“Eat Like a Local: Restaurant Edition” – Country Junction

If you live in Dubuque County, you’ve probably heard of Country Junction.  This hometown restaurant in Dyersville has a reputation for classic, Midwestern comfort foods like roast beef, mashed potatoes, and homemade pie.  Right off of Highway 20, Country Junction serves people from far and wide, especially over the summer travel season.  But what you may not know, is that if you stop by the restaurant any time of year, much of the fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables on the menu were grown only two miles away.

Country Junction has a strong connection to fresh and local food through their owner, Dave Buchheit, who is also the VP of Operations for FarmTek.  FarmTek is a farm supply company that sells hydroponic growing systems.  But, instead of just selling the hydroponic equipment, FarmTek takes a hands-on approach and showcases their offerings through their working demonstration greenhouses at their warehouse in Dyersville.  These greenhouses produce hydroponic vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers nearly year round, which gives Country Junction access to a variety of fresh items, even outside of Iowa’s growing season.

Special menu items have been developed to showcase some of Country Junction’s fresh offerings like limited time appetizers, and specialty salads.  While you can always expect the comfort food Country Junction is known for, you will also notice some new items for the health conscious and the younger generation of eaters.  The fresh and local hydroponic vegetables are a great part of that.  The restaurant recently offered a bold grilled chicken topped with basil, lemon, and capers with a side of asparagus on their “Limited Time Only” menu. This dish has had great reviews, and encouraged them to include more unique offerings like this in the future.  Country Junction hopes to start incorporating microgreens, also from the hydroponic greenhouses at FarmTek, into the menu offerings for the coming year.

Even if you can’t stay for dinner, you can make a quick stop at Country Junction’s gift shop and pick up other local food items like Betty Jane Candy, Great River Maple Syrup, and wine from an assortment of local wineries like PromiseLand, O So Good Winery, Tabor Home, Park Farm, and Crimson Sunset.  They also do take-out orders for those who want a quick weeknight family meal.

No matter the temperature, be sure to stop by the Country Junction for a bite this winter, some farm fresh vegetables, and good old-fashioned home cooking!

Happy eating!

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