Food

Iowa Public Radio

Last year in Iowa the foodservice sector added 2,600 jobs. It’s projected the state will see an additional 12,300 new food service jobs in the coming decade, according to a forecast released recently by the National Restaurant Association.

One in three Iowans found their first job in the restaurant industry according to the Iowa Restaurant Association, and during this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a behind the scenes look at what it takes to create a standard of excellent service in a restaurant.

Courtesy of Sean Sherman

Chef Sean Sherman who is Oglala Lakota was raised on a reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. After he started working in a commercial kitchen, he became interested in incorporating some of the ingredients of his heritage into his food. 

"I had this vision of doing a cookbook just focusing on Lakota foods," he says. "But when I started researching, I wasn't finding the information I was looking for. I had to devise my own education plan and found the basics of Native American food." 

Photo by Eleanor Klibanoff for Harvest Public Media

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus. They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better. 

But serving locally sourced food is a challenge for chefs, and the farmer-foodie connections aren’t always easy to come by.  

Flickr / Jeff Kubina

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next term involving a $5.8 million class-action lawsuit arising from a pork processing plant in northwest Iowa. Tyson Foods Inc. say that employees at its Storm Lake facility don't have enough in common to join in a single class-action lawsuit.

Lindsey Moon

Last summer Beth Howard hosted her last pitchfork pie stand in Eldon at the American Gothic House. This year, she's reviving the stand, but this time she's opening up shop on the other side of the world. 

Howard will be hosting around 1,200 people at U.S. Embassy in Thailand on the fourth of July this summer as one of her last stops on her “World Piece” tour. She’s leaving Tuesday to travel the world in search of the best pie recipes and will be teaching pie making classes along the way.

Photo by Amy Mayer

Walk down a grocery store aisle today and you’re likely to find lots of food…and lots of marketing claims. Whether a product’s label says it’s low in fat, produced without hormones, or a good source of protein is largely governed by consumer demand and corporate profit.

Photo by Amy Mayer

The packaged foods found in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are full of ingredients you often can’t pronounce.

They’ve been carefully developed and tested in a lab and likely have been shipped long distances. They can hold up to weeks or even months on the shelf. But most of them began with fresh food you might cook with at home.

Once Again, WTO Rejects Country of Origin Meat Labels

May 19, 2015
Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harveset Public Media file

Meat sold in the U.S. has to have a label telling in which country the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. But the World Trade Organization confirmed Monday that those country of origin labels (COOL) on meat sold in the U.S. violate international law.

Photo by Amy Mayer

The local food scene has exploded in recent years, which means there’s a lot more local produce on dinner tables. It also means that during the spring season as small farms start ramping back up, they have to work a bit harder to attract new customers.

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, allow subscribers to connect directly with a farm, and remain a mainstay for local farmers looking to latch on to consistent revenue.

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

Iowans have a growing appetite for locally grown and produced foods – everything from meat and dairy to fruit and vegetables. In order to try to fill that demand, food hubs are forming throughout the state.

Jan Libbey is an administrator for Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. She says food hubs are a way for small producers to meet big demand. “One producer may not be able to produce enough locally grown tomatoes for a restaurant, but if two or three producers joined forces, they would be able to.”

That’s the idea behind a food hub; farmers work together.

Fresh Mushrooms: Hold The Mustard

May 1, 2015
IPR's Pat Blank

After being cooped up all winter, warm spring temperatures have invited many to venture outdoors into wooded and grassy areas. One group in particular is looking for morel mushrooms, a tasty treat for those who know where to find them.

This season, morel hunters are being asked to look out for another forest growth: the garlic mustard plant, which is a weed.

Stephen Harris/Flickr

When Senator Bill Dotzler got food poisoning in Storm Lake, he decided to do something about it.

He introduced Senate File 256 to the legislature with intentions of funneling more funding into food inspections around the state. Traditionally in Iowa, restaurant inspections have been done by the counties, but increasingly counties have been looking to the state to take charge.

Liz West / Flickr

There was the cabbage soup diet and the grapefruit diet, and more recently the paleo and gluten-free diets. Whatever way you slice it, most “fad diets” are just that: fads. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with three dieticians about fad diets over the years and how diet trends shape our thinking about nutrition. Joann Miller, University of Iowa Student Health and Wellness Dietician; Anne Cundiff, Registered Dietician at HyVee; and Sue Clarahan, Registered Dietician in Iowa City with her own nutrition consulting practice join the show.

Photo by Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Nate Storey’s greenhouse in west Laramie, Wyoming is packed with vegetables growing in long, upright plastic towers.

Storey’s set-up is an urban farmer’s dream: the waste from fish tanks fertilizes the crops through plastic tubing that drips water onto the vertical garden. The greenhouse is small, but produces a lot of food.

Like a proud father he shows off bok choy, butter lettuce and spinach.

LollyKnit / Flickr

The local foods movement is gaining strength.  Farmers, grocers and chefs are all trying to meet the growing demand for high quality, locally sourced ingredients, but Chef Dan Barber thinks that the movement is missing a very important element - sustainability. 

“I do think that farm to table cooking can really fall into the category of elitism because of the way it’s practiced. It’s cherry picking ingredients that we most covet."

GracinhaMarco Abundo / Wikimedia Commons

Alton Brown won’t disclose the restaurants he’s going to sample in Iowa next week, but he says they have been chosen.

Sally Stein

Cooking can be intimidating, especially in an era of triumphant food photos on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs.

Set up the lead, stew in yr sugar and flower, and add two spoonfuls of sack. 

Dean Borg / Iowa Public Radio

For those who are apprehensive about preparing holiday meals for family guests, consider Sister Ludmilla Benda, a nearly ninety-year old woman who does it weekly for a hundred-or-more hungry strangers. 

Wikimedia Commons

There are foods in every family that have to make it to the Thanksgiving table. If you want to experiment with traditional dishes, where do you start?

Iowa Public Radio

Six Iowa chefs will compete Thursday at West End Salvage in Des Moines for the second annual Iowa Public Radio Battle of the Chefs. They're all out to win. 

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

 

Northwestern Colorado has a rich heritage of raising sheep – either for their meat or for wool.

Get Ready for Cheaper Meat at the Grocery Store

Oct 16, 2014
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Farmers are harvesting a record corn and soybean crop this year causing the price of grain commodities to tumble, which is great news for livestock producers and people who love bacon.

Screenshot

There are lots of opinions about how to eat and grow healthy food. The new PBS show Food Forward takes a look at some of them. 

Wikimedia Commons

Demand for organic produce in Iowa is growing.

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

The Farm Bill contains about half a trillion dollars in spending over five years. The vast majority of that pays for huge programs like food stamps and subsidized crop insurance. But this time around, Congress carved out a little more room for local and organic foods, and it’s starting to show.

John McGrath/Hale Center for Journalism

Jennifer Brdar’s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free.

After earning an associate’s degree in meat science, Brdar was hired in March as a temporary federal meat inspector at a big beef packing operation just up the road in Liberal, Kan.

She lasted barely a month, walking away in frustration.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places.

Problem number one is infrastructure.

You may have noticed when grilling steaks or hot dogs this summer that they cost more than they did last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and beef prices are up more than 11 percent since last summer.

Supply and demand determine price, and the pork supply comes from places like Riley Lewis' hog farm near Forest City, Iowa.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

For Phil Cummings, Iowa Farm Bureau Cook Off State Fair Barbeque Grand Champion, barbecuing is a family affair. 

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