Home 5 Ag Stories Thirty-five years of talking turkey at the Iowa State Fair

Thirty-five years of talking turkey at the Iowa State Fair

Source: Iowa Turkey Federation


An Iowa commodity group is celebrating a milestone at this year’s Iowa State Fair.

AUDIO: Gretta Irwin, Iowa Turkey Federation

The Iowa Turkey Federation has been serving Iowa-raised turkey to state fair-goers for 35 years. Iowa Turkey Federation executive director Gretta Irwin says the food stand created an opportunity for producers to connect with consumers, and discuss the benefits of Iowa turkey products.

“The food stand started at a time when turkey was new to a lot of folks. People thought of it (as) just for Thanksgiving,” Irwin said. “The turkey farmers realized, ‘No, it’s not just for Thanksgiving.’ We were doing a lot of value-added turkey production, whether it was (at) the Lewis-Rich plant in West Liberty who was doing deli meats, Iowa Turkey Products in Postville (who) was cutting the turkey into a lot of other parts or Bilmar Foods in Storm Lake. We felt it was time to show customers different ways they could cook turkey.”

The Iowa Turkey Federation made an effort to help consumers better understand turkey products. Staff members set-up a square, open grill, in front of the sidewalk, to show consumers different ways to prepare Iowa turkey products. They started with turkey tenderloins and drumsticks, and the menu has continued to evolve since.

“We’ve done so many things,” Irwin said. “Whether it was sloppy toms to our griddle stickers to turkey taquitos (to) our award-winning turkey taco, we’re always trying to show new ways for consumers to enjoy turkey.”

Iowa turkey sales have seen a slow increase over the years. Irwin encourages consumers looking for delicious, accessible and affordable food to purchase Iowa turkey at their local deli and/or grocery store. For different ways to prepare turkey, visit www.iowaturkey.org.