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What’s Fresh: January 2015

By: Hannah Linnemeyer


Mother nature has been taking it pretty easy on us so far this winter. However, temperatures are beginning to drop and there is nothing quite like cozying up with a hot drink in hand. We have gathered some decadent drink recipes that will warm you up on the coldest of days.


First we have a simple, yet delicious mulled wine recipe. All you need are some spices, which you are sure to find at Allspice in Des Moines, and some flavorful red wine. We have some great wineries here in Iowa offering exactly that. Visit Covered Bridges WineryGrape Escape WineryJasper WineryRosey Acres Winery or Two Saints Winery to pick out your new favorite red wine.

mulled wine


1 (750 ml) bottle red wine

1 orange, sliced

1/4 cup brandy (optional)

1/4 cup honey or sugar

8 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise


DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Strain, and serve warm.

*You can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready.

Recipe and instructions can be found here.


This Belgian Hot Chocolate recipe will please the entire family. Grab some chocolate from your locally-owned grocer, milk from Picket Fence Creamery and you are good to go.

hot chocolate


1 quart (1l) half-and-half or whole milk

8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, finely chopped

tiny pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


DIRECTIONS: Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. Serve very warm.

Recipe from: David Lebovitz


If you are feeling a bit sluggish on those wintery mornings, a Café Latte from Zanzibar’s is a great motivation to get out of bed. Choose from their large selection of fresh coffee beans and make this recipe yourself or just stop by their Ingersoll location and pick it up hot and ready to go.

cafe latte

Photo by: The Caffeine Fix



 1 shot of espresso

½ cup steamed milk


DIRECTIONS: Heat milk in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Whisk briskly with a wire whisk to create foam. Brew espresso and pour into cup. Pour in milk, holding back the foam with a spoon. Spoon foam over the top. This recipe serves 1.

Recipe modified from allrecipes.com.


For more hot drink recipes, head on over to Allspice’s blog and check out their post on Holiday Drinks for Grown-Ups.

What’s Happening: January 2015

By: Hannah Linnemeyer


Many farms here in Central Iowa are gearing up for the 2015 CSA season. Look at this post we did last year on the importance of CSA programs both for the farmers and the community. Here is a list of a few local farms now accepting shares. (If your farm is not listed and you would like it to be, please email us a bfbl@drake.edu)

Bridgewater farms -learn more here.

Crooked gap farm– they are adding Urbandale and Pella locations to the current Des Moines (The Cheese Shop) and Knoxville delivery options for the 2015 season. Learn more about their meat CSA here.

Grade A Gardens – stop by any of the following local businesses to sign up: The Cheese Shop of Des MoinesZanzibar’s Coffee AdventureGateway Market & CafeHoQ restaurantCapital Chiropractic and Rehabilitation CenterWhole Foods Market West Des Moines.

Grinnell Heritage Farm- learn more and purchase a share on their website.

Wabi Sabi Farm – registration for new members will begin on February 1st, 2015. Click here to find out more.


Cooking with George” classes on January 10th, February 13th, and March 7th, at 6:30 p.m. at Malo Restaurant located in the Des Moines Social Club Gallery at 900 Mulberry, Des Moines, IA

Join Chef George Formaro for an interactive evening filled with great food and libations! Enjoy a chef’s demonstration followed by a four course dinner with wine selections. $65/ guest. To reserve your spot, call 515-244-5000 or email nbopes@malodesmoines.com.


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 http://www.twosaintswinery.com or call 641-396-2102 to reserve your spot.


Malo Wine Classes on January 21st, February 18th, March 18th, and April 15th at 6:30 p.m. (third Wed. of every month) at the Des Moines Social Club Gallery, 900 Mulberry, Des Moines, IA

Join Malo and Gateway Market’s Abbe Hendricks to explore the wines of Spain and Latin America. You may reserve your spot for $30 for a single class or $100 for all 4 classes. Call 515-244-5000 or email nbopes@malodesmoines.com to make reservations!


Hot Sample Sunday at Picket Fence Creamery on January 18th from Noon – 5:00 p.m. 

Warm up with some HOT samples and deals at Picket Fence Creamery. They will have everything from Hot Fudge Sundaes to Hot Buffalo Chili, and much more.


CSA Fair at Wheatsfield Co-op on Saturday, January 31st from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. located at 

The following Central Iowa farms will be there to discuss their CSAs: Heritage Hill Farm, Lacewing Acres, The Homestead, Farm to Folk, Mustard Seed Community Farm, Raccoon Forks Farm, 7 Pines Farm, Lee’s Greens. Meet these local farmers and learn how you can participate in their CSAs.


Sustainable Sweethearts at the Des Moines Botanical Garden on February 6th, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. located at 909 Robert Ray Drive, Des Moines, IA

Are you looking for a significant way to give back to your community? At Sustainable Sweethearts, you can connect with local dreamers to launch a project or create your own. The event is free to attend. RSVP and learn more here.


Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Wallace House on Friday, February 13th at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. located at 756 16th Street, Des Moines, IA

Chef Katie will be preparing a special five-course meal for $60 per person. Tables are available for couples and groups. Call 515-243-7063 or email deannebryce@wallace.org.


Two Times the Fun! Dinner and Entertainment Duo at the Country Life Center on Saturday, February 14th beginning at 5 p.m. 

Treat your Valentine to a three-course dinner at the Country Life Center at 5 pm and then enjoy reserved seating at the 7 pm “Two on Tap” show at the Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield. This dining and entertainment duo is $50/person. Chef Katie will be determining the menu soon. Contact the Warren Cultural Center at 641-343-7337 or www.warrenculturalcenter.com.


Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Country Life Center on Saturday, February 14th at 7 p.m. located at 2773 290th Street, Orient

Relax and enjoy a four-course meal prepared by Chef Katie at the Country Life Center. There will be more updates to come on the menu details. For reservations call 641-337-5019 or email dianeweiland@wallace.org.


President’s Day Sample Sunday at Picket Fence Creamery on February 15th from Noon – 5:00 p.m.

There will be many Iowa foods available to sample. Cherry vanilla ice cream, Stone Cliff Winery’s Sweet Cherry wine, fresh cheese curds, meat sticks, Neva’s bacon cheeseball, bacon chili corn bread, Denison mustards, soups, local jams, caramel puffs, and… “the best darned chocolate milk this side of the Milky Way!” Just to name a few.


Food for Thought Dinners at the Wallace House begin again in Mid-March

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 deannebryce@wallace.org.


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

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, MarthaStewart.com

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 deannebryce@wallace.org.


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 deannebryce@wallace.org 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 http://www.twosaintswinery.com or call 641-396-2102 to reserve your spot.


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


Pre-Thanksgiving Newsletter


The Holiday season is upon us! No need to panic, there are still plenty of opportunities to purchase fresh, locally grown food to incorporate into your holiday meals! 

*      The Winter Farmers’ Market is coming up on November 21-22.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to stock up for holiday meals, parties, and gift giving. Find out more details at http://desmoinesfarmersmarket.com.

*      Shop online with using the Co-op’s Thanksgiving shopping list at Iowafood.coop from November 12-16th. Then pick up your purchases on the Thursday before Thanksgiving at one of their 6 locations.

*      Order your Thanksgiving Turkey from Picket Fence Creamery and pick it up at their next Sample Sunday on November 23rd, noon to 5 p.m.

*      Campbell’s Nutrition is taking orders for Thanksgiving Turkeys. Call 515-277-6351 for details.

*      The Harvest Barn Marketplace is still open through December 28th. Learn more about their locally-grown products at http://www.harvestbarnmarketplace.com/index.html.