It’s the perfect time of year to slip on some cooking mitts and get cozy next to an oven.
When you’re creating your next meal, no matter if you are an amateur with ramen or a semi-professional chef, try these tricks to make your meal a bit more sustainable and celebrate Iowa’s food producers and network.
The first step of creating any meal is grocery shopping. When picking out a place to buy your products try to find a business that is headquartered in Iowa so you can support social sustainability. When a business is based in the community, the dollars are more likely to stay in the community.
You can try shopping at Fareway (which is based in Boone), Hy-Vee (headquartered in West Des Moines) or Wheatsfield (found only in Ames).
While you’re at the grocery store try to pick seasonal products. Products that aren’t in season often have to be shipped from long distances and use a lot of oil in the process. For a list of the seasonal produce you can find in Iowa check this list (http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbyregion/a/iowaseasons.htm).
Incorporate local ingredients. There are plenty of producers in the Ames area that sell everything from beef and eggs, to honey and tomatoes. To see a list full list of area producers check out http://drakebuyfreshbuylocal.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2013-Food-Guide.pdf .
If you can’t quite think of a way to incorporate your local ingredients, there are plenty of resources to help you! The Iowa Ingredient is a show that airs on Iowa Public Television that examines a new local ingredient every episode and gives a recipe for that ingredient. For more information visit http://www.iptv.org/iowaingredient/.
Featured image: bobbyfinance.com