Food & Drink

Photo by Austin Kirk/Flickr

Current high egg prices are likely to continue, as the nation’s flock of egg-laying hens is at its smallest since 2004 thanks to the massive outbreak of avian influenza this spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s official numbers show nationally egg production dropped five percent in May compared to May 2014. But in Iowa, the nation’s largest egg producer and the state whose hens took the hardest hit from the flu, the figure is 28 percent.

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.  

John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

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.

IPR file photo by Kathleen Masterson

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon allow pasteurized egg imports from the Netherlands because of dwindling supplies and higher prices caused by the huge bird flu outbreak in the Midwest.

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.

Kotivalo

R.T., who hails from the East Central Iowa, hasn’t had a drink of alcohol since July 3, 1986. He got sober when he was 26 after binging heavily on a daily basis.

“My life was in shambles. The best way I could describe it was outer confusion and despair. I truly couldn’t imagine living my life any different but I couldn’t imagine living three days any different.”

After going to a rehabilitation clinic, he was directed to Alcoholics Anonymous. As someone turned off by religion, he says he didn’t think it would work.

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.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

While many Iowans will enjoy a cold beer over the Memorial Day holiday, a beer ingredient will be getting all the attention near Solon in eastern Iowa.  The state’s largest hops farm is being planted this weekend and Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen has the story.

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.

IPR file photo by Kathleen Masterson

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.

“A rapid response is extremely important in an infectious disease outbreak like this,” said Jim Roth, head of the Center for Food Safety and Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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."

BostonTx / flickr

As Iowans consume more local craft beer, there's demand for more convenient access. So, what if 64-ounce glass to-go containers, known as growlers, were available at local grocery stores and gas stations?

A bill being considered by the Iowa Senate would do just that.

Iowa Senator Jeff Danielson (D) proposed the legislation, which he says complies with both Class C liquor licenses and open container laws. He chairs the senate committee in charge of alcohol and gaming. He says the committee takes its time considering all the potential ramifications of any new liquor law.

Whatsername? / flickr

Iowa ranks as one of the highest binge drinking states in the country.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the yearly cost from excessive alcohol consumption in Iowa is about $2 billion.

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. 

hc.saustrup

While the holidays may be called the most joyful time of the year, many people simply find them to be the most stressful.

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.

John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

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