[by Cathy Lafrenz]
We talk about what is wrong with the economic situation of the country. We talk about the high un-employment and the low wages of workers. We talk about the lack of healthy food options in our schools and in our homes.
But we can do this………. we can shop Iowa.
Every dollar spent with a small entrepreneur in Iowa, is turned over three times in a community. And we all know ….. small entrepreneurs are the key to economic success.
So …. in the Spirit of the Twelve Days of Christmas ….. here are 12 places you should be shopping. Some are online sites. Some are store fronts. Please call or email before venturing out. I have not visited all these places, but all the information was current in 2009.
And you probably can guess…….. they will be food/farm oriented. Hey – I wrote the list!!!!
1) OK – this is my all-time favorite place to shop. The Freight House Farmers Market in Downtown Davenport. The Freight House is the only year round, indoor market in Iowa. Open Tuesday from 3-6 pm and Saturday from 8-1pm, from soap to soup bone – you can find it there.
2) Come rediscover the old-fashioned flavor of Henry’s Village Market in Homestead. One of the seven villages of the Amana Colonies……. you will find a lot to look at there.
3) Oneota Community Food Cooperative in Decorah has the largest bulk food department in NE Iowa.
4) For that gardener … get a catalog and gift certificate from Seed Savers Exchange also in Decorah. They have been providing heirloom seeds to gardeners since 1975.
5) For a special gift for a very special someone …. a night at a farmhouse B & B. What an experience to spend an evening at the Englebrecht Family Winery!
6)Another personal favorite Blue Gate Farm in Chariton has a great selection of jams, jellies, honey and home-spun yarn for sale. E-mail Jill for current availability. And look for their Tapestry Salad Mix next spring at the Downtown Des Moines Farmer’s market.
7) An Iowa dairy that has their own on-site bottling is Picket Fence Creamery in Woodward. It comes on good authority that their ice cream is to die for!!!!
8) Frisian Farms Cheese in Oskaloosa specializes in hormone and antibiotic-free Gouda cheese. Available on their website and many Iowa locations.
9)Grass-fed beef is in high demand and in central Iowa, one source is Wallace Farms. Nick Wallace raises grass-fed beef and lamb and fresh-air pork. Organic chicken and eggs are also available.
10) Dubuque Winter Farmers Markets features eggs, meat, apples, baked goods and kettle corn and will run from November to April.
11)Another personal favorite and one of the most environmentally conscious businesses that I know is Prairieland Herbs. Donna and Maggie sell shampoo without plastic bottles and laundry soap without boxes. And their shea butter products are wonderful. Tell them Miss Eff sent you!!!
12) Finally, what would Christmas be without a tree. Kistler Tree Farm in Fairfield specializes in pines. Contact them for hours.
You can spend money….or you can make your dollars count. Buying locally connects our dinner plate to the economic welfare of our family farms. You can make a difference for Iowa farmers ….. or you can put money into the pocket of big agribusiness.
Its your choice.
Lafrenz is a regular contributor for Blog for Iowa on the topic of
food. She serves on the board of the Quad-Cities chapter of Buy Fresh-Buy Local. She raises hens for egg production and is Animal Welfare Approved. In
her spare time she advocates for health care reform, spins yarn, and
knits every pair of socks she wears. Check out her blog, Miss Effie’s Diary
Photo: Paul Coletti/Radish Magazine