I took an evening walk around my neighborhood recently, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all the “wild” cornstalks I saw growing in yards this summer.

A couple of my neighbors like to feed corn cobs to squirrels. Now we have corn growing everywhere around our yard - in the grass, next to the house, under the deck. Our yard looks like a poorly planted cornfield.

Just for fun, my husband and I leave some of the corn untouched so we can see how tall the stalks grow.

Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who enjoy watching corn grow. My neighbors are also leaving a few cornstalks in their flower beds, like a garden decoration.

During my morning commute, I love to see the sun rise over the fields. The tasseling corn looks like it glows.

I’m fascinated by where all this beautiful Iowa corn ends up after harvest – as ethanol fuel for my car, as a biodegradable ingredient in my laundry detergent, as the puckery flavoring in the sour candy my daughter and I eat at the movie theater.

Of course, most corn ends up as feed for cattle, pigs and egg-laying chickens here in Iowa.

It’s truly a sustainable cycle. Corn is fed to livestock, then the manure from farm animals becomes a high quality, home-grown fertilizer to grow more corn.

Iowa farmers understand their role in this sustainability cycle, and they work hard everyday to ensure their farm animals are healthy, comfortable and well cared for (www.realfarmersrealfoodrealmeat.com).

In this issue of the Iowa Dish, we talk to a pork well-being specialist about how Iowa farmers are continually adapting and learning to provide the best possible care for their pigs.

We also discuss nutrition and how real dairy can help us maintain our bone strength and retain our mobility to help ensure our quality of life as we age.

In addition, if you’re looking for ideas for budget-friendly meals, then learn more about how real ground beef can help you save money and provide a nutrition boost.

Plus, be sure to try our end-of-summer recipe for Grilled Pork Street Tacos. Because every day should be Taco Tuesday.

Sending best wishes to all the teachers, school staff, parents and students returning to the classroom this fall. Thank you, teachers, for all you do for our kids!

Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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