Another busy week has come and gone for Region 20 Rising Star Interns. This week was fun filled with many activities and events. Starting Monday, we traveled to Burlington and spent our morning pulling weeds and planting a variety of vegetables at a Master Gardener’s Donation Garden. Once finished at the garden, we went back to the Des Moines County office to prepare for a library program and sampling later in the afternoon. The vegetable we were doing samples for was one many have never tried, pea shoots!! We prepared a lesson, prepped materials, and created “grow your own” kits for the participants to take home. We then headed to the Danville Library for our library program where we had eight participants ranging from 7-85 years old! Everyone who participated had a blast learning about a pea’s life cycle, different types of peas, and how to grow pea shoots. We gave all of the participants frozen peas, snap peas, and pea shoots to try, and all but one loved the pea shoot so we call that a success! Once the tastings were over, all participants were able to take their own “grow your own” kit of pea shoots home so they could have more for themselves. We had a blast at our first library program, and look forward to more programs every Monday in Danville and every Thursday in Mount Pleasant for the month of June.
Tuesday started off with us heading to Hinterland Dairy in Donnellson, Iowa to celebrate dairy month. We will be working on a blog and a few videos to promote some dairy farms within Southeast Iowa since June is dairy month! While touring Hinterland dairy, we were able to see all the adorable calves, cows, barns, and even the new cheesemaking facility that will soon be up and running! They plan to start making cheddar cheese curds and quark, and the public will be able to purchase this fresh, locally made cheese very soon. We are so excited to go back and try! Tuesday afternoon we headed over to Montrose to do a food sampling at the Montrose Farmer’s Market. While at the market, we had so many people come to our booth and taste the roasted asparagus sample we made. Many people enjoyed it and for some, it was their first time trying asparagus. We loved having conversations with the people at the market about local foods and getting people to try new foods!
Wednesday was yet another very busy day. In the morning, we went to another dairy in Southeast Iowa called Hilltop Dairy Inc. where we had a blast touring the barns. While touring, we were able to see the calves again (our favorite part), cows, barns, and got a glimpse of what occurs on their operation. We loved getting to see yet another dairy farm and meeting the local producers. After the tour, we were even invited into their house for a yummy home-cooked meal! Our hearts and bellies were full after leaving Hilltop Dairy. After returning to the office, we started to prepare for the Alive After Five city chamber event that was held at the office. This is an event where city chamber members are able to tour one office per month, get to know a little bit more about what that specific office or organization does, and also be provided a meal. There were over 100 people in attendance at this event and we were able provide asparagus samples as we talked about our work as Rising Star Interns to the many people in attendance. We had a great time getting to know more community members and business owners as we promoted local foods and the Rising Star Internship Program
Thursday morning started off with the library program at the Mount Pleasant library where we were still focusing on pea shoots. Due to the fact school was still in session for the kids in Mount Pleasant, we had a much younger age group participating than we expected. There were seven kids at the program who ranged from ages 2-4. They all tried the different types of peas and were able to take their own “grow your own” kits home with them. The kids all loved getting to decorate their take-home kit and enjoyed trying the peas! The rest of Thursday and Friday we spent our time back in the office and worked on upcoming projects and events. Although this week was jam packed and very busy, we had a blast with everything we accomplished in just five days! Stay tuned to see what we will be up to next week!
- Grace, Rachel, and Katelin