BFBL Members Celebrate Local at the Iowa State Fair
By Kelsey Johnson
The time is upon us. The Iowa State Fair is coming. While the title of “World’s Best State Fair” is currently in contention, we know that sooner or later it will be bestowed upon our humble land. I mean, we have the butter cow after all… which, according to the State Fair website, could butter 19,200 slices of toast and would take the average person two lifetimes to consume. Maybe the local t-shirt company Raygun has a point: “I went to the Iowa State Fair and all I got was type 2 diabetes.” While many go to the fair to try the infamous “fried-whatever-on-a-stick” you can be sure that among the million guests and venders they’ll be some proud BFBLers promoting diverse and delicious Iowa foods.
You’ll find our members throughout the fairgrounds, whether it be in competition halls, sponsoring cooking contests, or selling high-quality Iowa foods…or drinks, if you fancy that sort of thing. Speaking of which, you can find Peace Tree Brewery at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent all eleven days of the fair. You’ll also find various Iowa wines available and Iowa Orchard will serve up fresh apple juice among other fruity concoctions in the Agriculture Building.
Once you feel adequately hydrated and ready to make your way around the grounds, be sure to stop by the Fairs’ swine building. The Griffieon Family Farm will be showcasing their Limousin heifer, Ginger, for the entire fair in the Avenue of Breeds. For those not well-versed in livestock terminology a heifer is a young cow.
After you’re done ogling over livestock there will be a whole host of food creation contests sponsored by BFBL favorites: Iowa Orchards, allspice, Jasper Winery, and Juan O’Sullivan’s. The majority of these events will be held in the Elwell Family Food Center and offer a unique outlet for companies to showcase their products. “It gets people to utilize our products, they go out and buy our products and it gets them talking to their friends,” said Sean Sullivan from Juan O’Sullivan’s. “For me it’s an inexpensive way to get people talking about our product while actually using it.”
The salsa company’s third annual Juans / Make it Local contest is scheduled to take place August 6, but don’t forget the other events happening throughout the fair! Allspice is “Calling all cooks” to face off in their snack mix, cookie, ice cream, rub, and Sauerbraten competitions. Top place winners will receive between $25-$50 gift cards and every contestant a 5oz bottle of Balsamic Vinegar. Registration is closed for this year, but that just means you have even more time to perfect your recipe.
Ultimately, the State Fair is a time of celebration. A celebration of great food, people, agriculture, and the magnificence that is Iowa… along with what Sean calls, “lots of neat side elements” thrown into the mix. So be sure to join Buy Fresh Buy Local as we partake in the festivities! And if you’re feeling adventurous, bring along some toast, the 600-lb butter cow isn’t going to eat itself.