Ward’s Greenhouse at Albertsons

Locally Grown – Ward’s Greenhouses at Ten Select Albertsons Locations

Ward's Greenhouse at AlbertsonsNew this spring, Albertsons stores throughout Idaho are featuring pop-up greenhouses stocked with local nursery products from Ward’s Greenhouse. These greenhouses in ten select locations throughout the state are stocked full of Idaho-grown flowers, plants and hanging baskets.

Find a Ward’s Greenhouse at an Alberstons location closest to you:

#169 – 909 East Parkcenter Blvd Boise ID 83706
#193 – 1653 South Vista Avenue Boise ID 83705
#161 – 10700 Ustick Rd  Boise ID 83713
#184 – 6560 South Federal Way Boise ID 83716
#180 – 3301 W Cherry Lane Meridian ID 83642
#126 – 640 Highway 16 Emmett ID 83617
#162 – 5100 Overland Rd Boise ID 83705
#182 – 250 South Eagle Road Eagle ID 83616
#3339 – 10565 W. Lake Hazel Rd Boise ID 83709
#3337 – 700 E Avalon St  83634 Kuna ID 83634

Be sure to grab some beautiful locally grown flowers before they are gone!


The Griddle: May Restaurant of the Month

The Griddle LogoThe Griddle, our May Restaurant of the Month, is rich in local ingredients and history. With over fifty years of experience in the restaurant biz, the Aboud family takes pride in making delicious, house-made recipes and creating a spirit of hospitality for everyone to enjoy. The Griddle owner, David Aboud, offers patrons diner-style fare with a gourmet twist in an up-beat and friendly atmosphere. 

Having truly mastered the art of breakfast, The Griddle has built a reputation which has become their well-known slogan, Good Cookin’.

The Griddle’s Executive Chef and Catering Manager, Martin Oshiro, serves signature family recipes such as Dad’s Hotcakes and other delicious creations like homemade Peach Crepes filled with local cream cheese and peach sauce made from Symms Fruit Ranch peaches. Everything on the menu is cooked to order, so please be patient and expect a longer wait than your nearest Denny’s – it’s well worth it! Chef Oshiro carefully prepares food of the highest quality using local ingredients and the finest care. Savor one of the breakfast specials like Auntie Mo’s Spuds – breakfast Idaho Potatoes with local bacon, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, cheddar cheese, two eggs and toast from Alpicella Bakery.

It’s hard to pass up the amazing breakfast spread, however, The Griddle also throws-down a serious lunch menu. All of their burgers contain meat sourced locally from Meridian Meat.  A must-try: Betty’s Grilled Meatloaf – Mama Betty’s famous meatloaf smothered with sauteed onions and jack cheese, piled high on grilled local sourdough bread. But please, save room. All of the desserts are made from scratch using secret family recipes. Hop on their carousel of seasonally rotating homemade pies. Strawberry-rhubarb season will be here soon! Mmm.

The Griddle has three locations in Idaho where friendly service and exceptional food never fail:

  • Meridian | Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 2pm
  • Eagle | Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 2pm
  • Boise | Hours: Monday – Sunday: 6:30am – 2:30pm

Have an event to be catered? Chef Oshiro will create a unique menu just for you! Next time you decide to dine out, try The Griddle for breakfast, lunch or brunch.


Farm to School Survey: How Does Idaho Compare?

Farm to School LogoThe preliminary Farm to School Census results are in!  The USDA has released some of the results for their recent Farm to School Census.  The census was sent out to school districts across the nation to ask specific questions about participation, items served, benefits and challenges to serving local foods, and other important considerations for the program.  So how does Idaho compare when it comes to Farm to School participation?  By some metrics, Idaho is ahead of the curve.  In other measurements, Idaho has some opportunities for improvement.  Let’s review the facts.

  • Idaho has 3% higher school district participation in Farm to School activities compared to the national average.
  • 55 Idaho’s 120 school districts are participating in Farm to School activities.
  • 247 Idaho schools participate in Farm to School activities.
  • 107,000 Idaho students participate in Farm to School activities at school.
  • 20% of nonparticipating Idaho schools plan to participate in Farm to School activities in the future.
  • Over $4 million have been spent in Idaho schools on locally produced agriculture products.
  • Schools nationwide spend an average of 10% on local food items, based on the overall budget.
  • Some Idaho school districts reported spending as much as 13% of their budget on local items.

IMG_6127As the facts above show, Idaho can be proud of the overall commitment to the Farm to School movement.  Of course, there is certainly room for improvement.  It is encouraging to see schools interested and ready to participate in Farm to School activities.

Schools often wonder why they should participate in Farm to School activities.  As we hope our Learning Lunchroom newsletter will communicate, there are many benefits to Farm to School participation.  One quantifiable benefit touched on in the Farm to School Census is the impact on local communities.

According to the USDA, “Several studies estimate that buying local food has a multiplier effect of 1.4-2.6 throughout the local economy; for every dollar spent locally, another 40 cents to $1.60 of economic activity is generated.” 

This multiplier effect means that our neighbors and communities are better off financially than they would otherwise be.

Additional information from the Farm to School Census is available at FarmToSchoolCensus.fns.usda.gov.  Also, be sure to check out our June Farm to School newsletter (the last one of the school year) for more census information.  The USDA plans to release the full census data set later this month.


Citation:  USDA.  FarmToSchoolCensus.fns.usda.gov.  May, 2016.

If you would like to receive our Farm to School Learning Lunchroom Newsletter or would like us to add additional members of your food service staff to our mailing list, please contact Emily Klodowski.



April Restaurant of the Month: Grit

GRIT American CuisineGrit American Cuisine in Eagle, Idaho throws you a fun flavor curve ball with cuisine inspired from New York to Nashville. Their down-home American-style recipes are crafted in-house by Chef Paul Faucher, and they source ingredients from Idaho whenever possible. Idaho pork from Salmon Creek Farms and beef from Snake River Farms are the basis of many menu items including house made charcuterie. Their drool-worthy menu lists items such as Fire Roasted Fingerlings, Farro Salad and a wide variety of gourmet pizzas.

Owned by Dave Faulk, known for his highly successful Porterhouse Meat Market in Eagle, this restaurant is fast becoming a neighborhood favorite due to its consistent quality foods, great beer and wine lists, and small-town friendly atmosphere.

Check out Grit’s menu then stop in for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch!

Monday-Thursday: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm

Grow Local Goodness

This Spring, Grow Your Own Local Food

Grow Idaho GoodnessSpring is here and fresh, local produce is popping up at farmers markets and retail stores. Grow your own local goodness and plant Idaho fruits, veggies and herbs in your garden this year. Find starter plants from nurseries like Ward’s GreenhouseMoss Greenhouses, Blue Barn Produce and More, Rustic Gardens, Sunnyside Gardens, Alpha Nursery & Garden Center, and Olson’s Greenhouse Gardens that either sell direct or distribute to local retailers like Zamzows, Albertsons, D&B Supply, Home Depot and Walmart.

Find all of your local gardening supplies, seeds, grow trays, soil and more at Far West Landscape and Garden Center, Town & Country Gardens and Alpha Nursery. You can also get expert advice or find an all-season gardening calendar that stretches from spring through fall planting and advises when to sow, plant in the ground and harvest.

TomatoLook for homegrown soil and potting products such as Magic Valley Compost or Smart Gro, a premium organic compost that can be ordered direct online or found in 14 retail locations across the state. Learn more here. These products are great additions to Idaho soils and increase your chances of a bountiful harvest.

Are you new to gardening and unsure where to start? There are so many great resources for how to begin a garden and enjoy fresh, local food all harvest season. Visit The Old Farmers Almanac online for tips on vegetable gardening for beginners.

Another fantastic resource for any level of gardener is the Vegetable Garden Planner. The planner adapts to your specific geographic location and advises when to sow, plant and harvest your crops. The planner also has tons of helpful tools, including email reminders of what needs planted from your personalized garden plans and a journal-like feature to track progress and record and how your garden is growing!

herbs iStock_000019906784Large_RGBWith so many wonderful fruits, vegetables and herbs to choose from you can plant your garden so something new is popping up throughout Idaho’s long harvest season. Look for the Idaho Preferred logo on bedding plants and herb starts to make sure you are planting Idaho-grown goodness in your garden!

For a full list of Idaho Preferred nurseries and garden centers, click here.


Find Idaho-Grown Trees

Spruce Up Your Landscape with Idaho-grown Trees, Shrubs and Flowers

Trees_floweringWhen planning your landscaping design this year, choose to plant Idaho-grown trees, shrubs and flowers from local growers. Local nurseries grow a wide variety of hearty, beautiful trees and shrubs that thrive in Idaho’s high desert climate. Whether you’re looking to start your perfect green oasis from scratch, or add to what you currently have, Idaho nurseries can recommend the perfect plants for your yard.

Find Idaho-grown Trees - Option B

Idaho growers concentrate on zone hardy, deciduous trees, evergreens, ornamental fruit and flowering trees as well as drought tolerant shrubs including potentilla, currant, cistena plum, juniper, redtwig dogwood varieties, spirea, virburnum and forsythia. Our local growers and retailers are experts in their field and understand that soil conditions vary greatly throughout Idaho. Visit one of our Idaho Preferred nurseries throughout the state and allow them to help you find the best trees and shrubs for your specific area and how to prepare the ground for site planting. 

Find Idaho-grown Trees - 6Look for homegrown soil and potting products such as Magic Valley Compost and Smart Gro, a premium organic compost that can be ordered direct online or found in 14 retail locations across the state. Learn more here.

You can find more local landscaping and gardening products at retailers like D&B Supply, Zamzows, FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, Walmart, Home Depot and Albertsons stores all throughout Idaho.

Locate a Nursery Near You:

Boise Area


Garden Valley

Idaho Falls



Northern Idaho



Middleton School Idaho Day

Middleton Idaho Day Symms Apples (2)In Middleton, Idaho Day is part of the school district’s curriculum.  It celebrates all things Idaho and teaches students about our state.  One of Idaho’s greatest strengths is our agricultural diversity.  So it makes sense that Middleton’s Idaho Day would not be complete without a wholesome, delicious, and creative school lunch menu featuring a variety of locally sourced foods.  When planning a meal for over 800 kids, ranging in age from 5 to 18, you undoubtedly have to be creative.  In Middleton, that task was taken on by Barbara, Valerie, and their amazing kitchen staff.  The team developed a great menu for kids of all ages and the response from students was terrific.  Although there were some challenges, the team pressed on to create a tasty and successful Idaho Day meal.

Middleton Idaho Day Kitchen StaffFor Idaho Day the food service team developed a unique and versatile menu for each school using items grown or made in Idaho.  While some modifications were made for the individual schools, the menus were quite similar overall.  At the high school there were four options for students to choose from.  Of course, each option featured famous Idaho potatoes, either baked russets or roasted fingerlings from South Wind Farms.  Some items, like the fingerling potatoes, were cooked simply by roasting them with olive oil, salt, and pepper in order to highlight the flavor of the potatoes.  Other menu items used Idaho ingredients in less obvious ways, like the moist and rich brownie which used dehydrated potato flakes.  Other highlights of the Idaho Day menu, for which the majority of ingredients were sourced locally, included beef tacos, fish sandwiches, cheese quesadillas, yogurt parfaits, and apples.

Middleton Idaho Day Lunch Line 1Overall, feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive.  One high school student told Barbara, “You guys did great. The only thing that would be better is if we had no school today.”  Students were interested and took note of the local additions to the menu.  Across the high school cafeteria you could see students enjoying the food and talking about the Idaho meal.  Some students were a little more skeptical of the Idaho menu.  At the elementary schools there were students who did not want to eat the fingerling potatoes because they did not know what they were.  Although fingerling potatoes are seemingly perfect for younger kids due to their natural “finger food” size, recognizing the food is an important consideration for younger kiddos.

The glass half full perspective: how great is it that kids are being exposed to unique, locally sourced ingredients at school?  We think it is fantastic!

Middleton Idaho Day Elementary SchoolAs with most menu planning, Barbara and Valerie were not without challenges.  One of the more common obstacles for buying locally is the cost associated with some local ingredients.  For Idaho Day in Middleton the increased expense was realized on some ingredients, like local beef that was about 30% more expensive than beef from the traditional distribution sources.  In addition, quantity and availability of local foods was tricky due to the early spring season when fresh produce options are limited.  These issues certainly did not stop Barbara and Valerie from putting together a complete and affordable Idaho meal for their students.

Buying food locally can seem like an overwhelming task when considering quantity and cost but that does not have to be the case.  Barbara, Valerie, and their team showed no fear when putting together a great Idaho menu for their students.  The Middleton Idaho Day was an excellent example for bringing the Farm to School mission to life.  Seeing the students get excited about local, Idaho food makes it all worthwhile.

Would you like to see your school’s Farm to School activities featured in upcoming blogs and newsletters?  Let us know!


March Restaurant of the Month: Flatbread


Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria gives the phrase,“locally sourced ingredients” a new meaning. Working directly with Idaho farmers, this fine establishment uses all local tomatoes during the fresh tomato season to keep as much Idaho product in their menu as possible. Not only are the tomatoes local, they also use Idaho-grown flour in their pizza crust, fresh herbs and locally produced cheese.

Flatbread - pizza + beer + saladIf you’re looking for the most authentic Neapolitan Pizza in town, this is the place. Flatbread has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of their pies. From their 800-degree wood-burning ovens to becoming D.O.C (Denomination of Control, or Certificate of Origin) certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association in Naples, Italy. We recommend trying the classic Margherita pie which has three ingredients:
Fior di‏ latte, (mozzarella) San Marzano Pomodoro (tomatoes), Fresh Basil.

To keep it convenient no matter where you live, Flatbread has three locations in Idaho:

From the moment you walk in Flatbread’s door they consider you family and invite you to settle in, sip, savor and stay awhile. Buon Appetito!

Follow Flatbread on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please visit their website to check out their menu and for more information.

Backcountry Bar Now in Albertsons

We are excited to announce Idaho Preferred member, Backcountry Bar, has recently won an account with local retailer, Albertsons! On February 29, 2016 these healthy, energy-packed bars hit the shelves in all Albertsons stores in the Pacific Northwest.

Backcountry barWhen owners Karie Boesiger and her mother-in-law Kris set out to create a healthy alternative to a chocolate chip cookie, they never dreamed it would someday find its way into one of the largest food retailers in the United States. However, today Karie and Kris are celebrating their 10-year anniversary in business with the exciting news that Albertsons has signed on to carry their product.

“My passion for baking started years ago in my grandmother’s kitchen where my sister and I would bake our favorite cookies on summer visits,” said Karie. “Later, my mother shared a scrumptious recipe for chocolate chip cookies that became a favorite with many friends and family members.”

Backcouny BarsThe Backcountry Bar is an all-natural bar specifically designed with maximum flavor and nutritional balance for active people. The bars come in original and gluten-free recipes for those with special dietary needs. Loaded with dried fruits, nuts, seeds, rolled oats and all-natural peanut butter, the Backcountry Bar is great fuel for any outdoor (or indoor) adventure!

Distributed to over 200 retail stores, you can find the Backcountry Bar in health food stores, food co-operatives, grocery stores, fitness and outdoor retailers and coffee houses in Idaho, Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Now look for their all-natural nutrition bars made with Idaho ingredients on shelves at your local Albertsons store!

You can meet Karie and sample The Backcountry Bar at the Hyde Perk Coffee Shop grand opening on Saturday, March 5 from 9am-12pm. Hyde Perk is located on 13th Street in Hyde Park, Boise.

Follow them on Facebook and visit their website for more.

Feb Restaurant of the Month: Grant’s Neighborhood Grill

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.34.02 PMNew kid on the block, Grant’s Neighborhood Grill in Meridian is the Idaho Preferred February Restaurant of the Month. It’s all in the name, Grant’s specializes in seasonal American cuisine with a friendly neighborhood feel. This small, family-owned restaurant is proud to serve you the freshest food available in a thoughtful manner – just like home. Striving to use locally sourced ingredients when available, Grant’s chefs provide classic and new interpretations for seasonal dishes centered around steak, seafood and juicy gourmet burgers. Their creations are inspired from local, farm-raised animals and vegetables, seasonal fish runs and ocean catches. Be sure to call ahead to find out what fresh, seasonal seafood and steak selections are on the menu for your visit! Their food is so fresh, many of their dishes are limited in quantity and only available when in season.

If you are craving a homemade meal just like mom, we suggest binging on the brunch menu. The signature Grant Skillet with your choice of bacon, steak or house-made sausage, Idaho potatoes, peppers, onion, local cheese, mushrooms, spinach and eggs your way could be the best way possible to start a day. Be sure to order something with one of their house-made items like bacon, smoked salmon or biscuits. The prices are right too so you won’t break the bank.

Grant's SteakFor dinner, start with a charcuterie plate of house-cured meats, artisan cheeses, dried fruits and local honey. Then check out their specials or ask what local items they are currently serving. If you are indecisive and enjoy meat, have confidence knowing you can’t go wrong with any of their steak selections served with seasonal veggies. They also have vegetarian options like the Parmesan Gnocchi sautéed in fresh herb butter tossed with seasonal vegetables. All of Grant’s steaks are all natural and hormone, steroid and antibiotic free.

Grant’s offers a full bar with an impressive range of local brew and fine wine from Sockeye, Boise Brewing, Slanted Rock Brewing, Powderhaus, Bear Island, Wallace Brewing and Koenig Vineyards. No matter what day of the week you’re looking to dine out, Grant’s is open all seven days from 10AM to 10PM.


Hours: Monday-Sunday 10:00am to 10:00pm
Reservations: (208) 884-4278
Please visit their website to check out their menu and for more information.