Monthly Archives: December 2014

Holiday Newsletter

Happy Holidays, Greater Des Moines BFBL pledge takers!


We have created a guide to the perfect local meat and cheese appetizer tray for your holiday gatherings this season- head on over to our What’s Fresh  page to view it.

Check out our updated What’s Happening page here for the great events our members are hosting this month.  Lots of our members will be at the Winter Farmers Market on Friday and Saturday this weekend from 9AM to 1PM.  You’ll find an amazing variety of Iowa grown and made products, enjoy live music, and feast on ready to eat foods for snacking, breakfast, and lunch.

As you scour through magazines, food blogs and websites to assist in your holiday event planning…why not ask your local farmers? They can offer some great advice on what is available and how to add some local flare to your holiday dinners. Another helpful resource is Allspice’s Five Festive Foods for Holiday Parties. Here you can find unique recipes to spice up your get-togethers.

If you prefer to dine out during the hectic holiday season, Des Moines is a hub for delicious cuisine and no one does it better than our BFBL member restaurants and caterers – check out the dining and catering section on Page 7 in the BFBL food guide to find the perfect spot for dinner, lunch, or even breakfast.

Iowa wineries, breweries and distilleries continue to gain in popularity and their products make a great addition to holiday parties- visit  the winery, brewery, and distillery section on page 4 of the BFBL food guide.

Follow us on Facebook to get daily updates about what is fresh and what is local here in Iowa. Share this message with friends and family and encourage them to join the fun by taking the pledge and liking us on Facebook.


We hope you are enjoying this wonderful holiday season and finding ways to make it Fresh and Local!


What’s Fresh: December

By: Hannah Linnemeyer

Creating an appetizer tray with of a variety of meats and cheeses is a delicious way to keep your guests satisfied before a big holiday dinner. Also think of it as a great conversation starter to share with your guests which farms each ingredient came from around Iowa! Meat and cheese plates are great for everyone- you can be as creative as you want with presentation, or just let those local ingredients speak for themselves!

La Quercia has some tasty hand-crafted, cured meats like prosciutto and salami, to add atop your favorite cheese and crackers. Reference the meat and poultry section in the BFBL food guide to find additional savory meat options.

In Iowa, we are fortunate to have some great dairy farms, each offering a great selection of mouth-watering cheeses. Maytag Dairy Farms is known worldwide for their blue cheese. If you prefer goat cheese, Reichert’s Dairy Air is your go-to farm. They have products ranging from cranberry pecan chèvre to basil feta. Frisian Farm’s Gouda cheese would be another wonderful addition to your holiday cheese platter.

A hint of jam adds the perfect bit of sweetness to a savory meat and cheese plate. Victoria’s Table The Jelly LadyHarvest Barn Marketplace,  Edge of the Woods Raspberry Farm and Blue Gate Farm have all the jams and jellies you need. A drizzle of honey would also give a similar sweet effect. Why not include Juan O’Sullivan‘s Salsa to your Iowa grown appetizer tray to give it a spicy flare? Add a dollop of Agri-cultured‘s kimchi or sauerkraut to a plain cracker for a unique flavor!

Many of these farms products can also be found at grocery stores, co-ops, and farmers’ markets throughout Iowa- The Cheese ShopGateway MarketCampbell’s NutritionIowa Food Co-op, Wheatsfield Co-opFarm Sweet Farm store, and the Downtown Farmers’ Market.

appetizertray-1 appetizertray-2

Photograph by: David Malosh,

What’s Happening: December

By: Hannah Linnemeyer


Jasper Winery and Madhouse beer Release Party/ Holiday Open House on Thursday, Dec. 11th from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Chef’s from local restaurants HoQCentro, and Le Jardin will be preparing a food sample to pair with Jasper winery’s 2013 vintage Chancellor, Marquette, and Noiret. This is the first opportunity to sample these dry red wines having spent the last year in Jasper’s barrel room.


Jingle in the Junction on Dec. 11th from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Historic Valley Junction

The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with over 150,000 twinkling lights. Along with FREE horse and trolley rides, live reindeer, Santa, and caroling. Watch Bill Gordish carve beautiful ice sculptures, go on the Ruby Slipper Scavenger Hunt, or vote on your favorite store’s Window Display.


Downtown Farmers’ Market – Winter Market, Dec. 12 – 13, 2014, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. located at Capital Square and Kaleidoscope at The Hub, Downtown Des Moines

The Winter Farmers’ Market is a perfect opportunity to stock up for holiday meals, parties, and gift giving with more than 130 vendors. Farmers will be selling a variety of locally raised products including eggs, beef, pork, duck, turkeys, holiday hams, and a variety of late season and greenhouse produce. Shoppers can also expect to find an abundance of fresh handmade products including locally produced honey, jams, salsa, wine, cheese, noodles, breads, pies and cinnamon rolls. In addition, poinsettias, fresh cut Christmas trees, wreaths, handmade holiday ornaments and home decorations will be available.


Taste of Warren County on December 13th, 2014 from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Hwy 92 West, Indianola, IA

Sample your way around the room to over 30 local vendors. Edge of the Woods Raspberry Farm will have ice cream, raspberry sauce, and blackberry sauce!


Country Christmas Sample Sunday & Holiday Bazaar at Picket Fence Creamery on December 14th from noon – 5 p.m.

Head on over to Picket Fence Creamery to sample cranberry cheese curds, peppermint stick ice cream, egg nog, and much more! There will also be sugar cookie decorating, balloon animals, Iowa wine tasting, and Christmas karaoke.


Food for Thought Dinners at The Wallace House on Thursday, December 4, 11, & 18 from 5:30pm – 8pm

The Wallace House invites you to “Food for Thought,” a program that combines locally-sourced dining with conversation about food. Diners will order from a changing menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts created from local ingredients, including fruits and vegetables grown at the Country Life Center. Bring your own wine. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited. Call 515-243-7063 or email


Meals at The Gathering Table Restaurant on Friday, December 5 & 12, Lunch from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Dinner from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Country Life Center, 2773 290th Street, Orient

The Gathering table prepares fresh, locally grown ingredients for a unique country dining experience. The menu changes weekly. Walk-ins are welcome, though reservations are encouraged.


Cookin’ with Katie Culinary Class on Monday, December 15th beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Wallace House

Holiday Brunch: Guests coming for the holidays? Wow them at the table with a fabulous brunch. Wallace House location. 2+ hour class begins at 5:30 pm. $40 per person. Reservations at or 515.243.7063. Advance payment required, 48 hr. notice for full refund.


Wine School 101 at Two Saints Winery- classes begin December 6, 2014 – Feb. 21. 2015

Sample 8-10 wines and learn how to swirl, sip, and serve them. Visit or call 641-396-2102 to reserve your spot.


The Cheese Shop Fondue Night, Wednesdays, 4:00pm – 7:00pm