Food & Dining
Quad Cities Food Hub now open on Sundays PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Rick Martin   
Monday, 21 April 2014 13:20

The Quad Cities Food Hub, located in the historic Freight House building at 421 West River Drive in Davenport, will now be open on Sundays from 12 Noon until 3:00pm.

The Food Hub is also open Monday and Friday from 10am until 5pm, Tuesdays-Wednesdays-Thursdays from 10am until 7pm and on Saturdays from 10am until 3pm.

A bi-state initiative – the Quad Cities Food Hub connects farmers and consumers in Iowa and Illinois in effort to augment regional local food production and consumption. The organization is part of a network of Regional Food System Working Groups in the state of Iowa.

Find out more by visiting

Summer Shouldn’t Mean Hunger for Our Nation’s Children PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services   
Monday, 07 April 2014 07:34

As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch.  Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not experience the simple joys of summer.  In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family’s income.  When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in USDA’s summer meals programs.

That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year. The program serves free healthy meals to eligible children ages 18 and under, and is made possible through the efforts of national, state, and local partners, including a cadre of energized volunteers.

While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013.  Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states.  The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide—7 million more than the previous year!  We hope to continue building on last year’s successes with our state and local partners in 2014, and move closer to closing the summer hunger gap.

The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical for the continued success of SFSP. The deadlines to become Summer Food Service Program sponsors vary by State, and begin as early as April 15. Program sponsors oversee and provide meals to summer sites.  In return, USDA, through the States, reimburses program sponsors for the meals served to children.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations, and volunteers takes time, effort and commitment on all sides.  For any community that treasures its youth (and I haven’t met one that doesn’t), we must organize now to fight hunger this summer.

If you or your organization is interested in helping us reduce the risk of hunger among our nation’s youth, visit our website, The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices, and more.  State representatives are also available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.

This year, let’s work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.

Iowa Distillery Hauls In International Awards PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ryan Burchett   
Friday, 04 April 2014 13:59

Le Claire, Iowa, April 2, 2014 – A small distillery in Eastern Iowa is turning heads all over the country with their award winning handmade spirits.  Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa has recently been recognized with 8 different awards at international tasting competitions.

Most significantly, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has awarded MRDC’s River Rose Gin with a gold medal.  This competition is widely regarded as one of the top competitions in the US and features brands from all around the world.  Distillers and importers submitted 1,474 spirits from 63 countries into the competition.

“We are obviously big fans of our gin, but we are blown away by this recognition.”  Said owner and distiller Ryan Burchett.  “It is such a distinctive spirit that we were afraid it might be too unique to do well in a broad tasting like this.  We were thrilled to hear the judges liked it as much as we do.”

River Rose Gin wasn’t the only spirit from Mississippi River Distilling Company recognized in the competition.  Cody Road Bourbonreceived a silver medal while Cody Road Rye Whiskey and River Pilot Vodka also received bronze medals.

The Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago sent more accolades for MRDC spirits as well.  The annual tasting event there honored Cody Road Bourbon and Cody Road Rye with silver medals with River Rose Gin grabbing a bronze medal.  BTI relies heavily on highly experienced, professional guest tasters who are either retailers, restaurateurs, or prominent writers that are especially knowledgeable about the beverage category being reviewed.  All panelists are rigorously screened and audited and then trained in BTI’s proprietary blind tasting methodology.

Tasting notes for Cody Road Bourbon included, “Bright amber color. Interesting aromas of singed praline, waxed wood, fruitcake and faint pepper smoked jerky with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a racy, candied citrus and nuts, baking spices, cocoa, salted caramel, white pepper, and cedar finish. Good depth and intensity for cocktails.”

The BTI team “highly recommended” the Cody Road Rye Whiskey by noting, “Golden amber color. Aromas of oily roasted nuts, suede, dried fruits, and toasted meringue with a silky, dryish medium body and a smooth and even, rye dough, honeyed raisin toast, cedar, and mineral finish. Refreshing restraint, refinement and subtlety that grows on you when sipping.”

BTI described River Rose Gin as, “Clear. Aromas of licorice gum, white balsamic marinated pears, pepper muffin and a whiff of latex with a satiny, dryish medium body and a mint-herb lozenge, grass, and white pepper accented finish.”

The final award came from the American Craft Distillers Association where a group of MRDC’s peers selected River Rose Ginas a bronze medal winner at their annual conference in February.  The event in Denver brought together craft distillers and professionals from all around the country.  The tasting allowed distillers to get feedback from others in the craft business.

“This award might mean as much as any of them.”  Said owner and distiller Garrett Burchett.  “When the people who are out trying to make a living out of this stuff every day tell you you’re doing a good job, it is exciting and truly humbling.”

These awards are on the heels of additional national recognition in Country Living Magazine where their Cody Road Bourbon was selected as one of the magazine’s favorite bourbons made outside of Kentucky.  Whisky Advocate Magazine also recently featured the Cody Road Whiskies in their tasting notes and buying guide along with a feature on the distillery on the magazine’s blog.

Mississippi River Distilling Company is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and from 12 to 5 PM Sundays.  Free tours are offered to the public daily on the hour from 12 to 4 PM or by appointment.

Pancake Breakfast PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Blue Grass American Legion Post 711   
Friday, 21 March 2014 15:11

American Legion Post #711, Blue Grass, Iowa, is hosting an All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Serving will be from 6:30am until 10:00am at the Blue Grass Legion Hall, 106 S Juniata St.

The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade syrup, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls, juice, milk and coffee.

The event is open to the public. Cost is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 4 thru 12, and free for those under 4 years old.

Eastside Bakery opens in the Hilltop Campus Village PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Scott Tunnicliff   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:18

Eastside Bakery, for years a well-regarded provider of baked goods, has just opened on the corner of 15th and Harrison Street, in the heart of the Hilltop Campus Village.

“We are just so excited to be here; it just feels right.” said owner and baker Nikki La Tray. “We remain close to our valued customers, and now have the visibility to attract more business. This gets us close to lots of churches, schools and residential neighborhoods, all of whom we look forward to serving.”

The new space is across the street from the new Harrison Lofts residential/commercial complex, and just north of the Hilltop Plaza.

“This project involved many people, each putting the extra effort in to make it work.”, said Hilltop Campus Village director Scott Tunnicliff. “Nicky came looking for space at the behest of one of the churches in our area. We ran a few location options by her, and she fell in love with this older, really cool building. From there it was a matter of her dealing directly with the owner and the city to make it happen.”

The Hilltop Campus Village has conducted multiple surveys of students, residents and employees in the area asking what type of service business were most desired. According to Tunnicliff, a bakery and a place to serve fresh pizza were at or near the top of the list.

Ms. LaTray has been in business for several years and has a loyal following. “People love our bakery items, as well as our pizza. They didn’t want to see us move, but I they understood our situation. I opened this morning, and was nearly sold out by 11:00am. That’s a good sign.”

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