Congratulations to the Smitten Kitten!

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DES MOINES — There were at least as many cats as people at the very well-attended celebration of the Smitten Kitten’s fifth anniversary as the city’s leading cat groomer and grand opening of its kitty hotel.

Owner Betsey Qualley put together a great shindig that included a nifty gift bag (which included Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Premium Catnip) and two pet psychics. Our own Harry the cat, a six-year-old black domestic shorthair who is Simon’s sidekick and fellow Animal Rescue League rescue kitty, sat for a psychic reading.

We’re thrilled to see the Smitten Kitten’s continued success and wish Betsey all the best. And, we’re gratified that Betsey was the first retailer to feature Lucky Badger Farms Catnip. To learn more about her business, check out

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A promising 2013 crop

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It’s difficult to imagine how this year’s weather in the beautiful, gently rolling hills of southern Iowa could be any more different than last year.

Unseasonably warm weather woke the catnip early last year, with many plants almost a foot tall by the second week of March. Two weeks later, a hard frost damaged not only our catnip but a variety of crops across the state, dramatically reduce the apple and grape harvests. That was followed by a serious drought that took a big bite out of Iowa’s two cash crops — corn and soybeans — and affected just about everything else planted in 2012.

This year’s weather has been unseasonably wet. In fact, we’ve just experienced the heaviest April-May precipitation total in state history.  That included a five-inch snowfall the first week of May and several weeks in which Lucky Badger Farms received two or more inches of rain. All the water kept us from getting into the field until today — a full 90 days later than last year. Surprisingly, the catnip seems to be starting out stronger than ever. And, Simon couldn’t be happier!

Bone-A-Patreat Becomes Third Store to Sell Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Catnip

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Bone A Patreat

DES MOINES — Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Catnip is now available at Bone-A-Patreat  Healthy Pet Market, 4110 University Avenue.

Bone-A-Patreat is locally owned and operated by April Lawrence. Spencer Lawrence found his ideal job as General Manager and Chief Toy Tester and recently began a career as author.  Stop in to meet April. You might also meet Spencer, or his little sister, Roma, if they aren’t taking the day off. Your furry friends are very welcome. Just remind them to bring a leash when they come in with you.

April Lawrence, Spencer’s boss, opened the store in November 2004 in Beaverdale and moved to the current location in October 2010.  Roma joined the team in 2010.  She is the basically the pin up pup of the store and ideal treat taster.  Roma likes to give lots of kisses and make people smile.

Bone-A-Patreat becomes the third retail outlet to sell Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Catnip. The store’s email address is and its phone number is  (515)279-2544

Heart of Iowa Becomes Second Store to Offer Lucky Badger Farms Catnip

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WEST DES MOINES — The iconic Heart of Iowa Market Place in the historic Valley Junction shopping district has added Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Catnip to its product line-up.

The Heart of Iowa Market Place, located at 211 Fifth Street, offers opportunities to sample, share and remember Iowa with distinctly Iowa gift items and products.

“As much as the products themselves, it is the experience we deliver that keeps our customers coming back and leads them to tell their friends and family about us,” owner Kelly Sharp explains “The Heart of Iowa is a place where customers can refresh and explore; a place reminiscent of a time when the pace was slower, the family were near and neighbors were friends. We specialize in Iowa gift baskets, gourmet foods, souvenirs, John Deere, Iowa Hawkeye and Iowa State gifts.  We are a key resource for gift items that are “All Things Iowa.”

The store’s phone number is (515) 274-IOWA (4692) or toll-free 866-274-IOWA (4692).

Smitten Kitten, Des Moines Cat Groomer, Boutique and Supplier, Becomes First Retailer for Lucky Badger Farms Catnip

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DES MOINES — The Smitten Kitten, the capital city’s first and finest cats-only groomer, is now featuring Lucky Badger Farms “Just Buds” Premium Catnip among its line-up of quality feline products.

“This is certainly a big day for us at Lucky Badger Farms Catnip as we’ve worked hard to bring our product to the marketplace. Betsey Qualley has the highest standards and expectations, which is why her business has been so successful. For her to endorse our product by agreeing to place it alongside the Smitten Kitten’s other premium products means the world to us,” Lucky Badger Farms owner Eric Woolson said.

The store, located at 549 28th St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Its phone number is (515) 333-4920. To learn more about the Smitten Kitten and owner Betsey Qualley, be sure to visit

The Catnip Crop Cometh

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What an exciting weekend at Lucky Badger Farms as timely rains and warm temperatures have coaxed this year’s fledgling catnip crop from the black soil of southern Iowa.

We’ve had the good fortune to avoid torrential downpours that dumped as much as five inches of rain on other parts of southern and central Iowa. We empathize with those farmers who will be forced to replant corn and soybean crops washed away by flooding.

On a brighter note, our first seeds, sown during the May 9 weekend, have produced robust little catnip plants that now stand two to three inches tall.  Plants in the area planted over the Memorial Day weekend have just broken the surface. Bright green clusters brim with optimism for a promising late-summer harvest.

Our third section was planted over the weekend and also appears poised for strong growth.

We expect to plant the remainder of this year’s crop before the week is out, covering a total of 1.7 acres. The 2012 crop will cover the same space before an expected expansion to nearly seven acres at the start of 2013.

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Hooray for Rain! … Just Not Too Much of It

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Tuesday’s record high temperatures gave way to several hours of light steady rain this morning, which was exactly what Sunday’s planting needed.

The forecast for the rest of today and tonight calls for isolated severe thunderstorms with the possibility of hail, high winds and heavy rains. Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t get too much of a good thing, which would wash away our first planting and require a replanting.

Today’s rain is also a good for the second planting, which will go in the ground this weekend.