Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Spring Farm Work days are Here! March 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 8:33 pm
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Now that winter is turning to spring, I know my fingers are itching to get down in the dirt. If yours are, too, indulge yourself in a work day at one of our partner farms!

If you would like to join us for any of the upcoming farm work days, please email Local Foods Connection to register. Thank you!

Saturday March 29th
at Scattergood Farm in West Branch
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 10 volunteers

Sunday, March 30th
at Scattergood Farm in West Branch
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 10 volunteers

Saturday, April 5th
at ZJ Farm in Solon
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 25 volunteers

Sunday, April 6th
at Simone’s Plain ‘n Simple in Wellman
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 12 volunteers

Saturday, April 12th
at ZJ Farm in Solon
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 25 volunteers

Sunday, April 13th
at Fare Thee Well Farm, farmer Anne Coatar
meet at 10:00 am, Old Capitol Mall Food Court
maximum 12 volunteers


Recap from the CSA Fair March 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 5:10 pm
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Local Foods Connection, with the help of New Pioneer Co-op and Edible Iowa River Valley Magazine, hosted the annual Iowa City Community Supported Agriculture fair this past weekend. The event was attended by dozens of people from the Iowa City area, Cedar Rapids, and even Davenport.
Visitors had a chance to meet farmers from eight different farms serving Johnson County and the surrounding area. Farmers had on display brochures and photographs, and spoke one-on-one with visitors about their life, work and the goods they have for sale. One farmers was even selling eggs from her organically-raised chickens.
A reporter from the on-line journal, The Iowa Independent, attended the fair, and posted videos and story about the event on their website. Learn more about the fair at:

2008 Guide to CSAs Serving Iowa City March 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 8:19 pm
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In case you missed the CSA Fair this past Saturday, or the copies of the 2008 CSA Guide located around Iowa City, here it is! All you wanted to know about CSAs in the Iowa City area. Get out your notebook, pencil, phone, and some muddy boots and check out these local farms.

2008 Community Supported Agriculture Farms
Prepared by Local Foods Connection
A pdf version of the guide is available here: 2008 CSA Guide

This list is provided as a community service. No endorsement is being made for any individual farm. Farms are listed in CSA name alphabetical order. We apologize for any mistakes or accidental exclusions.

Acoustic Farms
Barbara Grant home: (319) 854-6111
Mark Armstrong cell: (319) 560-2565
2674 Linn Grove Road
Springville, IA 52336

General Farm Info: Acoustic Farms is 82 acres located east of Springville offering naturally-raised vegetables, herbs, lamb and pork. We try to live in harmony with nature on our farm, producing fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. Acoustic Farms has a happy staff that includes me (Mark), my beautiful partner Barbara, my wise mother Thelma, and our comical dog Hank. We have always shared our bounty with friends and neighbors and now would like to share with you as well. We offer grass-raised lamb, corn-fed pork, fresh and dried wild mushrooms, maple syrup, sweet corn, apple cider and fresh eggs, in addition to a cornucopia of vegetables. All in season and all delivered to your specific destination, fresh, crisp and pure. We believe food should be a sensual experience and we would like our food to be a part of your very own simply delicious life.

Share Size: Full and half share sizes.
Season: May through September. 2007 first year of CSA.
Contents: Spinach, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, melons, onions, carrots, beets, squash, surprises.
Delivery: Delivered to your door in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas.
Cost: Call farm for details. Half payment due May 1, balance due July 1.

Michelle Kenyon Brown Michelle: (563) 432-7484
Derek Roller Derek: (319) 325-3910
879 Echo Avenue echofarm@netins.net
Mechanicsville, Iowa 52306
Serving Cedar, Linn and Johnson Counties

General Farm Info: Echollective Farm is a farming intentional community located 30 minutes from Iowa City, 40 minutes from Cedar Rapids and 10 minutes from Tipton & Mechanicsville, Iowa. A cluster of farmers and volunteers cultivates 53 acres including 20 forested acres, a creek and 14 acres with certified organic vegetables, herbs, flowers, and hay. CSA Members exchange labor for weekly boxes of bounty. The CSA project is part of Echollective Farm’s broader mission to support and educate the public about: sustainably & locally produced food; renewable energy; and green building construction. We conduct hands-on workshops; host internship programs; and harvest & market products that make our community healthier.

Share Season: May-October.
Contents: asparagus, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, kale, rhubarb, basil, oregano, parsley and several other herbs, Swiss chard, radishes, peas, leeks, green garlic, beets, carrots, and strawberries, bell & hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, beans, cauliflower, squash, onions, potatoes, garlic and garlic scapes.
Share Size: Varies from 1 person to a household of 10.
Delivery/ Cost: Shares are picked up at the Echollective Farm. Labor is exchanged for shares. Contact Echollective Farm to work out details.
Other products: Certified organic garlic by the pound; certified organic herbal & flower bouquets; honey; bee-keeping workshops; Echollective Farm newsletter; demonstrations, tours and workshops related to straw bale construction, earthen plasters and wind & solar produced electric power; internships & apprenticeships available for aspiring organic vegetable farmers; and a Garlic Festival.

Gooseberry Hill Subscription Produce
Dianna & John Fuhrmeister (319) 354-7260
3310 Lynden Heights Rd. NE
Iowa City, IA 52240

General Farm Info: 2-3 acre ever-expanding garden area. A wide variety of produce is grown and others may be added upon request. Note that fruits are also included in shares. We are not certified organic, but it is our philosophy.

Share Size: Wicker basket is filled with more than enough for a family of four to supplement meals with garden fresh produce.
Season: May through September. CSA since 2000.
Contents: Potatoes, green onions, sandwich onions, sugar snap peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, sweet corn, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, okra, kohlrabi, beets, horseradish, turnip and beet greens, cucumbers, summer squash, radishes, and more. Fruits: strawberries, cherries, apples, red raspberries, blackberries, white Iowa peaches, rhubarb, and plums. Country fresh eggs and flowers. Printed recipes and labeled produce.
Delivery: Delivery to your door.
Cost: Call farm for details.

Grass Run Farm
Ryan and Kristine Jepsen (563) 492-3400
2712 Hoover Road ryan@grassrunfarm.com
Dorchester, IA 52140

General Farm Info: 100% Grass-Fed Beef. Pastured Pork. Humanely-Raised Veal. Milk Share. We raise these animals on our certified organic farm near Dorchester (north of Decorah). We raise our cows on fresh grass and quality hay, following international research indicating that a pasture-based system is healthy for the animals, healthy for our environment and healthy for you. Our pigs range and root at will—no conventional confinement, growth enhancers or antibiotics. “Pastured” veal means that our calves live at their mother’s side, nursing the way nature intended. We have an open gate policy, so put on your boots and come meet the animals.

Contents: Currently we have many different buying options:
• Monthly meat CSA: 8-10 lbs of meat each month for six months for $300 ($50 a month). Includes of mixture of beef and pork and a mix of cuts. March box is 9 lbs and includes ground round, minute and cube steaks, hamburger patties, bacon and pork shoulder roast.
• Good-Grazing Beef Box: $200. Pastured-Pork Sampler: $125. Quarter, half and whole beef, hogs and veal. Have your meat custom cut and save big with volume purchasing.
• Sampler Packs; $55 Best-Sellers Box with steaks, chops and our famous Italian sausage.
• Custom order any item in any quantity (e.g. one steak and one pound of ground beef – or 400 lbs!): Prices and quantities vary.
Delivery: Shipping to Iowa City varies depending on weights but averages $20-$25 per box.

Local Harvest CSA
ZJ Farm, Red Cedar Farm, and Simone’s Plain & Simple

ZJ Farm
Susan Jutz (319) 624-3052
5025 120th St NE www.zjfarms.com
Solon, IA 52333 susan@zjfarms.com

Farm General Info: Susan and her four children (Frances, Reuben, George and David) share in the work of their 80-acre farm. Growing vegetables for Local Harvest CSA is only one component of their small, diversified farm. The diversity of the ZJ Farm extends beyond the products they sell to the environment they promote and maintain. Community education is central to the work they do. Summer intern immersion program & seasonal events for all ages. On-farm events include a spring potluck, annual prairie burn, fall barn dance & more.

Share Season: 20 weeks May to October. CSA since 1997.
Contents: Over 150 varieties of more than 40 types of organic vegetables. Almost all vegetables are harvested the same day as delivery. Write or call for more info. Email newsletter.
Sizes: Family feeds a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children); Regular feeds two vegetable-loving adults.
Delivery: Monday: Cedar Rapids at Red Cedar Farm. Wednesday: Iowa City Farmer’s Market. Friday: drop sites in Iowa City and North Liberty. Pick-up at the farm by arrangement on M, W, F.
Cost: Call farm. Staggered payment & volunteer exchange options.
Other Products: Pork and lamb, community events

Red Cedar Farm
Kate Hogg (319) 247-0223
2750 Otis Road SE redcedarfarm@earthlink.net
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Cedar Rapids pick up location for Local Harvest CSA.
Other Products: organic, free-range eggs.

Simone’s Plain & Simple
Simone Delaty (319) 683-2896
1478 470th Street SW Cell: (319) 631-0146
Wellman, IA 52356 plnsimple@netins.net

Farm General Info: When you visit Simone’s farm, you immediately see the evidence of the French country way of life in the way she has designed and nurtured her gardens: vegetables, flowers, herbs, all varieties of currants… Her wood-fired brick oven is a functional and beautiful little building used weekly for artisan breads and pizzas. In 2003, Simone planted 5 acres of her land in native prairie.

Share Season: May through October. CSA since 1997.
Contents: Bread & Egg: dozen brown eggs from free-range chickens and a loaf of handmade French Country bread. 20 weeks; Fresh Flower: bouquets of fresh-cut flowers. 16 weeks.
Delivery: Wednesday Iowa City Farmer’s Market. Email news.
Cost: Consult current Local Harvest CSA prices for each share at www.zjfarms.com.
Other Products: On Fridays and Saturdays, dinners for private parties at the farmhouse. Details at website.

Oak Hill Acres
Andy & Christina Tygrett (563) 946-2304
Terry & Lorraine Tygrett (319) 560-4826
978 310th St. oakhillacres@fbx.com
Atalissa, IA 52720

Farm General Info: Family owner and operated certified organic farm on 278 acres since 1997. Thirty acres certified organic vegetables. The remainder of the farm is in timber, small grains, and is seeded down in mixed hay. We are dedicated to marketing high-quality vegetables, bedding planting, and small grains directly to customers. Heirloom vegetables and bedding flowers are produced in four greenhouses. We built a 30’ x 96’ greenhouse to produce earlier vegetable crops. This greenhouse will also extend the season into the fall. Open houses, potlucks, and farm tours are held throughout the season. Annual CSA picnic in June.

Share Season: Min. of 22 weeks May-October. CSA since 2001.
Sizes: Half: a 1-2-person household; Full: a family of 3-5.
Contents: Beets, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, green and yellow beans, kohlrabi, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce and greens, herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, and much, much more.
Delivery: Weekly drop-off sites: Iowa City/Coralville, West Liberty, Muscatine, Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities. Shares can also be picked up at the farm.
Cost: Call farm. Payments due in April and July.
Other Products: Small grains, hay, and cut flowers

Sass Family Farm
Maurice & Sherry Sass
Chris Sass: (319) 629-1220
(319) 648-3788
Cara Sorrells (319) 653-4205
3060 160th Street sassfarms@netzero.net
Riverside, IA 52327 www.sassfamilyfarm.com

Farm General Info: Enjoy an authentic working 1950’s Iowa farm. Visitors are always welcome! We invite you and your family to come experience our relaxed country atmosphere. Kids can play on the playground or enjoy the petting zoo while you shop at the Country Market, or the newly established Country Store. We have 80 acres, 15 in garden crops and the rest in pasture, hay, and corn. Our CSA vegetables are chemical-free.

Share Season: 20 weeks, May-October. CSA since 2005.
Size: Full and half shares available.
Contents: lettuce, onions, spinach, asparagus, rhubarb, squash, herbs, cabbage, peppers, sweet corn, beets, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, brown eggs, jams, honey, jellies, baked goods and more. Printed newsletter and recipes.
Delivery: Share picked up at the farm.
Cost: Contact farm. Payment by season, month, week allowed.
Other attractions: Newly built pond, antiques, fall decorations, Indian corn, gourds, straw bales, hayrack rides, and picnics. Special fall/Halloween activities designed with families and children aged preschool to third grade in mind. Pumpkin Festival every October. Accept school, church, birthday parties, special groups, & bus tours.

Scattergood Friends School Farm
Mark Quee (319) 643-7631
1951 Delta Ave. farm@scattergood.org
West Branch, IA 52358

Farm General Info: The CSA is a program of Scattergood Friends School (a small, Quaker boarding school serving a diverse population of 60 students in grades 9-12). Includes 6 acres in IDALS-certified organic vegetable production. A cow-calf beef herd and a small flock of sheep on 35 acres of pasture; a few feeder pigs; honeybees; a laying chicken flock as well as a few turkeys. 35 acres more in restored prairie.

Share Season: 23 weeks May-October.
CSA since 2004.
Size: Standard: family of four with a mixed diet.
Half: 1-2 people.
Contents: Salad greens, root vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, peas, beans, potatoes, garlic, onions, cabbages and more. Strawberries.
Delivery: At the farm; or a central distribution point in Iowa City.
Cost: Call farm. Reduced cost shares offered.

Farms Not Running a CSA in 2008

  • Friendly Farms
  • Squier Squash & Donnelly Farms
  • Choice Earth

Sponsors of Guide & CSA Fair

Local Foods Connection
localfoodsconnection@yahoo.com (319) 338-2010

Local Foods Connection purchases produce, bread, eggs, meat and other products from local earth-friendly farms and donates these goods to families who cannot afford such nutritious, tasty and fresh food. We provide opportunities for families to visit a farm and to learn healthy cooking methods. With your support, we assist families in need of a helping hand, strengthen our local foods network and empower the farmers who live and work just outside of your neighborhood.

New Pioneer Co-operative
Fresh Food Market
22 S. Van Buren St. 1101 2nd St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 Coralville, IA 52241
(319) 338-9441 (319) 358-5513
Open Daily 7AM – 11PM Open Daily 7AM – 10PM

New Pioneer Food Co-op is a full-service grocer offering a huge selection of natural products, from delectable deli favorites to hand-crafted hearth breads and pastries. We specialize in bringing locally-grown items from Iowa family farms to your table. Bring home the fresh flavor of Iowa-raised eggs, meats, and artisan cheeses from your member owned Co-op!

Our produce department features a wide array of locally and regionally-grown favorites from farmers you know and trust. Since 1971, New Pioneer has been a cooperatively owned business fully serving the needs of our member-owners.

We emphasize high quality, fair prices, and product information. We are an environmentally and socially responsible member of the community we serve.

Edible Iowa River Valley
Edible Iowa River Valley (319) 400-2526
22 Riverview Drive NE info@edibleiowa.com
Iowa City, IA 52240

Edible Iowa River Valley is a seasonal magazine celebrating the local food and food artisans of Central/Eastern Iowa, from the bluffs of Decorah to the Des Moines metro area, to Mississippi river towns to the fertile farms and fields in between. With stunning photography and rich content, Edible Iowa River Valley showcases the family farmers, chefs, food artisans, farmers’ market vendors and other food-related businesses for their dedication to using the highest quality, seasonal, locally grown products. Edible Iowa River Valley is locally owned and operated, and is a fabulous regional guide for local foods. EIRV is a proud member of Edible Communities, which has won the International Association of Culinary Professional’s Award of Excellence.

Edible Iowa River Valley is available for free at points of distribution in Eastern and Central Iowa. It is published quarterly, with each a new issue each season. Please check our website at http://www.edibleiowa.com for a complete list of distribution points, as well as ways to subscribe in order not to miss a mouthwatering issue.

Typical Iowa CSA Crops and Harvest Times

Asparagus, Greens & Lettuces, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spring Garlic, Turnips

Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Green Onions, Greens & Lettuces, Kohlrabi, New Potatoes, Peas, Radishes, Strawberries, Turnips

Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Garlic, Greens, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Summer Squash, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Beans, Beets, Carrots, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Greens, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Beans, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Eggplant, Garlic, Greens & Lettuces, Leeks, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter Squash, Zucchini

Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Greens & Lettuces, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter Squash


New Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week! March 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 10:12 pm

Thank you to our volunteer and sponsor of the week (maybe “of the month” at this point?).  We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Volunteer of the Week: Johnny Kohls. Johnny has volunteered for LFC for several months, working in the office, on a farm, and preparing for special events.

Sponsor of the Week: Bachmeier Interiors made their first donation to LFC this year. Thank you Katherine Bachmeier!


Join Us for the 2008 Iowa City CSA Fair! March 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 6:51 pm
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Join Us this Saturday for Iowa City’s Annual Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fair!

Saturday March 22, 2008
12pm to 4pm
Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center
220 South Gilbert Street
Iowa City, Iowa
Co-sponsored by Local Foods Connection, Edible Iowa River Valley, and New Pioneer Co-operative.

Meet local farmers and learn how you can enjoy fresh produce throughout Iowa’s growing season! A CSA membership provides you with four to five months of delicious, healthy produce. You can become part of a larger community of farmers and consumers where you will find:

  • Weekly fresh produce
  • Fruits and vegetables in season
  • Guaranteed income for farmers
  • Proper farmland stewardship

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, members receive a weekly share of the harvest during the local growing season.

The arrangement guarantees the farmer financial support and enables many small- to moderate-scale family farms to remain in business. CSAs create “agriculture-supported communities” where members receive a variety of foods harvested at their peak of ripeness, flavor and vitamin and mineral content. As Wendell Berry identifies, “how we eat determines to a considerable extent how the world is used.”

CSAs support a sustainable agriculture system which:

  • provides farmers with direct outlets for farm products and ensures fair compensation,
  • encourages proper land stewardship by supporting farmers in transition toward low or no chemical inputs,
  • strengthens local economies by keeping food dollars in communities,
  • directly links producers with consumers allowing people to have a personal connection with their food and the land on which it was produced,
  • makes nutritious, affordable, wholesome foods accessible and widely available to community members.

In most cases, this commitment implies a willingness to share with the farmer both the bounty from the land and at least some of the risks involved with production. In return for fair and guaranteed compensation, consumers receive a variety of freshly picked (usually organic) vegetables grown and distributed in an economically viable and ecologically responsible manner.

Read more about CSAs at the Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources.


Readings and Resources on Hunger and Nutrition March 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 3:48 pm

We hope you’re enjoying the later daylight and dreaming of spring!  The 2008 growing season is beginning soon so please take these last few weeks of cold to read up on hunger and nutrition in Iowa and beyond.  Enjoy this eclectic collection of resources:

2007 Hunger in Iowa Report by Susan Roberts and Erin Feld (and the 2003 report)

The Hartford Food System: A Guide to Developing Community Food Programs, Replication Manual put out by World Hunger Year

Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America by Morgan Spurlock

Iowans Fit for Life, Active and Eating Smart: Nutrition and Physical Activity by the Iowa Department of Public Health
http://www.state.ia.us/iowansfitforlife/docs/Iowans_Fit_for_Life_overview_powerpoint.ppt#256,1,Nutrition and Physical Activity

Eligibility requirements for individuals with disabilities:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov and http://www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicaid.asp

The ARC (Association of Retarded Citizen) of East Central Iowa:

Living Well Iowa (run in this area by Keith Ruff through the Evert Conner Center):

Retail and Consumer Aspects of the Organic Milk Market
by Carolyn Dimitri and Kathryn M. Venezia for the US Dept. of Agriculture, May 2007

Frequently asked questions of the WIC program:

Are Lower Income Households Willing and Able to Budget for Fruits and Vegetables? by Hayden Stewart and Noel Blisard for the USDA: Economic Research Service, Jan 2008

Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency by David Ribar and Karen Hamrick for the USDA: Economic Research Service, Sept 2003

Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 by Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews and Steven Carlson for the USDA: Economic Research Service, November 2007