Monday, October 8, 2012
So last week I was able to travel to the great state of Iowa for CornQuest 2012 (I’m sure you saw the fun on Instagram!). What is CornQuest, you ask?! Well, it’s an event that the Iowa Corn Growers Association sponsored for myself and 9 other fabulous bloggers:
I know some of the ladies have given some really great in-depth re-caps on our trip (which you can read all about by clicking the above links) so without getting TOO redundant… I’ll give ya’ll the highlights!
Day One: We got up bright & early to head over to the Machine Shed Restaurant
for an AMAZING family style breakfast with THE.WORKS. We’re talking GIANT Cinnamon Rolls, Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, and the most amazing Biscuits & Gravy (oh man those called out to the Southern Girl in me!!!). They brought along some farmers to chit chat with us over breakfast. It was really neat to hear their stories & family history. Some of their families have been farming for many many generations… very cool stuff!
After we filled our bellies we headed on over to Bill Couser’s farm (Couser Cattle Company) where we got to hear the history of his 100 year old farm & how the corn industry goes hand in hand with the beef/pork industry. A common misconception is that all they grow is the corn that we eat (AKA Sweet Corn). FALSE. Turns out that the majority of farmers in Iowa grow a specific corn variety (& also soy beans) specifically for: Seed, Feed, Ethanol Production, and lastly for other products (plastics etc). Bill Couser, like many farmers in Iowa farms corn, soy beans, and also Cattle. It was really neat to see the pride and joy he takes in his job. He truly loves what he does! Before lunch, we got to hear from Nancy Degner, Executive Director of Iowa Beef Industry Council and then we got to taste the AWESOME BEEF (with a side of creamed corn – DUH!)!
After absorbing the wealth of knowledge from Bill & Nancy, it was time to get in on the action, act like a farmer, and ride on the combines while harvesting soy beans (SUPER cool!!!!):
Next up: we zoomed on over to the Iowa Speedway
! We got to hear from the President of Iowa Corn
about how corn is used to produce ethanol with is used in a lot of race cars (and is becoming more readily available at regular gas stations):
Of course we couldn’t go to the race track and NOT go for a ride!!!! Ummm can we just say this was a major highlight of the trip….
The action packed day wasn’t over yet! We walked over to the State of Iowa Historical Museum
where we enjoyed a gorgeous view and delicious dinner chatting with each other and hearing from a few more farmers (who may or may not have gotten us all choked up from sharing their passion with us!).
The final day was a real TREAT… we got to visit Meredith Corporation
(aka: the home of Better Homes & Gardens
). Oh. my. gosh. is all I have to say! I think all of our jaws hit the floor as we toured the gorgeous test kitchens and got to see the behind the scenes “how it all works”.
And I may have drooled a little bit at the prop room (food bloggers DREAM)… AMAZING:
Side highlight was getting to meet the gorgeous Madison in real life! We’ve been emailing/blog commenting on each others’ blogs for a while now but hadn’t ever met in person… but lucky for me she works at Meredith Corp and ran down stairs to say hey! (ummm cannot believe we didn’t get a photo!!!)
After that we went over to the Hy-Vee kitchen where we finally got to get in the kitchen and do what we do best (cook lunch together)! We heard a little bit from the Iowa Pork boar and then it was time to say our goodbyes and go our separate ways (sad. day.).
It was SUCH a fabulous action-packed & informative trip. Thank you THANK YOU Iowa Corn and Farmers Feed US (& of course Hana, Roxi, Shannon, Mindy, and all the Farmers). It was absolutely eye opening!
One thing that really touched me was the family aspect of the farmers… so many 4th/5th generation farmers that LOVE what they do (because they were BORN to do it). To hear them get choked up about being proud of what they do and grateful that their children have chosen to follow in their footsteps. What a legacy! Absolutely inspiring!
Until next time, Iowa…
Disclaimer: All trip expenses were paid for by Iowa Corn. However, I am not being compensated for this post; all opinions are my own!