Agriculture is Iowa's Masterpiece

By Lydia Zerby

What do food, farmers, livestock, thrill rides, music and entertainment have in common? They all come together each year at the great Iowa State Fair! Fairgoers from rural and urban communities can make lifelong memories during the incredible 11-day event. From Aug. 10-20, visitors can engage with the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building.

Back by popular demand, area artists will be creating colorful and larger-than-life murals, this year themed around sustainability. As a focus of farmers and those in the ag community, sustainability is a theme we can all get behind to protect Iowa's soil, air and water for future generations.

Once again, Iowa FFP will hand out its wildly popular reusable tote bags, this year with a new and fantastic design! Kids of all ages (adults, too!) can spin the wheel for great prizes, play ag trivia, step inside an “ag-citing” photo booth or pick up an exclusive coloring sheet.

Launching at the Iowa FFP exhibit this year is the brand new “Fresh Picked” cookbook. Filled with mouth-watering and flavorful dishes inspired by Iowa-grown ingredients, this cookbook contains easy, family-friendly recipes for every day. With exclusive recipes from Iowa bloggers Cristen Clark and Kelsey Byrnes, you’ll undoubtedly discover a new favorite meal! Pick up your free copy at the Iowa FFP exhibit during the 2023 Fair.

The Iowa Food & Family Project celebrates families, uniting rural and urban communities and providing consumers with information and experiences to make informed food choices. The initiative involves a collaborative network of nearly 35 food, farming and healthy living organizations who are proud of Iowa’s homegrown foods and hometown values. Iowa FFP is funded by the soybean, pork, beef, egg, corn, turkey and dairy checkoffs, as well as non-checkoff resources.

Approximately 145,000 food-minded Iowans engage with Iowa Food & Family Project monthly through social media, eNewsletter and magazine channels.

See you at the 2023 Iowa State Fair, where visitors will experience the “Best Days Ever!” #bestdaysever


Italian Grinder Sandwiches

Recipe from Cristen Clark, Food & Swine

  • ½ yellow onion, chopped finely
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons pizza seasoning
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 6 sturdy brat buns or hoagie buns

Preheat oven to 450° F.

In a large frying pan, sauté onion, red pepper and garlic for one minute. Add ground beef, Italian sausage and pizza seasoning to onion, peppers and garlic, cook until browned. Remove from heat, set aside.

Line a lightly greased 9x13 pan with 6 sturdy brat buns or hoagie buns, sliced and slightly opened. (4 across and two on the side)

Add a scant cup of the meat mixture to the inside of each of the buns.

Layer meat-filled buns with ¼ cup pizza sauce and ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese to cover all the sauce, meat and edges of buns.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Remove from oven and serve warm.