aMAIZing Idaho Sweet Corn









What’s hotter than record high temperatures?

Idaho sweet corn – the hottest crop to hit local farmers markets and grocers in the month of July!

Why is Idaho corn so tender and sweet? Our local sweet corn is picked fresh daily and available in most stores the very next day.  This is critical as the sugars in corn turn to starch after the ear is picked from the stalk, so buying the freshest corn also means you are getting the sweetest corn on the market. Idaho’s fertile soils, irrigation water, hot, arid climate and long growing season means you can enjoy sweet corn all summer long into the beginning of fall! Idaho’s major sweet corn producers are located in the Southwestern and Southcentral regions of the state. Look for Idaho Preferred® sweet corn at your local farmers markets, roadside stands and grocery stores.

Sweet corn can be prepared in a variety of ways – boil it, microwave it or grill it! Add it to salsas, salads, pastas or enjoy it as a dish all on its own.  Impress your guests at your next picnic with this simple sweet corn recipe: Barbecued corn with sour cream, lime and chili.

Grilled Corn







Idaho Preferred® sweet corn producers include:

Don’t Miss Idaho Cherries


Ready for some great news?! There are over 15 different varieties of cherries grown in the state of Idaho, making Idaho among the top 5 producers in the nation for sweet cherry production! And what’s even better is cherry season is here – starting in mid-June! Cherries are the first fruit of the summer season to make an appearance at farmers markets, produce stands, and local retailers. So whether you plan on indulging in cherries freshly picked or transforming them into a mouthwatering pie, make sure you look to Idaho cherries as your primary ingredient.

If you are looking for a fun family outing check out the Emmett Cherry Festival! This annual event is held during the second week of June and is a great way to get the family excited about the local fruit season. Featuring vendors from across the state, bake-offs, pie-eating contests, and more, this is an opportunity to support local cherry farmers and have a blast!  Another family outing idea is taking a trip to a local orchard for some cherry picking fun.  Although fall and spring freezes have reduced the local cherry crop, you can still find some orchards offering u-pick opportunities such as Northview Orchard in Buhl or Walker Fruit Ranch in Emmett.Idaho Cherries

Idaho cherries are not only sweet and delicious, but they are also a healthy addition to your menu.  Cherries are a good source of antioxidants and Vitamins A and C.  And with only 77 calories, one cup of cherries is a guilt free dessert option.  However, if you are in the mood to indulge, try this recipe for Chocolate Cherry Pie – a quick no-bake dessert appropriate for any event!

The cherry season is short – lasting only 4-6 weeks – so don’t wait to get your Idaho-grown cherries at a local orchard, farmers market or your favorite grocery store!

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For a list of Idaho cherry growers and their locations visit



Give Mom Locally Grown Flowers for Mothers Day!

Local Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! It’s time to show mom your appreciation with the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Looking for some ideas? Here are a few suggestions for locally produced gift items including local hanging baskets, trees, flowers, bedding plants and other nursery products.

What mom doesn’t like flowers? Look for Idaho Preferred tags on hanging baskets and flower bowls as well as flowering Idaho trees and plants that are grown in local greenhouses.  Growers like Ward’s Greenhouse and Warm Springs Greenhouse supply to local nurseries and garden centers in southwest Idaho including Zamzows, Paul’s Market and Albertsons. Or find locally grown flowers and plants at Blue Barn Produce, Edwards Greenhouse, Cloverdale Nursery or Far West Nursery.  Locally grown plants can be found throughout the state.  Alpha Nursery in McCall, Moss Greenhouse in the Magic Valley, Bonners Ferry Nursery in North Idaho and Hollyberry Nursery in Sun Valley all support local growers.  In eastern Idaho you can find local plants at Sunnyside Gardens or Town and Country Gardens.

Maybe this year, Mom would like a flowering tree instead of traditional flowers?  If so, find trees grown by Clayton Tree Farms in Wilder at Franz Witte Nursery or Edwards Greenhouse.  In northern Idaho, look for trees grown by Bonners Ferry Nursery or Reggear Tree Farm.

Bedding plants also make great gifts. Does your mom have a garden or just want to grow a few tomatoes on the patio? If so, buy her tomato plants, herb starts, and other locally grown vegetable plants to assure her of a bumper crop of fresh produce later this summer!

And don’t forget the other nursery supplies you might need like potting soil or soil amendments. Look for Magic Dirt at your local nursery or at Wal-Mart. Compost from Magic Valley Compost and Smartgro along with NuEarth Plant Food are also produced locally.  These products are great additions to Idaho soils and increase your chances of a bountiful harvest.

This year, make Mom’s day with local bedding plants, flowers or trees ….and a little bit of your time to help her plant.  For more ideas and a list of local nurseries click here.


Restaurant of the Month: Zee’s Rooftop Cafe & Zee Christopher Catering


Christopher Zahn, chef, florist and owner of Zee Christopher is a Boise based caterer and florist whose artistic sensibilities are evident in his simple yet colorful presentations. Chef Zahn also owns a small cafe in downtown Boise called Zee’s Roof Top Cafe, a fun place with great local everything. Menus are created that include dishes with ingredients not only locally sourced but in some cases picked that day from Chef Zahn’s own garden. One specialty is the grilled pork loin with wild huckleberry sauce paired with barley pilaf utilized ingredients with deep Idaho roots.


Chris is the founder as well of Cork 4 A Cure, a non-profit that raises money for such projects as the Boise Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the St. Alphonsus Children’s Hospital and the Boise State Women’s Center.

For more information visit his website.

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 .

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.

Visiting a friend’s house for Easter, then 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….

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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.