Visit your local Apple Orchard this fall

Visit your local Apple Orchard this fall

Farmers markets in our corner of the state have also closed down for the season - but don’t despair, there’s still plenty of locally-grown goodness to be had this fall. Apples will be available from local orchards for a few more weeks!

Below are orchards in Des Moines, Louisa, Lee and Henry counties. If you are looking for an apple orchard in another part of the state, go to

Meller Orchard, 17767 195th St., Yarmouth

Look for the faded wooden sign on Beaverdale Road (just a 1/2 mile south of Pleasant Grove Road, or 12 miles north of West Burlington). Follow the gravel lane, past the dead end sign, and you’ll find yourself at Meller Orchard.

Carl Meller has a wide variety of apples available from August through November. Jonathan, Golden Delicious and McIntosh varieties are available now, and Arkansas Black and Granny Smith varieties will start to be available in the coming weeks. He also offers apple cider.

Hours of operation: 9AM to 6PM - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, Noon to 6PM - Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Phone: (319)394-3897

Bryant Orchard, 17137 40th St., Morning Sun

This local apple orchard has been in operation for 51 years and they offer ten varieties of apples. Bryant’s have been providing apples to a number of schools in the region for many years.

They are currently offering Jonathan, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Empire, Jonagold and Chieftain and Fuji apples. They have gallon jugs of unfiltered, unpasteurized, no processed apple cider. They also have a good stock excellent #2 apples for eating or cooking (good for sauce).

Open seasonally from mid September to early November. 8AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday, 1PM to 4PM on Sundays.

Phone: (319) 868-7633 Find them on Facebook:

Appletree Orchard, 1040 260th St., Lockridge

You can find Marcia and her apples at a handful of southeast Iowa farmers markets in the summer and fall, including the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market. If you get to the market early enough, you can also pick up one of her amazing caramel apples (with homemade caramel!). Apples are also available for purchase directly from the farm.

Appletree Orchard is out of apples for the season, but make sure that you check them out next year!

Appleberry Orchard, 2469 Highway 2, Donnellson

Appleberry Orchard has more than just apples. They offer a wide variety of family activities - petting zoo, wagon rides, play area, U-pick apples and pumpkins, and a little shop with fall treats. While the U-pick part of their operation is closed for the season, you can still find apples, cider and other apple-based goodies inside their shop -freshly made apple cider donuts, fall decor, pumpkins, hot apple cider & hot chocolate.

Hours of operation: 9AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday, 11AM to 7PM Sundays

Phone: (310)372-1307 Website: Find them on Facebook

Pop-Up Farmers Market

Pop-Up Farmers Market

In collaboration with Great River Corporate Wellness, we helped to organize a Pop-Up Farmers Market at Winegard in Burlington from 2-4:30 on July 17.  Winegard employees were encouraged to visit the market during their breaks or after their shifts were over - the event allowed them easy access to farm fresh foods, the opportunity to try recipes made with seasonal produce, and the chance to learn more about where/how they can access local foods.

The Farms

Gerst Family Gardens- sweet corn, melons, tomatoes, green beans, and lots more!  

Jones' Family Farm - multicolored cherry tomatoes, squash, mini cantaloupe, and market baskets

Homestead 1839 - flowers, squash, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers

Activites & Recipes

The smoothie blender bike made an appearance at the market - and we served Blueberry and Canteloupe Smoothies made with locally sourced products.  We used blueberries harvested from a nearby U-pick farm, cantaloupe from Montrose, and honey from Danville.  

The gals from Great River Corporate Health handed out samples of Watermelon Salsa, another great way to savor the flavors of the season!

Blueberry Cantaloupe & Hemp heart Smoothie

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

    2 cups cantaloupe

    1 cup plain yogurt

    ½ cup hemp hearts

    6 ice cubes (not necessary if berries are frozen)

    1 – 2 tablespoons honey (optional)

    Add all of the ingredients to a blender.  Puree until smooth and serve cold.  If you are taking it to go, smoothies travel well in an insulated thermos.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little water to help it blend up smoothly.

    Any berries will be a good substitute if you do not have blueberries.  Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are all good choices.


Watermelon Salsa

  • 3 cups finely diced seedless watermelon

    2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

    1/3 c. chopped cilantro

    ¼ c. lime juice

    ¼ c. minced red onion

    ¼ tsp. salt (optional)

    Place watermelon, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and onion in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine.  Season with salt (optional). Serve at room temperature or chilled.



Growing and Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Growing and Cooking with Fresh Herbs

The Fellowship Cup in Mt. Pleasant hosts monthly Community Wellness Workshops.  Last month they invited a local Master Gardener Chuck Albright to share gardening tips.  And this month the Local Foods Coordinator from Des Moines County Extension & Outreach, Morgan Hoenig, presented on growing, preserving and cooking with herbs.  Publications and recipes from the talk are listed below. 

Be sure to check out next month's Community Wellness Workshop on June 5th, "Fad Diets Debunked."  All workshops take place at the Fellowship Cup Community Room (203 N. Jefferson, Mt. Pleasant) from 5:30 to 6:15.

Growing/Harvesting/Preserving Herbs Tip Sheet

Growing Herbs Indoors

Container Vegetable Gardening

Recipes from the event!! - Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower, Corn and Black Bean Salsa with Oregano & Garlic Chives, Pasta with Sage Brown Butter, Thyme Roasted Potatoes, Berries with Fresh Mint & Mint Simple Syrup

If you have any questions about growing, harvesting or using herbs, feel free to contact Morgan -

Updating our Local Food Directory

Updating our Local Food Directory

We are putting out the call for all local food producers to check their listing on our website and let us know if any updates need to be made!

If you are a new producer and would like to be listed, please send us your information by May 15th.

Follow this link to the survey page where you can fill out information about your local food business.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Morgan, Local Foods Coordinator at Des Moines County Extension & Outreach -

Savings Incentive Program - Practical Farmers of Iowa

Savings Incentive Program - Practical Farmers of Iowa

Savings Incentive Program Applications are NOW OPEN for the 2018-2019 class. You can submit you application by clicking here before November 11, 2017.

How it works

The two-year Savings Incentive Program works by encouraging enrollees to save up to $100 per month for two years. After 24 months and completion of all program requirements, participants will earn a dollar-for-dollar match on money saved up to $2,400, for a possible $4,800 to use toward the purchase of a farm asset. The program also pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors; provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance; and gives participants the chance to save money while learning how to build a profitable farm.

The Savings Incentive Program is more than a dollar match, however; it is a program designed to help beginners succeed. Those enrolled will:

  1. Open and manage a savings account with Practical Farmers’ partner bank.
  2. Meet in person at least once with a business plan reviewer.
  3. Create or fine-tune a business or whole-farm plan
  4. Meet at least three times with an assigned mentor; once at beginner’s farm, once at the mentor’s farm and once at a place of their choosing
  5. Attend at least four Practical Farmers events per year (online, on-farm or in person). Practical Farmers events include online trainings, field days, conferences, workshops and more
  6. Conduct quarterly reviews via on-line with Practical Farmers staff to check on progress toward goals and program requirements
  7. Complete all forms and requested information on time

Farm to Table Dinner Recap

Farm to Table Dinner Recap

Central Park in downtown Mt. Pleasant was transformed into a lovely outdoor dinner setting on the evening of September 22 for a Farm to Table Dinner.  Main Street Mt. Pleasant hosted the event and with the help of volunteers the harvest tables, pallet bar and backdrop were decorated with gourds, rustic details and delightful mis-matched china.


The four-course meal was sourced from farms and vineyards located no more than 18 miles from downtown Mt. Pleasant.  The menu was inspired by the fall season and the foods that were available from local farmers.  If you would like to know more about the menu and the producers who supplied the produce, meats and wines, check out our "Meet the Farmers" blog post.  

the gals from Miss K's Homemade Delectables

the gals from Miss K's Homemade Delectables

MPHS Culinary Arts III

MPHS Culinary Arts III

Mixed Greens, shaved carrots and pear tomatoes with pickled squash dressing

Mixed Greens, shaved carrots and pear tomatoes with pickled squash dressing

The dinner was prepared with the expertise of the chefs at Miss K's Homemade Delectables, Dave Oetkin from the Henry County Pork Producers and the Mt. Pleasant High School Culinary Arts II & III classes.  Miss K's, located on the Mt. Pleasant square, provided their kitchen space for the staging of the meal.

Attendees enjoyed jazzy music from a Iowa Wesleyan University music professors and graduates. The Iowa Wesleyan University basketball team helped to serve the meal, city administrator Brent Schleisman served as bartender, and Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance employees and volunteers served as hosts.

One of the highlights of the meal was the salad course, mixed greens with shaved carrots, pearl-sized tomatoes, and a pickled squash dressing.  There were many requests for the dressing recipe, and Marjorie Beckman and her culinary arts classes were happy to share it!


Pickling Sauce for Squash

  • 3-4 T. Ground Pickling Spice

  • 1 1/4 C. Sugar

  • 2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar

Heat pickling spice, sugar and apple cider vinegar. When sugar is dissolved add the julienned squash of your choice. 

Turn heat off and let pickle to your desired taste.  Serve on greens or as a pickled side dish. Enjoy! 

Rising Stars Internship - recruiting now for summer 2018!

Rising Stars Internship - recruiting now for summer 2018!

Rising Stars in Southeast Iowa

We are looking for interns to help with local food projects next summer!  Our projects include educating youth about eating and growing local foods, helping to market area farms and farmers markets, and working in the community to increase awareness of when foods are in season and why it's important to EAT LOCAL!

We are looking for students from various fields of study, including Design, Agriculture and Human Sciences.

This is a paid internship for eligible Iowa State University students. Teams of two to four work under the supervision of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach regional directors and staff during mid May through early August. Teams are housed in different regions of Iowa working with not-for-profit organizations, local food systems, families, agencies, and/or communities and economic development organizations.

For information about this opportunity visit

Meet the Farmers - Farm to Table Dinner, September 22

Meet the Farmers - Farm to Table Dinner, September 22

This Friday, Main Street Mt. Pleasant will be hosting a Farm to Table Dinner in Central Park, in Downtown Mt. Pleasant.  They will be featuring locally produced foods and wines in a 5 course meal.

The majority of the food we eat travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to your dinner table... but the food in this meal has traveled just an average of 11 miles from farm to plate!

If you are interested in attending, contact Lisa Oetken at Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance - 319.385.3101 ext. 225 or  For more details visit the event facebook page at this link - FARM TO TABLE DINNER

Jones' Family Farm - Danville, IA: You can find Caroline and her heirloom veggies at a handful of farmers markets in Southeast Iowa, including the Jefferson Street Farmers Market in Burlington and the Fort Madison Farmers Market.  She will be supplying heirloom tomatoes, mixed cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley and garlic for the dinner.   Products provided for this dinner: cherry tomatoes, green zebra tomatoes, parsley, garlic & basil

Bernie Wordeman - St. Paul, IA:  Bernie grows a wide variety of veggies and can be found at many southeast Iowa farmers markets.  He sets up at Fort Madison, Montrose and Mt. Pleasant markets.  Products provided for this dinner: sweet potatoes, winter squash

Bill Totemeier Farms – New London:  Karl Totemeier is a budding young farmer who grows vegetables on his family’s historic farm along the Des Moines-Henry County line.  His vegetable products aren’t currently available at area farmers markets, but he is honing his growing skills and hopes to market more in the following years.  His father Bill also raises and sells grass fed beef 1/2s and 1/4s.  Products provided for this dinner: potatoes, carrots, beef roast

Schnicker Specialties – Mt. Pleasant, Iowa: Marty & Mary Schnicker and their children are well-known for their giant veggie growing skills.  You can’t walk through the vegetable hall at the Iowa State Fair without seeing a handful of “Schnicker” entries.  You can often find Marty, Mary, or their children at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market selling their veggies, gourds and eggs.  Products provided for this dinner: Eggs, onions, gourds

Mogo Farms – Mt. Pleasant, Iowa:  Morgan, Kevin and Paula Hoenig grow certified organic fruits and veggies in their greenhouses on the north side of Mt. Pleasant, and on a family farm acreage just south of Mt. Pleasant.  They also sell honey, flowers, homemade jam and baked goods at the Market on main in Mt. Pleasant and the Jefferson Street farmers market in Burlington. Products provided for this dinner: eggplant, green beans, lettuce mix, summer squash & mixed herbs

Windrush Hill Farm – Mt. Pleasant, Iowa:  Ann Bennett raises grass fed beef west of Mt. Pleasant.  If you are interested in sourcing some beef from her, she will put you on a waiting list and raise an animal with your order in mind.  Then she will let you know when the animals are ready to be harvested.  Products provided for this dinner: beef roasts

Apple Tree Orchard – Lockridge, Iowa: Marcia Rich is a staple at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market.  You can always count on her for a beautiful variety of apples in the late summer and fall.  She also makes the best caramel apples!!  Products provided for this dinner: apples

Hill Family Farm - Olds, IA: Products provided for this dinner: honey

Henry County Pork Producers:  A non-profit organization made up of pork producers within Henry County, Iowa. All proceeds from their activities go to a scholarship fund in which high school seniors at Winfield, WACO, Mount Pleasant and New London can apply.  Products provided for this dinner: pork loin, bacon

Airport Road Vineyard - Mt. Pleasant, IA: Mallory, Mike and Kalen Henderson own and operate Mt. Pleasant's hometown vineyard and winery. They produce award winning wines onsite and also offer a beautiful venue space for weddings or events. Products provided for this dinner: wine

East Grove Farms - Salem, IA: The Garretson family specializes in honey wine (also known as mead) made from various fruit like Elderberries on their historic family farm. They host special events at their farm and offer tastings by appointment.  Products provided for this dinner: mead


Local Food Lunch

Local Food Lunch

Last week we celebrated local farmers and the food that they grow with a lunch at Great River Medical Center in West Burlington.  We served 172 meals to hospital staff and community members who filed through the hospital cafeteria for lunch.  The menu included grilled burgers and brats from Our Yesterday Farms, homemade sauerkraut and pickles from Milo's Market, a couple of beautiful salads made from a variety of vegetables sourced from Homestead 1839, Canaan Produce and Mogo Farms, and aronia berry pumpkin muffins made with KJM Berries & Nut Farm's local berries.  

The average piece of food in the meal traveled only 18.7 miles from the farm to the lunch plate!


    We had a number of requests from lunch-goers for the salad recipes, because they were so delicious!  Chef Chris Morris shared the recipes for his salads and you can find them below:

    tomato cucumber salad recipe.PNG
    roasted veg salad recipe.PNG
    aronia berry muffin recipe.PNG

    Contributing Farms:

    This event was organized with the help of a number of partners who we must give thanks to:

    • Great River Medical Center's nutrition services staff: Ann Brotherson & Chef Christopher Morris
    • Des Moines County Living Well organizer & Community Coordinator: Jake Tanumihardjo
    • Sara Lee Earthgrains distributor: Mark "Buns", for donating the buns
    • Des Moines County Extension & Outreach staff: Morgan Hoenig & Rebecca Luers
    • Local Farmers: Nate Larson, Jennifer Larson, Tobin & Mollie Krell, Kenneth & Judy Sanders, Stevie & Jayson Bethurem, Grace Bennett, Brian Lane, and Morgan, Kevin & Paula Hoenig.

    What Do You Know About Edible Flowers?

    What Do You Know About Edible Flowers?

    Edible flowers are great for any occasion and will give your meal or drink a boost in flavor, color, texture, and scent! They can be used as additions to recipes whether raw, cooked, or dried. Below is more information on six popular flowers that you should consider trying.

    Before picking or contacting your local farmer or farmers market to purchase edible flowers, you may want to consider these safety tips.

    • Not all edible flowers are safe to eat.

      • Do not eat flowers that are exposed to pesticides or grown by the roadside.

    • It is recommended to only eat flowers that were grown organically. 

    • Never experiment eating flowers unless you are sure they are harmless.

    • For the best flavor, pick flowers at their peak.

    • Remove stamens and pistils from flowers before consuming.

    *** You may want to avoid consuming edible flowers if you have hay fever, asthma, or allergies. 



    (Borago officinalis)    


    o   Borage flowers are star-shaped and come in shades of blue, violet or pink.

    o   They have a crisp, cucumber flavor. 

    o   They can be used as a garnish in salads, soups, dips or decorations on cakes, pastries, and desserts. They can also be used to float in drinks or freeze in ice cubes. 

    Daylilies (Hemerocallis species)    

    o   Daylilies come in shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink.

    o   These flowers have a sweet taste

    o   Daylilies are famous in Asian cuisines. They can be added to salads, soups, desserts, sautéed, fried, or used to float in drinks.      

    Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) 

    o   Impatiens are available in a variety of colors.  

    o   They have a sweet taste.

    o   The pedals can be used as a garnish in salads and floated in drinks. The buds can be used in stir-fries. 

    Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

    o   Nasturtium comes in colors of red, yellow, orange, with a round shape.

    o   Nasturtium has a peppery taste. 

    o   They can be used as a garnish in your favorite salads or wherever a zesty, peppery taste is desired.  



    (Viola x wittrockiana)    

    o   Pansies come in a variety of colors such as white, purple, yellow, and blue. 

    o  They have a mild wintergreen or floral taste.

    o  Pansies can be used in salads, decorating cakes and pastries, and floor in drinks. Their petals can even be used to color butter.



    (Rosa species)    

    o   Roses come in a variety of colors.

    o   Depending on the type of rose, some may have perfumed taste. They range from sweet to peppery in taste. 

    o   They can be used as a garnish in salads, cakes, or pastries.  

    Veggie Tacos this week, Sweet Corn next week!

    Veggie Tacos this week, Sweet Corn next week!

    Dinner at market 

    The Montrose Farmers Market is known for offering a dinner option on Tuesday nights during market hours, 4-6 PM.  On the menu on July 11 were veggie tacos.  A couple of gals from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Local Foods team in Southeast Iowa (Morgan and Thomata) helped out with the event. They sourced locally grown zucchini, cilantro, sweet corn, tomatoes, garlic scapes, onions, and peppers to fill whole-wheat taco shells that were grilled on-site at the market.

    Below are the recipes for the fillings used in the tacos. A majority of the ingredients can be found at your local farmers market

    Cilantro Lime RICE


    2 cups water

    1 Tbsp butter

    1 cup long-grain white rice

    1 tsp lime zest

    2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

    1/2 cup chopped cilantro




    1. Bring the water to a boil; stir the butter and rice into the water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender.

    2. Stir the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro into the cooked rice just before serving. Add salt to taste. 



    1.5 cups sweet corn

    1 can black beans

    1 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and chopped

    1 Tbsp garlic scapes, chopped





    1. Combine the corn, black beans, jalapeño, and garlic scapes in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

    roaSTED zUcCHINI


    3-4 medium zucchini

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    ½ tsp cumin

    1/2 tsp salt



    1. Preheat oven to 450°.

    2. Cut zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes

    3. Toss zucchini with olive oil, cumin, pepper, and salt.

    4. Arrange zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender, tossing halfway through.

    tomato salsa


    3 medium tomatoes, chopped

    1/2 onion, chopped

    1/2 cilantro, chopped

    1 Tbsp lime juice




    1. Combine ingredients in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

    Sweet corn is on the menu for next week!

    Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese

    Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese

    Want to spice up an old classic? Or how about just add a little bit more veggies into your diet? Check out our quick and easy recipe for cauliflower mac n'cheese!


    Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese

    Prep: 5 mins          Cook: 35 mins         Total: 40 mins

    Serves 4



    Cauliflower Base

    6-8 cups cauliflower (try using purple or yellow cauliflower for some added fun!)

    1/2 medium onion diced

    2 cloves garlic finely chopped

    3/4 cup elbow macaroni noodles (optional)

    2 slices bacon thick cut (optional)

    Cheese Sauce

    2 tbsp butter

    1 cup cheddar cheese shredded

    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

    salt and pepper to taste



    Cauliflower Base

    1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

    2. Dice the bacon and separate the cauliflower into "macaroni" sized pieces. This can be done by hand, but you can also use a knife. Dice the onion / finely chop the garlic.

    3. *If using bacon, cook the the bacon, onion and garlic in a skillet. If not using bacon, set aside garlic and onion to add in later.*

    4. Boil the cauliflower for approximately five minutes or until slightly tender. You'll want to cauliflower to be slightly undercooked so that it cooks the remainder of the way in the oven.

    5. *If using noodles, boil elbow macaroni until slightly undercooked. The noodles will cook the rest of the way while in the oven.* 

    6. Strain cauliflower and noodles.


    Cheese Sauce

    1. Combine butter, cheddar cheese (1 cup), and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Cook on low heat until everything is melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper.



    1. Place the cauliflower, onion, garlic, (bacon and/or noodles) into a large baking dish. 

    2. Pour the cheese sauce over top and mix everything together with a spoon.

    3. (Optional: Top with the extra cheddar cheese, and bread crumbs for a crisp topping)

    4. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the topping. Enjoy!

    Try enjoying this recipe without the noodles for a cheesy cauliflower dish!


    *To better disguise cauliflower for serving to picky eaters, use a food processor, blender or cheese grater to get that cauliflower chopped up nice and fine.*


    Stop by our booth at the Henry County Fair, Saturday July 15th from 1-4pm for a sample! We will also be handing out Kohlrabi Apple Slaw!