Food & Drink

amber e/ Love Nest

The holidays bring families together and sometimes that can cause stress.  In fact, navigating family togetherness when hurt and dysfunction abounds can seem impossible.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

After first gaining popularity in New Orleans, the Turducken—that’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck inside a turkey-- has made its way onto some of the more adventurous Thanksgiving tables in Iowa. For two restaurant owners in Oxford, it’s a way to share the cuisine of a city they left years ago. Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports.    

Jason Mrachina

According to regional food coordinators, there is no local food network like the one in Iowa. The connection between farmers and distributors is very strong, and the network continues to grow larger every year. Even so, about 80% of the food Iowans consume is from out of state.

TSelrahc

One thing Midwesterns do better than everyone else (or at least claim to do better than everyone else) is bake pie.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Peggy Wolff, editor of the new book Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie about Midwestern cuisine, culture and of course pie.

USDA

Iowa’s school districts spent six percent of their food budgets buying from local farms in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Census. That means efforts to fill cafeteria trays with local foods have plenty of room to grow.

Clay Masters / IPR

Organic food is a hot market in the U.S. The Organic Trade Association says that sales over the last five years have grown 35 percent. But there’s a problem in the supply chain – not enough organic grain.

Many producers in the farm belt aren’t willing to take on organic production despite a hefty price premium. That has left organic food companies scrambling to find enough raw ingredients for the products that hit grocery store shelves. Just as corn and soybeans dominate conventional processed food and meat, these same grains are often key ingredients for organic foods.

On this News Buzz version of River to River, host Ben Kieffer cycles through stories about Iowa's relationship with China, an Arizona company's apparent phone scam targeting Iowans, an investigation into traffic stops, a harvest summary, the nutritional benefits of eating soup, and a new film about Iowa's 2012 caucuses.

Clay Masters / IPR

   

Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Today is World Food Day.  Observed every year since 1981, it focuses on the problem of hunger around the globe.  Also, this week is the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines and some of the most innovative thinkers in the fight against hunger have come to Iowa.

I-5 Design & Manufacture

Recent movements addressing the obesity epidemic or industrial agriculture's dominance attempt to change how Americans eat.  Tracie McMillan sets out to understand the American food system from the bottom-up in  her book, “The American Way of Eating: Undercover at WalMart, Applebees, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.”  Host Charity Nebbe asks McMillan where our food comes from and how we can eat healthier. 

Torch Magazine

Last month the University of Iowa was ranked as the #1 party school by The Princeton Review.  Binge drinking is a problem on not only the Iowa City campus, but on college campuses across Iowa and the U.S. What is the nature of binge drinking and what can be done to curb it?

Flickr

Cupcakes have taken the U.S.

Photo by Phil Roeder

Many farmers' markets in Iowa have grown over the last couple decades.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with market directors from around the state to hear about why that has happened.  She hears from Director of the Downtown Farmers' Market in Des Moines Kelly Foss, Cedar Falls Farmers' Market Master Joe Bohr, and Washington Farmers' Market Master Bob Shepherd.  Also, get to the heart of the matter with author of "Farmers' Markets of the Heartland" Janine MacLachlan, who traveled to eight Midwestern states to document her farmers' market tour.

Basheer Tome / flickr

Fire is the original way to cook and it’s making a comeback in Iowa. Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on wood fired ovens, a growing trend in the restaurant business. Food Critic Jim Duncan shares how these ovens are being used in restaurants around the state and Matt Steigerwald talks about the wood fired pizza oven at his Lincoln Wine Bar in Mt. Vernon.

Seeking profits in private labels

Apr 16, 2013
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

You may not think much about store brands as you shop for groceries, but it’s a business worth nearly $60 billion per year. ConAgra, a company based in Omaha, Neb., made a splash recently in what the industry calls private label food when it paid $6.8 billion to buy Ralcorp, based in St. Louis, Mo. The merger created the biggest private label food company in the country.

Every major grocer has its own private label brand. Walmart has Great Value. Kroger stores sell Private Selection. Costco has Kirkland. Almost everything at Trader Joe’s seems to carry the store's name.

Potato industry banks on 'Linda'

Apr 10, 2013
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

At a Fort Collins, Colo., grocery store, Kristin Mastre paused for a minute in front a large bin of Russet and red potatoes. She picked out a few handfuls and continued on, her two boys, Carter, 4, and Logan, 7, in tow.

“Today is definitely a staples kind of day,” Mastre said, pointing to the potatoes in her shopping cart. Mastre, who does nearly all the cooking and grocery shopping for her family, is a big potato consumer.

Courtesy Barrett & MacKay Photography Inc.

Kevin Wells has been genetically engineering animals for 24 years.

“It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Wells recently as he walked through his lab at the University of Missouri - Columbia. “You take DNA apart and put it back together in different orders, different orientations.”

Poor Man's Feast

Mar 27, 2013
Chronicle Books

Elissa Altman's love affair with food started when she was a child, going on covert outings to fancy restaurants with her dad. As she grew so did her love of haute cuisine. Altman's new memoir "Poor Man's Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire, and the Art of Simple Cooking" tells the story of this love affair with food, but it also tells the story of Altman meeting and falling in love with the love of her life; a relationship that profoundly affected her relationship with food.

 

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Just south of Hermann, Mo., Swiss Meat and Sausage Co. processes 2 million pounds of meat a year -- everything from cattle to hogs to buffalo to elk.

And everything gets a label.

“No antibiotics added, raised without added hormones, all natural, minimally processed," Glenn Brandt, the production manager for Swiss Meat, reads from a hefty roll of hickory smoked beef sausage stickers.

What this label does not indicate, however, is whether or not the sausage contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Science of the Seed

Feb 20, 2013
Amy Mayer/IPR

People have been cross-breeding plants for thousands of year… Manipulating traits in agricultural crops from generation to generation. When scientists discovered that they could actually modify the genes of these plants in a laboratory the landscape of agriculture changed dramatically and fast. Host Charity Nebbe, explores the science of seeds, as a continuation of the Harvest Public Media series.

Iowa's "Food Deserts"

Jan 17, 2013
Christian Cable / Flickr

Here in Iowa, we live in one of the top food producers in the nation. Yet, some Iowans still have trouble accessing healthy foods. Host Ben Kieffer talks with experts across the state about people who live in areas with low access to healthy food…areas often referred to as “food deserts”. We find out why people in these areas have trouble accessing healthy food, and what efforts are being done to help these residents.

In 1949 Evelyn Birkby began writing a weekly column for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel.  Her editor told her to include a recipe every week in her columns -- and she did -- even though she couldn’t cook. Listen back to Charity Nebbe's conversation with Evelyn Birkby about her life and her book, “Always Put in a Recipe.”

Holiday Food Recipes

Dec 17, 2012
Paula Fernanda / Flickr

It may be a certain kind of cookie, a soup, a casserole, or even a special way to make hot cocoa. Food can connect us with people we love even after they're gone. Charity Nebbe talks about how certain foods connect us to people and the past.

What a Load of Craft / Facebook

In these days of one-click shopping, the idea of local shopping may, as nice as it sounds, be a little overwhelming. On today's Talk of Iowa, we’ll talk about buying locally grown foods for the holiday table and buying the gifts on your list from Iowa merchants. We’ll also look at the economics of buying close to home.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

                  

To honor the memory of Porterhouse, who died at the age of 8, IPR presents a feature story broadcast during his heyday as Drake's top dog, when he was the only live-animal mascot prowling the sidelines of Iowa's major university sporting events.

Two girls in traditional clothing smiling and eating
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Approximately one out eight people in the world go hungry every day. The odds are good that you are not one of those people, but what you choose to put on your table can impact people everywhere. Talk of Iowa explores Oxfam America's GROW Method - 5 simple changes to how we buy, store and prepare our food that can improve food security around the world.

Cows eating candy?

Sep 26, 2012

Gummy bears, chocolate, ice cream, and chewing gum:  sounds like a junk food binge, but those products are actually helping some Iowa cattle producers stretch their dollars. Prices for corn-based livestock feed have jumped nearly 20 percent. So some farmers are using leftover or off grade items like partially melted candy bars, from local food processors, to supplement.

Shannon Miller

The manager at an Iowa Egg Farm implicated in a national salmonella outbreak will admit he tried to bribe a federal official to sign off on unsafe eggs.

In 2010 a salmonella scare spread across the country—500 million eggs were recalled and 2,000 people fell sick.

Now a federal prosecutor says the manager of the farm the bacterial outbreak was traced back to—Tony Wasmund—has agreed to plead guilty to attempting to bribe a public official. Wasmund apparently offered $300 to a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector to let eggs that didn’t pass muster go to market.

Salmonella found again on Iowa farm

Sep 10, 2012
Shannon Miller

It’s been two years since a salmonella outbreak was traced back to several Iowa farms—including Centrum Valley Farms. As Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports, another strain of the deadly bacteria has re-appeared on that same farm.

This morning the Iowa State Fair began with activities promoting the one year old Healthiest State Initiative.  It’s also the first day a dozen new food items high in fat or sugar are available, including the double bacon corn dog. 
 

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