Monthly Archives: May 2013

Help Plant Miles of Produce for DMARC Food Pantries!

By Matt Russell

Plant a Mile will be bigger and better in 2013 – But we need your help to make it happen.  We’re looking for people to donate time, talent, and treasure this summer.  We had fifty people participate in 2012, and this year we’re looking to double that number. We’ve created some new ways for people to join this effort, attempting to connect eaters passionate about local foods, the farms growing that food, and the organizations and businesses making this connection possible.

The first opportunity for donating is our June 16 fundraising dinner at HoQ Restaurant.  In addition, we’re scheduling volunteer work days at participating farms in Boone, Grinnell, Indianola, Newton and even with the City of Des Moines.  BFBL includes urban agriculture!

This project provides locally grown produce to Central Iowa families using the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network.  The creativity and team spirit of the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local network is expanding the project from one farm and one mile of produce in 2012 to five farms and almost two miles in 2013.

The project identifies farms willing to provide produce at a price that reflects both the value of the crop and the volunteer efforts that make the production possible.  The DMARC truck will pick up the produce from the farm and people can participate in Plant a Mile in a number of ways.  One important way to help out is to volunteer to work on one of the farms.  Those farms include: Ali Family Garden, Grinnell Heritage Farm, Maytag Dairy Farms, Busy Bee Garden Center, and Rinehart Family Farm. We’re creating a list of potential volunteers in the Greater Des Moines BFBL headquarters at Drake.  Please e-mail us at for more details about getting involved or joining us for dinner on June 16.

The sponsors of Greater Des Moines BFBL have once again come together to make Plant a Mile a reality.  Please share a word of gratitude with these members who’ve made a sponsoring commitment to BFBL that provides the resources for Drake University to do Plant a Mile: Campbell’s Nutrition, Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, HoQ Restaurant, Kitchen Collage of Des Moines, Maytag Dairy Farms.

“This is a great way for people to help make a difference and become part of a project that’s building bridges in education, health, and wellness through locally grown foods, while serving those who are not able to afford the nutrient rich food that’s becoming increasingly abundant on Iowa farms,” says Teresa Adams-Tomka co-owner of Kitchen Collage of Des Moines.

Make plans to support Plant a Mile by attending the fundraising dinner at HoQ Restaurant on June 16.  What a great way to celebrate Fathers’ Day.  E-mail us for a reservation at


Plant a Mile Fundraiser $75 donation
5 PM, Sunday June 16
Light appetizers, salad, choice of entrée, dessert, and coffee
$10 corkage fee to bring along your own wine.  Fee goes to Plant a Mile
Cash bar


What’s Happening: May 22

Plant A Mile Dinner, June 16, 5pm
Join Buy Fresh Buy Local at HoQ Restaurant for dinner as we try to fill Greater Des Moines’ food pantries with fresh produce. Learn more about the project and what you could do to help here.


Local Food Opportunity Closes Later this Month
AmeriCorps has three VISTA positions they need to fill by the end of the month.  The Meskwaki Settlement is located near Tama, IA and they are in our second year of the VISTA program on the Settlement. They have worked put in over a dozen community workshops, hosted a food film festival, started a community garden and developed a school garden, held several community wide planning meetings and are completing a strategic plan for community food system development based on results from a community survey and the meetings. It’s a great community to work in with lots of excitement around local, healthy and traditional foods.


Wine Education Series, May 28 & June 25, 6pm – 7:30pm
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill will host a discussion and tasting of wines from around the world and pair them with light appetizers created by Splash Executive Chef Dominic Iannarelli. The May class features wine from Washington and the June class features wine from Germany and Austria, presented by Ben Nelsen, Certified Sommelier.  Cost is $40 per person. Reservations required. Call (515)244-5686.


Gypsy Beers Class, May 28 at 6:30pm
In honor of craft beers The Cheese Shop of Des Moines will be holding a Gypsy Beer class, featuring their favorite gypsy brewers’ stuff — like Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Stillwater Artisanal Ales & others. These guys make some of the best beers in the world & they don’t even have a home base; they craft their yeasty miracles at breweries all over the world. The TCS’s favorite beer geek Andy Grooms will provide an in-depth look at these beauties & pair them up with some of the world’s best meats & cheeses.


Tim Stop Music, May 31, 9pm-11pm
The Gramercy Tap is hosting Iowa native Tim Stop. The alternative, acoustic rocker will take the stage at 9, no cover!


Swine Festival, June 1, 4pm-8pm
Iowa’s premier pork and wine event at the Iowa Culinary Institute/DMACC Campus in Ankeny .Two of Iowa’s best tastes come together in a casual, yet refined event designed to benefit the viticulture and enology program at Des Moines Area Community College. The Seventh Annual Swine Festival will feature central Iowa’s finest chefs and Iowa wineries. Chefs will prepare samples of gourmet pork offerings while wineries will pour samples and offer wine for sale. BFBL members participating: Tacopocalyps, Gateway Market, Catering by Cyd, Covered Bridges Winery, Grape Escape Winery, Jasper Winery, and Two Saints Winery. Tickets are limited and are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. More information available here.


Winefest Des Moines 2013 presented by Dahl’s
A full week of activities ranging from indulgent to informative, you won’t want to miss a moment of Des Moines’ most spirited summer social events.  Look for BFBL members at events all week long.

  • Ramsey Subaru Iowa Lawn Party, Sunday, June 2, 2pm- 5pm
    The second annual Lawn Party celebrates all things Iowa by featuring local wine, beer and cuisine. Enjoy samples of local food and sips from area wineries and micro-breweries, all accompanied by music from a favorite Iowa band.  Enjoy food and wines from BFBL members.  
  • Dupont Pioneer Sips & the City (Winefest), June 7, 6pm – 9pm
    An energetic event looking to attract young professionals looking to jumpstart the weekend. Attendees experience the urban scene while sipping on a wide variety of wines and enjoying hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants at Nollen Plaza. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door with the option of upgrading to the Willis VIP Lounge for $35.
  • Bankers Trust Grand Tasting (Winefest), June 8, 6pm – 9pm
    The”grand” is put back in Grand Tasting at this intimate evening showcasing the best food and wine available in central Iowa. Des Moines’ finest restaurants and caterers will prepare hearty hors d’oeuvres to be paired with high-end wines at Nollen Plaza . A limited number of tickets will be sold for $75 with an option to upgrade to the Willis VIP Lounge for $35. Cocktail attire.


Weekly Events at Grape Escape
Every Saturday night is Movie on the Barn. Movie Menus this year will be choice of beef-burger’s, nachos, cheese and cracker plates. Don’t forget your lawn chair! List of films:
June 8 – “Flight”
June 15 – “Trouble with the Curve”
June 22 – “Hope Springs”
June 29 – “Hunger Games”
Also featured is “Sunday Social at the winery” every week from 2-5pm. Come on out, relax under the gazebo and enjoy a glass of wine, yard games, and informational sessions.


Wheatgrass 101  June 5, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Fresh Cafe & Market wants to teach you about wheatgrass: WHO (started this? Who should drink it? Who can grow it?) WHAT (what is it? what’s it good for?) WHERE (where can I grow it? where can I get it?) WHY (why would anyone want to drink this or even grow it?) HOW (how do I grow it?) $20 per person. Guests must pre-register and pre-pay. We have room for 12 people. You will leave with your own flat or pound of grass OR a punch card for FRESH shots! Please call the cafe at 515-440-4700 with your credit card or send in a check to 1721 25th Street Suite 110 West Des Moines, Iowa 50266.


Blindly Imbibe: Blind Wine Tasting,  June 6 & 20, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Do you really know why you love your favorite wine? Take away the brand name, pretty label and points on someone’s scale, and what are you left with? Join Abbe for a new tasting series with no labels, no price tags, and no preconceptions. Cost is $20 per person. Hosted by Gateway Market.


 unWINEd: The Other Side (Jasper Winery), June 14 & 28, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy wine, sangria, and Madhouse beer by the glass and bottle at Grey’s Lake South Terrace . The City of Des Moines will be cooking up food for purchase as well!


Companions in the Garden (Garden Destination), June 15, 9am – 12pm
The art of growing vegetables, herbs and flowers together in communities which enhance the growth of each is the basis of companion planting. Learn which plants help their neighbors grow better, invite pollinators, deter harmful garden pests and enhance flavors and nutrition in their companions. Dress to learn in the Gardens! Cost is $35 per person. Pre-Registratio​n is required, and register Early….Class sizes are limited! For more info email workshops@garde​​m or call 515-993-4100


Cookin’ with Katie (Wallace Center), June 18, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
“Rethinking Dessert” is our third class at the Wallace House. You won’t feel so guilty about enjoying dessert after you learn how to reduce sugar and increase flavor.


Music at the Winery (Covered Bridges Winery), June 22, 6pm – 8pm

Kick back, relax, take in the music, and enjoy some great wine at Covered Bridges Winery Kick. Don’t forget to bring along a picnic, a blanket or chairs! Featuring RBJ Trio.


Wine & Canvas (Jasper Winery), June 23, 2pm – 5pm
No painting experience necessary, just come to enjoy great drink specials and leave amazed with your own inner artist! (And a painting to show off to friends and family, of course.) Cost is $35 with, Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Easels, and Aprons provided. Sign up here.


In and Outs of Composting (Garden Destination), June 29, 9am – 12pm
Learn about the Soil foodweb system, what makes a successful compost pile and benefits that it will give to your soil and plants. We will address different types of  compost, including compost extract and compost tea and the methods of garden applications. Overview various types of compost bins, build a pile together, and learn about our farm-scale compost operation. Dress to work outside! Cost is $35 per person.  Pre-Registratio​n is required…And class sizes are limited! Dress to learn & work in the Gardens! For more info email workshops@garde​​m or call 515-993-4100


Summer Concert Series 2013 (Jasper Winery)
Held every Thursday from 6-9pm, enjoy free live music on the lawn. We’ll be serving wine, sangria and Madhouse beer by the glass ($5-6) as well as grilling up burgers and brats ($6). We have some chairs and tables but it’s not a bad idea to bring some chairs or blankets as well. As a reminder, all ages are welcome but please leave the pets at home. And since it’s a free event, please celebrate the evenings enjoying our wine and beer (other alcoholic beverages will need to stay at home). Yay for summer!
May 30- Decoy
June 6- Pianopalooza Band
June 13- Flipside
June 20- Nadas
June 27- The Workshy


CSAs (community supported agriculture) are a form of direct farm marketing.  In Central Iowa, CSAs are a great way for a family to get a weekly supply of fresh, local fruits and vegetables.  Below is a list of BFBL member CSAs.

Interest in CSAs has spread rapidly duirng the last 25 years.  Today, Americans can choose among nearly 15,000 CSAs that range in size from as few as ten members to several hundred members.

Most CSAs provide around 20 weekly deliveries during the growing season with share prices averaging about $500, or $25 per week.

CSAs are based on the idea of “community.” Participants are often considered members of the farm.  They are not buying a particular volume of a particular crop, but rather a share of all of crops on the farm in a given season.  This often means members receive the abundance of a particularly good growing season and share in some of the risk of a particularly poor growing season.

CSAs often include weekly newsletters and recipes with deliveries.  Many farms will hold regular events at the farm to help connect members to “their” farm and farmer.

Some CSAs may allow members to work a certain number of hours during the year as part of their share price.


Nature Road Farm, Ames Owner: Randy Naeve 515-231-4495

Twin Girls Garden, Madrid Owner: Paula Olson 515-231-5900


Raccoon Forks Farm, Redfield Owner: Laura Glanert 515-883-2022


Garden Destination, Van Meter Owner: Donna Wilterdink 515-993-4100

Steak’n’Eggs Farm, Winterset Owners: Bruce and Sarah Lamb 515-447-9822


Blue Gate Farm, Chariton Owners: Jill Beebout and Sean Skeehan 641-203-0758

Reichert’s Dairy Air, Knoxville Owner: Lois Reichert 641-218-4296


Grade A Gardens, Johnston Owners: Jordan Clasen and Thomas Burkhead 515-554-4306

The Homestead, Altoona Owners: Eric Armbrecht and Jason Jones 515-689-4796

Wabi Sabi Farm, Granger Owner: Ben Saunders 515-745-9951


Crooked Pine Farm, Cambridge Greg & Christa Hartsook 515-460-5034

Surrounding Counties delivering to Des Moines Grinnell Heritage Farm, Grinnell Owners: Andrew and Melissa Dunham 641-236-4374

One Step at a Time Gardens, Kanawha Owner: Jan Libbey 515-851-1690 The Wallace Centers of IowaOrient Owner: Diane Weiland 515-243-7063

In partnership with Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development, the Drake University Agricultural Law Center is establishing a new program to bring together CSAs and employers in the Greater Des Moines area. Click here to see a slideshow promoting CSAs to employees of participating organizations.

June Recipe: Asparagus on Pasta

By Kelsey Johnson

Spring has sprung and the tastes of summer are right around the corner. Until then, feast on green: green onions, asparagus, spring garlic, spinach, and don’t forget the entire world of cool season greens like cabbage, kale, arugula, salads, collards, turnip greens, and more. We’re also seeing the start of turnips and some great radishes. Herbs are coming on as well, especially mint.

While not a fruit, rhubarb is typically eaten as one. So enjoy it in it’s peak season!

Check with your farmer about high tunnel production. You’ll be surprised what central Iowa farmers can grow with a little heat or even just some passive solar technology in their high tunnels and greenhouses.

As you plant your own garden, don’t forget that BFBL farmers are growing an awesome variety of bedding plants.

Goat cheese is back in full swing as the nannies had their kids earlier this spring and are now milking at full capacity. Eggs, meat, cheese, and poultry are becoming abundant. Though not yet in production for 2013, items like honey have carried over.

Speaking of carrying over, Iowa wineries have great wines from last year’s grape harvest. Seek them out for sampling at area farmers markets or special events like the Iowa Lawn Party at Winefest, June 2.

Get ready for strawberry season in a few weeks.  Enjoy asparagus and rhubarb now while they are in peak season.  And always talk with your farmer to get the freshest local foods available.

Speaking of asparagus season, our featured June recipe is courtesy of the Turtle Farms archive, which is now managed by Wabi Sabi Farm. Make sure to grab some fresh asparagus from them and try this tasty dish! While you’re at it, fresh arugula is also available from Grade A Gardens and blue cheese can be purchased at Maytag Dairy Farms!


Mark’s Asparagus on Pasta

Mark McAndrews


    • Asparagus
    • Walnut Pieces
    • Arugula
    • Olive Oil
    • Blue Cheese
    • Penne Pasta

    Cut asparagus into 1″ pieces. Sauté in olive oil until just starting to brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Toss a handful of walnut pieces into the skillet and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add arugula and blue cheese (the heat remaining in the pan will wilt the arugula and melt the cheese). Toss with cooked, drained penne pasta.


    These are all strong flavors that tend to compliment and compete with each other in this dish (which is why I give no amounts). The bitterness of the arugula and the funk of the blue cheese can dominate easily, so use a light hand with those two ingredients — adjust the amounts you use to fit your own tastes.



Members Recipe Archive

Here are some of our members favorite recipes! Follow links below to discover some mouth-watering dishes that feature in-season, locally produced ingredients.

All Spice:

Coyote Run Farm:

Gateway Market:

Grape Escape Winery:

Grinnell Heritage Farm:

Griffieon Family Farm:

Iowa Food Cooperative:

Maytag Dairy Farms:


Picket Fence Creamery:

Wasabi Farms:

Wheatsfield Cooperative:



Broadhorn Farm:

Dalla Terra Ranch:

Rosmann Family Farms: