The options are slim. Look for CarboHut and Garden of Eden. Beyond that, there’s pizza and smoothies. I’ve been a vegetarian for 40+ years, and food is an issue on RAGBRAI. I’ve done six of them, and I’ve learned to pack freeze-dried organic camping meals that I can heat up on my Jetboil stove. Beware of the pie in many places as it contains lard. Fresh veggies and salads are practically none existent. Check out supermarkets (if you feel like shopping after riding all day). The pasta dinners offered are often not vegetarian. Tons of meat, little veg. Sorry, but that’s just the facts. BTW, maryjanefarms.com has great vegan freeze-dried camping meals. Check them out.
DM should be no problem, the smaller towns??? Perry has a large hispanic population so may find some things there and Fairfiels with Maharishi U will probably have some options. Any town with a Hy-Vee grocery store probably has a deli and salad bar in it.
I’ve lived in Iowa my entire life. Done RAGBRAI 23 times. I have yet to find a single slice of pie made from lard. I’ll let you in on a secret. A lot of those little old pie ladies use the word Lard & Crisco, as in vegetable oil, interchangeably.
I’m vegan and had no problems last year. Lots of fruit and bagels on the route; breakfast burritos with extra beans rather than egg; dinner options in every overnight town (some better than others).
Bottom line, it can easily be done.
My 9 year old vegetarian was a week long rider last year. There were food options in every town (fruit smoothies, fresh fruit cups, ice cream, cheese pizza, burritos, baked potatoes, bags of veggies, watermelon, popcorn, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are some of the items I can recall). The lines were usually much shorter than the lines for food for carnivores.
The Schwans truck was out on the route every day and had great fruit juice pops – perfect break from the heat radiating up from the road.
While the nutrition wasn’t as balanced as it is during a normal week at home, mine wasn’t as balanced either. Maybe we’ll bring a jar of Flintstone vitamins along this year…
Howard, a vegan obviously wouldn’t eat the dairy products that my child consumed, but there are a lot of other options. The meet up towns have restaurants that do a nice job customizing orders (plus you get to sit down in the air conditioning). The towns people are all very friendly and accommodating. I don’t think you’ll go hungry and you’ll likely have some great conversations while on your quests for food.
Des Moines and Fairfield will be no problem.
Des Moines: they say we’re camping close to downtown. Tons of vegan and vegetarian options from thai restaurants, to gluten-free and vegan pizza options.
I stopped for a geocache on the Fairfield town square last spring and remember seeing several vegan/vegetarian restaurants. Their farmers’ market is on Saturdays, so it will be starting just as we leave town for Fort Madison.
Tons of fruits and veggies at stands along the route last year.
Not sure about vegan baked goods (I miss my vegan brownies at the coffee shops in Portland)
I wasn’t looking for breakfast in the morning part of the ride, so cant give any help there.
I highly recommend bringing along some granola/power/energy bars for the long ride to Perry- helps to cut down searching for food that sounds good and palatable after you’ve been biking and still have 20+ miles to go.
I did RAGBRAI in 2010 & had no trouble staying vegan (and sadly, gluten free as well).
I brought a lot of my own food.
Oatmeal for breakfast w/fruit picked up along the route. Bobo bars are also small and good for breakfast.
Lunch was often a vegan jerky (primal strips = lots of protein, packable and quick) with fruit and peanut butter, GF pretzels, dried fruit & nuts.
Dinner was often pasta (mung bean threads for lots of protein) or quinoa or something similar. I’d pick up veggies at the end of the day to add. If you have a way to dehydrate food that’ll make things quick and easy. Camping meals where you just add boiling water will also have a decent amount of protein and salt.
It wasn’t the most delicious week. I planned my food the same way I would for a glorified camping trip.
I was lucky enough to get hosted each night which gave me access to a stove top.
This year I’m thinking of bringing my small camping stove. However, what do you guys think about a canister of fuel (the kind used for backpacking)? We had a SAG driver in the past but this year my stuff will be in the big trucks… worried about the temperature & the fuel…. stupid? can I get away with it?