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Redefining “Local” Foods
One benefit to living in the land of plenty, is that we have food choice. Organic is one food trend. Another trend has become “buy local.” While knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown is becoming increasingly important for many U.S. consumers, even farmers might be surprised to learn just how “local” some foods are on grocery stores nationwide.
Most people equate “local” with a trip to the farmers’ market or an apple picked from the backyard tree. But “local” is so much more, especially if you live in Iowa where much of the food and food ingredients we enjoy are sourced from farms next door or just down the road.
Like the Casey’s pizza or Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Or the steak from Fareway, pork loin purchased at the West Des Moines Costco or a Cold Cut Combo served by Subway®.
Local food? Surprised? Don’t be.
The primary ingredient (by far) in Hellmann’s mayonnaise is soybean oil. Almost all of these soybeans are grown by farmers located within a 60-mile radius of Des Moines. In addition, most of the eggs used to make Hellmann’s (ingredient no. 3 on the label) are sourced from Iowa egg farms. Just two more reasons why Iowa is among the nation’s leader in the production of soybeans and eggs.
The Hawkeye State also ranks first in pork production. While consumers worldwide have become very fond of this lean, white meat, ample servings of chops, bacon and loins are baked, grilled, fried and savored close to home. In fact, the odds are in your favor that the pork you buy at Costco and Fareway or enjoyed at your neighborhood Applebees was sourced from an Iowa farm owned and managed by an Iowa farm family who shares your passion for wholesome food, a quality environment and community vitality.
Casey’s is “famous for pizza” and the numbers prove it. Casey’s Homemade Pizza to Go, introduced in 1985, bakes and serves nearly 15 million pizzas annually. It’s the nation’s 6th largest pizza chain and uses almost 12 million pounds of cheese annually. Casey’s also tops its pizzas with a whole lot of sausage, ham, beef and pepperoni – tasty meats prepared by a company in Ames.
Subway is good, fast and yes, local. West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, Iowa, is the supplier of fresh turkey to Subway. Enjoy a Cold Cut Combo and you’re enjoying delicious turkey sourced from an Iowa turkey farm raised by caring farmers like the Olthoff family On the Banks of Squaw Creek.
And if you’re lovin’ local, add McDonald’s to the list of patrons. Each year, the restaurant purchases more than $500 million of quality ingredients sourced from Iowa’s farms including 1 billion eggs, more than 16 million pounds of beef, 140 million pounds of pork, 2 million bushels of corn and more than 12 million bushels of soybeans.
Yes, local food is popular these days. In a survey of 500 Iowans conducted this fall on behalf of the Iowa Food & Family Project, participants overwhelmingly agreed that “local” food is “better” food.