Online vs. old-fashioned: farmers markets evolve in Iowa

Heart of Gold squash are sold by Blakley Gardens of Vinton at the Hiawatha Farmers Market on Oct. 26, 2014. Iowa's indoor market season kicks into high gear in November. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Heart of Gold squash are sold by Blakley Gardens of Vinton at the Hiawatha Farmers Market on Oct. 26, 2014. Iowa’s indoor market season kicks into high gear in November. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

By Cindy Hadish

High-tech means of selling fresh produce and other farm products aren’t necessarily at odds with the “old school” method of face-to-face sales at farmers markets, according to local foods advocates.

That perception will undergo a test as the winter farmers market season gets underway, at the same time two online sales platforms extend their networks in Eastern Iowa. Continue reading

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Tapping into nature in Iowa City

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By Cindy Hadish/for Radish Magazine IOWA CITY — In the hands of children, sticks create walls for fairy houses, oversized zucchini turn into canoes and wooly bear caterpillars become pets for an afternoon. That imagination, and freedom, are what Iowa City-based … Continue reading

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Spooky Halloween forecast: hard freeze predicted in Iowa

Pumpkins are sold at a farm in rural Chelsea. The Halloween forecast calls for a hard freeze in Eastern Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Pumpkins are sold at a farm in rural Chelsea. The Halloween forecast calls for a hard freeze in Eastern Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

No more procrastinating.

If you’ve been lucky enough to escape the frost so far, you might have delayed those last-minute harvests of tomatoes, peppers and other veggies, but the clock is ticking.

According to the National Weather Service, frost is likely in the Cedar Rapids area Thursday night and a hard freeze – with temperatures below 28 degrees for several hours – is forecast for Halloween this Friday, into Saturday morning. Continue reading

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Pumpkin shopping and another neighborhood store closes in Cedar Rapids

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I don’t recall ever buying pumpkins from a grocery store, as I’d rather see that money go directly to the farmers who haul those heavy loads to a farmers market, or right on the farm, as I found at a … Continue reading

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Last call: Season ends soon for Iowa’s outdoor farmers markets

The Washington, Iowa, farmers market, shown earlier this year, ended its 2014 season this week, but other markets remain open in Eastern Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Washington Farmers Market, shown in September, ended its 2014 season this week, but other Eastern Iowa markets remain open. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The final outdoor farmers markets of the season are fast-approaching.

Many markets ended their seasons last month, but nearly 20 in Eastern Iowa will continue for another week or so.

You can still find potatoes, cabbage, fall root crops such as beets, tomatoes, winter squash and more, along with locally raised meat, eggs, honey and a wide assortment of baked goods. Continue reading

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Keep off the grass at Brucemore, for good reason

The historic landscape at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids will undergo a restoration. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The historic landscape at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids will undergo restoration. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

I must admit, I was taken aback when I first saw the “keep off the grass” sign at Brucemore, and to be fair, it was actually the more polite “please stay off the grass.”

Closer inspection revealed it wasn’t a landscaping company dumping chemicals on the lawn, but a much more palatable reason: a historic landscape restoration is in progress at the site, at 2160 Linden Dr. SE, in Cedar Rapids. Continue reading

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New anchor merchants added at NewBo City Market

Two new anchor merchants at NewBo City Market were announced on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Two new anchor merchants at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were announced Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – Two farmers market vendors are moving into year-round spots at NewBo City Market.

The market has seen a few changes since opening in October 2012 and not all have been popular. But Kristie Wetjen, the market’s executive director, noted that moving temporary vendors into anchor slots validates the “incubator” system on which the market is based.

See more from NewBo City Market about the new anchor vendors, below, and read about previous changes here: Nelson’s Ice Cream

Permanent vendors end run at NewBo City Market Continue reading

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Local Food Banquet and Marion Soup Supper to benefit area organizations

Iowa Valley RC&D image

Iowa Valley RC&D image

Two upcoming dinners the last weekend of October will benefit two worthwhile organizations in Eastern Iowa. Fortunately, the events are on separate days, so you can  indulge your gastronomic desires and attend both.

The Local Food Banquet, with silent and live auctions, is set for Oct. 25, 2014, to benefit the Iowa Valley RC&D. The following day, on Oct. 26, is the Marion Heritage Center’s 11th Annual Soup Supper & Silent Auction.
Continue reading

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Iowa scientists concerned about spread of tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses due to climate change

A statement released Oct. 10, 2014, by Iowa scientists notes the health effects of climate change in the state. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A statement released Oct. 10, 2014, by Iowa scientists notes the health effects of climate change on the state. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

We’ve long read reports about the increased spring rains, elevated chances for flooding and other issues that accompany climate change. A new statement by scientists in Iowa now spells out the human health effects.

Iowa scientists investigating climate change are concerned about new infectious diseases arising in the Midwest, as the organisms that carry them, such as new species of ticks and mosquitoes, move north due to rising temperatures. Continue reading

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As opening day nears, New Pioneer could receive tax increment financing for new Cedar Rapids store, and other New Pi news

Ryan Companies is the general contractor for New Pioneer Food Co-op's new store in Cedar Rapids. The store is using an existing building and incorporating environmentally friendly and energy efficient features. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Ryan Companies is the general contractor for New Pioneer Food Co-op’s new store in Cedar Rapids. The store is using an existing building and incorporating environmentally friendly and energy efficient features. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – New Pioneer Food Co-op’s new store in Cedar Rapids might open sooner than expected.

Store leaders recently said the new location should be open by the holiday season, before the end of 2014. See more here: New Pioneer and other stores to open in CR

But “holiday” could also refer to another celebration, even closer than December. Continue reading

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