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Outdoor time together is vital for families. See how this family created a treehouse structure for all ages to enjoy with multiple levels, bridges and stunning lighting. ... Read more »
A fresh food box of fruit from Loffredo Fresh Foods, packed for pickup the day after you order.


By Wini Moranville

As I write this, it has been 14 days since I’ve been inside a grocery store or any other building with people I don’t live with. As we all continue to take social distancing seriously, I’ll share a few sites and tips that can enhance home cooking and home life in general.

• Whole Foods Delivery versus Hy-Vee Aisles Online: I tried Whole Foods delivery, but after spending considerable time filling up my online cart, when I went to check out, there were no available times, at all. I was invited to continue checking back for an open time slot, but that didn’t sound promising. I switched to Hy-Vee’s pickup service, and I appreciate the way you can choose a pickup window once you have one item in your cart and well before you spend any more precious time shopping. Last Wednesday, I snagged a slot for Fridayso do plan ahead.

• Loffredo Fresh Foods: This wholesaler’s Public Purchase Program offers "value boxes" of produce you can pick up at their warehouse (4001 S.W. 63rd St.) on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. You need to order by 5 p.m. the previous day. Choose either a box of fruit (11 different kinds, including a pineapple, kiwis, citrus and more) or a box of vegetables (10 different veggies, including broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini and more). Each big box costs $25.

• Craft Beer Pickup and/or Delivery: If you live within a 5-mile radius of Exile Brewing, they’ll deliver craft beers by the case. If you’re out of that range, you can order six- and 12-packs to be picked up curbside at the brewery.

• A Bonanza of Locally Grown/Locally Produced Goods: This is brilliant! Peacetree Brewing is already a pickup spot for Blue Gate Farms vegetables and eggs, and now products from Ebersole Meats and Lost Lake Farms can be picked up there, too. The next available pickup is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28subscribe to the mailing list to keep up on what’s being offered. Until then, you can order Peace Tree Beers for curbside pickup Wednesday through Saturday.

• Free Online Cooking-With-Kids Classes: What a great time to teach kids some cooking skills. Sue Honkamp, who usually teaches in-person classes for youngsters, is now offering a series of six kid-friendly lessons complete with a recipe and kid-led video. Sign up for these videos on the Real Cooking 4 Kids website.

And finally, as we continue to keep the beleaguered restaurant industry in mind, here are two resources to consider: USA Today has a list of Des Moines restaurants (and other businesses) that offer gift certificates you can buy online now (to help keep a restaurant afloat) and use later. And the Iowa Restaurant Association has created an Employee Relief Fund. Any size contribution is welcomed, and a tax-deductible donation letter will be provided for all donations.
Here's a short post on the new green trend and some inspiration images. Bring spring into your room year round.... Read more »
Nominate someone you respect to join this distinguished roster of past honorees, some of the Sages Over 70.


At dsm, we honor our city's veteran achievers and leaders with our annual "Sages Over 70" award. And we'd like your help in choosing them.

To nominate someone you know, submit this form by April 30. Please be sure to fill the form out completely, including uploading letters of recommendation and a CV of the person being nominated.

Nominees must be age 70 or older and should fit these criteria:
  • Has consistently demonstrated leadership through the decades.
  • Has contributed and still contributes to the betterment of the community, even if behind the scenes.
  • Has been a role model or mentor to others.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Gretchen Bohling of Studio 477 at Mainframe Studios is creating masks for essential and health care workers.
Photo: Mainframe Studios.


Many artists at Mainframe Studios, which houses more than 100 studios, sell their work at Mainframe's monthly First Friday event. But without those events and with the uncertainty around coronavirus, many artists have seen their sales decline.

Mainframe Studios is hoping to provide some relief by creating a GoFundMe Charity page with a goal to raise $10,000. Funds will help artists pay their monthly expenses, like studio rent and materials. Siobhan Spain, executive director of Mainframe Studios, says financial safety nets for local artists are "severely lacking."

"This is especially true when it comes to sole proprietors, independent contractors and visual artists who rely on regular patronage," she says. "During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we want to help ensure our artists can continue to provide for their families and have a future to look forward to."

Some Mainframe Studios artists have shifted their work to help fight the pandemic. Gretchen Bohling (pictured) of Studio 477 converted her studio into a mask-making machine. Working in partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, Des Moines Area Community College, local hospitals and fellow artists Sue Penn and Kathy Smith Design, Bohling has created hundreds of masks for medical professionals and essential employees.

With spring in full swing, many trend setters head straight for Edina’s 50th & France district to get the scoop on the season’s hottest looks. ... Read more »
The harvest salad from Dirt Burger is one of the many healthy offerings available for takeout at local restaurants.


By Karla Walsh

As we turn the corner into month two of social distancing and stay-at-home suggestions, and as we inch ever closer to temps that will make it actually feel like spring, is anyone else in the mood to add more fresh vegetables and bright flavors to their menu? Save the canned veggies and Easter leftovers for another day and score more vegetables and vitamins at these small businesses with well-balanced menus.

Flavory Bistro
Fresh salads, soups and even homemade paella can make any weeknight meal feel like a party (or a trip to the Mediterranean—how great does it feel to dream about that right now?). The seasoning blend used atop the grilled meats and veggies makes them taste like a total treat, and the homemade desserts (Baklava? Yes, please!) offer the ideal balance. If you’re feeding a big family, consider the piled-high Mediterranean Feast.
Ordering options: Call ahead for curbside pickup or delivery within a 5-mile radius with $50 minimum order.
(, 515-443-7272)

It will likely be weeks before the farmers market officially opens for business, but the farm-to-table dining at this East Village bistro can help patch you through. Try the daily special or go for one of their fan-favorite menu items like butternut squash soup with homemade naan bread, Chef Suman’s Bowl (with local leafy greens, grilled vegetables, a free-range poached egg, hummus, and bison sausage), or the vegetable-, lentil-, and potato-packed Momtaz Vegan Bowl.
Ordering options: Call ahead for curbside pickup or takeout. (, 515-244-1213)

Fresh Mediterranean Express
Drive on past the chain fast-food restaurants and swing by this fittingly named Mediterranean restaurant in Waukee. From salads to wraps to kebabs, produce and protein take center stage in many of the meals here. Oh, yes, and lots of creamy, garlicky hummus.
Ordering options: Call ahead and pick up at the drive-through or they will deliver within a 10-mile radius. (, 515-987-6870)

Wasabi Chi, Johnston, Waukee or Ankeny
Recently reopened for takeout and delivery services after closing completely for the first several weeks of the no-dining-room-service mandate, four locations of Wasabi across the metro are now offering family platters and individual portions of vegetable- and seafood-rich sushi, teriyakis, ramen and more.
Ordering options: Call ahead for curbside pickup or order delivery via Grubhub.(, phone number varies by location)

Dirt Burger
The first 100% vegan brick-and-mortar restaurant in Greater Des Moines, Dirt Burger is known for its homemade plant-based burgers made with beans, buckwheat, flax, nutritional yeast and a surprising amount of hidden vegetables (including spinach, carrots, broccoli, beets, mushrooms and sweet potatoes). You can enjoy your veggies with even more veggies when you opt for a side of the Harvest Salad, CSA Salad, or Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Salad instead of (or in addition to) fries.
Ordering options: Call ahead for curbside pickup or order delivery via Grubhub or MyTown2Go.(, 515-850-3890)

Missing your favorite entertainers? Cultural venues? They're looking for you, online. Check out their websites and Facebook pages for streaming videos and podcasts. We've been doing our best to add more for you to enjoy online with our dsmCultureCast series. The most recent additions are a video with CultureALL, touching on diversity and inclusivity, and a podcast conversation with the Blank Park Zoo. Check them out.

By Rachel Vogel Quinn

When Yvette Zaród Hermann, arts outreach educator at ArtForceIowa, prepares for the workshops she’s been facilitating on Facebook Live the past two weeks, she carefully lays out her supplies and writes a materials list for participants. But the viewers comment most about her cat walking in front of the screen.

"I’m learning that being authentic, as opposed to giving information, is what people crave right now," says Hermann.

Founded in 2013, ArtForceIowa runs two art-focused programs: one for refugee youths and another for teenagers involved in the juvenile or family court system. When the nonprofit canceled studio workshops in early March due to the pandemic, the staff of four wondered how they could keep supporting their participants.

Their brainstorming led to ArtFul Connections, a series of online art workshops and performances that feature drawing, coloring, woodcarving, live music and capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. Local professional artists, who work as artist mentors for the nonprofit, host online workshops in their area of expertise over the lunch hour.

"We know that, at this time, art does heal," says executive director Christine Her.

By using Facebook Live, ArtForce is expanding their audience beyond their usual participants. People from all over the community are logging on to watch the videos live or view them later. By limiting the activities to common household materials—such as crayons, colored pencils or just a highlighter and pen—community members without previous art experience can easily join in.

Hermann encourages people to "take a break" from anxiety and information overload to connect with others through art. "ArtFul Connections is about coping," Her says. "It’s about connecting to your artful self, your childhood self. We want you to be able to cope through this difficult time. We want you to feel connected and know that we are all in this together."

ArtForceIowa plans to continue the virtual series after the pandemic ends and studio workshops resume. But the organization faces funding challenges, as many of their grant opportunities have dried up in the past month. As yet, they don’t have outside funding for the program. But Her wants to keep it going as long as possible.

"Art does transform lives," she says. "And it does heal. Everybody needs it. Wherever you are, you can do it with whatever you have."
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