I recently read a joke online about how when the temperatures dip below 70 degrees for the first time in the fall, then Iowans rush home to cook homemade chili.

I was still laughing about this last week when I shopped at my local grocery store and saw all the chili ingredients – canned tomatoes, beans, oyster crackers - on display at the front of the store.

And for many Iowans, you can’t think of chili without cinnamon rolls, the classic school cafeteria pairing that we loved growing up.

So I was in awe to see a recipe from an Iowa food blogger for chili topped with mini cinnamon roll croutons. Gotta love Iowa ingenuity!

Of course, Iowans know that chili also makes the perfect freezer meal - using ground beef, pork or turkey – for those busy days when you don’t feel like cooking.

In this issue of the Iowa Dish, we talk to a registered dietitian about how you can turn value-priced cuts of meat, such as ground beef, into family-friendly meals that you can stretch throughout the week.

October is also National Pork Month, and we visit Whatcha Smokin? BBQ + Brew in Boone County, winner of the 2020 Iowa Pulled Pork Madness contest.

And with harvest underway in Iowa, we introduce Iowa’s 2020 Conservation Farmer of the Year, Mark Jackson of Mahaska County. He has joined farmers across the state in taking on the challenge of protecting Iowa’s soil and water quality.

Unfortunately, it’s been a tough year for Iowa farmers, due to market disruptions from the pandemic, summer drought and the season-ending derecho that flattened crops and storage bins.

Please be extra patient and share the roads with Iowa farmers as they move harvest equipment this fall.

And if you know a friend, family member or neighbor who could use a little extra help at this time, please check out the mental health resources on Iowa Farm Bureau’s website.

Let’s stay Farm Strong, together.

Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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