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LV Recommends: Morning Glory CSA Food Truck

“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming?” I sit in the air conditioning, scrolling through my photos of the Morning Glory CSA food truck, and I think of this question by farmer and writer Wendell Berry. […]

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LV Recommends: Sing-A-Long Bar & Grill

The Sing-A-Long Bar is a comfort food pub at the crossing of Highway 1 and Mount Vernon’s main street. A 1910 player piano is the first thing you see when you walk in. On busy evenings, pub-goers gather around the piano as rolls of paper dotted with little holes tell the piano what notes to play. Patrons can pick a roll from the shelf […]

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Meet a farmer: How Shanti Sellz works to make fresh food accessible

Located down a rolling gravel road just about eight miles west of Iowa City is Muddy Miss Farms at Walker Homestead, where farmer Shanti Sellz grows vegetables for her 22-week CSA share. The season begins in early May and continues through October, when her members regularly visit the farm to pick up a weekly supply […]

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Family Dinner: Brenda Nations and Art Bettis discuss food justice over food

The good news concerns zucchini: There’s plenty of it. Arguably too much of it, although environmentalists Brenda Nations and Art Bettis (armed with an abundant CSA share and a very tasty summer squash galette recipe torn from the pages of a Better Homes and Gardens) do not seem to mind. The bad news is the […]

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LV Recommends: The Agape Café, 25 years of free, feel-good fare

Iowa City’s Agape Café proves true to name. Since 1993, the café, located in Old Brick Church on Market Street, has been serving free, restaurant-style, made-to-order breakfast to the Iowa City community on Wednesday mornings, 7 to 8:30 a.m. […]

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Mercy Hospital Chef Ron Hall serves some of Iowa City’s best food

Mise en place. That’s the term that comes to mind when Jeff Donar thinks about Chef Ron Hall. It’s a French phrase Donar learned in culinary school; it means “everything in its place.” Donar, a cook, has worked for Hall in the Mercy Iowa City kitchen for nearly four years. “You can tell when [Chef […]

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How Pig & Porter Chef Matt Melone makes time for family dinner

Matt Melone worked all day in the kitchen, and he’ll work more tomorrow. It’s December, an especially busy time of year at Pig & Porter, the downtown Cedar Rapids restaurant Matt co-founded with his business partner, Will Monk. Outside, the temperature sits below freezing. “I see people I work with more than I see my […]

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Rent a kitchen with Iowa’s new community kitchen website

Maybe you’ve been told, “This tastes so good — you could open a restaurant.” But starting a food business is a lot harder than it sounds. A new website makes that leap a little less daunting, partnering commercial kitchens in Iowa with people looking for a licensed place to prepare food. […]

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Big Grove Brewery and Pullman Diner usher in fall with seasonal dinner

On Sunday evening, Sept. 17, nearly 90 people gathered around picnic tables at Kroul Farms to celebrate summer’s transition to fall with a six-course meal prepared by Pullman Bar and Diner and Big Grove Brewery. “The idea behind this when we started writing the menu was to … show this [seasonal] transition,” said Ben Smart, […]

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Family Dinner: Husbands Matt and Rob entertain friends with Iowan flare

Matt Van Maanen and Rob Lancaster are hosting dinner for the third night in a row this week in their Cedar Rapids home. Earlier in the week, the couple received their weekly summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, including a bounty of summer squash, which prompted tonight’s main dish: a zucchini-loaded pasta primavera with just-plucked basil and balsamic drizzled on top. On the side: kale salad with sliced almonds and a lemony emulsion, garnished with decorative-yet-edible nasturtiums.
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