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Rhubarb reboot: Adding a little adventure to a tasty rhubarb dessert
There is something about eating rhubarb that makes me feel daring. I think of it as the Midwest equivalent of fugu, the Japanese delicacy made from the edible parts of a poisonous puffer fish. Fugu is prized not just for its taste but, in the best preparations, for the way it makes diners' lips tingle as they eat it a tiny brush with mortality to season the meal.

Precisely because rhubarb kindles this sense of adventure, I find myself drawn to experiment with it each spring. More »

Fantastic fungi: Business is mushrooming for Louisa County grower
Todd Mills is growing the future.

The lion's mane and oyster mushrooms Mills cultivates in a growing room outside his rural Columbus Junction home possess a distinctively futuristic look, while also holding promise in studies of their health benefits.

Mills, 31, has been selling mushrooms the past few years at the Iowa City Farmers' Market and more recently at the Downtown Farmers' Market in Cedar Rapids. This year, he became a... More »

The Amana way: Author shares rich history of gardening at the colonies
In his new book, "Gardening the Amana Way" (2013, University of Iowa Press, 172 pages, $27.50), author and gardener Lawrence L. Rettig explores the communal-garden practices that were at the heart of life in the Amana Colonies, seven villages founded in the mid-19th century by the members of the Ebenezer Society. He offers history, insight and even recipes that connect the practices of the past with life in the Amanas today. It is a fascinating lens into... More »

Double up: Fitness pairings help you get more from a workout
Some things just go together: April showers and May flowers. Peas and carrots. Football and ballet. What … football and ballet seem like the odd couple there to you?

Maybe at first glance, but if you take a closer look, they're actually a match made in heaven. Although the two activities seem very different, some of the physical benefits of ballet, for example, can actually help a football player improve performance. Ballet enhances... More »

Garden apps: A handy set of tools for new gardeners and old pros
This spring, I felt some anxiety as I planned my first vegetable garden in nearly 20 years. "What if I do it wrong?" was the thought banging around in my mind, as it often does when I attempt something new.

Having information — and lots of it — is one way I keep anxiety at bay. Fortunately information is all around us these days. Since I'm one of those people whose smartphone is never far from reach, I decided to investigate some... More »

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