Restaurant of the Month: Snake River Grill in Hagerman

Kirt Martin

Chef Kirt Martin likes “Cooking on the Wild Side” and the Snake River Grill in Hagerman is the perfect venue for that passion.  Chef Kirt combines classic French Cuisine techniques learned at Le Cordon Bleu with local and regional foods to create a unique dining experience on the banks of the Snake River.  In addition to a regular menu that includes local trout, sturgeon, alligator and catfish, wild game dinners are a weekly event at the Snake River Grill.  Paired with local wines from Cold Springs and 1000 Springs wineries, the menu draws diners from throughout the Magic and Wood River Valleys.  Away from the restaurant, Chef Kirt keeps busy with his triplet sons and still finds time to cater, teach cooking classes, and has produced recipes and presented cooking demonstrations in Macau and Hong Kong for several  companies.

For more information on the Snake River Grill in Hagerman click here.

Fill your Easter Basket with Local Goodness

Whether you are planning a big Easter celebration for family and friends or just dying a few Easter eggs don’t forget to include Idaho grown ingredients. Fresh local ham, the first of the asparagus, grass-fed lamb, fresh baked breads, Idaho wines-and local eggs of course!


If you are looking for local eggs to dye head over to the Boise Co-Op where you can find a large assortment of local chicken or duck eggs. They also have one of the largest selections of local food in one place including meats, breads, produce, and wines.


If you are hoping to serve a local ham at your spring dinner you have several options. Vogel Farms in Kuna has fresh cured, no additives hams available. Hardball Farms in Nampa also has locally grown and processed hams for sale. Other options include Falls Brands Salmon Creek Farms Natural pork products and Homestead Naturals pork.


Another great option is local lamb. Try local grass fed lamb from Lava Lake Lamb or Gutierrez Family Farms. For a new recipe try Lamb Skewers with Mint Mayo or Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks for

If you are wanting something sweet to fill up those Easter Baskets then look for Weiser Classic chocolate Easter bunnies or homemade toffee from The Toffee Cottage.

If you are visiting a friend’s house for Easter, a hostess gift is in order. Nestle a locally grown flowering plant or a bottle of Idaho wine in a colorful basket for a fun local gift.

Idaho Preferred  products will add flavor and meaning to your holiday dinner. To find more local products and producers visit

Restaurant of the Month: Castle Ranch Steakhouse

Restaurant of the Month- Castle Ranch Steakhouse

Although there are many Idaho restaurants that include local products on their menu, one of the most dedicated chefs in the state using Idaho ingredients is Executive Chef Dean Fuller with the Castle Ranch Steakhouse.

Chef Dean has been a chef for over 38 years in restaurants and catering from Hawaii to New York and California to Virginia before settling in Idaho in 2008.

Chef Dean states, “I work hard to use local sustainable products in all my preparation and Idaho Preferred has shown me that there are more local products here than anywhere in the country. I appreciate the great relationship we have with Leah Clark of Idaho Preferred and Celia Gould the Director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture which has allowed me to connect with many local producers.”

Last year, eight of Chef Dean’s original recipes were included in the Idaho Preferred cookbook, “Live. Eat. Local. Recipes for All Seasons.”

Chef Dean has the opportunity to create local seasonal menus for the Castle Ranch Steak House which include Idaho beef, lamb, pork, trout and sturgeon as well as Idaho dairy products and grains. His use of potato and teff flours provide unique opportunities for gluten intolerant customers to enjoy a wide array of menu options. The Castle Ranch Steakhouse also features the only all local wine menu in town –  featuring 57 varieties of Idaho wines and 9 local craft beers on tap.

The Castle Ranch Steakhouse will be offering an Idaho focused Valentine’s Dinner menu February 13-14th. For more details visit their website or for a menu click here.

We Heart February

While the month of February is filled with thoughts of Valentine’s Day chocolates and wines it is important to also remember that it is Heart Month. Take some time to plan healthy menus and remember that eating nutritious foods is very important for a long and healthy life. Set a goal for February to include some heart healthy foods into your diet. And remember, because we live in Idaho where we grow a lot of delicious heart healthy foods you can eat local at the same time! Even in the dreary months of winter when local fresh produce is not in season, Idaho produces many other healthy options.


Ground flaxseed is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. It can easily be added to your morning cereal, homemade muffins, and yogurt parfaits. Idaho Preferred member, Snake River Seed, has been growing and harvesting flax seed in Rupert, Idaho since 1974. You can find their golden, ground flaxseed through Idaho’s Bounty, at the Boise Co-Op, or at Whole Foods.

Oats and other whole grains are also good for your heart health. Oats are high in fiber and very versatile. Harvest Ridge Organics produces several products using whole grains and oats that they grow on their farm near Lewiston, Idaho. Harvest Ridge now produces organic oats that are available whole, steel-cut, or flaked. For more information on their products visit Online ordering is coming soon or you can find them at the Lewiston and Moscow Farmers Markets and the Moscow Food Co-Op.

Barley-Heart Health

Idaho is the second largest producer of barley in the nation. While a lot of it is malted and used in beer making you can find pearled barley at some grocery stores or online. Barley is a great health addition to soups, stews and salads.  Kauffman Farms located in Filer, Idaho makes a great “Hearty Barley” soup mix. To order their products visit You can find other great barley recipes at

Lentils-Heart Health

Legumes, like beans and lentils, are another healthy addition to your diet.  Beans and lentils are not only a lean vegetable protein and high in fiber, but also contain folate, magnesium, and potassium. Idaho dried beans and lentils are available year around. You can find them in bulk and packaged at Boise and Moscow Co-Ops and at farmers markets. Look for Zursun beans and lentils packaged at the Boise Co-op and at Whole Foods market. Follow the Idaho Bean Commission on Facebook for great recipes using Idaho beans.

Don’t forget the teff. Teff is high in calcium , with a cup of cooked teff offering 123mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C—a nutrient not commonly found in grains—and also a good source of iron. Idaho is lucky to have a teff grower. For more information on The Teff Company visit You can also find it at several retailers.

For other great recipes using local ingredients visit and follow us on Facebook.

Restaurant of the Month: Brick 29

Proudly Serving Local Foods

Chef Dustan Bristol.Chef Bristol, a three-time James Beard nominee, built his restaurants around his commitment to local foods – ahead of the now-popular trend. His cooking career began at an early age making pies with hisfamily from scratch. Dustan graduated at the top of his class from Boise State University with a degree in applied science-culinary arts. He has worked at several great restaurants including being the Executive Chef at Berryhill and Co. and at Murphy’s Steak and Seafood. During his career with Murphy’s Steakhouse he worked with the staff at Idaho Preferred to create an all Idaho 8 course meal featuring 8 different Idaho proteins paired with 8 different Idaho wines for a state marketing conference. This began his passion for local. Chef Bristol worked at Murphy’s until 2007, when he left to open his own restaurant.

logo ideas_EXPANDED_1Brick 29 prides itself in using high quality local products year around including local meats, produce, honey, eggs and more. Chef Bristol uses these local items in unique dishes with a menu that changes with the seasons. This historic Nampa restaurant also has a great selection of Idaho wines, beers and spirits.  Brick 29 is located in Nampa at 320 11th Ave. South and they are open 7 days a week. 

Brick 29 has received top reviews from Idaho Statesman, Idaho Press Tribune, the Boise Weekly, The Scene, and other local papers.

Visit their website by clicking here for a full menu and hours.


Chef Dustan Bristol also owns On the Fly Deli in downtown Boise. You will find a variety of local products on their menu as well. Check out this casual concept deli in Boise’s newest downtown venue at 8th and Main.


Besides being a great advocate for local foods in the state he also has represented Idaho agriculture in Taiwan. In 2011 he joined Idaho State Department of Agriculture staff on a menu promotion with the four-star Ambassador hotel chain in three cities in Taiwan. He developed recipes using Idaho and other Western U.S. ingredients. The event was very successful and in 2012 he was asked to join ISDA staff again for a trade mission to Taipei and Kaohsiung. There he did two different chef demonstrations using products from companies on that mission.

Make sure to show your support for Idaho agriculture by choosing restaurants that support local. For more restaurant ideas click here.

Support Local Farmers in 2015!


Are still searching for the perfect New Year’s resolution What if you resolved to do something that is not only good for you, but also Idaho’s economy? Now you’re thinking “What could be beneficial to me and good for others at the same time?” Eating of course! There is one catch, it is not just eating ANYTHING, but eating locally grown or produced items.

Eating local does not have to be overwhelming. Start small… maybe with one locally grown or produced item every week! With so many great items to pick from it is easier than you think. For a start, visit to see what is in season, find local producers and search for great recipe ideas. Or read Idaho Preferred’s blog to get ideas on what to include in your cart to keep you on track throughout 2015.

Here are a few good places to start….

root veggies-1476

First, there are still Idaho onions, apples, potatoes, and squashes available in many grocery stores. Potatoes and onions are always great to have on hand. Plus, how can you beat fresh LOCAL fruit in January!  Look for Fortress, Symms, and Garrett Ranches apples at your local Paul’s market.

Now for some items that you may not recognize as Idaho products when preparing your grocery list:

Idaho is the third largest dairy state in the nation, so the selection of Idaho dairy products is great. Idaho milk, cheese, and butter are widely available at local retailers. Look for Darigold, Meadowgold, and Cloverleaf dairy products. Want local milk but don’t want to leave the store? Not a problem, Boise Milk Co. will deliver right to your door. Don’t forget the cheese! Ballard’s cheese is available in so many varieties, from blocks to curds, that there is something for everyone.


What goes better with cheese than bread! No pantry is complete without bread and lucky for you it fits in with your resolution. Idaho breads range from artesian loaves to sliced sandwich breads. There is no excuse to NOT buy locally made breads, buns, and rolls. Breads from Zeppole’s, Great Harvest Bread Co. and Alpicella Bakery are all made with Pendleton flour right out of Blackfoot, Idaho. These breads are not only made in Idaho but also use Idaho ingredients.



Now you have a good idea about where to start – don’t forget to check back next week to find out about the large variety of Idaho meats available.



An Idaho New Year’s with Idaho Caviar


The New Year is upon us and it is time to start planning your festivities. This year enjoy some of Idaho’s finest and unique products while ringing in the New Year.  From delicious sparkling wines and beers to caviar… Idaho producers offer it all.

While champagne is usually thought of as the drink of choice for the New Year’s Eve toast, sparkling wines from Idaho are also a great choice. You can pick up a bottle of sparkling wine from Crossings Winery here.

If sparkling wine isn’t for you then pick up a bottle of one of the other varieties of Idaho wine. Whether you like dry reds or sweet whites there is an Idaho wine for you. For a list of Idaho wineries click here, or visit a your local retailer. The Boise Co-Op, Whole Foods, Winco, Albertson’s, Wal-mart, and Paul’s all offer great selections of Idaho wines.

Don’t forget the Idaho Brew! Several breweries and growler fill stations are offering special prices for the holidays. Stop in and fill your growler with your favorite Idaho beer.

Idaho CaviarIf you are feeling adventurous and want to do something really special for the New Year think about Idaho caviar.  High-end sturgeon caviar is produced by Fish Breeders of Idaho right in Hagerman.  To find out where to buy Idaho Caviar or order it direct you can click here for contact information.

Chef Dean Fuller from the Boise Inn and Convention Center has created a fun upscale appetizer using Idaho potatoes and caviar. You can really impress your guests by making these Idaho potato and caviar tacos.  For the recipe click here.Idaho Caviar Tacos


Caviar also pairs nicely with Idaho potato vodka or Magic Valley Wheat vodka from 44° North.  44° North uses the highest quality Idaho ingredients to produce great tasting vodka. 44°North vodka can be found at your local liquor store.

So this New Year’s don’t forget to include local foods and beverages on your party menu and make eating local part of your New Year’s resolution.

Holiday Recipes Ideas

Make your holiday meal not only delicious but also LOCAL!

The holidays are just around the corner and you don’t be caught unprepared when guest arrive. There are so many holiday recipes to choose from, but impress your guests even more by including Idaho products on your menu.

rib roast-1790

Start your meal with some easy holiday appetizers like Beef Bruschetta or try some winter recipes out of the Live. Eat. Local: Idaho Recipes For All Seasons cookbook like the Caramelized Onion Tart. If you really want to impress your guests try Idaho Caviar Tacos. People will be asking you for the recipe to add to their holiday recipe collection.

Idaho Caviar Tacos


There are also a lot of ideas for Christmas dinner recipes including an Herbed Beef Rib Roast with Root Vegetables. If you aren’t in the mood for beef, try this great ham recipe provided by Falls Brand for a holiday ham. For a complete list of holiday dinner recipe ideas click here.


Don’t forget dessert! You can still find Idaho squashes in stores so try this easy holiday recipe for Fresh Pumpkin Pie. Want to try something a little more unique…how about Pumpkin Gnocchi with Huckleberry Sauce and Apple Frizzles.



Whatever is on your holiday menu make sure to include some Idaho products and for more holiday recipes ideas click here.

Eating Local… A Holiday Tradition


When planning your Thanksgiving menu don’t forget the tradition of eating local. Before modern technology allowed food to be shipped around the world, eating local was the only option. For those of us lucky enough to live in Idaho, we have an abundance of local foods to fill our table.  So this year, stick with tradition and create a holiday menu that’s as local as possible.

There are not many Idaho producers raising turkeys, but there are a few out there. Robbins Family Farms turkeys are available at the Boise Co-Op, Wissel Farms, Atkinson’s, and Main Street Markets. For more info on Robbins Family Turkeys click here. Vogel Farms is another option – however you must plan ahead to get one of their locally raised birds.

There are alot of delicious options for local side dishes from traditional mashed potatoes and squashes to sweet potatoes, fingerlings, and greens. Warm crusty sourdough rolls from Alpicella bakery with butter from Idaho’s dairies also deserve a place on your holiday table.  And save room for homemade pie using fresh pumpkin puree or crisp Idaho apples.  Don’t feel up to making dessert?  Stop by Zeppole Bakery and pick up a loaf of their delicious pumpkin bread and top it with some Idaho whipping cream.

If you are looking for some great new holiday recipes check out the fall section of theLive.Eat.Local: Idaho Recipes for All Seasons cookbook. Don’t have this cookbook yet?  Buy it now online at or at several retailers throughout the state.

Live Eat Local Cookbook

Great Idaho wines complement a local holiday dinner and make great hostess gifts too. Idaho wines are widely available direct from the winery and at local retailers such as Boise Co-op, Moscow Co-op, Whole Foods, Albertson’s, Winco, Paul’s, Wal-mart, and more. For a list of Idaho wines that use Idaho grapes and our made right here in Idaho click here.

Idaho wines

And, we can’t forget the growing number of Idaho Microbrews. Sockeye and Payette Brewing are not only making their beer locally, but are sourcing the hops and barley locally as well. They have several beers that pair well with food and are willing to make recommendations if you stop by the breweries.

There are so many great local options for Thanksgiving dinner. Start your holiday menu planning now!

The Delicious Flavors of Fall


It is that time of year to celebrate all the wonderful things about fall including hot Idaho apple cider made by Williamson’s Orchard, Idaho apple butter, pumpkin carving, roasted pumpkin seeds, and of course homemade pumpkin pie.

It is the perfect time of year to head out to the pumpkin patch and pick out your own Jack-O-Lantern to carve. The Berry Ranch is open and ready for you to come visit them. For hours and information visit Wissel Farms also has Idaho pumpkins available. You can either visit their pumpkin patch or they have some ready for you at their onsite farm stand.  If you don’t have time to visit the farm then Idaho pumpkins are available at farmers market, roadside stands, Wal-mart, Albertson’s, Boise Co-Op, Whole Foods and Paul’s.


Once you have your perfect pumpkins carved don’t just throw away all those seeds! Pumpkin seeds make a great snack. All you have to do is rinse the pumpkin seeds making sure to get rid of all the strings and pulp. Then mix in a tablespoon of butter for every cup of seeds and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 325* for 30 minutes or until they are nice and crisp. Make sure to check them frequently because they can burn quickly.

Also, available right now are pie pumpkins. Pumpkin puree is easy to make and tastes so much better than canned pumpkin. Baking pumpkins are very different than your carving pumpkin so if you aren’t sure which is which make sure to ask.  Baking pumpkins are small with thick fine pulp and when baked, mash easily and have a buttery tasting flesh. Some common names you might see are Pick-A-Pie, Baby Bear or Sugar Pie varieties. These small varieties weigh 4-6 pounds and will yield 1 ½ – 2 cups of pumpkin puree.
To make delicious pumpkin puree that can be used in all recipes that call for canned pumpkin simply bake, peel and mash these small sweet pumpkins. First, wash and cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and stringy matter. Again don’t through away those seeds! Cut each half again to speed baking time if desired. Lay pumpkin pieces face down on shallow baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake in 375° oven for 1.5 – 2 hours until flesh can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove pan from oven and allow pumpkin pieces to cool. Remove skin and mash or puree the flesh with potato masher or in food processor. Pumpkin puree can be used immediately in pies, breads, cookies or soup but make sure to bake extra to freeze for Thanksgiving Day dessert! Try this delicious Pumpkin Trifle featured in the Idaho Preferred Cookbook.

pumpkin trifle-1064pumpkin trifle-1064