Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling
Eastern Iowa Culinary Bike Ride

Eastern Iowa Culinary Bike Ride

In the waning days of summer, a bicycle ride down an Iowa country road can be gorgeous and relaxing. But it can make you thirsty and hungry. It’s a good thing good food is waiting. Audrey Wiedemeier: The Culinary Ride is a ride of farms, food and fermentation and we just hope to engender a greater appreciation for the value of our land and what it can do and grow for us. It is a benefit for kids organizations, the Farm to School chapter of Iowa City community school district and the Youth Offroad Riders of the neighborhood centers of Johnson County. During this one day event, some 200 riders bike to different food inspired locations outside the Iowa City area on a quest to get a good workout, enjoy the Iowa countryside, explore local food and the places it is grown and enjoy fresh, local ingredients they can pick themselves. Fresh. Or sample at the hands of some talented Iowa chefs. Kim Halvorson: You don’t even think about the miles. It’s like someone is just dangling the food right in front of you and you can just keep peddling. The 25 mile cherry tomato route has four stops and the 55 mile beet-it-up route has seven stops. We catch up with riders at the Northern Ridge Berry Farm in Oxford where folks are lining up for good eats. Thomas Connolly: We have Italian vegetable soup and it is made with produce all grown here at Northern Ridge Berry Farm. It is tomato based soup with zucchini, eggplant, onion, garlic and carrots. And then we have some marinated beets and a marinated tomato salad. Audrey Wiedemeier: Here at Northern Ridge Berry Farms they grow just about anything you can think of and my favorite is the raspberry patch that you can pick until you can’t possibly eat anymore. Yeah, it’s good. Audrey Wiedemeier: I really like it here because you can come out and they’ll give you a tour and you can buy food and see actually where it is grown and how they are raising their crops. Oh and did we mention the spork? That’s right, with a $45 entry fee each rider receives a titanium spork and a local artist designed cloth napkin too. Kim Halvorson: The food is good definitely but this spork was what sent me over the edge. Next stop on the ride to local food discovery, Augusta Restaurant in Oxford. The owners relocated from New Orleans after Katrina and have embraced local Iowa ingredients. The innovative chef here has squash and leek soup, jambalaya, sautéed zucchini and broccoli, cabbage with beet mayonnaise, lots of freshly made breads and even more. Ben Halperin: A lot of the stuff comes from in the one mile radius of this area, a lot of the stuff I’ve got and now is the time when it is fantastic and everything is coming on strong, all the vegetables are fresh. That passion for local food and the organizers’ hope of educating participants and kids who benefit from this event carries over to yet one more rustic stop on our visit. Gabriela Weir: We have zucchini lasagna. I am hosting a clandestine campsite so I prepared food off site this time, brought it in and we are just setting up a lounge kind of an area for the cyclists to come and sit by a bonfire and eat some Iowa food. It is obvious riders enjoyed Chef Gaby’s dishes and the clandestine campsite setting. In fact, at all of the stops we found happy bikers. Organizers can be confident that they met their goal of exercise and education. You get to mix like the best of the world so you get to bike everywhere, see nature at its fullest and you get to see

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