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For Iowans, local food is available more places than you think

Yogurt
A few weeks ago, I saw a “tweet” from an Iowa food blogger on Twitter who wanted help in finding a “local” yogurt.

When I read her tweet, my first thought was: Isn’t Anderson Erickson (AE) yogurt local? All she had to do was drive to the nearest grocery store and reach for AE yogurt in the dairy aisle.

Just to confirm my theory, I called up the folks at Anderson Erickson Dairy, based in Des Moines. And yep, a company spokesperson told me that 99 percent of the milk purchased by AE Dairy comes from Iowa farms. That’s right – 99 percent!

And it makes sense, if you think about it. After all, milk is a perishable product. It takes just 24 to 48 hours for AE Dairy to deliver milk from the farm to your local grocery store.

But it’s not just the milk in your refrigerator that’s local. Have you ever looked closely at that carton of eggs next to the milk? Whenever I buy eggs at Fareway or Hy-Vee, there’s an Iowa address on the carton. Iowa is the nation’s leading egg-producing state.

In fact, you probably are buying local foods every week and don’t realize it. At the Fareway and Hy-Vee stores where I shop, I can find Farmer’s Best popcorn from Rockwell City, Peace Tree beer from Pella, Cookie’s BBQ sauce from Wall Lake, Lewright Meats brats from Eagle Grove, Blue Bunny ice cream from Le Mars and Maytag blue cheese from Newton, just to name a few.

Plus, the corporate headquarters for both Fareway and Hy-Vee are within 30 miles from my home – not based in another state or another country. So I’m supporting the local economy, and local jobs, by shopping at these Iowa-based grocery stores.

I’m a huge fan of local foods, and I try to visit a farmers market every week in the summer. But it’s also good to remember that local foods don’t have to be costly or come from an upscale store.

Written by Teresa Bjork
Teresa is a features Writer for the Iowa Farm Bureau.