Iowa Cornucopia Tour 2011

I was honored to be invited to the Iowa Cornucopia Tour 2011 last month by Iowa Corn and Farmers Feed Us.

I love love love Foodie trips, you get to meet so many great people and learn things you might other wise not know.
I met these lovely  blogger ladies…

Brenda: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
Christina: Mele Cotte
Emily: Busy Mommy
Heather: Farmgirl Gourmet
Jyl: The Post-It Place
Kelly: Once a Month Mom
Kristin: Iowa Girl Eats
Kristy: The Wicked Noodle

I must say we were treated VERY VERY well. And fed VER VERY WELL!!!!!

Where we ate:

The Machine Shed…plates and plates of bacon,ham,eggs, sausage gravy,biscuits..etc. But the best part about that breakfast were the cinnamon rolls the size of your head. They were rediculiously good.
At the Lincolnway Energy Plant: We had a delicious catered lunch that included the best creamed corn I have ever had(and I don’t even like creamed corn)
The Jasper Winery: An adorable little winery. I love love loved the Italian Steak Roll!
BOS: A delicious hotel restaurant  that served us little smoothie shooters.
Ador Kitchens: This was a super cool kitchen store that had a working kitchen. We all cooked each others lunch. It was a fun time.

The first day we went on a tour of The Living HIstory Farms. What a neat place. It is an open air museum that tells the story of the changes in Midwestern agriculture and rural life. We learned all about how people in the early 1900′s harvested their crops.

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Bloody Butcher Corn

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Shoepeg Corn

Then we are off the the Lincolnway Energy Ethanol Plant

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I was completely in awe of this facility. They produce ethanol. Ethanol is a clean, renewable feul made from corn.

It’s a coal fired, dry mill ethanol plant. I went in knowing nothing about Ethanol except for the fact that my Yukon XL had the ability to take E-85 fuel(85% ethanol), but there were no Flex Fuel station anywhere near me.

Well, turns out that Ethanol is a type of alcohol produced primarily from corn and is blended with gasoline to burn cleaner, resulting in less pollution released into the environment.. It containes octane and oxygen. This combination provides motorists with a competively prices fuel which burns more completely, resulting in fewer emissions.

Ethanol is a renewable fuel produced in THE UNITED STATES and that means us being less dependant on foreign oil.

I hope that one day, in the near future we totally convert to ethanol fuel. It seems a win win situation to me, environmenltly friendly, more afforadable and produced in the United States!!!

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All about safety at Lincolnway Energy!

At the plant we met Mr. BIll Couser. What a nice man! He is the owner of Couser Cattle Company. He took us on a tour of his 5000 acre cattle and corn farm. Again, I was amazing at his operation. His business practices won him the prestigious 2010 Environmental Stewardship Award. Thats a huge honor in the farming Industry. You can watch his video here
In his presentation to us..this was one of his slides that I just had to take a photo of…

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"Leave me alone and let me do my job" Love it!!

On his farm we got to drive a big ol John Deer Combine. It’s the machine that harvests the corn. Again….amazing.

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Me, getting my Combine on!!!

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Next we got to have a visit to Iowa State University, where we met Dr. Ruth MacDonald. She is a very knowledgable food scientist/professor at the University. We did a very cool experiment. We actually extracted the DNA from a Strawberry.

Below Kristy from The Wicked Noodle is gazing upon her Strawberry DNA.

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See that white frothy stuff above the red? That’s the DNA we extracted!
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Dr. MacDonald educated up on so many things…..One being that SUGAR is SUGAR. Our bodies can not tell the difference between High Fructose Corn Syrup and normal table sugar. She said we need to limit them both and that there was no need to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup like the media is playing up. Not from my mouth..but a scientists mouth!!!!!

The next stop was our BIG surprise..we got to go on a tour of The Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. It was soooo beautiful. Walking in, you felt like you were in someones home.

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One of the test Kitchens at BHG!

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Prop envy??? I do say so!

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MORE props!

The second day was exhilarating to say the least. We went to the Iowa Speedway.
We all got to take a ride on the Speedway in the pace car. Pace car..sound kinda slow huh? Not so much. Chuck Spicer drove us each around the track at 125-129 MPR. I am not gonna lie, I almost threw up going around the banked turns. I can’t remember how many G’s he said we pulled, but it was quite a few. I was holding on for dear life. It was such a rush!!!

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I am quite certain this was taken BEFORE my ride!

Did you know that Ethanol is the highest performance fuel on the market with a 113 octane rating? The Indy racing league uses 100% Ethanol in their cars today, so if it’s good for their cars, it’s got to be good for ours!!!

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It was sooooo COLD!

Our last event was the Ador Kitchens. It was a very cool kitchen design center that has a big beautiful working kitchen. We were broken up into teams and cooked each others lunch. It was such a fun time. We cooked…
Three-Bean with Sweet Potato Chili
Cider Sauced Apple, Wlanut and Bacon-Stuffed Iowa Pork Chops
Leek, Cremini Mushroom and Roasted Corn Risotto (my team and I cooked this)
Spiced Apple Dumplings

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Here is Christina from Mele Cotte plating her Chili
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So as you can tell we had a WONDERFUL time. Again thank you to Iowa Corn and Farmers Feed US.  Also, Sara Ross was there to inform us on Iowa farming and a great farming on-line community  CommonGround Iowa.

Here are some random facts..bet you didn’t know….

Iowa ranks first in national corn,soybean,hog, egg and ethanol production.
98% of  US farms are family owned and operated.
The corn you see in the fields is not “Sweet Corn” that we eat, it is “Field Corn” used for animal feed, ethanol,starches,oil and sweeteners.
Corn is used in over 4,000 products! Including SOCKS! Yes, socks for you feet!
A typical ear of corn has about 800 kernels!
Cows have 4 stomachs…must be nice!
Iowas states ethanol industry has created 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Ethanol is a renewable fuel that is produces in the US and is one of the best tools for fighting air pollution since it burns clean.
By 2025, the US will import 77% of its petroleum, according to the Energy Information Administration. Using more ethanol-blended fuels will help reduce the need for imported fossil fuels!

Disclaimer:  All costs associated with this trip (travel, lodging, and meals) were paid for by the Iowa Corn Growers Association/Iowa Corn Promotion Board. I did not received any financial compensation for attending, and was not required to write a blog post in exchange for my trip. All opinions and points of view in this post are my own.

 

 

Comments

  1. 1

    I’ve never seen anything like the bloody corn (forgot the rest of the name). That’s really weird. Looks like a fabulous trip. I love the photos!

    Thanks!

  2. 2

    What a fantastic recap! It was so fun hanging out. I can’t wait until our paths cross again! In fact, I think we need to do a reunion. :)

  3. 3

    Looks like a fun trip. You look great on a John Deer. :)))

  4. 4

    Seriously! You guys need to stop writing so well – Mindy might just hire you all! It was great to meet you. Hope to see you again soon!

  5. 5

    What a great tour!! Oh wow, that test kitchen is insane!! So glad you had a great time =D

  6. 6

    HEY! What a small world! You got to me someone I met! (Kristy!) Looks like it was fun… you’d make a hottie race car driver. ;)

  7. 7

    So fun to see your recap! What a great trip – so happy to have met you!!