Tag: Food & Drink

Tomato Taste at Plum Grove

The public is invited to sample tomatoes at the annual Tomato Taste at Plum Grove, hosted by the Master Gardeners of Johnson County. The Tomato Taste is a tribute to heritage tomatoes in Iowa’s long history with food.

Several varieties of heritage tomatoes will be sampled.

The historic residence was the home of Robert and Friendly Lucas, built in 1844. Robert served as the first governor of the Territory of Iowa from 1838 until 1841. Iowa was admitted to the Union as a state December 3, 1846.

After years of negotiating with the Johnson County Historical Society that cares for the property, longtime Master Gardener Betty Kelly launched the heritage garden in 1995 as the state planned Iowa’s Sesquicentennial. Kelly, who has researched the family including Friendly’s diaries and letters, and newspapers to identify what people were eating, says every effort is made to be authentic in the garden and for each tasting opportunity.

Master Gardeners plant and maintain several gardens at the historic property. Today, Plum Grove boasts three gardens: Kitchen Garden (1995), Flowers (1998), and a Wildflower Garden (2000).

This event is open to the public. Suggested donation is $3.


Taste of Plum Grove

Celebrating 25 years of the Heritage Gardens!

The annual celebration, hosted by the Johnson County Master Gardeners, is a tribute to Iowa’s history and food.

Built in 1844, Plum Grove was the home of Robert and Friendly Lucas. Robert served as the first governor of the Territory of Iowa from 1838 until 1841. Iowa was admitted to the Union as a state December 3, 1846.

After years of negotiating with the Johnson County Historical Society that cares for the property, longtime Master Gardener Betty Kelly launched the garden in 1995 as the state planned Iowa’s Sesquicentennial. “The garden was another opportunity to inform the public about the state’s history, agriculture and its citizens.”

Through the years, Plum Grove heirloom gardens have received local, state and national recognition including the first Iowa State Service Award, National Smithsonian Garden Award and an Irving Weber Award. Twice Plum Grove has been a featured garden on the Project GREEN Garden Tour.

Each year, the food for the Taste is prepared and served by Johnson County Master Gardeners.

This event is open to the public. $5 suggested donation.


Plum Grove Season Opening Celebration

This event is the perfect opportunity for families to get out of the house over the long Memorial Day weekend. Kids can burn off some energy making crafts and running around the beautiful yards of Plum Grove; adults can savor the relaxing atmosphere and participate in activities that are designed with them in mind (visit this page periodically to stay updated about the activities and special guests that will be featured at this event).

Event POSTPONED: East Frisian Tea Party and Musicale

UPDATE: This event has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. More information will follow when possible.

This annual event will feature delicious German food researched and provided by the Iowa City Historic Foodies. East Frisia, a cultural region that spans northwestern Germany, has a particular style of drinking tea that is recognized by UNESCO as part of Germany’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The musicale will commence after the meal and will include lively music performed by a range of musicians, both instrumental and vocal. This year celebrates anniversaries of Iowa City staples: the Preucil School of Music and the University of Iowa’s Division of Performing Arts. German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday is also being celebrated with the East Frisian theme and the classical selection of music being performed at the musicale.
To register for this event, please email programs@johnsoncountyhistory.org or call our office at (319) 351-5738. Cost of admission is $30 for members and $35 for the general public. 

Photo from the University of Iowa






The University of Iowa’s Division of Performing Arts was founded in 2000 and is turning 20 years old this year. The Division consists of the School of Music and the departments of Theatre Arts and Dance. The Division is well-known for encouraging creative minds and contributing new compositions to the music world.


Photo from Preucil School of Music

Preucil School of Music was founded in 1975 and turns 45 this year. Preucil is a non-profit learning organization that follows the The Suzuki Method of teaching. The Suzuki Method was created by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki as a way to teach children—or anyone who wants to begin learning a musical “language”—and puts importance on principles such as repetition, learning with other children, and encouragement.

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer who unarguably impacted the face of western music. Beethoven was born in 1770 and the world of music celebrates his 250th birthday this year. His most famous compositions include his nine symphonies, the most famous of which are the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. He started losing his hearing in his late twenties and was completely deaf by the time he was 46 years old. He wrote several of his most beloved works after he became deaf, including his Ninth Symphony.

… For two years I have avoided almost all social gatherings because it is impossible for me to say to people “I am deaf.” If I belonged to any other profession it would be easier, but in my profession it is a frightful state…

Celebration of History

Celebration of History is an event designed for the diverse members of the JCHS. Think of it as our State of the Union Address. If you don’t go to anything else, go to this. There’s always good food and a good time had by all.

Mr. Paul Juhl is our speaker this year. He’ll present his research on Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect, and discuss his new book The Iowa Angle: Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Celebration of History will be held at the Johnson County Historical Society Museum. It will be the last time this event and the Irving Weber Award will be presented in our current building before the move to the Xtream Arena!

Tentative Schedule:

12 PM — Silent Auction

12:15 — Catered Lunch

1 PM — Presentation of Irving Weber Award

1:15 — Presentation by Paul Juhl

2 PM — Arena Walkthrough


Registration is requested. Please fill out the form below or call the JCHS offices at (319) 351-5738.

Aisle of Lights (JCHS Activities)

The Coralville Aisle of Lights is an annual winter event perfectly suited to the dreary weather. The brightly lit luminarias around the city give a warmth and friendliness in the cold. The JCHS will have crafts, baked goods, and hot cider for you and your family!

This event is free and open to the public.

The JCHS partners with the Antique Car Museum of Iowa to provide a reduced admission price for both museums on this special day.

Open House: Xtream Arena & GreenState Family Fieldhouse

The ArenaCo board members and Xtream Arena & GreenState Family Fieldhouse staff invite the community to come out to Vesta for a community open house. At this month’s event, we will hear from Johnson County Historical Society Director, Alexandra McKendree about their eventual relocation into the new facility attached to Xtream Arena. Also, hear from city representatives, Mortenson Construction, staff members from facility operators, and Spectra Venue Management. A short program will start at 5:30pm. Hope to see you there!



Xtream Arena Open House

Backpocket Brewing is hosting the Xtream Arena Open House! This open house is designed to answer questions from the public.

Announcements will be made about naming rights for the Fieldhouse and the first event that will be held at the Arena!

Picnic at Plum Grove

All members of our community are welcome to bring a picnic meal and head to Plum Grove to bask in the beautiful scenery and pleasant company June 30th, July 28, August 28. Members of the Iowa City Historic Foodies will be present with tasty treats.

This event is free and open to the public.

Hudson Community Night

Hudson’s Tap on Highway 1 is giving 10% of their nightly proceeds to the JCHS and the further preservation of Johnson Co.’s history, culture, and irreplaceable artifacts.

Stop on by from 5-10 p.m. to eat delicious food (such as Housemade Hummus or their scrumptious Gravity burger with sauteed onions, bacon, green chilies, and jalapeno cream cheese) and drink any one of the 40 beers they have on tap.

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