Mike's Picks: Iowa-Made Products

The Iowa Lottery's special scratch ticket featuring Mike Wolfe – aka the original American Picker is available through the summer. But if you don't win one of their prizes like a trip to LeClaire and baskets of cool stuff made in Iowa, you can still travel around the state and visit some of Mike's favorite places.

Antique Archaeology, LeClaire
Start your trip at the home of the American Pickers TV show, Antique Archaeology in LeClaire. You'll be amazed at the finds showcased in the shop, including vintage motorcycles and cars, unique architectural features taken from torn-down buildings and hundreds of antique items picked by Mike himself.

Mississippi River Distilling Company, LeClaire
Just down the street from the shop is a craft distillery like no other - where the spirits are truly home-grown and hand-crafted. Mississippi River Distilling Company's spirits are crafted completely from grains grown 25 miles or less from LeClaire and each bottle is hand-labeled. Tours and samples are available daily.

Maid-Rite, Various Locations
The very first Maid Rite sandwich was created in 1926 by butcher Fred Angell. He worked to get just the right combination of a special cut and grind of meat and a selected blend of spices. The first sandwich was given to a deliveryman who ate it and exclaimed, “This sandwich is made right.” Now, the chain that got its start in Muscatine serves loose meat sandwiches across Iowa.

Monastery Candy, Dubuque
In the mood for something sweet? How about creamy caramels? Monastery Candy in Dubuque handcraft caramels that are unmatched with the perfect balance of chewy and smooth textures. Don’t just take our word for it. The Washington Post said, “Rarely do we find candy of this caliber” and Reader’s Digest featured them as one of “America’s 100 Best” in 2007.

National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa
Nestled in the hills of Eastern Iowa on the Grant Wood Scenic Byway is Anamosa. On a summer drive you are most likely to see quite a few motorcyclists enjoy the beauty of the area and possibly heading to the National Motorcycle Museum. The National Motorcycle Museum has more than 325 rare and vintage motorcycles dating back to 1902. Not to mention thousands of photos, motorcycle memorabilia and a large toy motorcycle collection. You don’t have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to appreciate the collection that is housed in this museum.

Amana Shops, Amana Colonies
Founded in 1855, the seven villages of the Amana Colonies were founded by German immigrants seeking religious freedom. It became one of America’s longest-lived communal societies and has been named a National Historic Landmark. Visitors will discover art galleries, museums, unique events, live theatre and plenty of German food. Schnitzel anyone?

RAYGUN, Des Moines
Simply put, RAYGUN is “the greatest store in the universe.” Since 2005 Raygun has been making us laugh with the creative designs and sayings they print on t-shirts. You’ll find plenty of tee’s with a great love of Iowa (75% Vowels, 100% Awesome) and the Midwest.

Prairieland Herbs, Woodward
Just northwest of Des Moines in the town of Woodward you can find a mother-daughter team creating small batches of bath and beauty products using fresh, natural, food-grade ingredients. Their business is Prairieland Herbs. Prairieland Herbs has about two acres of land full of gardens and their kitchen is full of bags of herbs, jars of honey, buckets of oatmeal, salt, sugar and, well, I won’t keep going because I think you get the idea.

Fox River® Socks, Osage
Iowa has an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Biking beautiful trails, hiking in the Loess Hills, rock climbing at Backbone… just to name a few! As we are out and about, it’s nice to have high-quality socks make our feet feel oh so nice! Enter Fox River® Socks. These fabulous socks are made at Fox River Mills in Osage and the company is considered to be one of the leading outdoor, athletic, and lifestyle sock manufacturers in the world. Did we mention they're also the "sock monkey" socks?

Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake
There are places that explain history and there are places where you can feel history. The Surf Ballroom is located in Clear Lake and has been host to hundreds if not thousands of artists from big bands to rock legends. It was also the location where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson played their last concert at the now legendary Winter Dance Party.

Kaleidoscope Factory, Pocahontas
The story of the Kaleidoscope Factory is actually a story of a little self-imposed therapy gone awry. In 1997, Leonard Olson began woodworking as part of rehabilitation following a heart attack and bypass surgery. He was inspired to create kaleidoscopes after he was given one as a gift in the hospital and he found that it brought him great joy. To Leonard the mechanics of the kaleidoscope became a metaphor for life. A slight shift and everything can change.

Jolly Time Popcorn, Sioux City
In 1914 the Smith family started the American Pop Corn Company in Sioux City and a century later they are still popping America’s favorite popcorn. You may know them better as Jolly Time. Check out their story as they are celebrating their 100th birthday.

Sawmill Hollow Family Farm, Missouri Valley
Sawmill Hollow is America’s first Aronia berry farm, which begs the questions, what is an Aronia berry? Well, it’s a fruit with a rich flavor distinguished by its signature dark-purple pigment. It is said to be one of the most nutritionally dense fruits on the planet and has three times more antioxidants then a blueberry. Sawmill Hollow Family Farm reintroduced the native Aronia berry to North America nearly 20 years ago and was recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as the first Aronia berry farm in the United States.

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