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by Jessica Waytenick •

Contact – Jessica Waytenick, 800-747-7800, ext. 827 or jwaytenick@visitquadcities.com

Quad Cities – With a visit to the Quad Cities area, visitors are within minutes from picturesque rural towns and rolling fields that give a glimpse into the importance of agriculture to this Midwestern area.  Whether stopping at a farmers market or touring the John Deere Pavilion, there are many unforgettable agritourism experiences.

Joined by the Mississippi River, Moline/East Moline and Rock Island are the riverfront cities in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport make up the cities on the Iowa side of the river.  Together, these cities and the surrounding communities make up the Quad Cities.

Agriculture has always been an important part of this area.  Iowa is the top producer of corn and Illinois leads the country in soybean production.  In combination with the rich farmland, the Mississippi River provides a “highway” for distribution of these exports.  The river supports between 50 and 60 percent of total U.S. corn exports and 30 to 45 percent of total U.S. soybean exports. Over 90 percent of the corn and soybean exports from the Gulf of Mexico were transported via barges on the Mississippi River.

In the Quad Cities, visit the Mississippi River Visitor Center on Arsenal Island in Rock Island, Illinois.  From the indoor observation deck, learn about the river from the onsite park rangers and view barges as they go through Lock and Dam 15 carrying grain, petroleum, gravel, coal, chemicals, and other essential products up and down the river.

It was the Mississippi River, available land, and available resources that brought John Deere to Moline, Illinois, in 1848, where he began a steel plow manufacturing business that revolutionized the farming industry. 

Moline is still John Deere country and Deere & Company’s World Headquarters are still located here.  Along with the corporate headquarters, the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline is one of the most comprehensive agricultural exhibits in the world.  It is here that visitors can see current and antique agricultural equipment in the trademark green and yellow.  There are exhibits, interactive computer displays, and an array of new and antique machinery. 

A John Deere combine can unload its yield in one minute and visitors can see how these impressive machines are built at the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois—home of Deere & Company's largest combine factory. The facility produces the innovative, custom-built STS combine, using high-tech laser and welding practices and a revolutionary paintprocess. A newly-renovated Visitor Center offers on-site tours and information on the factory.  (Tours are subject to availability and factory production schedules.) 

 

In addition to the John Deere attractions, take a trip to the farm at the Country Corner Farm Market in Alpha, Illinois.  Open May-October, visitors can experience over 40 acres of homegrown produce featuring asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, melons, tomatoes, vegetables, pumpkins, Indian corn, popcorn, and winter squash.  There is also a petting zoo, hayrack rides, and fun park.  Fall is a special time at Country Corner with a corn maze, huge pumpkin patch, and special events.

 

 

Stop at one of the area’s farmers markets to pick out some seasonal items that have been grown locally, along with other hand-made favorites.  From May through October, the Quad Cities offers outdoor markets at:

 

·       East Moline Farmers Market, 1112 42nd Ave., East Moline, Ill.
8 a.m.-12 noon Wednesday and Saturday

 

·       UnityPoint Health - Trinity Market, 500 John Deere Road, Moline, Ill.
8 a.m.-12 noon Saturday

 

·       UnityPoint Health – Trinity Market, 4500 Utica Ridge Road, Bettendorf, Iowa
3-6 p.m. Monday

 

·       Bettendorf Farmers Market, 2117 State Street, Bettendorf, Iowa

 

2-6 p.m. Thursday

 

·       Freight House Farmers Market, 421 W. River Drive, Davenport, Iowa
3-6 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday

 

·       Davenport Farmers’ Market, NorthPark Mall, 320 W. Kimberly Rd., Davenport, Iowa

 

8 a.m.-12 noon Wednesday and Saturday

 

 

Year-round Indoor Markets

 

·       West Kimberly Mall, 4004 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport, Iowa
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, extended to 8 p.m. on Thursday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

 

www.westkimberlymall.com

 

·       Freight House Farmers Market, 421 W. River Drive, Davenport, Iowa
3-6 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday

 

www.frieghthousefarmersmarket.com

 

 

Bringing food from the farm to the table, The Machine Shed restaurant in Davenport, Iowa, has been dedicated to the American farmer.  Since it opened in 1978, their dedication to the farmer means that they began by and continue to use only the best beef, pork, and poultry.  They cook from scratch using fresh ingredients that continues to win numerous awards.  In December 2008, The Machine Shed was chosen as “The Best Breakfast in America” by the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise series and featured on their show.

 

 

100% of the grain comes from within 25 miles of the Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa, purchased directly from the farmer who grew it.  According to the American Distilling Institute, the Mississippi River Distilling Company is one of only about a dozen micro-distillers in the country and the only in Iowa or Illinois to use only local grains in their spirits.  They also sell their alcohol byproducts to a local processor who redistills them into alcohol fuels.

 

 

The Quad Cities Buy Fresh, Buy Local Chapter works with farmers, consumers, restaurants, and institutions to create opportunities to support and strengthen the local economy.  They helpfarmers market their products with high impact at an economical cost.  The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign also helps restaurants and institutions promote themselves as supporters of the local economy and the users of the finest produce and products available.  www.bfblqc.org

 

 

The Quad Cities Food Hub is part of a network of regional food systems in the state of Iowa.  The Market Store features local as well as regional and other natural and health foods. The Food Hub carries regional items you can’t find anywhere else in the Quad Cities.  The Quad Cities Food Hub is also an aggregator and online marketplace of locally grown and produced food.  They make it possible for farmers to work together to meet the growing demand for local, sustainable food in the Quad Cities Food Hub area.  www.qcfoodhub.com

 

 

The Healthy Living Fair at the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, Iowa, is the third Saturday in June.  The event brings information about healthy living through the natural foods, products, resources, and services of the local region.

 

 

The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau has won two awards from the Illinois Governor’s Conference for their agritourism programs.  Agri-Tours Illinois is designed for professional agricultural meetings and incentive programs to come to Illinois.  www.agritoursillinois.com  The Illinois Countryside Journeys tour option is for the leisure traveler and motorcoaches to take advantage of the agricultural attractions in Illinois.  www.illinoiscountrysidejourneys.com  

 

 

Along with agriculture, the Quad Cities is also known for its abundance of special events, festivals, attractions, museums, biking/hiking trails, river boats, gaming, golf, outdoor recreation, shopping, performances, professional sports teams, restaurants, and, of course, the Mississippi River.

 

 

For information on the Quad Cities area, call the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at www.visitquadcities.com.

 

When You Go

Mississippi River Visitor Center

Arsenal Island, Rock Island, IL

309-794-5338

www.missriver.org

 

John Deere Pavilion

1400 River Drive, Moline, IL

309-765-1000

www.johndeereattractions.com

 

John Deere Harvester Works

1100 13th Avenue in East Moline, IL

Toschedule a tour - Phone: (800) 765-9588 or Email: johndeereagtours@johndeere.com

(Toursare subject to availability and factory production schedules.) 

www.JohnDeereAttractions.com

 

Country Corner Farm Market

5333 US Highway150, Alpha, IL

309-629-2359

www.country-corner.com

 

The Machine Shed restaurant

7250 Northwest Blvd. (I-80/Exit 292), Davenport, IA

563-391-2427

www.machineshed.com

 

Mississippi River Distilling Company

303 N. Cody Road, LeClaire, IA

563-484-4342

www.mrdistilling.com

 

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