Food & Dining
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Brooke Benschoter   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:37

Need some relief from all that food on a stick? Follow up state fair food with week of raw, fresh and healthy.

DES MOINES, IA--Feeling a little sluggish (and guilty) from chowing down on State Fair food?  Recovery is around the corner at Raw Food Week Aug. 20-29, and, don’t worry, the word “diet” isn’t even on the program.

Raw Food Week covers the basics of living a healthy lifestyle based on the freshest, natural ingredients possible—just in time to reap the benefits of the bounty of the Iowa growing season, farmers’ markets and maybe your own backyard garden.

“There will be a variety of ways to experience a healthier way of eating that doesn’t mean dieting, but rather thinking differently about what’s at the end of your fork,” said Sheree Clark, holistic health and nutrition counselor and certified raw food chef.  “The focus of Raw Food Week is to experience, not lecture, and learn from those who have transformed their lives and the lives of others.”

Events throughout the week include tastings, presentations, a film screening, as well as the opportunity to experience raw food offerings at several restaurants in metro Des Moines.  The highlight of the week will be a not-your-typical health and wellness presentation by “Dave the Raw Food Trucker,” a formerly sick and obese big-rig driver who reshaped his life through a “raw” experiment, which resulted in weight loss of 230 pounds.

Start off the week by ordering in. On Monday local chef Brandi Leuders will take orders for specially prepared raw dinners that can be picked up on Wednesday--so there’s one meal you won’t have to worry about preparing this week!  Fresh Café is also preparing take-out items that can be purchased throughout the week. The rest of the week unfolds with these events:

Monday, August 20
Movie Night: Special Screening
Forks Over Knives; raw food concessions available
7:00 p.m. $5/person
Fleur Cinema

Tuesday, August 21
Endless Summer: Capturing Your Garden’s Bounty
Sheree Clark, Fork In The Road
11:30 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.  $20/person
Walnut Ridge, Clive, Iowa

Wednesday, August 22
Dave “The Raw Food Trucker” Rolls Through Des Moines
4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. --appearance at West Glen Farmer’s Market; free
6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. --presentation at Event Center West, West Des Moines; $20/person

Thursday, August 23
Meals That Heal, Jean Lorentzen, D.O.
7:00 P.M. $10/person
All Play, Des Moines, Iowa

Friday, August 24
Healthy Happy Hour
Cheers! Wine is a "Raw" Food!
5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. $10/person; includes raw food appetizers
Jasper Winery, Des Moines

Saturday, August 26
Farmer's Market—the best raw food around!
Court Avenue, Des Moines: 7:00 A.M. – Noon; free

Sunday, August 26
Raw Sunday Brunch
Seatings At 11:00 A.M. And 12:30 P.M.
$29.95/person for adults; $14.95/person for children under 12
Echo Valley Country Club, Norwalk, Iowa

Restaurants that are including special menu items for Raw Food Week include Alba, Campbell’s Nutrition, Fresh Café, Gateway Café, Luna Bistro and Natural Thirst.  Information on all events and how to register can be found at
Raw Food Week is hosted by the 600+ member Des Moines Raw Food Group.  For more information visit

A Life-Size Chocolate Moose to Live in Elwell Family Food Center PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:10

DES MOINES, IA (08/03/2012)(readMedia)-- The world-famous Iowa State Fair Butter Cow has a new friend, a life-size Chocolate Moose crafted by the master chocolatiers at Chocolaterie Stam U.S.A. Chocolaterie Stam has crafted 'The World's Largest Chocolate Moose in Captivity ©.' The chocolate moose will be on display in the Elwell Family Food Center throughout the Fair, August 9-19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

From hooves to antlers, the chocolate moose's stainless steel frame weighs 320 pounds, stands 10'6" high and is 118" long. Hundreds of pounds of Dutch chocolate were applied in layers and hand-carved until a life-size chocolate moose emerged. This creation took approximately nine weeks from its birth in Radcliffe to its new location in the Elwell Family Food Center. While a real moose weights more than 850 pounds, this chocolate moose would make approximately 4,250 Stam Chocolate Bars.

The Elwell Family Food Center houses this delectable creature as well as the largest foods department in the nation with 893 contests, 43 of which are new this year. Fairgoers can watch the judging take place or peruse the winners already on display. On the last day, educational seminars will be held about all things cooking and baking.

Over the 11-day course of competition, nearly $60,000 in prizes will be awarded, including Fair premiums and special sponsorship prizes and cash rewards. Judging for the Food Department competitions takes place daily in the four judging rooms located in the Elwell Family Food Center.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. Save money on advance admission tickets now through August 8 (while supplies last). For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Double Bacon Corn Dog, Specialty Funnel Cakes and more debut at the 2012 Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:08

DES MOINES, IA (08/03/2012)(readMedia)-- "Nothing Compares" to the new Fairlicious foods set to make their debut at the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. The menu items join the list of nearly 200 food choices offered throughout the Fairgrounds.

Fairgoers are just days away from tasting these new temptations. The Double Bacon Corn Dog on a stick, a hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried, dipped in bacon bit enriched batter and deep fried again to golden perfection, adds a new twist to the traditional favorite. Additional foods on a stick include a chocolate covered chocolate chip cannoli, a chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough pop on a stick, and fruit on a stick with yogurt dipping sauce. These treats join more than 50 foods on-a-stick offered at the Fair.

Three new funnel cake flavors, German chocolate cake, carrot cake and sweet chocolate blue sapphire, make for a perfect indulgent snack. The deep-fried goodness doesn't stop there. The Deep-fried Pickle Dawg, a quarter slice kosher dill pickle covered in cream cheese, wrapped in ham or pastrami and deep fried in batter, makes for a quick and tasty snack.

The Nothing Spared Fair Square, the new Fair Square flavor, offers a unique twist on dessert. Made with marshmallows, crisped rice cereal, pretzels, potato chips, Oreos, toffee and M&Ms®, this salty creation was dubbed by a Fair fan in a Facebook naming contest.

Kicking it up a notch, the Carribean crab fritters with herbs, spices, and crab meat, are a full flavored treat. On a sweeter note, new vendor Beaverdale Confections has transformed a fireside favorite. Their s'mores include a choice of four handmade marshmallow flavors, pure Belgium Chocolate and Italian Pizzelles (wafer cookies).

Don't forget to stop by the new vendor Iowa Orchards to sample their harvest of fresh fruits. Try their indulgent homemade peach, apple or cherry crisp with brown sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal topping.

In addition to the new foods, nearly 200 returning Fair favorites and 50 foods on a stick will be available. Enjoy usual favorites like pork chop on a stick and corndogs, or check out the more unusual choices like hot beef sundae or healthy options like salad on a stick, peanut butter and jelly on a stick, or mixed fruit cups.

Visit for a full list of nearly 200 Fair foods, as well as healthy foods, foods on a stick and vendor locations.

"Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair set August 9-19, 2012. Save money on advance admission tickets now through August 8 (while supplies last). For more information, call

800/545-FAIR or visit

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Hardee's brings the Bacon Bacon with new biscuit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Angie Taylor   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:07
Hardee’s has introduced a sizzling new addition to its lineup of Made from Scratch Biscuits that will satisfy any bacon lover’s morning craving.

A breakfast sandwich with twice the goodness, the Bacon Bacon Biscuit features crispy bacon strips and a slice of Canadian bacon, along with American cheese and egg all served on a freshly baked, buttermilk biscuit.

The Bacon Bacon Biscuit starts at $2.29 and is also available as a combo with Hash Rounds and coffee, orange juice or a soft drink for $3.99. More info is available here:

Simon: Link card users see local food choices double PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 14:43

50 farmers’ markets in Illinois to receive federal grant funds


CARBONDALE – July 24, 2012. Thanks to a federal grant, the number of farmers’ markets in Illinois that accept Link, debit and credit cards could double, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, a local food advocate and chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, announced today.

Simon said 41 farmers’ markets across Illinois each will receive $1,200 grants from the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project. Due to popular demand, additional applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The program will enable farmers’ markets to accept Illinois Link cards, which access federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, wirelessly for the first time.  A total of 49 SNAP-certified farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers accepted Link cards in 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, up from 15 in 2009. The wireless EBT project could bring the total to 99, or about one-third of farmers’ markets statewide, by this year’s end.

“We expect sales of local foods across Illinois, from urban gardens in Chicago to farms in Alexander County, to increase because of this program. Health benefits will follow,” Simon said. “As a state, we export more than 95 percent of our food dollars. Doubling the number of farmers’ markets accepting Link, debit and credit cards will keep more of those dollars in local communities, while improving the health of our citizens and underserved neighborhoods, at no new cost to state taxpayers.”

The wireless EBT project, funded by a grant from the USDA, aims to expand access to fresh produce for low-income residents and boost sales of local foods. The program will be administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Agriculture with support from the Lt. Governor’s office.

The funding is part of a $4 million nationwide effort by the USDA to increase SNAP use at farmers’ markets. SNAP sales at Illinois farmers’ markets totaled nearly $70,000 in 2011, an increase of over 522 percent since 2009.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to improve opportunities for low-income individuals to obtain nutritious foods and to support local farmers,” said USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe. “SNAP participation at farmers' markets helps provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families and expands the customer base for local farmers - a win-win for agriculture and local communities.”

Simon and Rowe will host a media call-in at 1 p.m. today with Connie Spreen, the executive director of the Chicago not-for-profit Experimental Station, and vegetable farmers, Cheryl and Josh Dotson, of Dotson Farms in Beecher. The mother-son team, along with Josh’s wife, Bonnie, sells produce at several farmers’ markets in Chicago.

Dotson Farms began selling at farmers’ markets in 1979, when the operation was owned by Josh’s grandparents. Today the Dotsons sell a variety of tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn and 30 other kinds of vegetables at three SNAP-certified farmers’ markets in Chicago: Lincoln Square Farmers Market, Division Street Farmers Market and Pullman Farmers Market.

Since those markets began accepting Link, Josh Dotson has seen sales of his produce increase five percent at Lincoln Square and Division Street, and nearly 10 percent at Pullman which is in a low-income neighborhood situated in what is known as a food desert, or an area without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Our farm has been selling at farmers’ markets for many years, but we gained access to a whole new set of customers when they began accepting Link cards,” Dotson said. “As a family farm, every new customer makes a difference.”

The 41 farmers’ markets that have been selected are located in 22 different counties across Illinois and range from large operations with nearly 100 vendors and artisans to tiny ventures with less than five farmers selling produce. These markets must obtain certification to accept SNAP benefits through the USDA Food and Nutrition service and sign a contract with the Illinois Department of Agriculture that requires disclosure of sales data, use of the wireless machine on all market days, and participation in required trainings, before seeking reimbursement from the program.

Participating markets will be able to keep the wireless EBT machines, but must absorb the wireless service costs after the project is complete in September 2013 or when their $1,200 grant is expended. Minimal customer service and transaction fees will not be reimbursed by the grant. Markets that are already certified and own an EBT machine can seek reimbursement as long as their certification and EBT purchase happened after November 18, 2011.

“With 1 in 7 Illinoisans currently receiving SNAP benefits, increasing the availability of EBT machines at farmers’ markets makes so much sense: SNAP customers will gain access to the healthiest foods, and potentially millions of SNAP dollars will be redirected toward local agricultural producers, enabling them to invest in and grow their businesses,” Spreen said.

Grant recipients will be provided community kits developed by the Lt. Governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Agriculture that will include training and promotional materials including an EBT implementation guide that explains SNAP regulations, how to use an EBT machine and ways to partner with community organizations to increase the sustainability of a wireless EBT program.

Markets will be required to attend one of three regional trainings that will be held in late August and led by Experimental Station and the Illinois Farmers Market Association. These trainings will be open to any farmers’ market in Illinois that would like to attend. An online presentation will be provided for markets unable to attend one of the trainings in person.

Upon completion of the program, Southern Illinois University Carbondale will use monthly sales data and market surveys to study and measure the impact wireless EBT machines and SNAP accessibility have on overall sales at farmers’ markets and will release findings at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Additional applications for the Illinois EBT Wireless Project will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, or to apply, visit or call 217-524-9129.

Illinois EBT Wireless Project Participants

Abundant Market – Tuscola Downtown Farmers Market (Tuscola)

Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market (Alton)

Aurora Farmers Market East (Aurora)

Bartlett Farmers Market (Bartlett)

Bureau County Farmers Market (Princeton)

Carbondale Community Friday Night Fairs (Carbondale)

Central Park Farmers Market (Decatur)

City of Mendota Farmer’s Market (Mendota)

Clark County Farmers Market (Martinsville)

Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market (Clinton)

Deerfield Farmers Market (Deerfield)

DeKalb Farmers’ Market (DeKalb)

Discover Sycamore’s Farmers Market (Sycamore)

Elmwood Park Farmers Market (Elmwood Park)

F.R.E.S.H. Farmers Market (East St. Louis)

French Market (Villa Park)

George Washington Carver Farmers Market (Chicago)

Haymarket Square Park Farmers Market (Dixon)

Hinsdale Farmers Market (Hinsdale)

Hopkins Park/Pembroke Farmers’ Market (Pembroke Township)

Huntley Farmers Market (Huntley)

La Grange Farmers Market (La Grange)

Lincoln Square Thursday Evening Farmers Market (Chicago)

Lockport Farmer’s Market (Lockport)

Loyola Farmers Market (Chicago)

Main Street Farmers Market of Olney (Olney)

Morton Grove Farmers’ Market (Morton Grove)

Northbrook Farmers Market (Northbrook)

Old Capitol Farmers Market (Springfield)

Oswego Country Market (Oswego)

Palos Heights Farmers Market (Palos Heights)

Portage Park Farmers Market (Chicago)

Ravinia’s Farmers Market (Chicago)

Ridgeville Farmers’ Market (Evanston)

Seaway Bank Farmers Market (Chicago)

Shelbyville Farmers Market (Shelbyville)

Skokie’s Farmers Market (Skokie)

The Land of Goshen Community Market (Edwardsville)

Trinity United Church of Christ Farmers Market (Chicago)

Twin City Market (Sterling)

Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital (Chicago)



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