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Iowa, in the heart of America’s heartland, is sometimes referred to as the “corn state,” but look past our famous cornfields, and you’ll find so much more. While a few of our top ten products made in Iowa reflect our reputation as the “Food Capital of the World,” some of our favorite made in Iowa products may surprise you. Read on…
Made in Iowa
According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, advanced manufacturing is Iowa's largest industry. In 2021 Iowa had 4,100 companies that manufactured a wide variety of items from food products, to medical devices and aerospace products and construction machinery.
In 2019, Iowa was #1 in the nation for producing pork, eggs, and corn according to the USDA. It has also been called the Ice Cream Capital in the world. It should be no surprise that world food manufacturers like Tyson, Hormel, Kraft Heinz, Barilla, Quaker Oats, Nestle, and Wells Enterprises, have production facilities in Iowa.
The truth is, Iowas manufacturing industry is growing and we have barely skimmed the surface of the quantity and quality of the products made in Iowa with our list.
Our list includes some of Iowa's largest, nationally known manufacturers, as well as smaller, artisanal companies that call Iowa home. These artisanal companies make products in small batches, usually by hand.
Amana Furniture and Clocks The Amana Furniture Shop has been continuously handcrafting American made furniture and made in USA clocks produced in Iowa since 1855. Their attention to detail starts with experienced craftsmen hand-selecting every piece of solid hardwood and continues until the finished product is in the hands of a satisfied customer.
Blue Bunny Ice Cream Who would guess that a tiny town in northwest Iowa is the Ice Cream Capital of the World? But, indeed, Le Mars, Iowa, a town of fewer than 10,000, is the home of Wells Enterprises- the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream. . You’ll find their yummy ice cream flavors and novelty treats in fine stores from Massachusetts to Hawaii and all points in between.
America’s original artisan blue cheese is born on Maytag’s Dairy Farm in Newton, Iowa. They still make each wheel by hand, aging it in their caves twice as long as most other blue cheeses. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll know why Maytag Blue Cheese had to be included on our list of products from Iowa.
Milkhouse Candle Company was started in 2002 by Eric & Janet Sparrow, at their kitchen table, as a fun little “date night” activity. It moved from the kitchen table to a small garage, to a larger garage, to a vacant hardware store, to most recently a brand new facility in the fall of 2019 in St. Ansgar, Iowa where they employ 26 people.
Milkhouse makes some of the best candles I've ever used. The scents are pleasantly fragrant and linger even after the candle is out. Wrap yourself in the rich scents of pumpkin puree, browned butter, and warm spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla cream with the Brown Butter Pumpkin candle from Milkhouse Candle Company.
Millstream Brewing Co. is Iowa’s first-ever microbrewery, the award-winning Millstream, has been crafting quality beers and sodas, one batch at a time, since 1985. With 15 different craft beers and three flavors of sodas, the popularity of these beverages continues to grow, and they are now available throughout the Midwest.
Made in Iowa for over 40 years, the Original Udder Balm is the go to lotion for dry cracked skin. OriginalUdderBalm.com is a family owned an operated business headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa. The labels, boxes, jars, pump assemblies and of course the products and what goes into them are all USA sourced.
Since Iowa’s Rada was established in 1948, professional chefs and home cooks alike have recognized 100-percent American-made Rada Cutlery as “something special.” In fact, the company attributes much of their success to their many fans who enthusiastically tell friends and neighbors about these great kitchen knives and utensils. “These are the best knives I’ve ever used!”—it’s a line they hear repeatedly from happy customers, but it never gets old. Visit the Rada Cutlery Amazon shop.
Founded in 1933 in Burlington, Iowa, Sterzing’s chips are, as their motto states, “quite possibly the world’s best potato chip.” The company still makes its chips the old-fashioned way—using the best potatoes and slicing them super thin before making them fresh every day. No fake processed or paste-tasting chips here… these are the real thing!
This article was originally submitted to USA Love List as a guest post by Charisse Lawrence, the director of e-commerce & direct mail for the Amana Meat Shop Catalog and Amana Shops. It has been updated and modified over the years by USA Love List editors.
USA Love List welcomes guest posts on a variety of topics. Have we covered your state yet in our popular state-by-state series on "10 Things We Love, Made in [Your Home State]"? Are you a business person who made the decision to keep your manufacturing in the US? Are you a blogger who has a unique perspective to share on buying American? Use our Contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did anyone think to mention the best burger in the country made by “Maid-Rite)?
Oh, how I miss Maid-Rites. They are heaven. With fries and a chocolate shake. Take my money.
What A great list of Iowa Items… One that should definitely be on the list is Original Udder Balm Moisturizing Cream! Made in Iowa for over 40 years, this stuff is the best thing ever for dry cracked skin! Originally created to keep dairy cows protected from weather, soft and moisturized, it is the best skin cream for people ever!
You can find it at http://www.OriginalUdderBalm.com
You forgot quite a few ! World’s Best Cat Litter™, the only litter made from all-natural whole-kernel corn, is produced by Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. – Pet Division, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kent Corporation located in Muscatine, Iowa.
Bunn-O-Matic coffee pots both for personal and commercial made in Creston, Iowa. Gummi Bear factory used to be there too.
Isn’t Snappy Popcorn an Iowa company>
Dont forget Anderson Erickson made in Des Moines. The best dairy products ever!
Fox River Mills Osage, Iowa
Best Socks you can buy.
Sock Sale in October every year check out
Osage Chamber of Commerce
Tiny But Mighty Popcorn in Shellsburg is the best! Ancient heirloom kernels available at Whole Foods nationwide & Amazon…
Artistic Churchware is world reknown. In an industry dominated by outsourced manufacturing, Artistic’s craftsmen and women produce absolutely gorgeous metal ware in Altoona, Iowa. I believe they are the ONLY manufacturer of a complete line of church ware made in the USA.
Sticks handmade home furnishings and accent art! 100% handmade in Des Moines, IA and sold in some of the funkiest American Craft galleries around the country. A must stop if you’re driving through the capital city.
Locally Grown clothing! They’re my favorite out of Iowa :)http://notmadeinchinachallenge.com/2015/08/15/eat-local-shop-local-let-your-t-shirt-do-the-talkin-2/
Stam’s has to die for chocolates, and so much variety!
A great craftsmen’s from Iowa is Nemitz Custom Woodworking. The owner, Jordon Nemitz, creates these amazing Field Of Dreams adirondack chairs with Louisville Sluggers in Ankeny, Iowa.
Pella windows, it’s a long-time Iowa company that makes a great product. It’s also a very nice town.
Fine candies come from Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque, Iowa. I am especially fond of their carmels! http://www.monestarycandy.com
Let us celebrate the wonderful art created by the artisans at Isabel Bloom.
Please visit our website, http://www.ibloom.com
I would like to add Cheryl’s Fresh Salsa to the list it is made in Wellman Iowa!
Blue Bunny is GREAT.
Worry free tea by Maharishi Ayurveda (www.mapi.com)
Ecolips lip balm, amazing! (Www.ecolips.com)
Aura cacia essential oils….especially lavender! (Www.auracacia.com)
Rada Cutlery, located in Waverly, IA, produces the best knives and utensils I have ever owned! http://www.radacutlery.com
Where or what stores are these knives/utensils carried? Or are they only available through the website/order book?
As I understand it, Rada’s knives and other utensils are available through a network of US retailers and non-profit fundraisers. If you find a fundraiser selling their products, that is the best way to go, support a cause and get some outstanding items for your kitchen. Of course, if you don’t know of a non-profit cause selling these items, there’s a golden opportunity for someone. We saw them do so-so the first year. But they sold themselves once the buzz spread. Year two was amazing!
Don’t you think it’s odd that of the top 10 items made in Iowa, 4 of them are for sale on the website managed by the author? What a worthless post. Really, blankets are one of the top things made in Iowa?
John, on this site, we share “stuff we love, made in the USA” or in this case, Iowa. Our writers are encouraged to share 10 of their personal favorites. Since this guest author works for a shop that carries a wide variety of Iowa-made items, yes, we find it entirely plausible that a few of these might be on her list. I added a couple of my own favorites here in the comments. You are welcome to add your favorites here too… or better yet, submit your own guest post on your 10 favorite Iowa-made items. We’ll gladly run part 2 since this list has been so popular!
Apparently we need round II on this post! What a hit! Thank you for letting us know about all the other wonderful products being made in Iowa.
don’t forget Tiefenthaler’s Quality Meats in Holstein, IA – BEST porkburgers and brats!
well of course, i’d be remiss if I didn’t plug our special universal seasoning called mo’rub.
it’s an all-natural seasoning [and we mean, CLEAN spices] that really is great on anything, except watermelon and ice cream.
we also just launched a bratwurst, that we’re touting as the ‘healthiest brat’ in the Midwest. it’s made with Carl Blake’s Swabian Hall pork and our seasoning… it’s pretty darn tasty.
but… there’s so many wonderful things that come out of Iowa. I’d dig alittle deeper and go to some real Farmer’s Market and you’ll be amazed at the quality of products that are being produced. It’s exciting and empowering to see small food entrepreneurs building businesses from the ground up, doing the ‘right thing’. thanks for the article. cheers! steph
John Deere Tractors in Waterloo, IA
What about cookies BBQ sauce, maid rites, twin bing candy bars and tastees?
What about Winnebago in Forest City.
Wow! There are so many wonderful things being made in Iowa! Now I need to plan a trip. If only I knew someone with an RV…
Peace Tree Brewing Company in Knoxville, Iowa – Award winning craft beer and root beer!
Be sure to check out Confluence Brewing Co. You’ll be just as impressed. We love the PT’s Blonde Fatale, but Confluence is knocking out some pretty heady ales and IPA’s.
Yum…those sound tasty!!
Also Bing Candy (aka, Palmer Candy) in Sioux City
Yes! Bing Candy bars are the best!!!
Cookies BBQ in Wall Lake, IA
Simply Soothing Bug Spray in Columbus Junction, IA
Should include some of the Iowa winery’s around the state. I don’t have a favorite though.
I would like to add Betty Jane’s Candies to the list. Homemade in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa! http://www.bettyjanecandies.com/
I’m just thrilled to have Charisse guest blogging on our site today. I don’t know if she’s aware of it, but USA Love List was inspired in large part by an Iowa stop on a cross-country road trip: our visit to the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa. I wrote about it at https://www.usalovelist.com/2011/11/road-trip-that-started-it-all
On that same trip, on our way to or from Winnebago, we were driving along and I was looking at some tourist guides. I found some information about the town of Amana, which I had never heard of before. We decided to stop there for the night and do some exploring the next day. We pulled into a wide open campground late in the afternoon and in the office, they gave up a wooden nickel for a free pound of sausage from the Amana Meat Shop. We are not ones to pass up free sausage!
The whole family hopped on bikes and rode the beautiful bike trails into the town of Amana, directly to the Amana Meat Shop. What a treasure hunt! We picked out a package of cheddar brats and bought some spaetzle. We took our prizes back to our RV and had a wonderful meal. Of course the experience was just an appetizer to the wonderful time we had the following day exploring the historic town of Amana and learning about the industrious people who founded it.
This wonderful experience in Iowa was years ago, so I’m very happy that Charisse Lawrence and Jill Homiak have brought the Amana Shops to USA Love List as a guest blogger and sponsor.
founder, USA Love List