It’s the best time of year for Iowa food lovers

On my commute home this summer, I drive by three sweet-corn stands, including one in a farmer’s yard, where customers can buy corn straight from the field.

There’s nothing like picking up a dozen ears of fresh corn first thing in the morning, when the husks are still dewy from the August haze.

Every Iowan has his or her own favorite way to prepare sweet corn – in the husk on the grill, sprinkled with chili powder and lime juice, or boiled in a giant stockpot and slathered in butter and a touch of salt.

Yet even in Iowa, the nation’s top corn state, sweet corn is a tricky crop to grow. Farmers will tell you how difficult it is to protect their corn from raccoons, deer and insects. They must fence out the critters and use pesticides – either organic or conventional pesticides – to keep the bugs from chomping on the kernels.

In this issue of the Iowa Dish, we take a closer look at how farmers use pesticides, as well as the precautions they take to ensure our food is safe.

We also celebrate Iowa farmers markets and share details about the Iowa Farm Bureau’s farmers market bag project.

And if you’re like me and plan to eat your way through the Iowa State Fair, be sure to check out our story on the new beef menu items at the popular Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters. Plus, we share a recipe for grilled steak and sweet corn, a perfect Iowa food combo in the summer.

While at the State Fair, you’re also invited to stop by Iowa Farm Bureau Park, east of the Varied Industries Building, for games, free health screenings and a chance to win $500 in free groceries. You can buy a lot of steak with that kind of moo-la.

And if you have a question about food and farming, please contact me ( Let’s keep the conversation going about how Iowa farmers grow and raise our food today.

Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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