Contact us: | Visit our Producer's Website: | Gary's Project Blog

Gary Olsen, the Executive Producer of The Co-op Cookery has a BLOG that gives you an interesting perspective on just what it takes to organize and execute a television series. This is a great way to stay abreast of developments almost as they occur.

Sara Selchert Carpenter of Steve's Ace Home and Garden Center has joined the cast of The Co-op Cookery this season in a segment called "The Artful Gardener." Sara is a graduate of Iowa State University where she studied landscape architecture and design. She returned to the family business after college, and she has a continuously growing client list in the Dubuque Tri-State area. Sara is comfortable in front of a camera having worked on the national award winning television series on Mediacom Cable, The Garden Organic.

Meet Brittany Bethel, our resident chef on the Co-op Cookery. Brittany is with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and each episode she shops the market in search of the ingredients for delicious and easy to prepare meals and prepares the dish on camera. Brittany co-hosts with Chrissy Hogue.


Our host for the show is Chrissy Hogue. Chrissy is an accomplished performer who loves doing shows like ours. I worked with Chrissy on another project involving Farmers' Market two years ago. Chrissy is an actress of stage and screen. She is constantly working on projects, travels the country from coast to coast performing, and for some odd reason she enjoys working for our little television show. We love her for that.


Hi, I'm Gary Olsen, and welcome to my newest project. The Co-op Cookery is a television series that promotes the virtues of healthy fresh foods and ingredients sourced locally. Our mission is to improve the collective nutritional profile of what we eat and narrow the knowledge gap between what grows from the ground and ends up on our plates. And most importantly we are promoting the advantages of Co-operative marketing that puts growers in direct contact with their consumers. Topics range from cooking to gardening with emphasis on local cuisine and the creative people in our community who grow and prepare delicious and nutritious foods.

We are keeping a diary of our progress on this project, and you can follow along.

Learn More

Click here for the December 6, 2012 PowerPoint Show presented to representatives of the Dubuque Food Co-op and Matter Creative Center!

People Behind the Project

Gary Olsen

Formerly the Media Producer for the Dubuque Community Schools, Gary has won several regional and national awards and recognition for his work in television and on-line media. They include the NSPRA Award of Excellence for documentary, the cable industry's Beacon Award for Outstanding Series Kids in the Kitchen, and Gary was named a Cable Leader in Learning for his work on The Garden Organic cable series in which children learn how to grow and preserve their own food. Gary is founder of Kids in the Kitchen Productions, a non-profit corporation that is dedicated to the production of quality and entertaining commercial and educational media.


Jim Terry

Jim is a chef who has managed and created outstanding restaurants in the Dubuque Tri-state area. He's known for his creativity and teaching ability, and he has a passion for locally produced and organically grown food.


Kimberly Feltes

Kimberly graduated from Loras College and received her degree in Communications and Public Relations. She has done some outstanding work on behalf of area non-profits including the Girl Scouts. Kimberly and her husband Jim have two sons who have been featured on The Garden Organic cable series. One day the show needed an interviewer to go on camera, and Kimberly was handed the microphone. She did such a good job we have tapped her as one of our segment production positions on a pilot episode of Farmers' Market TV. Kimberly is currently serving as president of Kids in the Kitchen Productions in charge of producing this show.

Shannon Gaherty

Shannon works for the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation as the Newcomer Relations Coordinator. Shannon is responsible for coordinating one-stop concierge service for newcomers relocating to Dubuque to ensure that individuals and families who have chosen Dubuque to live, work, and play are not only welcomed into the community, but are also equipped with the knowledge they need to make the most of their experience. Shannon has been on both sides of the fund raising table having previously worked for the Dubuque Racing Association's grant program. She also worked for Loras College in alumni development. Shannon is the secretary treasurer on the board of Kids in the Kitchen Productions.

Jordan Degree

Founder of Matter Creative Center, Jordan has formed a home for creative teaching and learning in our community. Located in the historic Millwork District, Matter is a place where students of all ages can learn through hands-on creation of art projects. Painting, sculpture, photography and all manner of artistic endeavors are taught. Matter is a creative partner in the production of The Co-op Cookery. A growth plan is in the works for the Millwork District based production to be the seed from which grows a media production learning lab. Such a lab will sprout other shows including documentaries and original films. Jordan is a teacher, mentor and administrator of one of Dubuque's most exciting non-profit, quality-of-life enterprises.

Brandon Noel

Don't let Brandon's age fool you (he's still in high school). Brandon is the best technical engineer in the area and has been working in television for four years, now. Technical director for the national award winning Kids in the Kitchen, The Garden Organic and several other projects, Brandon got his start in his father John Noel's DJ business. Brandon embraced multimedia and television which inspired him to become something of an entrepreneur. Opportunities continually present themselves to Brandon who is in demand as a technical engineer for special events.

Justin Noel

Justin is our field technical producer. He's been involved in television for five years starting out as a performer and named technical prodiucer for the Co-op Cookery before initial production began. Justin is the sound engineer for Roosevelt Middle School Choir, Band, Orchestra and all stage productions. On the set of Co-op Cookery Justin works with the talent helping them stay on schedule and on task..







Embroidery Graphic


Season 1 Episode 6: "Let's Make a Tabbouleh!"
Episodes you can watch now!
 Episode 1: Asian Spring Rolls. And Sara Carpenter talks about hydrangias. The show also features Mary Moody of the Dubuque Food Co-op. Chrissy interviews her and asks about the anticipated grand opening. We meet some interesting people at Farmer's Market including one of the oldest families that represent generations of Farmer's Market vendors, the Kruse Family.

Recipe Episode 1 Asian Spring Rolls


Episode 2: We are shopping for the fresh ingredients for an exciting spring salad with a vinaigrette dressing made from locally produced maple syrup. It's not just for pancakes you know.

Recipe Episode 2 Maple Syrup Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

Episode 3 is all about Black Walnuts and Kale. Hosts Chrissy Hogue and Brittany Bethel shop the market for the freshest seasonal ingredients and turn them into a recipe right in the middle of the street! This episode's key ingredient is kale and black walnuts harvested in the area. You may know Kale as the dark green curly leaves often used to decorate salad bars. But hey! It's one of the most nutritious and flavorful green vegetables you'll find.

Recipe Episode 3 Fresh Kale Salad with Walnuts Recipe

Episode 4 Chrissy Hogue and Brittany Bethel gather ingredients for a Greek salad. But a spring storm interrupts shopping momentarily and the hosts take their finds to a local restaurant to prepare this week's dish. Thanks to Lea Droessler, owner of L. May Eatery on Main Street for her hospitality. The Artful Gardener, Sara Carpenter, talks about some extraordinary shade plants.


Recipe Episode 4 Greek Salad

Episode 5 Our intrepid hosts, Chrissy Hogue and Brittany Bethel, hunt for the freshest ingredients in Dubuque Iowa's historic Farmers' Market, talk to growers, and prepare a stunning dish right in the middle of the street! This week Fincel's sweet corn is used to make a fabulous fresh corn salad. The Artful Gardener, Sara Carpenter, talks about berry bushes in our series "Edible Landscaping."

Recipe Episode 5 Fresh Fincel"s Sweetcorn Salad

Episode 6, the final in the series of Season 1 of the Co-op Cookery - Farmers' Market Edition, features our intrepid hosts, Chrissy Hogue and Brittany Bethel as they collect ingredients for a fabulous tabbouleh salad. Ingredients include fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, garlic and bulgur wheat. Bulgur is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground into particles and sifted into distinct sizes. And the Artful Gardener, Sara Carpenter, provides landscaping ideas with a variety of new breeds of conifers.

Recipe Episode 6 Tabbouleh Saladule

We captured some comments by attendees, and even shot some exterior footage. Not only will it be a food store featuring local, fresh and unique foods from our area, but it will be an important social hub for this Historic Millwork District. The event was capped off with a group photo (this image is a frame grab from this video) of attendees taken by Ron Tigges of Digital Dubuque. The actual photo will be available on
The One Thousand Member Celebration at Dubuque's Historic Millwork Distric held March 23, 2013. It was festive, hopeful, and chock full of enthusiasm. The event also served as an update by co-op president, Andy Mozena. Much of the utlities are in place, the flooring, and it doesn't take much imagination to see how great the co-op will be in this exciting space  

Who did the music for the show's theme song? Our theme music is by a local band, "We're Late and Smell Like Beer." An old and dear friend of mine, Eric Faramus, allowed me to use this theme for a previous project, but the production didn't come to fruition. I loved the track so much, I built our current animated open with the track as my inspiration. The music makes the it so much more special. WLASLB is a zydeco band that, sadly, is no longer together (don't you love the name?). Nonetheless, they managed to produce two wonderful albums which were given to us by Eric who sang lead on many of their songs. Eric and I worked together years ago in a creative agency, and he is one of the most talented musicians and artists I have ever met. Eric is the one playing the sax by the way. Click on album to enlarge.

The Concept

Our Show's Mission (This version of our logo (right) will be used as a set piece.)

  • To promote the virtues of locally grown and prepared foods
  • To promote the virtues of our Dubuque Food Co-op
  • To promote the virtues of fresh organically grown wholesome foods
  • To provide opportunities for producers to connect with their customers and customers to know their farmers.

What does a show consist of?

  • It's ostensibly a cooking show
  • To promote the virtues of our Dubuque Food Co-op
  • Shopping with the Chef
  • Cooking on Camera

But it’s also a gardening show in which we visit area farms and gardens and produce segments that will be used in the show.

What does the series consist of?

  • Topics for the show segments are practically limitless
  • Topics are seasonal, hence we could produce a spring season (10 to 13 shows) and a late summer/early fall season (same number)
  • Shows can be broadcast multiple times and be instantly available on Web.
What does a show consist of?

Each 30 minute show adheres to a strict formula in which a prescribed number of minutes are budgeted for each segment.

  • Show Open and introduction of guests and topic
  • Show Animated Open
  • Shopping with the Chef
  • Cooking with the Chef
  • The Artful Gardener
  • Primary Commercial Break
  • Recipe Wrap Up and Reveal
  • Closing Credits

Co-op Cookery —Farmer’s Market Edition

The Co-op Cookery Farmer’s Market Edition is a local television show airing on Mediacom’s MC-22 stations that cover cable markets in seven states. With the emergence of the local food movement in our community, the coming on-line of Dubuque's first food co-operative (Dubuque Food Co-op), and the energy generated by Dubuque's vibrant and Historic Millwork District, we have the makings of an exciting cultural and culinary experience.

The Co-op Cookery is a television series produced by award winning media producer, Gary Olsen. The show promotes the virtues of healthy fresh foods and ingredients sourced locally. Topics range from cooking to gardening with emphasis on local cuisine and the creative people in our community who grow and prepare delicious and nutritious foods. The Farmer’s Market edition will feature the growers themselves who are dedicated to the health advantages of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Welcome to The Co-op Cookery! Take advantage of this opportunity to align your business with this exciting project.

ith the emergence of the local food movement in our community, the coming on-line of Dubuque's first food co-operative (Dubuque Food Co-op), and the energy generated by Dubuque's vibrant and Historic Millwork District, we have the makings of an exciting cultural and culinary experience. Imagine in the middle of this milieu a cooking and gardening show extolling the virtues of wholesome fresh foods prepared by a parade of talented and creative chefs. And featured are the growers themselves on a tour of area farms and gardens dedicated to the health advantages of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. This is our television show. Welcome to The Co-op Cookery!

If you have read this far, then you are undoubtedly on our team of partners and stakeholders. Welcome!

Right now we are anticipating the opening of the new Dubuque Food Co-op which is projected to coordinate with the 2013 holiday shopping season. In advance of this eventuality, we decided to launch our series early and take advantage of the Dubuque Farmer's market, one of the oldest continuously running markets of its kind in the US. You can watch the series develop online and on youTube.

Bookmark this Website so you can return to keep track of our progress. This will be our headquarters for all information about the project and it will also serve as an archive of what we've accomplished.

Our partners in the project include pioneering organizations who have chosen to locate in the growing Historic Millwork District. They include Matter Creative Center (Jordan Degree) and, of course, The Dubuque Food Co-op (Mary Moody).

Gary Olsen

Why this is so important: It's about our food.
resently there are four food Co-ops operating in Iowa and approximately 225 farmers’ markets in the state. However, only 20% of the food we serve on our tables is sourced in Iowa. That means 80% of the food Iowans buy comes from out of state and out of the country. There are efforts going on right now throughout the state to improve the opportunities for growers to access local markets for their products. A growing number of consumers, enthusiastic about buying local foods, account for the increased number in food Co-ops and farmers’ markets that put local growers in direct contact with their customers. As a result, new generations are discovering the joys of buying fresh produce, cooking from scratch and gardening.

However, these trends in promoting local food sources, though encouraging, still have a long way to go to actually impact the diets and nutrition of Iowa families. Obesity and the diseases it causes are highest among populations in the US and Mexico than nearly every other nation in the world. In the US, lifestyles have favored prepared, processed and convenience foods over more natural, healthy foods.

Gardening, growing one's own food and preserving one's bounty were very popular enterprises practiced in the first half of the 20th Century, but convenience and economy in the second half of that century displaced much of these valuable skills.

Over the last half century, small farmers have been supplanted by industrialized food producers that add little in terms of nutrition to the foods we eat but guarantee lower consumer prices. It becomes a conflict of quantity and freshness vs quantity and price. Processed foods contain high levels of of sodium and sweeteners that add unwanted calories that contribute to our nation's obesity epidemic. In restaurants across the nation, fast food becomes fat food and children are particularly susceptible.

We need a way to encourage and share the knowledge of the joys of cooking fresh vegetables, gardening, and buying locally grown foods especially with our younger generations. This is an educational process that is best advanced by the medium of television.

Our project is designed to create a continuous and sustainable means of communicating the virtues of locally produced fresh foods and sharing the techniques and know-how of preparing, preserving and consuming locally grown fruits and vegetables..

The food Co-op movement is destined to grow in Iowa. Food Co-operatives tend to take on the cultural identity of their communities showcasing local growers, chefs and restaurants specializing in local cuisine. They all combine to produce a profound source of community pride.

2013 Gary Olsen Digital Media Design. Images on this page other than those of the project team are used with permission or otherwise attributed.
V Sponsor Links Sponsor Links Steve's Ace Dubuque Food Co-op Link Iowa State University Extension Link Unity Point Health - Finley Hospital Link