What Farmers Grow, Makes Iowa Go!

Aaron-PutzeGuest blog post by Aaron Putze,
Director of External Relations & Coordinator
Iowa Food & Family Project, Iowa Soybean Association


As farming goes, so goes Iowa.

Example: During the depths of the prolonged recession that began in 2008, Iowa’s unemployment rate was consistently 3 points lower than the national average. Even with the recent uptick in the country’s economic performance, the gap stands at nearly two points (6.1 vs. 4.3).

Indeed, agriculture is a driver of many good things in Iowa (including jobs and economic activity). The Iowa Food & Family Project, launched in 2011 by the Iowa Soybean Association and supported by nearly 40 partners including Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, is proud of our state’s farming heritage and the benefits it provides. We’ve dedicated ourselves to better acquainting Iowans with farm families and the wholesome food they grow while showcasing how today’s agriculture sustains healthy families, communities and environment.

Few locations are more prominent and effective to engage the 98% of Iowans who don’t farm than the Iowa State Fair, which will be held Aug. 7-17 in Des Moines. For the fourth consecutive year, Iowa Food & Family Project, with a helping hand from the Iowa State Fair and nearly a dozen partners, will showcase the spirit of today’s agriculture and its daily relevance.

“What Farmers Grow Makes Iowa Go!” is the theme of this year’s exhibit, located in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building.  It will feature the work of Greg and Brandi Glenn, 26-year veterans of sand sculpting and co-owners of Sandscapes®.

The work of art will measure 20-by-24 feet and stand more than 12 feet tall and showcase how food is grown and where it’s enjoyed. Included in the sculpture will be farms and farm fields, grocery stores, restaurants and the all-important kitchen table.

The heartbeat of the exhibit will be the presence of farmers and our committed volunteers, who will highlight three key points:

  • Farmers provide the wholesome food choices people want
  • They safeguard the quality of our air, soil and water by using a variety of proven conservation practices and
  • Iowa’s leadership in farming creates good-paying jobs that generate economic activity in every community – large and small

Another highlight of this exhibit will be a guest appearance by “Iowa Girl EatsKristin Porter and host of “Join My Journey,”. She’ll greet and meet fairgoers and autograph the popular “Let’s Cook” cookbook on Friday, Aug. 8, 1-3 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m. – noon.

In honor of Kristin’s guest appearance, today we’re sharing with you one of the amazing recipes from the “Let’s Cook” cookbook.

Other State Fair-Related Blog Posts:

Turkey and Blueberry Salad



  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups wild and white rice combo, cooked and chilled
  • 2 cups cooked turkey breast, cut in cubes or strips
  • 1 head chilled butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (8 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. walnut oil or olive oil



  1. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 350º F. oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl combine blueberries, sugar, tarragon and salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice, turkey and toasted walnuts.
  4. Divide lettuce and oranges among individual plates. Top each with the turkey mixture.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, vinegar, parsley, thyme and oil.
  6. Pour over the turkey mixture. May be made up to two hours in advance, but salad should be covered and chilled.