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.

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Photograph by: David Malosh, MarthaStewart.com