Inspire(d) Summer 2016

Page 1


NO. 46 • Summer 2016



Paper Project








CRESCO, IOWA infographic






309 EAST WATER STREET, DECORAH, IOWA 9-5 Mon/Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat 9-6 Thurs . 563.382.4474

Connect > /LillesosterButikken

Fuel Efficient. Environmentally Sensible. You’ll Love More Miles Per Dollar! Downtown La Crosse, WI at 4th and Cameron Streets Phone: 877-4-A-HYBRID

SUMMER 2016 contents



what we’re loving right now


Bike Love in the driftless




Infographic: fest test!


sum of your business: Sno pac


Q&A with mason Jennings + SSE concert


paper project: pop-up gnome card!


Local food directory


the roots of food: recipes + stories


cresco: a community of innovators


pokey pete probituary


...and more! ON THE COVER: The amazing food illustrations on the cover and in the Roots of Food section of this issue are by Decorah artist Lauren Bonney. You can read more about her on page 67, and see more of her art on her website,, or at her booth at the Nordic Fest Arts & Craft Show this summer.

68 \ Summer 2016



Center 2016 17


Subscription is for Everyone Performing arts are life affirming! Give yourself the gift of joy! Subscribe to save 10–20% on every ticket. Enjoy exclusive access to priority seating, ticket insurance, and no ticketing fees. • Reduced Shakespeare Co. The Complete History of America (Abridged): Election Edition! September 10

• Calmus Luther’s Lieder February 4

• Sō Percussion February 18

• Vocalosity October 7

• Versa-Style Dance Company October 21

• L.A. TheatreWorks Judgment at Nuremburg November 3

• The Nile Project March 4

• Shaolin Warriors March 11

• The Bad Plus April 7

• Rosanne Cash The River & the Thread November 12

Pick up a brochure, visit, or contact us at (563) 387-1357 or Subscriber discounts expire on August 26. Renew by July 15 to save your favorite seats! 2016–17 Center Stage Series Major Sponsors Luther College Diversity Council

We thank these incredible community sponsors that make this amazing art possible in northeast Iowa!

What’s it mean?

From the Editor


Jippi!!! It’s a word used by Sara Friedl-Putnam in her wonderful story about the history of Nordic Fest (pg 19), but we feel like it should be the (Norwegian) word of the summer. Jippi!! Try it. Done? Good. Now that we’re all feeling silly, let’s get on with the fun! Start off by making yourself (and all your besties) our summer paper project: a pop-up gnome card (pg 40), and then make a list of the ingredients you’re gonna need for our summer highlight: Food! Once again, we’re happy to host the Iowa Buy Fresh Buy Local Food Directory (pg 41), and, to complement that, some really incredible recipes. This year, we asked folks to share recipes that have roots – and stories. I kick it off with my Grandma Henning’s potato salad, and Kristine Jepsen shares the story of Kristen and her dad Troy Underwood’s amazing marinade. Jim McCaffrey cooks up some root beer pulled pork and Carolina slaw, Justin Scardina told me tales of his Latvian grandmother and their tasty dumplings, Pīrādziņi, and Joyce Meyer writes about baking apple pies from scratch with her grandma. It’s so amazing to taste food and practically taste the memories that come with it. Check out all the deliciousness starting on page 45, and make sure not to miss Lauren Bonney’s beautiful illustrations that go with the stories – I just love them! You know what else we love here at Inspire(d)? Bikes, of course – there are some great rides to join this summer and we’ll be heading out for (at least) one: Bike the Barns Driftless! Read more about that, and other upcoming area rides on page 16. As we mentioned earlier, we talk about Nordic Fest this issue too – it’s in its 50th year! To help celebrate, we’ve put together a fun infographic (pg 28) and Benji got to interview a seriously amazing Nordic Fest favorite: Pokey Pete. Read his probituary on page 82. Benji had such a fun time talking with him, though, that we decided to include an extended version of the story online at! Finally, for our second-ever Driftless Community story, we highlight Cresco, Iowa. As the kind and hilarious long-time Cresco resident Bootie Kapler says, Cresco is family. It’s full of innovators and hard workers and a lot of cool outdoor activities and fun history too. Plus, they’re celebrating their 150th birthday this summer! Read more on page 68. I had such a fun time visiting with folks over there to see what makes them awesome. There’s a lot! One of the things I’m finding (so far) as I explore these communities is that despite all the great things, there’s a tendency in this region – perhaps in regions all over the country (world?) – to compete rather than complement. Maybe it’s high school sport rivalries, perhaps it’s just preconceived notions or plain, old chips on our shoulders, but whatever it is, I’m asking ya’ll to start fresh! Right now! Let’s drop everything we think we know about other towns (maybe even other people, amIright?) and look with fresh eyes. Let’s do this! Happy summer! Looking forward,

Remember to head online to or We share lots of fun extras there – from recipes to personal stories to summer tips!

Aryn Henning Nichols P.S. Did you notice there’s some extra heft to the magazine in your hands? That’s because we added pages! This summer issue has 84 glorious pages of inspiring stories. Woot! Enjoy!

Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd... you know: inspired – stands for both inspire and inspired. The idea is that person one inspires person two. That person is now inspired. Then that person inspires person three (or person one again), who is now inspired. Then the cycle continues! That’s what those arrows around the (d) are about! And our mission is, ultimately, to change the world… starting with our own community!

Who are we? Co-founders:

Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, support team, dinner-maker)

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Joyce Meyer / contributor Lauren Bonney / illustrator Tanya Riehle / photo contributor Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Summer 2016, issue 46 volume 9, Copyright 2016 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on stands, you can have it sent to your door (or extended family!) for only $25/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info. Write inspire(d) Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-379-6315. Visit our website: 05

to am n Te mer. o i t c sum an A e in ver the t a p o ci eed ar ti all p ids in n d n Ra eed k ika f d Er ch will n a i ) t h f (le lub, w old Arn unch C a r Lau Kids’ L tor Pas fit the e ben

Your Thrivent Action Team Project is the Beginning of Something

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and it starts by calling us. Find out more about how to Live Generously

Decorah Area Team 218 E Water St. Decorah, IA 52101 563-382-1809

For more information, please visit


What We’re


right now

Trolley Tours... in Decorah?

It takes a lot of great people to put on the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota, every summer. Truth be told, Inspire(d) friend and GRSF Marketing Director Emily Kurash might bring the fun factor up to an 11 (she does that with things…), but the whole entire crew works together to bring awesome live – and lively – theatre to The Tempest, 2014. Photo courtesy our region in a totally cool way. Kathy Greden Christenson So what is GRSF? Each summer GRSF performs three plays or musicals (usually) all by good, ol’ Bill Shakespeare. This summer they’re doing Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and a new musical, Georama, that’s actually not a Shakespeare at all. Georama, with Book by West Hyler and Matt Schatz and Music & Lyrics by Jack Herrick is based on a true story about American painter John Banvard. Banvard created these big – really big – moving panoramas of the Mississippi River, and toured them around the country, even having a run-in with the Barnum & Bailey circus. “It’s a really interesting story,” says Kurash. “It’s fun to have that Mississippi River tie-in here in Winona, and one of the writers, Jack Herrick, will be on staff this summer doing music direction as well as writing original songs for As You Like It.” What else does GRSF do? (SO much!) • Free Concerts on the Green – free music featuring regional musicians 5-7pm Friday and Saturday during the festival season on the Winona State Green in front of the theater • The Apprentice and Intern production of Coriolanus • Chill with Will” performances that feature free tickets for students ages 10-18 and special student programming before and after the performance (adult chaperons get a ticket discount, too!). • A “Will Run” that’s 28 Furlongs (Just longer than a 5K) July 17 • Tree Tours, the Page to Stage Exhibit at Minnesota Marine Art Museum, and more. Get all the details at PHOTOS BY BRITTANY TODD

That’s right! We’re pretty smitten with Holly the Trolley, and word on the street is that her sister Molly is jumping in on all the fun this summer too! Perhaps you’ve seen the red antique-style trolley cruising the streets of Decorah on beautiful summer afternoons, wedding parties rolling along merrily. Our friends at De Novo Barn have doubled down on the fourwheeled trolley fun for this summer, and now you can join in too! The Decorah Trolley Company is working to add a series of guided tours throughout the season. Offerings will include a “Narrated Scenic and Historic Tour,” “Decorah Eagle’s Nest and Fish Hatchery,” and a “Brewery, Tap Room, and Winery” tour. From showing visitors around town, to a fun date activity, or gathering up the gang and having a ball, this will be a great way to take in the sights of Decorah and Winneshiek County. Watch for details and keep an ear out for Holly and Molly’s clanging bells!

Great River Shakespeare Fest Runs June 22 to July 31, 2016 in Winona, Minnesota

Dance & Theatre






OCT 8: 1:30 & 7:30 PM


NOV 17: 7:30 PM NOV 18: 9:30 PM

NOV 19: 1:30 & 7:30 PM

Ticket information & full 2016-17 Luther Dance & Theatre season details at \ Summer 2016


Patchwork Green Farm Erik Sessions and Sara Peterson (563)387-0837

Find us at the Decorah Farmers' Market from June-October. 2016 Traditional and Market CSA Shares now available.

U-Pick, fresh local strawberries! Opening June of 2016

Love Wisconsin Project

Kris & Laura McGee / 563-380-6081

Details & picking dates at & 118 Washington St.





ROASTED 563.419.3141 Single origin pour overs. Nitro Cold Brew. Bulk Coffee. WINE TASTING & BEERS AVAILABLE FRI 4-9 . SAT 10-5 . SUN 1-5 | 563-568-2758 1253 Apple Rd. Waukon, Iowa 08

Summer 2016 /

Perfect for private parties! Seating for 200 + catering available!

Say hi!

We discovered the Love WI Project this spring when they shared the sweet #wimade love and business story of Austin and Hallie Ashley of WiscoPop! in Viroqua. It led us down a rabbit hole of amazing content on their website, Wow, they are a talented crew. At, you’ll find hilarious WiscoStyle videos – like one schooling viewers on how to do Supper Clubs right – poignant snippets of Wisconsin artists’ lives, sweet videos of kids and their Wisconsin wishes, tales of generations of Wisconsinites living their dreams in this dreamy landscape…and lots more. Based out of Madison, Love WI is a digital storytelling project that celebrates Wisconsin. “From our quirky state pride, to our unique history, to our deeper passion to work hard for our communities, Love WI brings Wisconsinites together and into conversation about our lives, our state and its future,” says co-founder Jet Waller. Jet, along with co-founder Megan Monday and the rest of the Love WI team – Nelson Cho and Tom Kuplic – spent some (dare we say) lovely days collecting stories in the Driftless this spring. They’ll be sharing those tales for the next couple of months on their website and social media channels ( and lovewiproject), and more awesome Wisco stories beyond that. The project’s main mission is all about bringing the love to Wisconsin and, through that, bringing people together and building community. Of course, we here at Inspire(d) LOVE this! Seriously, you should hear me (Aryn) gush every time I visit the site. Things like this are after my heart: “Cheese curds. Relish plates. Old Fashioneds. The deep North Woods. The rolling Driftless. The dunes along Lake Michigan. Point. She-Vegas. River West. We are the Cheeseheads. A little bit quirky, and we like it that way. We are obsessive about our craft beer, fanatic about our family farms, and devoted to the beauty of our land. Midwestern to the core: we look out for our neighbors, and love our state by taking care of it.” <3 Check it out: and Love WI Project storytelling photo of Jenelle & Nanka Thimmesch (above, by Metta Monday Creative) from the Thimmesch Farm in La Farge, WI.

What We’re


right now

Summer School is Cool! The words “summer” and “classes” don’t often work together to bring that magical vacation feel, but what if we told you there are classes all summer long that are fun and life-skill worthy? From breakfast in a “Victorian kitchen” to freestyle painting for tots, photography… even chain saw skills – classes are cool! Forestville

Historical Site outside of Preston, Minnesota, as well as Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, offer unique historical peeks into the past like bread baking, preserving, and “behind the scenes” tours. Vesterheim Museum in Decorah offers incredible classes (year-round!) from food to folk art, and even wood and metalworking. Our region is also rich in visual arts for young and young-at-heart as ArtHaus in Decorah, the Guttenberg Creativity Center, and the McGregor/Marquette Center for the Arts (to name a few) crank up the summer schedule with options for all ages – even some classes for the whole family! Another incredible network is our regional food cooperatives. The Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah, along with People’s Food Co-op in La Crosse and Rochester, Bluff Country Co-op in Winona, and Viroqua Food Co-op all offer great opportunities to dive into demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes, and pretty much anything healthy food-

related. And what would summer in the Driftless be without a nod to the outdoors? If you missed our special on regional Nature Centers in the Spring issue, check it out online ( for lots of fun adventures. Places like Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center near Lanesboro and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near Viroqua are offering up awesome arrays of skills classes and outdoor opportunities – yep, even chain saw skills! So get out there and make this summer your school of life – these are the days we’ve been waiting for! Longest Loop Fundraiser As you may know by now – we love our local parks and trails! Inspire(d) is partnering this summer with Winneshiek County Conservation, the Iowa Natural Heritage Fund, and The Decorah Rotary to launch a new annual fundraiser called the “Longest Loop!” The project is a century (100mile) bike ride that will be completed by a small team of local cyclists on the Trout Run Trail. The main goal: raise funds and awareness for Winneshiek County Conservation’s new Neste Valley Recreation Area and the future Dry Run Trail. The ride will take place Saturday, July 16, 2016 (rain date Sun, July 17). Neste Valley Rec. Area, set to be just south of Highways 9 and 52 in Decorah on the previous Neste Family Farm, will be the first new Winneshiek County park in 20 years! The Dry Run Trail will connect the Trout Run Trail through Neste Valley Park to the Prairie Farmer Trail reaching access to Calmar, Ridgeway, Cresco, and beyond. Seriously cool! The “Longest Loop” event team is asking supporters to consider making pledge donations to the project, which will help enable this incredible public infrastructure. A Decorah Rotary District Grant is also being sought to get the annual event off the ground in 2016. The event concept is based off a previous long-time successful fundraiser, “The Longest Day of Golf,” that Decorah residents Jim Friest and LeRoy Kopriva completed for many years. 100 percent of funds raised by the Longest Loop ride will go directly to the park and trail project via the (501c3) Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on behalf of Winneshiek County Conservation. Pledge donations will be made online through Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s website and will be tax deductible via the organization. For more information visit or contact Benji Nichols 563-379-6315,

Biking . Shopping . Boating . Tubing . Theatre . Art . Food . Fun!

Stay & play! 507-467-2696 • \ Summer 2016


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great summer activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

1. June 1: Driftless Safari offers free outdoor adventure and exploration in Winneshiek County all summer long! Visit www. or stop by any Winneshiek County library to join! 2. June 1: Berry Bluff is NE Iowa’s fresh new U-pick Strawberry patch! Just NE of Cresco, check out or facebook ‘Berry Bluff’ for picking dates and times. 3. June 3: Celebrate the unveiling of POLLINATE, featuring art from across the community at ArtHaus, 508 W Water. Reception June 3, 6-8pm, displayed through July 21. Free! 4. June 4: Garden Ecosystem workshop, Seed Savers Exchange: Healthy plants start with a healthy environment. Improve soil quality, manage pests & promote pollinators: 11am-12pm, Register online: 5. June 4: The Root Note presents Madison Comedy Night! 9pm. Great taps, coffee, and crepes. 115 4th St. South, downtown La Crosse. theRootNote 6. June 11-12: Civil War Re-enactment - Allamakee County’s Thunder in the Park! Battles, demos, activities daily at Waukon City Park. Dance Saturday night. Visit us on Facebook!

13. June 24-26: Triple festival weekend in Winona. Dixieland Jazz Festival featuring Delfeayo Marsalis, opening weekend for MN Beethoven Festival and Great River Shakespeare Festival. www. 14. June 24-25: Root River Trail Towns 60 Mile Garage Sale! Shop garage sales in 9 SE MN communities along the Root River Bike Trail. More info at 15. June 25: New Minowa Players presents Fiddler on the Roof, June 25-27 at Decorah High School Auditorium. Tickets & more information at or call Sheryl 563-379-5738 16. June 25: Gala opening performance of “The Three Musketeers” at the Commonweal Theatre. The swashbuckling classic plays through October 24 in downtown Lanesboro. Visit www. 17. June 26 through July 24: Music to the ears: Lutheran Summer Music will present 50+ free concerts and recitals at Luther College June 26 through July 24. Complete concert calendar at www.

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7. June 15: Minnesota author Peter Geye reads from “Wintering” at Dragonfly Books, 7:00pm. Stunning novel, set in northern wilderness. Dragonfly Books: 112W Water St, Downtown Decorah. 8. June 17: Two of Scandinavia’s finest musicians, Harald Haugaard & Antti JÄRVELÄ the master fiddler from Denmark and the amazing multi-instrumentalist from Finland, come together to explore an uncommon repertoire of folk music. 9. June 18: Breakfast on the Farm 8:30am - Noon at Iowa’s Dairy Center, Calmar, IA. Including: wholesome breakfast, dairy tours, and more! On-site parking available, donations are appreciated. www.

18. July 1: Step back in time to 1899. Costumed guides portray residents and their daily life. Where real history happened! Historic Forestville – rural Preston, MN. Open through Labor Day: Thur- Sun $6-$8, 507-7652785, 19. July 1: Them Coulee Boys release their brand new CD at the Trempealeau Hotel, 8pm. The swinging gals of Seasaw open for the masters of “punk-grass”. www.

20. July 2: Weed Dating, Seed Savers Exchange: July 2, 1-4pm, ages 18+: Lend a hand during this gardening field day. Dig up weeds, uncover friendships. Register 21. July 3: ‘Art on the Green’ outside the Harmony Visitor Center. 1-6pm. A celebration of local arts and crafts with live music by Tom Schramm from 3-6pm. More info 22. July 4: Independence Day Celebration in Harmony, MN! Grand Parade 3pm, Jim Busta Band 4-7pm, Food, Games, Beer Tent, Fireworks & more. Visit for more info. 23. July 14: Root Note DJ Night with DJ Eddie Baby and Rumpshaker! The Root Note - Great taps, coffee, and crepes – 115 4th St. South, downtown La Crosse

10. June 18: Manchester (IA) 2nd Annual Let it Flow Riverfest! 10am-8pm, Play boating & safety demos, open boating, Dave Zollo & the Body Electric at 4pm, Shelly Memorial Park, ManchesterWhiteWaterPark

24. July 15: Conference& Campout, Seed Savers Exchange: July 15-17. Workshops, barn dance, taste trials, keynotes Aaron Keefer, Rowan White, Carol Deppe, Glen Roberts, Dr.David Shields. Register:

11. June 19: “Art in the Park” Father’s Day festival; over 90 artist booths, live music, food and craft beer vendors, and family activities. Sylvan Park, Lanesboro, MN

25. July 23: Trempealeau Hotel presents Howard Luedtke and Dave Rogers Birthday Bash with Nick Foytik Band opening celebration of two of the areas most prolific blues guitarists. www.

12. June 21: South Dakota author Jerry Nelson, “Dear County Agent Guy: Calf Pulling, Husband Training, and Other Curious Dispatches from a Midwestern Dairy Farmer” at Dragonfly Books, 7:00pm. 10

Summer 2016 /

26. July 23: Mike Munson shakes down the Root Note with his folk blues sound. 8:45pm. Great taps, coffee, and crepes – 115 4th St. South, downtown La Crosse.




Berry Bluff, U-pick Berry Farm open select dates!


Driftless Safari, free outdoor adventure in Winneshiek County all summer!







Mark 9 Armstrong, Lawn Chair Night Decorah,

Sarah Brandt / NMP, Lawn Chair Night Decorah, Courthouse

Free First Thursday, Vesterheim



Porter House Garden Party

Bob Dorr Blue Two Band, McCaffrey’s June 11-12: Allamakee Thunder in the Park Civil War Re-enactment


5 River of Music Madison Concert, Guttenberg Comedy Night, Root Note, 9pm


3 4 3 4 POLLINATE, Garden Art Exhibit Ecosystem Unveiling, Workshop, Seed ArtHaus, 6-8pm Savers, 11am



8 17 9 18 16 Harald Relay For Life Breakfast on 7 + Driftwood Haugaard & the Farm, NICC, Bones, Charles Antti JÄRVELÄ, 8:30am-12pm Peter Geye Walker Vesterheim 10 Author Reading, Dragonfly Books, Band, & The Annual Let it Kristen Ford, Last Revel, Flow Riverfest Decorah, 7pm Courtyard, Courthouse, + Dave Zollo, Decorah Decorah Manchester, IA

Alexa Kriss & Trevor Mart, Trempealeau Hotel, 7pm June 9-12: Butterfest, Sparta, WI

June 10-11: Artspire, LaCrosse

Decorah Public Library / Park Rec Summer Kick Off


JUNE 4: • Absolute Hoot, McCaffrey’s, Decorah, 7-10pm • Jambalaya Jamboree, Trempealeau Hotel, 2pm • Bonfire Music & Arts Festival, Hillsboro, WI



June 23-26: Sturgis Falls Community Celebration, Cedar Falls


JUNE 23: • Homestead Act, Lawn Chair Night Decorah • Don Scott, Trempealeau Hotel, 7pm


June 26 through July 24 – Lutheran Summer Music presents 50+ free concerts, Luther College, Decorah

Bike the Barn Driftless, Viroqua

Jillian Rae Hotel Winn Lobby, 6-9pm


JUNE 25: • Foot Notes, Highlandville • Gladdys & The Tramps, McCaffrey’s, 7-10pm • Blind Baby Olin & the Lutheran Workbenches, Trempealeau Summer Music, Hotel, 7pm Lawn Chair Night Decorah

Mike 30 Munson, Trempealeau Hotel, 7pm

11 19 15 25 12 21 22 23 24 20 Maritza Miramar, Peter Bjorn & June 25-27: NMP Art in the June 22-26: Jerry Nelson Courtyard presents Fiddler CSPS, Cedar John, Englert, Park Festival, Mighty Howard Author Decorah on the Roof, DHS Rapids, 7pm Iowa City Sylvan Park, County Fair, Reading, Lanesboro Cresco Dragonfly 16 June 24-25: Triple Festival Weekend in Books, 7pm 13 Winona! Jazz, Beethoven, Shakespeare! The Three Happy Musketeers June 25-27: Villa Louis June 24-25: Root River Trail Towns Father’s Day! Gala Opening, ‘Behind the Scenes’ 14 60 mile garage sale, SE Minnesota Commonweal

Best 12 13 Baby Shower June 17: in Town, La The Heavy Set Crosse Children’s Haymarket, Museum Decorah, 10pm JUNE 18: • Pigtown Fling String Band, McCaffrey’s • Brianna Lane, Trempealeau Hotel • Close to You, Elkader Opera House

June 11-12: Eagle Bluff “Becoming an Outdoor Family” weekend

JUNE 10: • Night “Out” at La Crosse Children’s Museum • Decorah FD Bull Bash, Winn. Co. Fairgrounds • The Cactus Blossoms, CSPS, Cedar Rapids



fun stuff to do


June Winona’s Great River Shakespeare Festival runs June 22 – July 31



Independence Day Parade & Celebration, Harmony, MN

Rachel Hanson, Hotel Winn Lobby, 6-9pm


JULY 14: • Wood Chickens, Trempealeau Hotel • Sarah Jarosz, Englert, Iowa City







JULY 30: • Absolute Hoot, Courtyard, Decorah • Driftwood Bones, Haymarket, 10pm




2 “Weed Dating” Gardening Field Day, Seed Savers



July 1-4: Riverfest, La Crosse

Them Coulee Boys, Trempealeau Hotel, 8pm



8 9 Free First 7 Eagle Bluff Thursday, JULY 8-10: Monarch Vesterheim • Root River Festival, 10amMuseum, Bluff & Valley Decorah 3pm, Rural Bicycle Tour Lanesboro Decorah • Trempealeau Mississippi Municipal Band, Band, Lawn Chair Night Catfish Days Decorah McCaffrey’s

July 28-30: ArtHaus Summer Art Fair


July 28-30: 50th Annual Nordic Fest, Decorah!



The Weathered Heads, Haymarket

Vesterheim Folk Art Banquet & Celebration


28 30 Mankwe Ndosi, St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro

Dirk Quinn Band Trempealeau Hotel, 8pm


25 23 22 21 Nordic Dancers, Howard Lawn Chair Luedtke & July 22-24: Night Decorah Cresco 150th Dave Rogers Celebration! Birthday Bash, Chuck Le Trempealeau Monds & Klaus Hotel Ambrosch, Mike Munson, Trempealeau 26 Root Note, 8:45 pm Hotel, 7pm

July 29-30: Prairie Dog Blues Festival


July 20-24: Allamakee County Fair

JULY 23: • Cedar Valley Chamber Music, Elkader Opera House, 3pm • Rutabaga Brothers, McCaffrey’s, 7-10pm



“In the Moonlight” exhibit runs through August 14, Lanesboro Arts



23 15 16 14 Don Scott & OK Factor, Root Note DJ JULY 16: Curtis Blake, Crooked Willow Night w/ DJ Winn. Wildberry McCaffrey’s & Pigtown Fling, Eddie Baby & Winery, 5-7pm Trempealeau Rumpshaker Freedom Fest, Hotel, 7pm La Crosse INHF Summer July 15-17: Seed Savers Seed Harvest, 24 Conference & Campout July 12-16: Winneshiek County Fair rural Waukon

July 16-17: War of 1812 Reenactment, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien

17 Nite Wolf, McCaffrey’s 2-5pm

Winneshiek Wildberry Winery Brunch, 10am-1pm



July 2: • Stars & Stripes Celebration, 5K, Fireworks, Ingleside Park, Guttenberg • Beet Root Stew, McCaffrey’s, Decorah, 7-10 pm

Eagle Bluff High Historic Forestville – Where History Ropes Course 18 Comes Alive! Take a tour back in time Open Tuesdays through Labor day, rural Preston, MN 1pm, Saturdays 10am & 2pm July 8, 15, & 22: River of Music through August! Concert, Ingleside Park, Guttenberg

21 Art on the Green + Tom Schramm, Harmony, MN 1899 Independence Day Celebration, Historic Forestville


July 3: CrawDaddy Kayak Demo, Manchester Whitewater Park, 11am2pm




fun stuff to do

American Feebag, Hotel Winneshiek Lobby, 6-9pm


Joe & Vicki Price, Riverside on the Root, Lanesboro, 5-9pm


Beach House, Englert Theatre, Iowa City


Aug 6-7: Eagle Bluff “Becoming an Outdoor Family” weekend, Rural Lanesboro


“Souvenir” runs through September 3, Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro




16 17







31 12 Lillesøster 4th Anniversary Soiree, 9am-8pm 32




Doghouse Jon, McCaffrey’s, Decorah, 7-10pm

CrawDaddy Kayak Demo Day, Lake Meyer, 10am




34 Seed Saver’s Exchange Appreciation Day


38 September 17: Ride The Ridges, Winona


36 27 26 25 35 24 Cooking w/ Paul Kaye, Dave Zollo, Blair Lawn Chair Courtyard Heirlooms, Seed Braverman Savers, 11am Night Decorah & Cellar, author Decorah 37 reading, Mason Dragonfly Aug 26-27: Villa Louis Jennings, Books, “Behind the Scenes”, SSE Benefit Decorah, 7pm Prairie du Chien Concert, 7pm

Aug 20-21: Art In The Park, Elkader!

Hero Jr., Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm

Aug 19-21: Old Time Power Show, Antique Acres, Cedar Falls


Guttenberg German Band, Lawn Chair Night Decorah

Olivia Dvorak, Kenny Hass, and Aug 12: Jeff White, Hot Tuna: Brianna Lane, Sara Trempealeau Acoustic, Routh, Jeni Grouws, Hotel, 7pm Englert ArtHaus, 7pm

Root River Jam, Lawn Chair Night Decorah

AUG 27: • Paul Kaye, McCaffrey’s, Decorah, 7-10pm • WrenClaw & The Sixes, Trempealeau Hotel, 8pm • Storytelling on the Porch, Historic Forestville, 11am-4pm


Aug 26-28: Great River Folk Festival




Joe & Vicki NE Iowa Studio Price, Ed’s, Tour Sneak Winona Peak! ArtHaus, Night “Out” 7-9pm at the La Kindred Minds, Crosse Lawn Chair Children’s Night Decorah Museum

AUG 20: • Cedar Valley Gran Fondo, Cedar Falls • Abel Island Fly/Float-In Potluck BBQ! Guttenberg • Michelle Lynn, McCaffrey’s, Decorah, 7-10pm • Danika Holmes w Jeb Hart, Elkader Opera House

“SKÅL! Scandinavian Spirits” exhibit opens August 12, Vesterheim, Decorah


Aug 11-21: Iowa State Fair!


AUG 13: • The Sudden Lovelys, Chatfield Center For the Arts, 8pm • Miles Adams Band, McCaffrey’s





AUG 12-13: • Celebrate The River festival, Guttenberg • Ashley For the Arts, Arcadia, WI • Irishfest, La Crosse (Aug 12-14)




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


Date (not included in word count): Worlds Greatest Party! 7-10 pm. Inspire(d) invites you to the greatest party ever! We’ll have amazing amounts of fun! See you there!



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

See - we told you about our amazing fictional party in less than 25 words! On the visual calendar (like the one at left), your event will be listed along with a number that corresponds. People can just scan on over to the following pages to get the details!


Simple! We get an email with all your details exactly as you’d like to see them in the listing, and then we add it to the calendar!

It works like this: 1. Go to and click on the 25W/$25B sidebar box 2. Enter your information in our online form 3. Click through to PayPal to complete the transaction

Thus we’ve implemented a simple, expandable list of events for the pages following our regular calendars. Those who are planning “fun stuff to do” get a guaranteed spot on the calendar and in that event listing by purchasing “25 Words/$25 Bucks.”

We know it’s a tough racket to put on live music, activities, and special events, so we want to give you a chance to get the word out without breaking the bank.

Calendar time is always an exciting time at Inspire(d) Headquarters. “Just how much can we fit on there this month?!?” In recent years, what we had chosen for these lovely pages had been entirely editorial and subjective. We figured, hey, you like our magazine, so you’ll probably like the fun stuff to do that we pick out from around our region. But we’re running out of space and want you, our lovely readers, friends, and fellow event planners, to be able to tell us a little more about your fun.

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great summer activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

27. July 28: Summer Art Fair, July 28-30, with ArtHaus. Local artists, loads of talent, two spaces, 3 days, your opportunity to shop handmade. Details 28. July 30: Mankwe Ndosi celebrates influences from Jazz and African legacies, Hip Hop and Soul, performance art, theater, and improvisation. St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, MN www.




29. July 30: Dirk Quinn Band at the Trempealeau Hotel. High energy funk/jazz from Philadelphia. Impossible to describe this insanity, but a must hear! 30. August 4: Get a sneak peek of the Northeast Iowa Studio Tour with the opening of Preview at ArtHaus,7-9pm. Sponsored by Thrivent Financial, Decorah Area Team.


Perfect catered for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations... or just for you!

25W/ $25B

31. August 12: Lillesøster Butikken 4th Anniversary Sale & Soiree! 9am - 8pm. Storewide discounts, door prizes, free gift with $40 purchase, and more! Entertainment & refreshments from 6-8 pm. 32. August 12: Powerful lineup of female singer / songwriters, Brianna Lane, Sara Routh, and Jeni Grouws, in the ArtHaus Courtyard, 516 West Water Street, presented by ArtHaus. 7-10pm. 33. August 13: Jeff White opens for national country artists Olivia Dvorak & Kenny Hass, Trempealeau Hotel, 7pm. Come on down, y’all, for a foot stomping good time. $10 www. 34. August 20: Free Event: Community Appreciation Day, Seed Savers Exchange. Farm tours throughout the day and old-time barn dance in the evening. 35. August 24: Wisconsin author Blair Braverman at Dragonfly Books, 7pm. “Welcome to the Goddamn IceCube,” memoir about living in stark Northern landscapes. 112W Water, Downtown Decorah. 36. August 27: Cooking w/Heirlooms, Seed Savers Exchange. August 27, 11am-12pm. (12:15 tour) $5/members free: Taste family heirloom recipes, make heritage vegetable salads w/vegetables fresh from SSE gardens. 37. August 27: Mason Jennings benefit concert under the stars at Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm. Gates open 5pm, concert begins 7pm. Tickets $25 online, $30 at gate. 38. September 17: The fourth annual Winona Rotary RIDE THE RIDGES takes bicyclists through the most scenic areas in Southeastern Minnesota. Choose one of four routes. Each has spectacular views.

404 West Water St, Decorah, Iowa . 563.419.4016 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm . Sat 10am-3pm .



563.382.5511 •



Jennifer Gipp

book signings & readings June 24: River Lights, Dubuque, 5:30 pm July 8: Dragonfly Books, Decorah, 7 pm July 22: Badger Brothers Coffee Platteville, Wisconsin, 4 pm July 23: Platteville Public Library, 10:30 am Aug 4: Decorah Public Library, 6:30 pm Breaking Through the Fog explores the unique culture and art scene in San Francisco and offers a unique perspective on life, love, relationships, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Available at Dragonfly Books, River Lights, & in paperback & Kindle on \ Summer 2016



Summer 2016 /

Photos courtesy FairShare CSA Coalition

Summer is the perfect time to get out for a bike ride. Always up for learning even more about the Driftless - and more bike rides - we’re going to be checking out another part of our region on a ride: rural Viroqua for Bike the Barns Driftless! Watch Facebook and Instagram for our updates Sunday, June 26, and turn the page to learn more (or how you can join in too)!


LIVE WHERE YOU LOVE LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101 15

Bike the Barns Driftless! The fourth annual Bike the Barns Driftless features the rolling hills of the Coulee Valley. The ride starts and ends at Kickapoo Coffee / VEDA Food Enterprise Center in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and will feature two farm visits, a creamery, and tasty local food throughout. Proceeds from this event benefit FairShare and its Partner Shares program, which helps low-income families purchase and learn more about local, organic vegetables. Who: Anyone can ride, as long as you can make the 50+ miles! Who does it benefit? FairShare CSA Coalition, based in Madison, Wisconsin, and serving Southwest Wisconsin. Their mission? “From farm to table and back to farm, we bridge the gap between area farmers and folks who are longing for a deeper connection to food and community.” For over 20 years, FairShare Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Coalition (formerly Madison Area CSA Coalition), has worked to link local people to local food and farmers. Through education, outreach, community building, and resource sharing, FairShare is committed to raising the bar on the quality and accessibility of CSA shares in Southern Wisconsin.

by Inspire(d) • Photos courtesy FairShare CSA Coalition


Here at Inspire(d), we love the bicycle life! Enjoying a beautiful day on a bike is a great way to see the landscape, immerse in the outdoors, and meet great people. (Not to mention the exercise!) The Driftless Region provides fantastic riding and challenges in all directions – winding rural ribbons of highway, paved bike trails through rich environments, endless rural gravel roads, tight rocky singletrack, and hills galore. It doesn’t take much to convince us that it’s the right moment to get out and crank a few miles, and this summer is shaping up to offer some fantastic and unique experiences from behind the handlebars. In fact, follow along with us via social media June 26 as we attend FairShare CSA Coalition’s Bike the Barns Driftless event! Check out details here, and ideas for more bike-powered events this summer in our region. Ride on!

What: A 52-mile day of biking, featuring great friends and food – a breakfast snack, plated lunch, afternoon snack/dessert, and post-ride refreshments. All in the name of FairShare Coalition and community supported agriculture! Where: Advance registration only. Visit asap to join. Registration includes an event coffee mug (the ride starts at nationallyrenowned-but-totally-local Kickapoo Coffee, after all). There is no day-of registration. Additional details at or by calling 608-226-0300. When: Sunday, June 26, 2016 (again, pre-registration only!) Mark your calendars! Inspire(d) will be covering Bike the Barns Driftless live on social media June 26, 2016. “Like” us on Facebook ( and Instagram ( iloveinspired) to keep up with all the action!


Rent for a few hours or up to a month! Plus, rental costs (for 1 year) can be used toward the purchase of any new bike!

It doesn’t matter where you ride – we’ve got a bike for you to try! Join us for regular co-led rides! 16


Summer 2016 / • 101 College Dr. Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-8209

Can’t Make Bike the Barns Driftless? Here are some other great rides to join as well! Root River Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour July 8-10, 2016 Pre-register for this fully supported threeday tour of the Root River Valley and Trail. From Whalan through Lanesboro, Fountain, Preston, Harmony, Houston, Rushford, and Peterson – including cool stops along the way and nightly events. Jump on and just enjoy the ride – all the plans are readymade for you! Cedar Valley Gran Fondo August 20, 2016 Enjoy the challenge of this endurance bicycle ride (60 or 100 miles) through the Cedar Valley and whoop it up after at the finale, FondoFest! The Gran Fondo fun begins and ends in downtown Cedar Falls with live music, local eats and brews, and even an all-kids “FUNdo Area” complete with a Strider Bike Course and more.


La Crosse Bicycle Festival September 2-5, 2016 Crank up the miles and fun over Labor Day Weekend in La Crosse! Check out multiple self-supported routes and group rides all starting from Cameron Park. Additional events, parties, and the one-andonly “Beer By Bikes Brigade”, which rolls out Saturday evening, are all part of the fun!

Ride The Ridges, Winona September 17, 2016 The fourth annual Winona Rotary “Ride the Ridges” takes bicyclists through some of the most scenic areas of Southeast Minnesota. Choose one of four routes, each with spectacular elevation and views of the Mississippi Valley and beyond. All proceeds go to the Winona Rotary to support various projects like Feed My Starving Children, Winona Volunteer Services - Kids Summer Lunch Program, and literacy initiatives. Photo (left) by Inspire(d)

Find Harmony in Your Life




er fun! m r t m s u o p p u s e W


406 W. Water St. • Decorah, Iowa


Healthy Trees are Happy Trees For everything your trees do for you, there’s something you can do in return...


Protect your trees from emerald ash borer and diseases by calling Drew Stevenson. He'll assess the health of your trees and develop a plan to keep them beautiful and healthy for years to come! 18


Summer 2016 /

Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

Jippi! Decorah’s Nordic Fest turns 50 this July. On the CUSP of the fest’s golden anniversary, Inspire(d) takes a look back at its founding. By Sara Friedl-Putnam \ Summer 2016


upcoming events... JUNE

17–18 College Hill Arts Festival 23–26 Sturgis Falls Celebration & Cedar Basin Jazz Festival 27 Loretta Lynn at GBPAC

Nordic Fest 5 0 yea rs St ro n g Decorah, Iowa


11 Oak Ridge Boys at GBPAC 13–16 Cedar Valley Gospel Fest 30–8/7 Cedar Falls Bible Conference


5–7 Iowa Irish Fest 13 Candlit Bike Ride 20 Cedar Valley Fondo Fest 19–21 Old Time Power Show


10 ARTapalooza

Contact us for a full calendar of events & getaway ideas!

2016 July 28 to 30


t’s the last Saturday in July, and thousands of men, women, and children – some wearing bunads, the traditional Norwegian folk costume, others sporting silver Viking helmets – crowd Water Street in picturesque Decorah, Iowa. Norwegian and Scandinavian flags flap gently in the wind as a Hardanger fiddle resonates its spellbinding melody along the car-free street. The irresistible aroma of griddle-warmed lefse and piping-hot varme pølser wafts through the air; mischievous-looking wooden nisses peer out from glass storefronts; and residents and visitors alike exchange hugs and hellos (or hallos!). Welcome to Nordic Fest, Decorah’s celebration of all things Norwegian. Each July since 1967, this scenic small town has hosted a surprisingly big Norwegian celebration of treasured customs and traditions. Every year, the Fest and its numerous volunteers have improved upon the last, but there are certain – one might say “perfekt” – things that never change. Just as Decorah’s Nordic Dancers delighted crowds with Norwegian folk dances at the first Nordic Fest, so too will they at this year’s event. Just as ’60s-era Festgoers strolled down Water Street to sample Norwegian fare such as lefse, kringla, and varme pølser (then just 50 cents a pop!), so too will this year’s visitors. Just as Vesterheim NorwegianAmerican Museum hosted world-acclaimed rosemalers, weavers, and whittlers through its Folk Art School at the first Fest, so too will it at this year’s 50th. And just as talented musicians – many roaming freely along Water Street – entertained the estimated 35,000 people who flocked to the inaugural fest, so too will musicians highlight Nordic Fest 2016.

319-268-4266 • 800-845-1955


Summer 2016 /

(continued on next page)

Nordic Fest button design by Lauren Bonney



featuring ...

Photos, clockwise from top left: Bunad-wearing toddler (courtesy WCCVB); Nordic Fest opening ceremony with Nordic Dancers (courtesy WCCVB); Water Street at the first 1967 Fest (courtesy Jerry Aulwes); Fest ceremonies (courtesy WCCVB); 1983 Decorah Lutheran Smorgasbord (courtesy Nordic Fest archives, photo by Jack Anundsen).

211 W. WATER ST. | DECORAH M.T.W. FR.SAT 9-5 THURS 9-8 563-382-8940 \ Summer 2016


Illustrations Graphic




Weddini Invitations

Knowledgeable staff • Great Gifts • Book Signings

Hooray! We’re celebrating 5 years in business! Bestsellers plus special interest: gardening, Scandinavian, cooking, poetry, children’s books & more…even e-books! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water Street, Decorah


Summer 2016 /

“The Nordic Fest of today is very similar to the Nordic Fest of 1967 – it’s actually remarkable how true it has stayed to its roots,” says Decorah native (and unrivaled Nordic Fest expert) Dawn Svenson Holland, daughter of fest founder Gary Svenson and author of the soon-to-be published “Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong” coffeetable book (see sidebar for book details). It was late July 1966 when actress and screenwriter Helga Lund Algyer – then working with Vesterheim and enjoying life in her husband’s hometown of Decorah – read a “New York Times” article about a Scandinavian Festival in Junction City, Oregon. She approached her longtime friend, Decorah businessman Mike Dahly, with a copy. It was this simple nudge got Nordic Fest, year one, rolling.

See the Decorah sights in style! Regular trolley tours starting this summer!

“Holly & Molly” are vintage cable car–style trolleys. You can book a trolley for weddings, special events, & custom tours.

For tour and ticket information call 563.419.8902 or visit

Photos, clockwise from top right: Sacquitne family lined up to be part of the 1968 parade – this was back when all entries had to be fest themed (courtesy Ruth Ann Sacquitne); Decorah Mayor David T. Nelson, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, State Representative Paul Johnson, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Robert Lounsberry participate in the Nordic Fest Lutefisk Eating Contest in the early 1980s; Folk art demonstrators at Vesterheim (courtesy WCCVB); Luren Singers in the Nordic Fest parade (courtesy WCCVB); Dolphin Gymnastics at Nordic Fest parade (courtesy Sara Friedl-Putnam).

“Helga loved Decorah and thought that this was something the town could do to promote tourism,” recalls Dahly, a founding Nordic Fest board member. “I thought the idea had real promise, so I talked to Marion Nelson, then Vesterheim’s executive director, to get his read on it. He liked the idea a lot, with the stipulation that it be an educational, family-friendly event.” Soon Dahly was pitching the festival to his fellow Jaycees. They were on board from the start. “As young Jaycees, we didn’t know how to say ‘no,’ never mind all the hard work or the fact that we had never done anything like this before,” recalls Jerry Aulwes, longtime Decorah city councilman and an active Jaycee at the time. “The Luther College Woman’s Club, which ran Syttende Mai, was also pushing for a more community-

Complimentary facials & makeovers + Les Wigs Renee 111 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa. 563.382.6212 . \ Summer 2016


Above, the rock throw contest has run all 50 years (courtesy WCCVB). Right, crowd shot from 1971 (courtesy Nordic Fest archives, photo by Jack Anundsen.

wide Norwegian-themed event so the timing seemed right.” In August 1966 a small group of Jaycees – Dahly, Aulwes, Svenson, Darrell Pierce, and Harry Olson (Nordic Fest’s first president) – began meeting weekly at the Tap Room of the old Hotel Winneshiek to plan the very first Fest. The five men – along with Nelson and Phyllis Leseth, a tireless community volunteer affectionately called “mom” by her fellow Fest planners – are recognized as the event’s founders, though countless volunteers and supporters played major roles in bringing the first Fest to life. Among those individuals were the board members’ spouses, many of whom worked long hours themselves to prepare for the first and following fests; Betty Hacker, who directed the first group of Nordic Dancers; Jane Norris, who spent countless hours working with Dahly and Leseth to publicize the Fest throughout the Midwest and beyond; Betty Seegmiller, Nelson’s assistant, who typed (and retyped and typed again!) the first Fest program; and Dr. Gale Fletchall, founder of Junction City’s Scandinavian Festival. “Dr. Fletchall offered a lot of great advice,” recalls Dahly, who called and corresponded with the Fletchall on several occasions. “He strongly advised that Nordic Fest be a family-friendly, nonprofit, communitywide celebration. And he stressed the importance of authenticity.” With that vision in mind, the Jaycees, Vesterheim, and a dedicated group of community-minded volunteers set to work

turning a town of 8,000 tucked into the wooded ridges and limestone bluffs of Northeast Iowa into a little slice of Norway for four summer days. The founders worked for nearly a year to hammer out the details of launching a community fest on a budget of little more than $2,600. These funds were raised through the selling of $50 Fest founders’ memberships and $10 sustaining memberships. The decisions that year were seemingly endless. How many days should the Fest run? (Four, later shortened to three.) Should Water Street be closed to vehicular traffic? (Yes.) What should the first Fest theme be? (“This is Norway.”) Who should “profit”? (Only nonprofits, which, in turn, would use funds raised through food sales for community betterment.) Would there be a parade? (Yes, and, in fact, there were four that first year.) Who should provide the food? (Community groups like the sorority Beta Sigma Phi “manned” food booths, while local church congregations served up full Norwegian smorgasbord dinners.) How should directors “run” messages and other updates back and forth throughout the fest? (By riding bicycles.) Would there be fireworks? (No, not initially, but a Sutr “Norse fire giant” celebration replete with a torchlight parade and bonfire did take place.) Should alcohol be served? (No.) The decision to hold the fest the last weekend of July was easy, says Aulwes.


Locally Owned & Proudly Independent Since 1932.

Donlon's saves ....

oh no! did you forget about the best part of summer? never fear!



huh?!•201 W Water St. Decorah•563-382-3929• Christmas in July Sale: 6/1 - 6/15 24

Summer 2016 /

with little nisses as distance markers) and button sales (begun in 1995) as well as free activities like the Troll Walk, fireworks, rock throw, and lutefisk-eating contest have provided diversified entertainment and additional revenue streams that have allowed the Fest to survive and, in fact, prosper over the last 50 years, drawing well more than a million attendees since its founding. But still, this year is an anniversary Fest founders never imagined they would see. “We had no idea it would last this long,” says Aulwes candidly. “We had a lot of hopes, but, no, we had no idea. A lot of people said it would never work, and we really didn’t know what we were doing, but somehow it worked, and worked really well.” For more information on Nordic Fest 2016 – to be held July 28-30 – visit www. Sara Friedl-Putnam experienced her first Nordic Fest in 1997 and, ever since, has enjoyed being a “little bit Norwegian” for the last weekend in July as an Elveløpet runner, lefse booth volunteer, and overall fest enthusiast.

Decorah iowa

Nordic Fest

“Marion Nelson did a study to find the summer weekend with the best weather in Decorah,” he says. “It turned out it was the last weekend in July.” That doesn’t mean Mother Nature has always cooperated. During one of the early Fests, strong winds toppled pressurized Pepsi Cola tanks and sent jets of Pepsi spouting 20 feet in the air. Another year early on, pouring rain soaked thousands of Grand Parade spectators. “We had had a very dry summer, and everybody was so thrilled to get that rain,” recalls Aulwes. “No one moved – they were going to enjoy that rain, and that parade, no matter what.” There have, of course, been some major changes to the Fest in the 50 years since its founding. A beverage garden offering beer was established (much) later, in 2001. Other additions like the Elveløpet “river race” (launched in 1978,

50th Anniversary!

JULY 28-30, 2016

EVERYTHING FROM JEANS TO SUITS! Extended hours! 130 W. Water St. Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5761

M, T, W, F 9-6 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5 Sunday 12-4

Purl Up & Knit for a Spell Yarn, Knitting & Fiber Art Supplies, Classes, & More! Tues – Wed & Fri: 11 am – 5 pm Sat: 10 am – 4 pm Thurs: 11 am – 8 pm Sun: 12 – 4 pm

563-517-1059 •

Order ‘Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong’ ­– and help preserve fest history! “I had no idea what I was getting myself into by committing to this book,” admits Dawn Svenson Holland, author of the book “Nordic Fest: 50 Years Book cover design by Deb Paulson Strong.” “It’s been more time-consuming than I ever expected, but it has also been more rewarding – it’s felt like a labor of love.” Svenson Holland, daughter of longtime Nordic Fest historian Gary Svenson, drew heavily upon her father’s work preserving the Fest’s history in researching the book. “I could not have completed this project without the clipping books my father put together,” she says. “And I do believe that had he been alive, he would have written this book.” Proceeds from the 300-plus-page coffee-table book will support the permanent placement of the Nordic Fest archives at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah. The book includes 22 chapters of Fest history, as well as a section for recording personal Nordic Fest memories. It also includes a DVD with archival footage of the first Nordic Fest and a promotional video made for the 25th Nordic Fest. Presale orders may be placed in person with cash or check at the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, 507 West Water Street. Orders may also be placed online at The presale cost for each book is $50, with a limit of five books per person. The cost increases to $65 per book at Nordic Fest. What’s on tap for Nordic Fest 2016 The following entertainment schedule is subject to change. Headliners Thursday, July 28 Absolute Hoot Friday, July 29 Time Machine


115 Winnebago Street . Decorah, Iowa 563.382.6139




110 East Water St 563-382-4297 26

Summer 2016 /

More than 60 years of great food!

Saturday, July 30 Chris Avey and Jeni Grouws Anthony Gomes Theatre production “Ole and Lena’s 50th Wedding Anniversary”

1968 Nordic Dancers (courtesy of Ruth Ann Sacquitne).

Additional entertainment Kyle and Dave, Jim Busta Band with Mollie B, Foot-Notes, OK Factor, Miles Adams Band, 2Tall4U, The Silos, John Goodin and Erik Sessions, Luren Singers, Nordic Dancers, Jason Huenke (comedy juggler), Kevin Lindh (balloon artist), ArtHaus (children’s activities), and the Trolleri Players (roaming trolls and drama troupe) Check out this issue’s Probituary interview with Nordic Fest favorite Pokey Pete on page 82 – Benji did the interview and had such a great time and got so much great info, there’s an extended version of the story online at!

A Class is a Blast Sign up today! at Vesterheim’s Folk Art School

Skål! Scandinavian Spirits Presented by Aalborg and Linie Aquavits August 12, 2016 – December 31, 2016 This exciting traveling exhibition curated by the Museum of Danish America shares the history and traditions of drinking culture in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

Opening reception: September 9, 2016 with Christer Andre Olsen, from the Norwegian company Arcus, distributer of Aalborg and Linie Aquavits.

Aquavit Workshops

with Lexi from The Old Ballard Liquor Company in Seattle, Washington!

What is Aquavit Anyway? October 22, 2016 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. (Must be 21 and older to take this class.)

Vesterheim’s presentation of this exhibition is sponsored by Dennis Johnson.

Shop for Scandinavian Spirits in the

Museum Store

Keep an age-old tradition alive, and take Vesterheim’s own “Forged in Fire” classes! Beer mugs aquavit glasses ale bowls . . . and more


The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center Decorah, Iowa • • 563-382-9681

Forging a “Maker’s Mark” Stamp July 31-August 1, 2016, with Tom Latané Make your own brand for metal or wooden objects.

Check for a class schedule. Classes half price on stand-by for Winneshiek County residents.

Call 382-9681 to register.

Cost of Varme Pølser in 1967

0 5 . $

Amount of time it took to get the first Nordic Fest from fledgling idea to reality


c F i e d s t or N

(& the source for this graphic!)

Number of pages in Dawn Swenson-Holland’s book, Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong

Although it’s difficult to guess attendance without a gate, estimates would put all-time Nordic Fest attendance at a cool mill (probably more…).

50 o s f ar Ye

Number of entries in recent Nordic Fest parades


First Nordic Fest: July 27-July 30, 1967



Number of volunteer board positions that have been filled over 50 years (many of them by the same person)!


More than

First Lutefisk-eating contest (it was for elected officials only back then...)



Rounds of lefse served up annually (conservatively!)

1968: This is Norway 1991: Silver Salute to Scandinavia 1992: Nordic Nonsense 1995: The Trolls are Alive in ‘95 2010: Trekkin’ with the Trolls 2011: Take a Liking to a Viking 2014: May the Norsk be With You

(in our opinion)

Most Awesome Nordic Fest Themes


100 lbs

by Decorah native Dan Anderson in 2003

Farthest Rock Throw

54’ 7”


207 College Drive, Decorah 563-380-3610 Open 7 Days A Week

Let us create an

EXPLAINER for your business.







Summer 2016 /

Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols



river view inn

Lansing, Iowa

60 SOUTH FRONT STREET, LANSING, IOWA 563-537-0072 • 563-538-4231 (DAYTIME)





Since 1943 SUM OF YOUR BUSINESS: Sno Pac Foods Pete Gengler, President

Sustainably Beautifully Efficiently

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • Outdoor Benefit Concert Under The Stars

AUGUST 27, 2016 | 7 pm


Interview and introduction by Benji Nichols



Tickets available at | 563-382-5990

The Sno Pac brand of frozen fruits and vegetables is well known here in the Driftless Region. Perhaps you recall making a trek to the Sno Pac factory to stock up on bulk frozen favorites back in the day. You may even know a local farmer who has grown organic vegetables for the Caledonia, Minnesotabased business. Or maybe you’re just familiar with the little rectangular bags of frozen goodness stocked up at your local grocery store or co-op. But what you may not realize is that the owners, the Gengler family – four generations of them, in fact –­ have always been steadfast in their support of good, organic food. That’s right: Sno Pac was “organic before organic was cool!”

3094 North Winn Road Decorah, Iowa


bar menu available + DON’T MISS OUR WINE SHOP!

117 WEST WATER STREET, DECORAH . 563.382.WINE (continued on next page)

Rubaiyat gift certificates are always a great idea! \ Summer 2016



round 1900, Sno Pac started as a lumber and ice harvesting operation. It eventually transitioned to become one of the region’s largest refrigerated locker and packing plants, where local folks could rent one of 1,000 freezer spaces to store their food. It was here that Leonard Gengler also started raising and processing berries and vegetables to be frozen for sale. From the beginning, Gengler found that his produce tasted best when farmed without commercial chemicals, and he embraced sustainable land use, rotation of crops, the Rodale organic methods, and soil conservation practices. These values and practices have helped to set Sno Pac products apart, even as organic agriculture has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Sno Pac now farms over 3,000 acres of their own produce, and also contracts with surrounding organic farmers for certain products. A very few limited items come from outside of the region, like blueberries from Michigan, or cranberries from northern Wisconsin.

Cool Sno Pac Facts: • In the early Sno Pac days, people would line up at the plant in Caledonia to purchase fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits in bulk! • At one time, Sno Pac also processed poultry, which was packed in shaved ice harvested from the Gengler Ice Pond, hence the “Sno Pac” name. • Through the mid 1900s the Genglers also ran a Land ‘o Lakes route all over the tristate region. It was through this route that even more customers became aware of Sno Pac frozen products and the quality they represented. With the Sno Pac business having been handed down through the Gengler line – from founder Leonard, to Ray and Darlene, and now to company President Pete, Vice President Nick, and sons – it is safe to say that this local processor will continue producing quality frozen organic vegetables and fruits whether its “cool” or not! Sno Pac President Pete Gengler (pictured above at right - left is Pete’s dad, Ray) was kind enough to sit down with us for a few minutes at the modern packaging facility in Caledonia, Minnesota, to tell us what has made this multi-generational business work. Name: Pete Gengler, Sno Pac Foods President Age: Sno Pac is – give or take – eight decades old! Business: Fourth generation organic fruit and vegetable processor, Sno Pac Tell us about the “leap” moment. How did you get started? All I ever wanted to do was to work in the business. I grew up riding the Land o’ Lakes route with my Dad, and was probably in the fifth grade when I started picking strawberries for my Grandpa. It was an easy decision to continue working in the business.

grocery bulk produce café meat cheese bakery wine/beer supplements body care

We get a little excited about GoOD Food. ONEOTA COMMUNITY

FOOD COOPErative decorah, iowa

Water Street Caf é f r e s h .

32 01

o r g a n i c .

l o c a l .

312 West Water Street • Decorah 563.382.4666 • Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-8:30 pm • Sunday 10-7

everyone can shop

Summer 2016 /

everyone welcome

no membership required

building foundations BRUENING ROCK PRODUCTS


Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri

900 Montgomery St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 .

PLAY. EXPLORE. GROW. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? I like to make things happen – and you have to! Also seeing the success, and the challenges, of the organic market. How about the worst? 24/7 Responsibility. The financials, weather, finding good help – the same things that everybody deals with. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it?




Certainly there have been times when things haven’t been as good as others, or as much money at the moment, maybe you didn’t pay yourself, or you work so much other parts of your life suffer. But you just have to see the light at the end of the tunnel and do what you have to do. Any mentors or role models you have looked up to? My Grandpa Leo – he was the modern start of the company, and my dad, Ray. My mom was also in the offices for years. It’s a family operation. (continued on next page)

M-F 10-15 • Sat 10-4 • Sun 12-4

563-382-4646 | 33

217 West Water Street . Decorah, Iowa



Open Monday-Saturday

drop-ins welcome!

Molly Lesmeister, instructor

beginning, continuing, & gentle yoga 110 Washingon Street. Decorah, Iowa . 319.270.4592



128 W Water St, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9829 • M, Tues, W, F, Sat: 9-5 Thurs: 9-8

What’s so good about The Good Foot? The shoes! The staff! The service!

And it’s fun here to boot! (Get it?) COMFORTABLE SHOES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! 34

Summer 2016 /

Organic before organic was cool! What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? If you get too busy on the day to day you never make time for tomorrow. Someone once told me that, “Most people are too busy working to make any money.” I kind of like that saying. How do you manage you life/work balance? In the past it’s been hard to manage – it can be tough in a family business – seven days a week, 20 hours a day during the season, but you make time when you can. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? We’ve always had the idea that we’ll keep the family business going – pass it on to our kids and keep going. Some people thought Grandpa Leo was crazy following the Rodale organic methods back when, but he was really just ahead of his time. We plan to keep on providing the Midwest with what we do well, and we’ve embraced the slogan “organic before organic was cool”!




Greg Brown concert photo courtesy Seed Savers


“This world is painted on a wild dark metal…” -Peter Matthiessen, from “Shadow Country” 36

Summer 2016 /

“Wild Dark Metal” is the name of Jenning’s latest album.

Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings will be playing the Seed Savers Annual Benefit Concert this year. Save the date for August 27, 2016! Inspire(d) got to ask Jennings a few questions in honor of the upcoming show. Turn the page to check out the Q&A!



Lunch & dinner Monday - Saturday • 563-382-3067



Photo courtesy Mason Jennings Introduction and interview by Benji Nichols


e’re proud to say we’ve been big fans of Seed Savers Exchange and Heritage Farm for a long time. And for many a moon, Iowa troubadour Greg Brown (of whom we are also big fans) has graced a beautiful summer evening to help raise funds for the ever-growing cause of saving and sharing heritage seeds and plants. When Brown announced that 2015 would be his final year for the Seed Savers benefit concert, there was, happily, another extremely talented artist waiting, literally, in the wings. Well-known Midwest musician Mason Jennings was at the benefit last year, and the magic of that moon-lit evening in rural Decorah swept him away. With just a little peer pressure from Greg Brown and friends, Jennings counted himself “in” to perform the 2016 benefit show. Jennings – a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist – is a Hawaii native who now calls Minneapolis home. He has sold hundreds of

thousands of records to much acclaim – the album “Blood Of Man,” which Jennings recorded on garage band (playing all the instruments himself), received a 4-star review in Rolling Stone. His thirteenth album “Wild Dark Metal” was released just this past spring – of the album, Jennings has said, “It deals with loss, love, suffering, longing, and mystery. I hope it finds the listener who is looking for it. I hope it brings deep medicine. I hope you play it loud.” For close to 20 years, Jennings has toured the world, bringing audience members his unique style of musical medicine. This summer, joined by friends and fellow Iowa-rooted musicians The Pines, and combined with the incredible setting of Seed Savers, folks are in for some real magic. Inspire(d) was lucky enough to have a few moments to collect some fun thoughts from Mason Jennings as he anticipates the upcoming benefit concert.

A brighter smile in only 20 minutes



563-382-3657 . 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa . 38

Summer 2016 /

I: You’ve been anchored out of Minneapolis going on two decades now, with real roots in the 400 Bar (RIP) and the entire Minneapolis scene. What first got you to Minneapolis and has kept you coming back to the Midwest? MJ: My dad lived there for a few years and I visited and felt at home. I love the size of the Cities. The way the community supports artists and the close proximity of nature. The seasons work for me creatively too. Equidistant to both coasts for touring… great place to raise a family… the list goes on. I love Minnesota. I love Iowa too. I: From our understanding you attended the Greg Brown benefit show last year at Seed Savers and were inspired. Can you tell us about your experience? MJ: I love Greg’s music and the concert setting was amazing. Seed Savers seems like an amazing place and it was inspiring to see folks coming together to support it. Both Greg and Iris Dement took me aside that night and told me they thought I should play it next year. And I listened and agreed. I: The Pines will be opening the Seed Saver’s Benefit show in August, and Benson Ramsey (of The Pines, and Iowa music legend Bo Ramsey’s son) also contributed photos to your new album “Wild Dark Metal” – when did you all connect? MJ: I met Benson about six years ago at a friend’s wedding. We immediately hit it off and have been hanging out ever since. I think he is an amazing person and his songwriting is very moving to me. The Pines are easily one of my favorite bands. They’ll be joining me onstage at Seed Savers too, which will be fun.


112 Winnebago St, Decorah • 121 N Vine St, West Union


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563-382-CELL (2355) • Mon-Fri 8am-6pm • Thurs ‘til 8pm • Sat 9am-5pm • Sun 12-4pm

I: Do you keep a garden at home at all? MJ: I don’t keep a garden yet but I love gardens. I’m hoping that being (at Seed Savers) will inspire me to someday start one. I: Ok. Rapid fire! First thing that comes to mind: Midwest: Prince Summer food: Corn Family: Forever Currently listening to: 89.3 The Current Seed Savers Exchange: Hope

Don’t miss this evening of incredible music in an even more incredible setting! HERE ARE THE DETAILS: Who: Mason Jennings and The Pines Where: Seed Savers Heritage Farm When: August 27, 2016. Doors 5 pm. Concert 7 pm. How: Buy tickets online at

Specializing in business consulting, educational workshops, grant writing & community development. • 507 West Water Street • 563-382-6061 \ Summer 2016




Summer 2016 /

Other card options, such as: “When I’m with you... I’m gnome!” And “What’s up...gnomie!”

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LOCAL DRIFTLESS FARMERS MARKETS ALLAMAKEE COUNTY Harpers Ferry - Church Parking Lot Friday, 5-7 pm June - September Lansing - Main Street Plaza Saturday, 9 am - noon June - mid-October Waukon - Fairgrounds Monday, 3:30-6:00 pm June - September

CHICKASAW COUNTY Fredericksburg N. Washington & E. Main Street Wednesdays, 3- 5 pm June - October New Hampton (Accepts WIC/FMNP/EBT) City Park Lot, Water Street Thursdays, 4-6 pm June - September

CLAYTON COUNTY Edgewood - City Park Friday, 3-5 pm June - October

Fayette Open Air Market 305 W. Water Street Shelter Wednesday, 3-5 pm June - October Oelwein (Accepts WIC/FMNP/SNAP) Hwy 150 & Hwy 3 Monday, 3-6 pm Friday, 8-11 am Mid May - October

HOWARD COUNTY Chester - City Park Thursday, 1-4 pm June - October Cresco (Accepts WIC/FMNP) 2nd St & 1st Ave, Grube’s N. Lot Tuesday, 2- 5:30 pm Friday, 2-5:30 pm May - October

Lime Springs - Brown Park Saturdays, 9 am-12:00 Noon Late May - October Protivin - City Park Wednesday, 2:30-5:30 pm Late May - October

Garnavillo 201 N. Main. City Park Saturday, 8:30 - 11 am May - October

Riceville (Accepts WIC/FMNP) 203 Main Street (Hwy 9) Saturday, 9-11:30 am May - October

Marquette Driftless Area Wetlands Centre Friday, 4-7 pm May 27 - Oct 14 McGregor - Triangle Park Saturday, 9 am-noon June 4 - September 24 Monona - Gateway Park Wednesday, 3 - 6 pm End May - Early October Strawberry Point (Accepts WIC/FMNP) Inger Park Wednesday, 4-6 pm End May- September Volga City Park Friday, 4-6 pm June - September

FAYETTE COUNTY Elgin Town & Country Market Elgin City Park Thursday, 5:30-7 pm May - October


Elma - Charter School Wednesdays, 3:30-6:30 pm Late May - October

Elkader Keystone Bridge City Park Saturday, 9 am-noon May - October

Guttenberg River Park Drive - City Park Saturday, 8 am - noon End May - early October


WINNESHIEK COUNTY Decorah (Winneshiek FM) (Accepts WIC/FMNP/EBT) City Lot behind Oneota Coop Wednesdays, 3-6 pm Saturdays, 8-11am May 1 - October 31

WISCONSIN Prairie Street Farmers Market Lucky Park, 312 W. Blackhawk Saturdays, 8 am - 1 pm May 21 - October 29 Gays Mills - Lions Club Park (Accepts WIC/FMNP) Wednesdays, 2 - 6 pm May 11 - October 26 Ferryville Market in the Park Saturdays, 9 am - 3 pm May 21 - October 29 Farmers Market Nutrition Programs WIC = Women, Infants, Children SN = Senior SNAP EBT (Food Assistance) can be used to buy fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, baked goods,honey, cheese, herbs, jelly and jam, etc. You may not use EBT for hot prepared foods or hot drinks.


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2016 LOCAL FOOD DIRECTORY V Vegetables, flowers, herbs F Fruit M Meat & Dairy E Eggs O Other Products: Baked goods, honey, syrup, coffee 1 Andon Acres • V Gordon Murray-John Maynard, (563) 637-2766 Oelwein, Independence Farmers Markets

Learn more about buying local at



2 Apples on the Avenue • V F O Nashua (S. on Hwy 218), (641) 210-5506 U-Pick & Pre-picked apples, eggs, apple goodies. Farmstand open mid-August



3 Benjegerdes Greenhouse • V F 1115 Hwy 52 - Postville (563) 864-3081 Vegetable and bedding plants Open Mid April-June 30 or by appt 4 Berry Bluff • F Laura & Kris McGee Cresco, (563) 380-6081 U-Pick Strawberries! Picking days on Facebook & 5 Canoe Creek Produce • V M Decorah, (563) 382-4899 Vegetables, herbs, lamb, cut flowers Winn. Farmers Mkt, Oneota Coop, and area restaurants 6 Clayton Ridge Farm & Meat Market • M V Guttenberg (See Ad)




19 9










Gays Mills


Waukon 10

Harpers Ferry 19

76 27















Prairie du Chien


t 13


Elgin 13 56


23 128




N Garnavillo 52

Volga City



Guttenberg 6









Strawberry Point Edgewood

5 miles


NAN 7 Country View Dairy • M Hawkeye (See Ad) 8 Driftless Hills Farm • M Calmar, (563) 562-3897 All natural, grass-fed lamb Restaurants and individuals 9 Empty Nest Winery • O Waukon (See Ad)

13 GROWN Locally • V F E M A Community Farming Cooperative (563) 380-9848 Wholesale sales to institutions 14 Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch • M Fredericksburg, (563) 237-5318 Bison steaks, burger, bacon, jerky Farm Tours available by appointment

11 FJM Produce • F V M Francis Martin, Wadena, (563) 774-2023 Produce, heritage turkeys

15 Humble Hands Harvest • V Hannah Breckbill, Decorah (507) 513-1502. Traditional & market CSA shares available

12 G It’s Fresh • F V Glen & Elizabeth Elsbernd Cresco, (563) 379-3951 Certified organic vegetables

16 Indulgence Pork • M Chad Ingels, Randalia (563) 920-5899 Pork - whole or half hogs available Delivered to local lockers

10 Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank (See Ad)

Good food has a great story.

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312 West Water Street • Decorah Co-op 563.382.4666 • kitchen Monday-Saturday 8:00-8:30 • Sunday 10-7 classroom

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FOOD COOPErative decorah, iowa

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17 Iowa Food Hub • V F M E O West Union (See Ad) 18 K&K Gardens Hawkeye, (563) 427-5373 Bedding plants, vegetables, gifts Trees, shrubs, perennials 19 Kerndt Brothers Bank (See Ad) 20 Kymar Acres • V E O Waukon (See Ad) 21 Leon Kern • V F Garber, (563) 590-7812 Chemical-free produce Raspberries, apples, pears Call for availability 22 Low Oaks Farm • V E M Little Turkey, (563) 202-0399 Organic produce, egg, grass-fed lamb Decorah & Cedar Rapids Dtwn Mkts 23 Nature Haven Farm • V F E Vic & Kay Vifian, Garnavillo (563) 880-6522 Chemical free produce, Eggs Farmstand featuring local products

29 River Root Farm • V Decorah (563) 382-6249 Certified organic seedlings & produce Fall/Winter CSA shares available 30 Rubaiyat 117 West Water Street Decorah, (563) 382-WINE Bringing local producers to your table 31 Sauser Farms • V Hazleton, (319) 481-8737 Vegetables, melons, herbs, pumpkins Great fresh cut flowers 32 Shrimptastic • M Fayette (See Ad) 33 Timber Ridge Gardens • V O Sara and Randi Vagts West Union, (563) 422-5844 Chemical-free Produce & Angelfood cakes Decorah Farmers Market

34 Top of the Hollow Organic Farm • V Decorah, (563) 380-8344 Certified organic produce, potatoes Decorah Farmers Market 24 Oneota Community Food Coop, Decorah Oneota Co-op and special order • V F M E O (See Ad) 35 Unionland Market • V F M E O 25 Oneota Slopes Farm • M O West Union (See Ad) Andy & Emily Johnson Decorah, 563-382-0537 36 Upper Iowa Organics, LLC Grass-fed meats; Christmas trees Marty Grimm Decorah, (563) 419-2222 Bulk compost & composted manure 26 Patchwork Green Farm • V M-F, 8-5; Call on weekends Decorah (See Ad) 37 Windridge Implements 27 Peake Orchards, Inc. • V O Decorah, Cresco, Elkader (See Ad) Waukon, (563) 419-0449 Great apple varieties incl. Honeycrisp 38 WW Homestead Dairy • M O Family-run orchard Waukon (See Ad) Farm Stand, mid Sept-Thanksgiving 39 Golden Valley Farm 28 Prairie’s Edge Farm Dan & Nancy Hayes Jim and Caite Palmer Stanley, (319) 240-0257 Castalia, 563-605-1336 Asparagus, Late-April to Mid-June Grass-fed, grain-finished beef and lamb Farmers Markets and Wholesale


This directory is organized by the Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition and its partners. Visit for more information on the farmers listed in the directory.


Family recipes & sTories

Introduction & food photos by Aryn Henning Nichols • Illustrations by Lauren Bonney


ne bite of a dish your grandma used to make shoots you through time, through a rolodex of memories…it practically plants roots from your toes into the very spot your ancestors first broke soil. I spent the morning peeling potatoes, chopping onions and celery, and thinking of my own grandma. She passed away in 2008, but the memories of the small apartment where she lived when I knew her came flooding back. Food is funny that way. It’s a connector. It brings so many of our senses to life…feeling the produce, chopping the vegetables, smelling the crust baking, and, finally, tasting. It’s a wonderful thing. We love featuring food and recipes each summer. This year, we asked folks to share some of their family food memories. I start it off with my grandma’s potato salad. Spoiler alert: It was just as good as I remembered! There’s so much great local produce available every summer from farmers right here in the Driftless Region – at Farmers Markets and through CSAs and co-ops and roadside stands…so take advantage of these wonderful resources. Cook on, and visit us at for more fun recipes and meals! You gotta eat, right? May as well eat right. XOXO - Aryn \ Summer 2016


a t t o o Psalad


Summer 2016 /

Norma Esther Schmidt Henning’s Magical Potato Salad By Aryn Henning Nichols


randma Henning was one of the hardest-working women I’ve ever known. She and her husband, Irvin, raised six kids – 20 years spanning between all of them – on a farm in Ludlow Township outside of Waukon, Iowa. The big white farmhouse was where grandma grew up – her parents bought the property in the early 1900s. It had five bedrooms, a food cellar, apple orchard, and big garden filled with potatoes, onions, asparagus, and other vegetables. There were cows, hogs, and chickens – my dad and his brothers and sisters grew up eating their own eggs and drinking their own milk. “We didn’t buy much at the grocery store,” my dad, Ron Henning, says. “Back then, most of the farms were that way – a little bit of everything.” But it was mainly a dairy farm. There was a great big kitchen – it had a couch on one side next to a rocking chair, and a great, big, well-worn wooden table that would seat at least eight. The chairs were a mis-matched mixture of metal and different shades of wood. “It was kind of an all purpose room,” my dad says. “Did grandma like to cook?” I ask. “Ha, well.. I don’t know…” Dad says. “She liked to cook certain things. She really liked making bread – it was sort of therapeutic. Once a week she had one of these big metal bread pans and she would knead up the bread and make eight to 10 loaves and some sort of sweet rolls.” “Eight to 10 loaves of bread a week?!” I ask. “Yeah, we’d eat one loaf of bread at breakfast alone. We’d cut it up and put it on the grill – we didn’t toast it – and eat it with eggs and fresh milk. For dinner, everybody’s favorite meal was mashed potatoes, some sort of meat, and some sort of vegetable. We rarely had dessert.” All of that was before my time, of course. When I knew Grandma Norma, she was living in an apartment above my dad’s auto shop in downtown Waukon. I’d go to work (continued on next page)

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1022 Alabar Ave • Waterloo, Iowa • M – SAT 10-5:30 & SUN 12-4 319-234-1266 • Follow us on Facebook \ Summer 2016


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106 E. Water St Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-3544

ACUPUNCTURE • QIGONG • HERBAL MEDICINE • 563.382.9309 • 309 W. Broadway, Decorah

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Summer 2016 /

with dad (in lieu of daycare), and when I got too annoying for his crew, I’d be sent up to Grandma’s. I’d ask her about all her plants – she had a ton. She’d tell me the names of each, one-by-one, and then she’d fix me something for lunch. It was always simple, served up on her round, flowered cloth-covered table in her eat-in kitchen. After, we’d go back on the patio to check on flowers out there, or for a quick walk around town. Walking was Grandma’s only mode of transportation, besides rides from friends and family; she never wanted to learn how to drive. Finally, she’d send me back down to my dad – usually because she needed to get going for a volunteer shift at the Senior Site in Waukon, or with the ladies groups at Zalmona Church. For church events and at Henning family reunions, Grandma would often bring potato salad. I remember the first time I tasted her recipe. I raved (like I do), “Oh my goodness, Grandma! This is the most amazing potato salad I’ve ever had! What magical ingredients are in this?” My introduction to this potato salad happened to coincide with my college efforts at becoming a cook, and Betty Crocker had been tutoring me in the potato salad genre that summer. Grandma scoffed a bit, just like my dad does these days, their German heritage shining through, “Auck. It’s nothing special.” “No seriously, Grandma! What’s in this? Is it a secret? Is it illegal?!” At this point, she’s either starting to get a little miffed or totally embarrassed at my gushing. “Well, there’s potatoes, you know. And eggs. And salad dressing. I put a little evaporated milk in there too,” Grandma says.

“Evaporated milk?! That’s it! I must get this recipe,” I exclaim. I asked grandma about it a few times after that, but we both always forgot to follow through on it. Grandma Henning eventually moved into an assisted living apartment, but still walked and volunteered quite a bit. The reunions became less frequent, though, and by the time she passed away in 2008, I had never gotten the recipe. So when we decided to write about generational recipes for this Inspire(d), I immediately thought of that magical potato salad. And I pestered my dad, aunts, and uncles to get the details for me. There were calls to family friends made, and some digging through recipe files, but eventually, we found it! You can imagine my excitement! It was one of those “as many potatoes as you can fit in your pan” sort of recipes, so I’ve nailed it down a bit more for you here. I truly can’t wait to bring this to family reunions for years to come! Enjoy!

Aryn Henning Nichols loves cooking and telling stories. How lovely to do it all at once! Manchester White Water Park h

Join us for Sunday Brunch in the Woods! Wood-fired pizza & International Cuisine!

Norma Henning’s Potato Salad (From my Aunt Kim: “This was probably her take on the Schmidt family recipe. She made it from memory and didn’t have it written down.”) Boil 6-7 medium red potatoes in well-salted water, drain and allow to cool Boil 3-4 eggs and cool Cut up potatoes and add boiled eggs Mix 1/2 cup mayo (or salad dressing) with 1/4 cup evaporated milk Add 1 tbls plain yellow mustard 1 tsp sugar

2 tsp white vinegar Finely chop 1 medium onion and 2 stalks celery Mix all together and enjoy.

Tip: Really salt the boiling water well – you can add salt to the finished potato salad, but I find adding extra salt makes the potato salad runnier the next day.


2149 Twin Springs Rd, Decorah, Iowa • 563.382.4723 4-9 pm Wed – Fri | 11-9 pm Sat | 10-8 pm Sun



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Summer 2016 /

gRilliNg \ Summer 2016


engineer, Troy’s spent a full career in hardware retail before developing and implementing point-of-sale software, mostly for small businesses, in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he ran a hardware store, in Kristen’s growingup years, he sold kettle grills and, over time, became quite handy with tongs himself. His bride, DeAnn, is a third-generation native of California’s central coast who grew up on ranch cookouts of grilled chicken and steak, served with green salad, garlic bread and fresh salsa – in the tradition of the area’s Portuguese and Mexican settlers. “Maybe that’s when our family grilling tradition really started,” Kristen muses. “Whatever the origin, it was just something we did – and did together.” Technique, however, differed between Kristen’s parents. “Both my parents like – no, love – to eat, and both cook, but my mom uses recipes, while my dad almost never does. His style is to sort of flow from an idea.” The marinade, for example, he picked up in a quaint butcher shop in Provence, France. He went in for some fresh lamb, Kristen explains, “but he wanted it deboned, and while he was waiting, the butcher and another customer, and then another customer – as happens in French culture – got into a heated discussion of the best ways to prepare it.” Troy, however, did not speak French at the time – he and DeAnn had just begun a tradition of vacationing there with friends. “So he did a lot of smiling and nodding, and chiming in with ‘Ah, oui!” with enthusiasm

Marinade for Grilling By Kristine Jepsen / Recipe by the Underwoods


he best recipes, they say, are those known by heart. And the most practiced cooks often work by feel, adapting ideas and recipes to the quality of ingredients, the intensity of the heat as they pass their hand over it – even the ambient temperature of the kitchen. Asking such a cook to write down a go-to recipe – like this marinade for grilled meat or vegetables – is a little like asking for the sequence of his or her DNA. Fortunately, Decorah chef-of-all-trades Kristen Underwood is used to introducing herself – and improvising. “I’m a professional actor and director by training and a…a…theater entrepreneur by vocation,” she says with a laugh. Since landing in Decorah in the mid-1990s, she’s taught at Luther College, launched Upstart Crow Theatreworks for young actors, co-founded ArtHaus, the local arts education center, and become a speech and drama coach at Decorah High School. On the culinary side, she crafted several beloved lunch favorites working in the deli of Oneota Community Food Co-op and later became an instructor in the store’s kitchen classroom. These days, she’s the covert caterer of dinner parties, business meetings, and other cozy affairs. Kristen got professional fluidity from her dad, Troy, the originator of the grilling marinade he’s shared with Kristen, she’s shared with numerous friends, and we’re sharing here. An electrical

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Summer 2016 /

until he got out of the store with the idea that it involved ‘marinade,’ ‘garlic’ and ‘mustard.’ That was the starting point. He went to work and came to his own conclusions through trial and error.” Try it! If you’ve never ventured into the kitchen without a precise recipe, let this one be your entrée, so to speak: 1. Dollop some dijon mustard into a bowl and stir in several cloves of minced garlic (and herbs, if using). 2. Thin the mustard with tamari (or lemon juice) until runny but not too thin. (Too thin, Kristen says, results in ‘liquid mustard,’ in which case, add more mustard and wind up with a larger volume. If you don’t catch it in time, don’t worry! Your marinade may just be saltier, not a disaster.) 3. Whisk in olive oil – adding in a slow, steady stream – until marinade has body again and clings to the spoon/ whisk/side of bowl. 4. Slather thickly on sliced vegetables (like zucchini, onions, eggplant, mushrooms, red peppers), boneless pork loin, lamb chops, or chicken pieces (especially boneless thighs) up to several hours – or right before – grilling. “Best results come from indirect heat, so we prefer charcoal grilling,” Kristen writes. Get all the coals really hot, then spread them evenly under the cooking surface. If using a gas grill, heat up all the burners, then turn them all down to medium and grill in the center. One rookie misstep, Kristen says, is to use heat that’s too direct – it will scorch the garlic in the marinade, giving the whole affair a bitter flavor. Another no-no is applying the marinade to meats or vegetables that don’t lay very flat on the grill. “This works for chicken pieces – especially boneless thighs – but not whole chicken,” Kristen says. Too steep a vertical angle, and the marinade slides off as it cooks. And don’t be tempted to mix all the ingredients together at once. “My dad tried that, thinking it would save time, but of course, the olive oil wouldn’t incorporate,” Kristen says. “If you’ve ever tried to make salad dressing, you know it has to be poured in slowly, while whisking or stirring, to emulsify.” The best thing to do, Kristen says, is just try it. “The beauty of cooking with an inexact recipe like this is that it’s pretty forgiving.” And this, too, is true to family lore. “My dad’s command of French is almost the stuff of legend now,” she says. “Twenty-seven years of visiting Provence – staying in the same house with the same friends – and he’s still not what you’d call fluent. But while my mom and I – who’ve studied French – might hesitate, trying to be correct, my dad’s just bold. He’s asking what he wants to know in whatever cobbled-together dialect tumbles out. Dutch, Italian, German, same thing,” she says, grinning. “We call him ‘Larry Linguist.’” Kristine Jepsen is a freelance writer and editor – read more at She did not know, prior to writing this story, that burnt garlic was so easy to prevent. One additional tip: this marinade complements meats broiled in the oven, as well.

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pullEd pORk


Summer 2016 /


Hail to Root Beer By Jim McCaffrey

(continued on next page)



ne of my earliest memories is my dad coming home from work and bringing in a gallon glass jar of root beer that he had gotten filled at the local A&W. He would then proceed to make – for all us kids and friends that might be hanging out – the greatest root beer floats. This happened quite often. At the time we lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and life was pretty simple. Mom would spend her days in the garden or washing clothes or baking bread. Us kids would do our best to help her out. But the best event of the day was at the dinner table. There we shared laughs and giggles, pulled pranks on each other, and enjoyed root beer floats. Ah, living the dream. Life continued on and, of course, circumstances change. Dad got a job as a rural mail carrier in Decorah and we moved. And, somehow, the root beer tradition didn’t follow along. So, 20 years ago or so, I was perusing the internet and came across this recipe for root beer pulled pork. The pork was served as a sandwich and topped with Carolina Coleslaw. This is a coleslaw that is made with apple cider vinegar instead of mayonnaise. The two flavors of each recipe just instantly bond – it was a marriage made in heaven… or possibly North Carolina. Wow, it blew me away. So this has been in our family repertoire of recipes ever since.


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It is a great summer staple and we probably served it four times last summer for our Saturday Summer Concert nights. A year ago, we held our first McCaffrey family reunion at the restaurant and the pulled pork and coleslaw was the star attraction. So much so that we have had numerous requests to bring it to the table again this year. Ok, ok, just twist my arm. These recipes are now part of our family’s traditional cherished jewels. We have shared them with family and friends for the last 20 years, and now we are sharing them with you! Maybe throw in a couple of root beer floats for the kids (and adults too)… it couldn’t hurt! Now that’s summer! Jim McCaffrey is a chef, author, and co-owner with his family of McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita restaurant and Twin Springs Bakery just outside Decorah. He is author of humorous cookbooks Midwest Cornfusion and Mississippi Mirth. He has been in the food industry in one way or another for more than 40 years.


Summer 2016 /

Carolina Coleslaw (Look ma, no mayo!) 1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded 1 med green pepper, chopped fine 1 med red onion, chopped fine 2 carrots, grated Dressing: 1 cup sugar 1 tsp salt 2/3 cup canola oil 1 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp celery seed 1 cup apple cider vinegar Mix all vegetables in a (very) large bowl. In a saucepan, combine dressing ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled. 8-10 servings. Great to top pulled pork.


Root Beer Pulled Pork


1 2 1/2 to 3 lb pork butt 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 Tbl canola oil 2 med onions, sliced thin 1 cup root beer 1cup bottled chili sauce (you find it near the ketchup) 6 cloves garlic, minced 3 cups root beer 8-10 hamburger buns


Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper Brown meat on all sides in the canola oil. Transfer meat to a 5-quart crockpot. Add onions, 1 cup root beer, and garlic. Cook 4-5 hours on high heat. Make sauce. Combine remaining root beer and chili sauce in a large sauce pan. Simmer and let cook down about 30 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks shred pork. Place in bowl and add cooked sauce. Mix well. Place a portion on a bun and top with Carolina slaw.

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p l e p A piE


Summer 2016 / \ Summer 2016



Apple Pie By Joyce Meyer


hinking of apple pie conjures up memories of family. The sweet cinnamon-laced aroma of bubbling apple pie wafting through our old family farmhouse brings memories flooding back of my late grandmother, Alice Mansheim Uhlenhake. Grandma Alice lived with us while I was growing up, and being a former teacher, she was eager to teach me many things, including the art of making apple pies from the orchard on our family farm near Calmar, Iowa.

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Summer 2016 /

At left in our farm kitchen in 1961 is my sister Eileen Schissel, Grandma Alice Uhlenhake and myself, Joyce Meyer, near Calmar.

Grandma grew up with fruit orchards that included a peach grove in Fort Madison, in southern Iowa. Being the only daughter, grandma and her mother, Bernadina Mansheim, had plenty of practice making fruit pies. After she was married, Grandma’s brother, John, would even bring a truckload of peaches up to our area in Northeast Iowa each year. We were privileged to have grandma stay with us in her senior years. A month at a time, she made rounds to each of the four daughters and her only son, who farmed the Uhlenhake family farm by Ossian. Grandpa Ted died at age 61, so for many years Grandma worked as a cook and housekeeper for Monsignor Leander Reicks in Cherry Mound and Dougherty, Iowa. When I was a child, Grandma would get up early, while the rest were milking cows, and we would wander the orchard together as the sun rose in the sky. We would check on the gardens, grapes, raspberries, and apple orchard. Grandma was a devote woman, and at the end of our walk, we would stop to meditate over the beautiful purple Morning Glories as they opened up to the sun and we would offer up our work for the day. Then the bustling farm kitchen came alive. One day when I was about 10, Grandma decided it was time to teach me how to make pie by myself. It sounded like fun, so we gathered apples from the orchard and the flour went flying as she patiently taught me how to roll out the lard-based dough. It took practice and learning to use less flour to roll out the dough. I eventually became so proficient at my pie-making skills that I was sent to my sister Juanita Elsbernd Cole’s home in Cedar Rapids a few years later to make pies for a baptismal dinner. My mother, Ruth Elsbernd, recalls that Wealthy apples were the choice apples out of the orchard for pies. Summers were busy on the farm, and many times there were extra hungry workmen to feed. Grandma, mom, my sister Eileen (Schissel), and I made large meals at noon, and often the meal (continued on next page) \ Summer 2016


ended with her flaky apple pie. We learned the difference of our generations – sometimes we laughed about it, sometimes we just listened. It was the era of “hot pants” for us, as we became teenagers. We would chuckle, looking out at the clothes blowing on the line with grandma’s bloomers alongside our shorts… that just so happened to be shorter than her bloomers. As soon as I was in high school, I was thrilled to sign up for Home Economics class. Poor Mrs. Grimes may have found me adequate to lacking in my cooking skills, so it came as quite a surprise that I could make a great pie. All because my grandmother felt it was a culinary skill she wanted to pass on to her grandchildren. Years later, as our children were growing up, it became a tradition with my husband Kevin and our children, Lisa (Keigan) and Scott, to make apple pies to give to neighbors, friends, and put in the freezer for the long winter days ahead in Iowa. When it was time to say good-by to my 93-year-old grandmother (who said lard is bad for you?!), many of us granddaughters brought pie for the meal after the funeral. I remember looking over the rows and rows of pies and thinking it was a perfect tribute to a wonderful lady we called Grandma.

Joyce Meyer is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer, published in national and state magazines, on billboards and websites. She will be part of the NE IA Studio Tour this fall.



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3 cups flour 1 cup shortening ½ teaspoon salt 4 to 5 cold tablespoons water


Grandma’s Pie Crust Makes 3 regular crusts or two deep-dish crusts


Apple Pie Filling 5 or 6 sliced apples (Honey Crisp is a favorite as well!) ¾ to 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon Tablespoon of flour Speck of nutmeg Make dough by sifting flour and salt together. Add flour mixture to shortening slowly; use a pastry blender or a fork, cutting it to the size of small peas. Chill for 30-60 minutes (or longer), then slowly add water up to 5 tablespoons until the mixture is barely dampened. Take half of the mixture and press into compact ball. Dust flour on rolling pin and board. Roll pastry out to about 1/8 thick and about an inch larger that pie plate. Fit into pie pan. Sprinkle a little flour over it and add 5 or so sliced tart apples. Pour in ¾ to 1 cup of sugar, little dab of butter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a speck of nutmeg. Next roll up the rest of pastry and place on top of pie pan and crimp the edges. Mix a small amount of cream or milk with sugar and using a pastry brush, brush mixture lightly on top of crust. Cut slits in the top crust to allow for steam to release in oven. Bake for approximately an hour at 350 degrees. Tip: If you don’t mix water in dough, you can keep it for almost a week in the refrigerator and make a one crust cream pie (I make Key Lime pie) with the third crust. When making apple pie I use a deep-dish pie pan about 11 inches – so I use all the dough from this recipe. Also if you have a little leftover dough, we cut small squares & put jam in them-pinch ends to make tarts. Bake about 10 minutes.

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Tip 2: If you choose to make three regular crusts, take a cup of the dry dough mixture out (and save it for later), then only add 2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons of water to finish the dough. If making a deep dish (or a two-crust pie and a one-crust pie) you can slowly add water as needed, up to 5 T. Make a reservation online at 104 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa\ Summer • 1.800.998.4164 63 2016


Summer 2016 /

o d G e s i P

i.e. PĪRĀDZIŅI By Aryn Henning Nichols / Recipes by Justin Scardina


’m a quarter Latvian, half Sicilian, and a quarter ‘mutt,’” says Decorah chef Justin Scardina. While the majority of people can’t even find Latvia on a map, Justin grew up with a grandma who had lived there the formative years of her life. World War I had taken a great many soldiers, including Justin’s great grandfather. Without a spouse, his great grandmother was looking for a fresh start. Many people were emigrating from Latvia and settling in Chicago in the late 1930s – amongst them was Justin’s great grandmother, and her teenaged daughter, Sonja. Grandma Sonja McGraw had five kids – four girls and one boy – and lived on the north side of Chicago. “The culture was definitely present even for my mother,” Justin says. “She remembers going to events where everyone was still speaking Latvian.” Justin’s mom, Karey (Scardina once she married), was the oldest of the brood, and, thus, Justin and his younger sister and brother were the oldest of the cousins. While the other cousins were still at home in diapers, Justin and his siblings would (continued on next page)

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head the few blocks over to Grandma Sonja’s to make a Latvian snack called Pīrādziņi. Say what? “We called them piedogs,” Justin says. “Basically a baked sour cream roll stuffed with bacon, ham and onion.... good stuff.” Pie (rhymes with me) dogs – a nonsensical word they made up so it would be easier for the little kids to pronounce– were a special treat made for all the big holidays in the McGraw family. “We’d show up early, and Grandma would have everything set up in her big kitchen. The dough was all ready to go, and pretty simple to make, but the biggest task was mincing the meat and onion. You want the dice to be really small so, you know, you don’t have a huge chunk of bacon in one bite. Everything goes in uncooked,” Justin explains. “We’d use a water glass to cut out the dough rounds, then roll them out, add in the filling, and form the dumplings.” While Grandma and the kids were inside prepping and baking piedogs – “It would take all day,” Justin says – Grandpa and the uncles grilled outside or took a boat out on the lake. The family would all come together for dinner – 16 could fit at Justin’s grandma’s long dining table. “These were a huge event when ever some one made them in my family,” he says. “My mom makes piedogs too – she bases her recipe off my great grandmothers, though. Grandma Sonja cut some of the fat out of the original recipe… it was the early 80s, you know,” Justin says with a laugh. “My mother put it back in.” Justin made these for the first time himself about six years ago. “I had a random craving and called home and asked for the recipe,” he says. “I could have sworn there was garlic in there, but mom says no.” Perhaps that’s how recipes like this evolve over

generations. Justin listened to his mom, though, and kept garlic out of his recipe… but he kept the fat in. These days, when Justin isn’t making Latvian snacks or entertaining his seven-year-old daughter, Adina, he’s a chef at Luther College, and the mastermind and chef behind local pop-up restaurant Salt/Water. Check out Salt/Water on Facebook for details on upcoming menus and dinner dates.

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Summer 2016 /

PĪRĀDZIŅI (PIEDOGS) By Justin Scardina

Sour Cream Dough 1/2 C Sour Cream 1 C Warm Water, slightly above room temp. 110-115F 2T Sugar 1 1/4 t Salt 3 C All purpose Flour 3 t Yeast Meat Filling 1 lb Bacon, best you can afford, diced finely 1/2 lb Smoked Ham, again best you can afford, diced finely 2 yellow onions, finely diced Black Pepper, loads for freshly ground black pepper Procedure: Start the dough... mix the warm water, yeast, sugar to together and allow to sit to proof the yeast about 8-12 minutes. In the mean time, stir the flour and mix in salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Now mix in the sour cream in the yeast/ water mix until well combined. Add that mixture to the flour and mix gently until the flour comes together in a elastic ball. Transfer to a new, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Allow to rise

in a warm area for at least an hour. In the mean time, chop all the bacon, ham and onions and mix well to combine. Liberally season with freshly ground black pepper, mix again and set aside until ready to use. Now take the dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. Again place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise again. After a half hour, the dough will be ready. Take a 1/4 of the dough out on a floured surface and, using your hands, flatten a section at a time. Usually we would use a water glass to cut out 1-2” circles of dough to stuff with our filling. Fill the circle with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of the meat filling and fold the dough over the meat to make a dumpling shape. Repeat until you run out of dough or filling. Preheat an oven to 350 F. Arrange your dumplings in a single, spaced out layer on a sheet tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the outside. Make sure to check them after 10 minutes to rotate the sheet tray. Enjoy warm and stuff your face!

About the illustrator: Lauren Bonney works from home just outside of Decorah, Iowa, creating illustrations, logos, greeting cards, and invitations when she’s not planting or harvesting organic vegetables at Canoe Creek Produce. Her work is fueled by grilled cheese, mythology, hot chocolate, and Joss Whedon quotes. You can see more of her art on her website,, or you can visit her booth at the Nordic Fest Arts & Craft Show this summer.

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Cresco is family. The people of this small Midwestern town are working hard for each other and their community. They’re making great efforts to bring folks in to visit and work and live, and they are carrying on a rich history of innovation. Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols


Summer 2016 /

s e c r o C iOwa \ Summer 2016


When you visit Cresco you can’t help but notice the public art bronze statues located throughout the city. The ongoing project continually adds new statues each year – currently there are almost 40 throughout Cresco. Photo by Tanya Riehle, The Blue House Studio /


Summer 2016 /

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ou make your family,” says long-time Cresco, Iowa resident Bootie Kapler. “Cresco is my family.” In that family, Bootie Kapler would definitely be the mom. If there’s a committee, volunteer position, or, really, any person in need, Bootie is there. Seriously – she sits on at least a dozen area boards. If they ask, she says yes. “I don’t mind as long as we get something done. And so often they feed you,” she says with a chuckle. “I do lots of volunteering too.” From taking shifts at Howard Community Hospice or The County Store non-profit to tour-directing for CUSB Bank’s VIP 55+ club –“We went ALL OVER creation! Before that, I’d never even been on a bus!” – Bootie finds a way to help out. “You do a lot of reading and calling, and eventually you learn how to do things,” she says. “Oh, and every year I make 12 Easter baskets for local shut-ins. I even made myself a bunny costume to deliver them! Can you imagine?! Ha! It’s the best thing in the world to make people laugh.” The now 78-year-old moved to Cresco when she was 14. A few years later, when she graduated high school, it looked like Bootie was heading on out. “My parents gave me two weeks to move out of the house. That’s just the way things were then,” she says. “I wanted to be a nurse. The tuition for an LPN was $75 for a year back then – I knew I could afford that – so I went to St. Mary’s in Rochester.” “When I ran out of money, I came back to Cresco. Some classmates and I had the intention that we were going to get to Denver, Colorado, once we had enough money. But I met a cute fellow with black curly hair instead,” she says. Bootie and Ike Kapler got married in 1959. “I went west!” she says with a big laugh. “Half-a-mile west… to this farm!” Bootie opens the door to her farmhouse with a hug. Inside, oldies music is playing. There are fresh-out-of-the-oven butter brickle cookies and, of course, hot coffee. (continued on next page)

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Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols Cresco High School’s most famous graduate, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dr. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009), developed a high-yield, drought-resistant strain of wheat that helped billions of people grow food that could survive – and help them survive – on their land. Cresco hosts the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest most falls to celebrate his accomplishments as well as those of the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation (the next Harvest Fest is 2017).

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She may crack a lot of jokes, but there’s no doubt that all Bootie wants is to be there for her community. “The support from your friends in Cresco – they may want to know every possible thing about you, but they sure are there for you in a crisis,” she says. When Bootie and Ike’s youngest daughter suffered through anorexia in college, their friends supported them without judgment, and when Ike passed away in 2004, 500 people came through to pay their respects at the funeral. So when Bootie ran into a local businessman at the grocery store, lamenting that he couldn’t find land in town and was looking elsewhere to start his new business, of course Bootie had to help. “I said, ‘What if I sold you part of my farm?’” Right on the edge of town, the 60 acres of property was perfect for Cresco growth, and Bootie was eager to see jobs and dollars stay in the county. She and her family made the sale in late 2008, and Campsite RV and Shopko have since been developed there, joining an already industry-rich community that includes, to name a few, Featherlite, Alum-Line, Donaldson, Masonry Technology Incorporated, Bear Creek Archeology…

“The hospital too,” Bootie continues with the list. “Oh, and Plantpeddler. They employ a lot of people.” She pauses. “I work there part time.” (Of course she does.) “But I just drive around delivering flowers and making people happy. It’s pretty good work. Better than bill collecting!” Bootie is just one of the thoughtful and innovative people who make things go in Cresco. But really, throughout history, Cresco has been home to a great many innovators – people who aren’t afraid to take chances – on their career, on themselves, and on their community. 150 years ago, Cresco founder Augustus Beadle recruited folks to the freshly platted land with the promise of a railroad and a good life. There’s a beard-growing contest in the name of Augustus for Cresco’s upcoming 150th Birthday Celebration (find details about that fun weekend in the sidebar). Many years after Augustus, Cresco High School’s most famous graduate, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dr. Norman Borlaug (19142009), developed a high-yield, drought-resistant strain of wheat that helped billions of people grow food that could survive – and help them survive – on their land. Cresco hosts the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest most falls to celebrate his accomplishments as well as those of the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation (the next Harvest Fest is 2017). And Cresco native Ellen Church (1904-1965) innovated an entirely new profession – that of airline attendants! The local airport is named in her honor. (continued on next page)

Every week, we display a photo taken in the Driftless Area front & center on Photo of the Week winners have their name included in the gallery. Share with your friends on social media! \ Summer 2016





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Movement for Health & Well-Being Change your life today! Contact Diane Sondrol for more information. 563.419.5420 or Small group and private lessons available, all are welcome! 74

Summer 2016 /

The town itself sits about 10 miles shy of the Iowa/Minnesota border. It is the Howard County seat, and roughly 4000 people live there. The main drag – a tree-speckled Elm Street – takes you along historical buildings (the recently renovated theatre and the library buildings are over 100 years old and still operating under their original purpose), a variety of bronze public art sculptures, and a great big county courthouse. It’s charming. And it’s clear people in the community care – about each other and their town. “I know it sounds cheesy, but the best part about Cresco is its people,” says Katie Ferrie, a local “do-er” and the marketing cochair for Cresco’s 150th Celebration. Katie volunteers in addition to working her day job at CUSB Bank and keeping up with two busy, young daughters. Yep, folks in small towns have to wear many hats if they’re going to make progress. (continued on next page)

“I know it sounds cheesy, but the best part about Cresco is its people,” says Katie Ferrie, a local “do-er” and the marketing co-chair for Cresco’s 150th Celebration.

Opposite page: Cresco’s water tower behind one of the bronze public art sculptures (photo by Jessica Rilling). This page: A trail near Prairie’s Edge Nature Center (left) and the Cresco Theatre/Opera House (right – photos by Tanya Riehle, The Blue House Studio /

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Summer 2016 /

Rock Ladder Dam at Vernon Springs. Photo by Tanya Riehle, The Blue House Studio /

“Some of the best volunteers are some of the busiest people,” says Mark Johnson, technology manager at Cresco’s Masonry Technology Incorporated. “I’m a big believer in altruism. We need to give back.” Mark and his wife, Brenda, love living in Cresco because of the great proximity to nature of all kinds – from Prairie’s Edge Nature Center, to Vernon Springs, to the 22-mile Prairie Springs paved bike trail that connects to the Prairie Farmer Trail and links Cresco, Ridgeway, and Calmar, Iowa. But they are especially passionate about the crosscountry ski trails – trails they helped create. It was the mid 70s when Mark and Brenda came to Cresco – separately; they met and eventually fell in love after they were recruited as teachers in the Cresco school district. “They specifically were looking for a physical education teacher who could also teach art,” Brenda says with a laugh. Mark had degrees in English and reading, and ended up teaching those skills through computers. He went on to become an Adobe Master Teacher, and also taught classes at the Northeast Iowa Community College center in Cresco.

Cresco 150th Birthday Celebration is July 20-24, 2016. There are SO MANY things happening for Cresco’s big 150th Celebration – here are just a few of the highlights. • Augustus Beadle Beard Contest! • Live music and entertainment all weekend • Lots of kids’ activities (bouncy houses, slides, and more) • Cooking contests • Food vendors • Cruise to Cresco Car Show & Tractor Show • Pine Wood Derby • Fly-In Breakfast • Art in the Park • Grand Parade • Tons of tours – Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, Borlaug Heritage Farm, Ag Education Center, Howard County Museum, Cabin in Beadle Park, County Hospital, Cresco Theatre, Kellow House, etc. Head on over to or for additional details and up-to-date information.

(continued on next page)

Death on the Prairie

Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mystery # 6

From Kathleen Ernst, the bestselling author of Tradition of Deceit, comes the eagerly awaited sequel…

Chloe Ellefson and her sister grew up treasuring

the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and having long dreamed of visiting each of the home sites where she lived. When Chloe gets custody of a beautiful quilt once owned by the beloved children's author, the sisters set out on the road trip tour of a lifetime, hoping to prove that Wilder stitched it herself. But death strikes just as their journey begins. As the sisters drive deeper into Wilder territory, Chloe races to discover the truth about the precious quilt – and her own heart – before the killer can strike again.

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Summer 2016 /

Prairie’s Edge Nature Center. Photo by Tanya Riehle

“I learned much more from the kids than they ever learned from me,” he says. It was shortly after their arrival in Cresco that the new couple got their first cross-country skis. “We bought them in La Crosse because nowhere around here sold them,” Brenda says. Back then, people just beat down their own tracks for skiing. But the Kiwanis club made a trail near Prairie’s Edge Nature Center and Mark and Brenda started to really get into the sport. “We got so excited about it we bought a little house just east of the courthouse and turned part of it into a ski shop,” Mark says with a laugh. It was all very DIY – they bought a snowmobile and had a local blacksmith make a track-setter. They helped start the Upper Iowa Ski Club in the early 1980s. Although the club doesn’t exist anymore, its mission continues on. A group of volunteers, with help from the Howard County Conservation Board, that currently keep the trails going, and they’ve made significant (re: state-of-the-art) equipment upgrades. The group now grooms some of the best cross-country ski trails in the region. Mark and Brenda volunteer elsewhere too. In the warmer months, Brenda helps to clear trails at the Nature Center and works at the local Meals on Wheels, and Mark is on the Normal Borlaug Heritage Foundation Board and both serve on the Prairie Springs Trail Committee. “I get more out of it than I probably put into it,” Mark says. “I’ve met so many great people, and you walk away feeling good that you’ve helped out…that you’ve accomplished something.” A lot of the challenges that face the community of Cresco are universal to small towns…heck, maybe all towns. “The doers can get tapped out,” says Jason Passmore, Executive Director of Howard County Business and Tourism. “We’re also seeing a population loss. It’s hard to get younger people to come

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live here. Like a lot of rural Midwest towns, we’re seeing a decline in enrollment in schools. We have a lot of great manufacturing here in Cresco, but the workforce is aging. So we need to bring in families to replace that depleting workforce. We’re going to have to become more diverse, and that can be a challenge.” But they’re up for the challenge, says business and tourism Development Coordinator Spiff Slifka. “We’re asking ourselves, ‘What will draw people? What will set us apart?’” Spiff says. “We’re trying to take on that next level infrastructure.” The City Council is on board as well (no pun intended). They’ve worked over the past couple of years to increase energy efficiency in town – all the streetlights are LED, as well as the new Cresco Theatre marquee (but designed to be historically accurate). Plus, they’re early participants in a solar power purchase agreement. “By spring we will have 300+ kW of solar panels on city property. We are really working hard on reducing the city’s energy usage to save the taxpayers’ money,” says six-year city council member Amy Bouska. “We’re pretty proud of what we’ve got over here.” As Bootie says, Cresco is family. The people of this small Midwestern town are working hard for each other and their community. They’re making great efforts to bring folks in to visit and work and live, and they are carrying on a rich history of innovation. “For 40 years, I’ve been part of project after project to help make this community better,” Mark says. “And that’s the thing. The people of Cresco keep re-making or re-working ourselves to be even better.”


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Aryn Henning Nichols loves heading out to meet people for these stories, and figuring out what it is that makes them feel proud to call their towns home. Cresco is a really cool place, and Aryn looks forward to visiting more this summer for some outdoor fun! (continued on next page) \ Summer 2016


Teamwork from the team that works best! DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-8406 SALES SERVICE PARTS We service all brands.

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NOW is always the right time to tune up or upgrade your mower or blower! TOP-OF-THE-LINE BRANDS – TORO • CUB CADET

Lawn Mowers, Snow Blowers, Chain Saws, & More!

Cool Cresco Stuff to Check Out Prairie’s Edge Nature Center The Prairie’s Edge Nature Center was opened in 2000 – it gets its name from the native prairie planted right outside its doors. The Nature Center also houses multiple displays, including live animals, such as a tiger salamander, native fish swimming through a 180-gallon tank, and a live honeybee display. Outside, enjoy trails for all seasons! Iowa’s first rock ladder dam at Vernon Springs Right across from Prairie’s Edge Nature Center, Vernon Springs Rock Ladder Dam was introduced and then completed in 2010. Instead of an outdated dam, the river now contains 280 ft. of pools and rapids that spread this drop out with an average grade of three percent versus the previous dam’s vertical drop of eight feet. The rapids open the Turkey River to fish migration while making the area safer for people of all ages. This first-in-the-State of Iowa rock arch rapids is safer for people and now wildlife and offers a unique perspective to the Turkey River and Vernon Mill Pond. Prairie Springs & Prairie Farmer Trail A 22-mile Prairie Springs paved bike trail that connects to the Prairie Farmer Trail and links Cresco, Ridgeway, and Calmar, Iowa. It’s a great bike ride through native prairies and Iowa farmland. Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation & Farm The Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation owns Dr. Borlaug’s boyhood 103-Acre farm in Northeast Iowa. There’s the farmhouse/ museum, various outbuildings, and an old schoolhouse on site. Visit in September for the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest (next one is scheduled for 2017).

Burgers • Sandwiches • Salads • Appetizers • Breakfast • In-House Catering Locally Sourced Menu Options • Come watch your favorite games! • 22 Beers on Tap! Two event spaces for small or large groups – up to 200 people. Contact our Event Coordinator at for details.

206 W. Water St. •563-382-5970 •

Come home to Decorah! Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Check out cool Iowa wrestling history. Housed in the Cresco Welcome Center, it’s a great launching point for your Cresco visit. And don’t miss the super-awesome IWHOF mural on your way in! • NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION • SOLAR • ADDITIONS • ICF CONCRETE WORK

Tom 563-380-6712 Travis 563-380-7912 80

Summer 2016 /

Driftrunners Snowmobile Club In addition to cross country skiing, there’s great snowmobiling in Howard County. Driftrunners Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1968, has a long history of snowmobiling in Northeast Iowa. They host an annual Snowfest weekend event in January (2017 will be the 45th!).

Adventure in the







MINNESOTA Photo by Tanya Riehle













Cresco Fitness Center and Indoor Pool This place is a lifesaver in the winter for those with kids! Learn more about Cresco, Iowa Or plan a visit! HAVE FUN!







Cresco Theatre / Opera House This amazing theatre and opera house hosts live music, theatre, and popular movies as well! It was recently renovated and painted with amazing intricacy by Riehle Decorating.








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Inspire(d) Magazine Driftless Region


AUGUST 20-21




Ernest “Pokey Pete” Peterson

Interview by Benji Nichols

Ernest “Pokey Pete” Peterson was born in the spring of 1925 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He grew up on a farm just outside of Osage, where milking and chores took the place of extra curricular activities, but also accounted for a strong family life and respect for hard work. He joined the US Navy on Thanksgiving Day 1943 and from an early age figured out that he didn’t personally need much money, especially when it could be better used helping children and those in need. In August of 1968 Ernest paid off his bills and bought the best riding lawn mower he could find, a Massy Fergeson, as it would need to be red to be the locomotive of his train. Two wooden cars – a “coal car” and a caboose – were built in his basement that winter so that a fun, new attraction could be presented at the many rural town festivals across eastern Iowa. And of course it would raise money for charities. Ernest knew his operation needed to run entirely non-profit – “morally non-profit” as he says – from covering his own expenses, to sharing the earnings with those in need with no judgment or concern. All of his proceeds, including much of his janitor’s salary – an incredible sum nearing $400,000 total over three decades – went to charities such as the Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald house of Iowa City, private individuals in need, and more. He also rang bells for the Salvation Army in Cedar Falls, complete with his railroad engineer’s outfit on, for 35 years. Pokey Pete, aka “Troll’s Trolley” was (and still is) an institution at Decorah’s Nordic Fest, where he donated his train to the Decorah Lion’s Club in 1989. You can read more about Mr. Peterson’s incredible contributions in the new book Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong by Dawn Svenson Holland. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? Take your own advice! Actually, my parents didn’t do a lot of talking, but they sure set by example. What did you want to be when you grew up? I didn’t know there was another job other than farming – my brothers and I milked 25 Holsteins, an hour and a half every morning and every night. There wasn’t time for the other activities, and I didn’t get exposed to the problems that people have today. What do/did you do? I came back in ‘45 and just looked for a job – whatever was available. A short time at the Rath packing plant, and then at that time in the 50s we had nine dairies bottling and delivering milk to homes. I thought the dairies would go on forever – Carnation and Walnut. So I worked there, but as of about 1970 there wasn’t a milk bottler in Cedar Falls. I got to sanding floors for 10 years after that – I just took what was available at the time. And then I was the schoolhouse janitor at Orchard Hills School in Cedar Falls for 16 years. The school job allowed me to take my vacation days off to drive the train. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want? Ha, well it ain’t ever gonna’ happen! Well, look around your home. Who needs all this stuff? Not me. We could all get by with a lot less. Try to describe yourself in one or two sentences: I was just a carnie operator doing my job, if you want to call it that. I’m awful proud I did it (the train) and made all the decisions myself. And you need to do what you believe. If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? I don’t eat to eat. The hunger to overeat is pitiful. You learn that on the farm too – you work to eat, and eat to work, and exist. I can live without food now almost – I’m 91. I have my two slices of toast, but I don’t ever expect too many tomorrows at my age. Name one thing you could not live without: We all need a dream, and you have to get to living that dream.

Email if you have someone you’d love to interview for this page!

Tell us about…Your favorite memory: There are many, but the times when I would help a toddler get up on the train engine and walk them in a circle letting them drive. Parents, and kids, loved that – taking pictures, their little darling was the engineer. I did too. I gave the train away in ‘89 (to the Decorah Lions Club), one of my biggest helpers telling that story was Paul Harvey. I gave away the rest of my money on my 90th birthday, just before I came to the Western home. What I did, you know, I wasn’t Mickey Mouse or Super Man – I’m just a human. It’s time we all get back to doing more human things. There’s more! See an extended version of the amazing Pokey Pete story and this interview at

Enjoy a life of freedom, financial security and convenience! You’ll be glad you did! 82

Summer 2016 /

Decorah’s Active 55+ Community 1102 Nordic Drive, Decorah IA 563-382-6521

Every eye has a macula. Do you know why it is important and what you can do to protect it?

We do. 305 EAST WATER STREET, DECORAH, IOWA 7:30-5:30 M, W, F 7:30-7:00 TUES & THURS 7:30-12:00 SATURDAY



TV getting LOUD It’s time to visit the doctor.

Cynthia See, Au.D., Mayo Clinic Health System audiologist at Winneshiek Medical Center has more than 18 years experience caring for hearing needs for patients of all ages. Dr. See custom fits the • most advanced hearing aid technology available – with • easy to understand models that are • competitively priced, • guaranteed, and include • follow-up appointments WMC is now a convenient source for hearing aid batteries and supplies!


by the Joint Commission.

Decorah Clinic


901 Montgomery, Decorah •

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200 W Water St Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5742

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