids and mosques have to do with soybeans? A lot.
Iowa and U.S. farmers are the difference maker between people having food to eat or going hungry, especially in places long on people and short on natural resources. That list of countries is growing, including those of North Africa.
IT STARTS WITH SOY Ninety-six percent of the world’s population – or 7.8 billion people – live somewhere other than the U.S. And most live in places lacking the quality soil and climate needed
to grow food in abundance, including the crops most people overlook or take for granted in Iowa.
Consider soybeans. Traverse Iowa in the spring through fall and you’ll see the legume around every corner. Their presence isn’t by accident. Valued for its protein and oil, the soybean took root in Iowa more than 70 years ago thanks in large part to the skills and expertise of George Washington Carver.
The crop has flourished ever since, with Iowa farmers producing nearly 600 million bushels on 10 million acres (that’s about one-third of the land devoted to agriculture in our state).
Why the oilseed’s rapid growth in production here in Iowa and more than 20 other U.S. states?
Dietary staples (think meat, milk, eggs and fish) needed by the 150 million people living in Egypt and Morocco (and billions more worldwide), start with soy.
The soybean (much like corn, another crop produced in abundance in Iowa), is an essential feed ingredient desired by processors and farmers throughout the world.
In addition to protein, soybeans also yield large quantities of oil that, when refined, is used by billions of people worldwide for cooking and food preparation.
Only Brazil, the U.S. and Argentina (in order of production) produce soybeans in large enough quantities to export. Yet the competition for markets and market share is fierce.
Every business owner needs a customer. For Iowa farmers, many of those customers live in places far and wide, including China, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan, India and yes, Egypt and Morocco.
Much like you and the business you own, work for or patronize, developing and maintaining relationships is key to building trust and making sales.
“Price matters, but relationships are important, too,” says Randy Miller, a soybean farmer from Lacona.
Miller serves as president of the Ankenybased Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and was one of two Iowa soybean farmers who
traveled to Egypt and Morocco earlier this year.
During the two-week trade trip, farmers and industry representatives promoted the quality and availability of Iowa-grown soybeans to feed millers, farmers, business leaders, government officials and University of Cairo faculty.
The goal of the mission: To increase the price Iowa farmers receive for the soybeans they grow by boosting demand for the oilseed among developing countries.
“Egypt and Morocco are becoming more urbanized, and they want to eat more protein,” Miller says. “That bodes well for increased soybean demand.”
But being a reliable supplier of soy isn’t enough. U.S. soybeans must be competitively priced, too.
“The state of financial affairs, both in the U.S. and globally, is on everyone’s mind,” adds Suzanne Shirbroun, ISA’s president-elect who farms near Farmersburg. She joined Miller for the trade mission to North Africa.
“It’s the start of every conversation and answer to every question.”
SOY IS USED IN DIETARY STAPLES NEEDED BY THE 150 MILLION PEOPLE LIVING IN EGYPT AND MOROCCO.Soybeans growing in an Iowa farm field.
106 million (43% urban)
POPULATION BY 2050
160 million (80% urban)
THIRD MOST POPULOUS country in Africa
4.4% annual average
poultry, fish, milk, cattle, sheep, water buffalo (also a prolific producer of fruits and vegetables)
RANKS THIRD GLOBALLY in U.S. soy imports
37 million (64% urban)
POPULATION BY 2025
46 million (66% urban)
FIFTH RICHEST COUNTRY and fourth strongest economy in Africa
cattle, poultry, fish, milk, sheep and goats
AQUACULTURE GROWTH potential unlimited given number of miles of seashore
T OP-10 EXPORT MARKET for U.S. soybean meal
Nearly 15 years ago, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) with the support of Iowa soybean farmers, constructed floating cage systems for tilapia production in developing countries. By 2017, the production method evolved into an Inland Pond Raceway System (IPRS) and is present in many locations, including Egypt.
The new way to produce fish more efficiently and sustainably was quick to catch on. A key piece of the IPRS is the need for increased quantities of soy-based feed.
In 2019, team members from Skretting, a company that leads in the manufacturing and supply of aquaculture feed, participated in a USSEC Soy Excellence Center program to become more knowledgeable about IPRS, soy-based feed formulations and production techniques. As a result, U.S. soybean meal consumption is growing in countries like Egypt in concert with increasing fish and shrimp production.
It’s often said that when the U.S. economy sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.
Now, it comes with the flu, too.
“What happens in the U.S. economically doesn’t stay in the U.S.,” says Miller. “Fiscal policies and elections have an impact, especially for people in developing countries. When our economy sputters, others go off the cliff.”
The Egyptian people have been hard hit by the rising value of the U.S. dollar. Interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve have depressed the buying power of the Egyptian pound. It takes almost twice the number of pounds to purchase $1 U.S. Dollar (USD) of agricultural products than just a year ago.
Cue the following dominoes.
When Egyptian buyers must pay nearly twice the amount for soybeans grown and marketed by Iowa farmers, their cost of producing eggs, milk, fish and poultry also rises. These higher costs are passed along to Egyptian consumers already struggling with soaring cost-of-living expenses, including energy.
“What was a difficult situation has become a dire one for people living on the edge,” Miller adds. “It’s heartbreaking because you
know the important role soy plays, yet there aren’t any easy levers to pull to improve the situation.”
“The first question you get asked when visiting with soybean buyers in places like Egypt and Morocco is, where are interest rates going?” adds Shirbroun, a sixth-generation farmer. “The cost of everything is top of mind as companies seek to source commodities like soybeans for feed.”
Population increases, changing diets, growing urbanization and a rising middle class are top of mind for Iowa farmers because these situations affect the demand for food.
When people move from the country to town, they shift from being a food producer to food buyer. And getting more money in one’s pocket tends to increase the appetite for better food and more protein, like poultry, eggs, fish, pork and beef.
“There are many reasons to be optimistic as a farmer,” says Miller. “But the future is just that, the future. Things can always change.”
“In the meantime, it’s all about hitting the road, building relationships and creating customers,” he says. “It’s an important part of farming. After all, every farmer needs a customer.”
THE SOYBEAN IS AN ESSENTIAL FEED INGREDIENT DESIRED BY PROCESSORS AND FARMERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
Erica Lain has strong roots in Iowa agriculture. She grew up helping her family grow corn and soybeans and raise beef cattle in eastern Iowa. She currently serves as the Sustainable Systems Agronomist at Bayer. Erica and her husband Kenton live in southern Iowa with their son Jensen, where they grow row crops and raise beef cattle.
Writing about my experiences growing up in agriculture through Fresh Pickings magazine has been a joy this past year. Some of you may look back and have many of those same fond memories on the farm. Others may be generations removed from the farm but still enjoy reading someone else’s perspective on agricultural life. However, it is important to remember that knowing how to drive a tractor is not required to be involved in agriculture. Every person influences agriculture every day. You are all impacting agriculture when you stop to grab your morning donut, eat at your favorite lunch spot or fire up the grill for the family. Being a consumer is one thing we all share.
Previously, I was a member of CommonGround Iowa, a group of women farmers who connect farm folks with others who may have little experience with farm life. This group took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to post videos about agriculture and share my favorite recipes. I discovered how eager others are to learn from each other, and though I had no expert opinions to share, it is the simple things that seemed to stick. I learned to use a wooden spoon to stop water from boiling over and the best
canned green bean technique. Most importantly, I realized how much each of us on and off the farm has in common.
Since my time with CommonGround, I have come across many ways to share my story. Past the usual Instagram pictures and Facebook posts, there are opportunities at the meat counter to help someone trying to understand the difference between Prime and Choice beef. Or perhaps it’s visiting with someone in line at the gas station about the recent price fluctuations in eggs and milk. We advocate on behalf of all farmers to explain why we do things the way we do.
My favorite place to share my story, however, is at home. I love watching my soon-to-be two-year-old moo at cows in the pasture and yell “MEMI” from the backseat every time we meet a semi on the road. He loves chores with his dad, riding in the tractor and farming. He is the one that keeps me grounded and reminds me why we do what we do. He doesn’t worry about the stress of the markets and the weather. Instead, he shows us how to find joy in the simple things on the farm.
Just like every reader, farmers care about the food our families consume. We share a strong bond with consumers because we are consumers
too. If there is one thing I want the readers to take away from my few moments on these pages, it is farmers love what we do. We love producing a product that makes you say “wow” when it touches your tongue. A product that makes you feel strong and refreshed after a
meal. A product that makes the checkout line at the store a less stressful place.
To wrap up my yearlong stint with Fresh Pickings magazine, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for reading our stories. Thank
you for trusting and purchasing the fruits of our work. I hope you have laughed, thought back on a few memories and gained a better perspective on life from a farmer’s eyes. I praise God daily for what he has given us and the Iowa soil that sustains our livelihood.
KNOWING HOW TO DRIVE A TRACTOR IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE. EVERY PERSON INFLUENCES AGRICULTURE EVERY DAY.Jensen Lain, almost two years old, loves chores with his dad, riding in the tractor and farming.