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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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How the Kirkwood Culinary Arts program is training a new generation of culinary entrepreneurs

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] The Kirkwood Culinary Arts program provides top-level training to students hungry to learn. Kirkwood Community College has the only hospitality arts program in the country that includes a full-service hotel, restaurant and convention center on site, offering students first-hand training in three different cuisine and pastry tracks alongside industry professionals just down the […]

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Worth the drive: Jefferson County Ciderworks

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] Jefferson County Ciderworks is a place ripe for a daytrip from the Iowa City area and is definitely worth the drive. Jesse Narducci and Katie Greenfield have put their own twist on the brewery concept and created an idyllic escape from the trappings of city life on the outskirts of Fairfield. Offering handcrafted […]

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Wine all the time: A best case scenario

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] Five years ago, Robert Morey founded Best Case Wines, a wine importing and wholesale company. He tells us how he became an importer and shares some tips for choosing great wine. How did you become a wine importer? I started working at New Pioneer Food Co-op back when they had a member volunteer […]

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Local restaurant industry vets dish on their favorite guilty pleasures, unusual ingredients and more

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] Three local industry people — Ben Smart, head chef at Big Grove Brewery, Stephanie Sunberg, server at Clinton Street Social Club, and Carrie Schumacher, co-owner at Cobble Hill and Caucho — weigh in on what fuels them, what they’re listening to and how they bring their own personalities into culinary and service work. […]

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Seed-saving: Growers work to preserve heirloom food for future generations

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] On a Northeast Iowa farm and in backyards across the nation, Seed Savers Exchange preserves heirloom varietals and their stories for future generations. In 1975, Diane Ott Whealy received a gift from her grandfather: the seeds of the German Pink tomato and Grandpa Ott’s morning glory. Whealy wrote a letter to Mother Earth […]

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How one Linn County farm is blazing a trail for a growing regional industry

[vc_row class=”bb-row”][vc_column][vc_column_text] On their Linn County farm, Lea and Denny Rehberg raise shrimp alongside heirloom pigs, blazing a trail for a growing regional industry. Overnight, Styrofoam coolers of 20,000 post-larval shrimp arrive from the Florida Keys to the Rehberg family farm in Walker, Iowa. “They’re about the size of your eyelash when you get ‘em,” […]

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Spotlight: These chefs and proprietors are breaking the culinary gender barrier—and making fantastic food while they do it

[vc_separator color=”orange” align=”align_center” border_width=”4″] Cooking, teaching and writing poetry have this in common: All are considered “women’s work” until the elite tier of each is reached. Then? It’s a man’s world, baby. Gender disparity skyrockets. Far more published poets are men, as are college professors, and the same is true amongst chefs and restaurateurs. But […]

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Four Iowa City bartenders dish on their favorite drinks to serve up and knock back

By Erin McMeen [vc_separator color=”orange” align=”align_center” border_width=”4″] What is your favorite drink to make for yourself? Brenton Thompson (Northside Bistro): I tend to drink a lot of whiskey and whiskey cocktails at home. I like to make variations of Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but it really depends on the season and what I have in […]

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Shanti Sellz on Iowa City’s slow food ethos, the fight for local foods and the future of small producers

By Alicia Ambler Local Foods and Planning Specialist Shanti Sellz leverages Iowa City’s slow food ethos and penchant for entrepreneurship to deliver fresh produce throughout Johnson county. [vc_separator color=”orange” align=”align_center” border_width=”4″] Whether it’s Iowa City’s bustling Saturday farmers market, our seasonal celebrations of local foods or our thriving collection of school gardens, Iowa-grown foods are […]

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Spotlight: Iowa’s Milton Creamery taps into the rich art and science of cheese

By Frankie Schneckloth & Courtenay Bouvier Milton Creamery’s famous Prairie Breeze isn’t the kind of perfection one can will into existence. You need a little luck—and a lot of community—for that. [vc_separator color=”orange” align=”align_center” border_width=”4″] “You don’t pick paths. You follow the trail,” says Rufus Musser, who describes his Milton Creamery, producer of the beloved […]

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Spotlight: How quinceañera celebrations mark transitions for individuals and communities across Iowa

Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera

By Cristina Ortiz [vc_separator color=”orange” align=”align_center” border_width=”4″] On a sunny summer day in 2006, I found myself in the vestibule of a Catholic Church in Marshalltown, Iowa helping to tie the underlayer of a giant pink hoopskirt which encased a very excited 15-year-old girl. The enormously poofy skirt was the stuff of small children’s princess […]

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