If there’s one thing I learned over these past historic months, it’s that we need to support the local businesses that we missed so much when they shut down.

One of my favorite lunch spots, located within walking distance of my home, is still closed except for special events. I understand why the restaurant owner decided to stay closed this summer, but I miss the cold brew, the grilled cheese sandwiches and the friendly staff who go out of their way to help a neighbor in need.

In this challenging time, it’s also important to support local farmers, particularly those who grow fresh produce and meats to sell directly to consumers.

Many of these growers are young or beginning farmers working to establish their roots in agriculture, oftentimes so they can raise their children on the farm.

Yet the season for Iowa farmers to earn an income from sweet corn, tomatoes or pumpkins is short. And unfortunately, many farmers markets, a primary source of income for local growers, remain closed because of the pandemic.

In this issue of the Iowa Dish, learn how Iowa farmers are turning to online and on-farm sales to provide customers with fresh, locally grown produce and Iowa-raised meats. In addition, an Iowa State University food safety expert offers advice on how to ensure the local foods you buy in-person or online are safe to serve your family.

And because we all have health on our minds, we provide tips on how to safely grill high-protein meats and poultry now that we’re cooking more at home.

Plus, discover how Iowa farmers are continuing to make progress toward the state’s water quality goals.

And try our DIY hot beef sundae recipe in this issue, or order a hot beef sundae kit online.

We’re all missing the Iowa State Fair this summer, but you can experience the fair fun at home. Be sure to enter Iowa Farm Bureau’s “AG-MAZING” challenge online for a chance to win a limited edition 2020 “Missing Corndog” T-shirt and prizes totaling over $10,000. Trust me, you’re going to want to snag one of these cool T-shirts.

Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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