Popcorn, prosciutto, potato chips: Some of the best snacks nationwide are based right here in Iowa.
Bottles of 2 percent milk spin around the production line at the Anderson Erickson milk plant in Des Moines.

Iowans also really like their dairy products, even though the Hawkeye State ranks 12th nationally in total milk production and eighth in milk production per cow, according to the Iowa State Dairy Association.

Here are seven food companies that pump out tasty treats from cities in Iowa:

Blue Bunny ice cream

In 1913, Fred H. Wells started the Wells Enterprises dynasty with a horse, delivery wagon and the help of a Le Mars dairy farmer. By 1925, Wells and his sons began manufacturing ice cream.

The maker of Blue Bunny ice cream also produces Blue Ribbon Classics, Halo Top and The Original Bomb Pop. The company remains one of the top ice cream manufacturers in the country with products found in all 50 states.

In 1994, Iowa’s General Assembly crowned Le Mars the ice cream capital of the world for producing more than 100 million gallons of ice cream a year, more than any other single location in the world.

Sterzing’s Potato Chips

Salty, crunchy, addictive: Since the 1930s, Sterzing’s has been pumping out potato chips from Burlington for the snackiest of Iowans.

In 2018, Sterzing’s tweaked the original chip recipe after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandate banned oils that contain trans fats. But don’t fret, the company didn’t stop production, instead simply adjusting its process to fill its iconic yellow-and-red-trimmed Sterzing’s bags found in stores throughout the Midwest.

Maytag blue cheese

Especially known for its artisan, hand-crafted blue cheese, Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton has created nationally recognized cheese products since 1941.

The son of Maytag founder Frederick Louis Maytag started Maytag Dairy with microbiologists at Iowa State University. Its blue cheese was originally an attempt to recreate Roquefort cheese, a European blue cheese typically made from sheep’s milk. Say the words “Maytag blue” and every chef in America knows the meaning.

Anderson Erickson Dairy

Based in Des Moines, AE Dairy products line the shelves of grocery stores throughout the Midwest. Iver Erickson and William Anderson started the company during the Great Depression in 1930, pasteurizing milk and delivering it in glass bottles.

AE Dairy now sells cottage cheese, eggnog and other milk-based drinks, sour cream, cream cheese, dips and yogurt all with milk sourced from Iowa cows.

Jolly Time popcorn

With sprawling hills of corn extending into the state’s horizon, it’s only logical that a cousin of field corn would find a home in Iowa. Popcorn company Jolly Time popped up in 1914 as the sole brand of American Popcorn Co. based in Sioux City.

The family-run company is in its fifth generation selling popcorn products in all 50 states and 23 different countries.

Did you know: Iowa is also home to the world’s largest popcorn ball! Weighing 9,370 pounds the gigantic eight-foot-tall popcorn sphere sits in Sac City.

La Quercia

After living in one of the regions of origin of prosciutto — Parma, Italy — for more than three years, Herb and Kathy Eckhouse brought their appreciation for the salty, cured ham to Norwalk in 2005.

Meaning “the oak” in Italian, La Quercia claims to be the first company to bring acorn edition prosciutto to the U.S. When free-roaming pigs eat acorns, wild plants, mushrooms and hickory nuts, the prosciutto takes on a nutty, sweet flavor, according to La Quercia’s website.

La Quercia sells various types of salami, bacon, sausage, pancetta and other pork-based products, sourcing all of its meat from within 200 miles of its facilities in Norwalk.

Honorable mention: Quaker Oats

While Quaker Oats calls Chicago its headquarters and its origins trace back to Ohio and Canada, the cereal company’s sole milling facility is located in Cedar Rapids.

Dating to the 1800s, the cereal mill joined Quaker Oats in 1901 becoming the largest cereal milling facility in the world, processing more than two million pounds of oats daily.

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