Thankful For a Farmer

In Idaho we have the opportunity to enjoy local foods year around, so why not plan your Thanksgiving meal based on local ingredients.

Start your local holiday meal off with the main dish, turkey.  Vogel Farms in Kuna has holiday turkeys for sale as well as Red Star Ranch in Hazelton. You must plan ahead to get locally raised birds so visit these farm’s websites to order your turkey today! Add extra flavor to your turkey with some fresh herbs from Purple Sage Farms in Middleton.  Pair your main turkey dish with a Riesling from Indian Creek winery or a Syrah from Colter’s Creek winery.

Rolls deserve a spot on everyone’s holiday plate. Use flour made by Idaho Grain and Flour in McCall and White Satin sugar from Algamated Sugar Company. Spread your rolls with some Idaho butter from High Desert Butter and some jam from Homemade by Dorothy. Don’t feel like making rolls this year? Buy some quick and delicious bake-n-serve sourdough rolls from Apicella Bakery.

Add some color to your plate with Idaho grown vegetables. It’s never to late to find greens grown in Idaho. Coeur Greens in Coeur d’Alene has heads of lettuce and micro-greens available year around and kales is still available at many Farmers Markets. Sweet potatoes grown by Owyhee Produce  and winter squash from Wissel Farms or Kauffman Farm are another healthy and colorful option this time of year. Idaho grown onions and potatoes are available year around as well. Find fresh produce for your holiday meal at the Boise Indoor Winter Market on S. 8th & Fulton every Saturday in November from 9am-2pm. Combine ingredients that are available year around into this delicious cheesy smashed potato side dish.

Don’t forget the dessert! Idaho has new crop apples and pie pumpkins available for the perfect pie recipe. Top off your warm apple pie with ice cream from Cloverleaf Creamery or Farr’s or top your pumpkin pie with Idaho whipping cream. Pair your holiday dessert with a Pinot Gris from Sawtooth Winery or a Sauvignon Blanc from Ste Chapelle Winery.

Don’t feel like cooking this holiday season? Let Brown Shuga Soul Food do the cooking for you. Order your holiday meal here before November 20th.  Or, visit one of Idaho Preferred’s many restaurant partners that feature locally grown ingredients on their menus.

Porter House Market still has local hams and turkeys available. Order your local ham or turkey here.





Highlights from Farm to School Month

In 2010, Congress designated October as National Farm-to-School Month to encourage local foods in schools, support the local agriculture economy and to educate students about the foods they consume. Throughout the month, Idaho celebrated connections between schools and local food.

To assist schools in their efforts, a farm-to-school newsletter was distributed to teachers and food service personal throughout the state that included fact sheets, posters and coloring pages related to eating local. Schools across the state participated in many different ways.

At Capital High School horticulture students celebrated farm-to-school month harvesting potatoes they had planted in March. Throughout the spring and summer, students watered and maintained the potatoes that were grown in large pots. The students also planted a herb box with a variety of culinary herbs used in different recipes through the year. The potatoes harvested were cooked and served to nearly 130 students. The class also took a field trip to a local farm where they harvested carrots, pulled weeds and took a farm tour.

Marsing Health teacher, Miss. Eubanks invited Idaho Preferred into her classroom to introduce the My Idaho Plate to her students. My Idaho Plate provides students with information on how they can eat according to the dietary guidelines,  – and eat Idaho foods at the same time!  Over 80 students learned about the five foods groups, the nutritional importance of each, and about the foods in each food group that are produced in Idaho. After the lesson, the students were split into three groups.  One group learned where in Idaho the foods are grown by placing food models on a big map of Idaho. At another station the students learned about nine different apple varieties grown in Idaho and taste-tested three popular varieties. At the third station students completed a fun worksheet finding hidden facts in Incredible Edible Idaho posters that highlight nutritional and production facts about 24 different foods grown in Idaho.


Fall Harvest

As the leaves change and colder weather begins to settle in, some of Idaho’s top crops – apples and potatoes -come into season. It is no surprise that Idaho is top in potato production, but did you know apples are Idaho’s leading fruit crop? Each year, Idaho produces over 60 million pounds of apples and over 100 million pounds of potatoes!

More than half of the potatoes grown in Idaho are made into French fries, hash browns and other specialty items. In fact, J.R. Simplot Co. was the founder of the French fry in the 1940’s and today remains one of the leading producers of this world-wide favorite.  Like most of the crops in Idaho, the potato thrives on our warm days and cool nights – producing the perfect potato! Idaho potatoes can be found in the grocery store year around. Russet potatoes are the most well-known, however, there are over 20 different potato varieties. Idaho potatoes can be found across the United States and across the world! And it is a good thing that we export most of our potatoes, because if Idaho kept all potatoes grown within the state, each Idahoan would have to eat 49 potatoes every day! Try this delicious potato casserole for your next family get-together.

Wada Farms in Pingree has made baking a potato simple! Their microwave ready easy bakers are pre-wrapped and ready within 6-8 minutes! Look for these baked potatoes made easy at Wal-Mart and other retail stores.

Idaho Apples come in many different colors, textures and flavors – this is because Idaho grows nine different varieties of apples! Apples are harvested carefully by hand to avoid bruising.  Picked and packed daily, they are fresh and crispy when they arrive at local grocery stores in the fall. Apples have no sodium or fat and are high in nutrients and fiber making them the perfect healthy snack.

Idaho has a few U-pick locations where you can go pick apples for yourself or make it a fun family day trip. When picking an apple, look for bright firm texture and tight skin, avoiding apples that are soft, bruised or have dark spots. Apples are great fresh off the tree or baked into a warm pie. Try our apple pie recipe with some local ice cream to top it off.




September is Idaho Preferred Month

September 2017 marks the eleventh annual Idaho Preferred® Month as proclaimed by Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter. Idaho Preferred® Month was established in 2007 to celebrate the height of harvest season and the bounty of local food and beverage products available in September. This is the month when the most fresh, local produce is available at farmers’ markets, retail stores, on restaurant menus and in school cafeterias.

We will be traveling through the state on our Retail Road Show this month! We kicked off Idaho Preferred Month in McCall Idaho at their new Albertson’s store. We will be ending our road show in Rexburg at Broulims. At each location we will be hosting events to increase awareness of the quality and diversity of Idaho-grown products and allow people to sample local produce picked at peak of flavor, talk about why buying local matters and even introduce some of our local farmers!

Find us at these locations:

Wal Mart: Sept 14th 3pm-7pm Caldwell,ID (5108 Cleveland Blvd)
Wal Mart: Sept. 15th 3pm-7pm Nampa,ID (2100 12th Ave Rd)
Albertsons: Sept.16th 11am-3pm Eagle,ID (250 S Eagle Rd)
Albertsons: Sept. 17th 11am-3pm Boise,ID (909 E Parkcenter Blvd)
Wal Mart: Sept. 21st 3pm-7pm Mt.Home,ID
Swenson’s: Sept 22nd 3pm-7pm Twin Falls,ID (991 Washington St S)
Atkinson’s: Sept 23rd 11am-3pm Ketchum,ID 
Wal Mart: Sept 28th 3pm-7pm Chubbuck,ID
WalMart: Sept 29th 3pm-7pm Idaho Falls,ID (1201 S 25th E Ammon,ID)
Broulims: Sept. 30th 11am-3pm Rexburg,ID

Look for our Idaho Preferred bins when you are shopping to assure you are getting locally grown produce!

Help us spread the #local Idaho love on social media channels!
When you choose to purchase local food and beverage product in retail stores, farmers markets and restaurants, take a picture and tag @IdahoPreferred and use our hashtags #IdahoPreferredMonth #IdahoPreferred #LiveEatLocal


It’s Farmers Market Week-What’s in Season?

Farmers Market Week:

Farmers, food producers, consumers and processors across the United States are celebrating Farmers Market Week, August 6-13. Farmers markets and other direct agricultural marketing outlets generate nearly $9 billion for the U.S. economy each year. There are over 50 Farmers Markets in Idaho – to find one near you click here.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Now Appearing at a Farmers Market Near You…

Peaches: Idaho has ripe, sweet and juicy peaches that are in season from August-October. Peaches from Idaho are tree-ripened and picked when they are at peak of flavor. To pick the perfect peach, look for one that is plump and firm but not too hard, bruised or shriveled. Have you ever tried a donut peach?  This sweet treat is aptly named because it is super sweet and shaped just like a doughnut!  Find them at Garrett Ranches and Cliffs Market in Caldwell.

Sweet Corn: Sweet corn is a summer favorite in Idaho and can be found at local fruit stands, farmers markets, road-side stands and retailers. Sweet corn that is ripe and ready to eat should have bright green husks and have individual kernels that can be felt through the husk.  For the best eating experience, corn should be consumed as soon as harvested and/or purchased. If that isn’t possible, store unshucked corn in the refrigerator.

Summer Squash: Summer squash includes zucchini, yellow squash, patty-pan squash and crookneck. Summer squash grows on a bushy type plant that does not spread like winter squash do. Find a delicious zucchini recipe here. Wagner Farms and Rice Family Farms and The Berry Ranch are great places to find a delicious variety of summer squash.

Cucumbers: Cucumbers are in season from July to September in Idaho. Select cucumbers that are firm and not shriveled and should be heavy for their size. Cucumbers are a great way to add flavor, crunch and color to your salad. However, if you plan to make pickles, make sure you buy pickling cucumbers – not slicing cucumbers – for best results. The best place to find local cucumbers is at farmers markets and farm stands.

Melons: A fresh juicy melon is a must have for BBQ’s and picnics. Look for melons that smell sweet and don’t contain soft spots on the rind. Idaho farmers grow watermelon, cantaloupe and other specialty melons.  Watermelon growers in Idaho include: Crawford Farms, Wagner Farms, Wissel Farms and Nielsen Brothers Produce/Pace-Nielsen Farms, Inc. Here is a quick and easy recipe with all Idaho ingredients to take to your next family BBQ.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a healthy snack eaten plain, atop a juicy hamburger or added to a salad or salsa recipe. July through October is the perfect time of the year to find ripe tomatoes in Idaho. A good tomato is bright red (or yellow or orange) and firm enough to resist pressure, but not hard. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature NOT in the refrigerator. Combine fresh Idaho peaches and fresh tomatoes to make this perfect salsa. Look for H&H Farms tomatoes at the Boise Farmers Market every Saturday – or check the Farmers Market in your community for other local growers.

June-A Very Cherry Season

Idaho cherry season is in full swing and now is the best time to buy these summertime favorites. Idaho’s sweet cherries are delicious straight off the stem, or in pies, ice cream or other delicious recipes found here. But don’t delay – get to your local farmers market or retailer soon as Idaho cherry season only lasts 4-6 weeks.

Did you know Idaho ranks fifth in the nation for sweet cherry production? Most of the commercial cherry production is in the southern part of the state in the Sunnyslope area near Caldwell, the Emmet valley and in Washington and Payette Counties. Idaho grows several different varieties of sweet cherries such as Lapin and Bings, but very few tart pie cherries. All Idaho cherries are hand- picked – a big job since a mature cherry tree will produce around 7,000 cherries each year! You can buy Idaho cherries at local retailers, farmers markets, at some farm stands or pick your own! Visit our cherry page to learn more and find cherry-picking locations.

Idaho Cherry Producers:

Garrett Ranches located in Wilder has been packaging fruit since 1914. You can purchase their fruit at Stonehenge Produce and other local produce stands.

Henggeler Packing Co. is a three generation packing company located in Fruitland. You can find their produce at Winco and Albertsons.

Kelley’s Canyon Orchard located in Filer was established in 1908. Their produce can be located at the Boise Farmers Market. They also have U-Pick available on site.

Northview Orchard offers a U-Pick in Buhl, Idaho. They also sell their fresh produce at the Buhl Farmers Market every Wednesday from 4-6pm.

Ribier Gardens is a small family-run farm located in Meridian. You can purchase their produce at the Boise Farmers Market, The Eagle Farmers Market and the North End Organic Nursery.

Symms Fruit Ranch located on Sunny slope road in Caldwell has been producing fruit for over 100 years. Find their cherries at Albertsons, Walmart and other locations throughout southern Idaho.

Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard located in Emmett is a 45-minute scenic drive from Boise. Their Orchard is a great place to get out and pick for yourself. They also sell their produce on site.

Williams Fruit Ranch also located in Emmett offers U-Pick Mon-Sat from 9am-6pm and Sunday from 10am-5pm. Call ahead for availability.

Wood’n Goat Garden is located in Sterling, Idaho. Their product can be found at the Idaho Falls Farmers Market on Broadway.

June – Idaho Wine Month

There is nothing to “wine” about when it comes to celebrating Idaho Wine Month. There are 30 days in the month of June and conveniently over 30 wineries in Idaho so plan to try some new wineries and varieties this month!

The Idaho Wine Commission has made it easy to plan daily events to participate in at wineries across the state. Whether you like music, yoga, good food, or simply Idaho wine with a view, there is something for everyone! So grab a group of family/friends and sign up for an Idaho Wine Tour – or create your own – to try new varieties and check out all of Idaho’s amazing wine regions.

Start the month at Huston Vineyards June 3rd for their summer release party where they will be releasing 3 new vintages: 2015 Malbec, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 dry Riesling. While you’re there try their new Chicken Dinner Rose, a dry 100% Grenache Rose. This new wine was just released on May 13th making it their newest variety since 2009. Closer to Boise you’ll find Terra Nativa’s Spring Wine Festival June 3rd, starting at 12 pm. Check out their 2007 Cabernet which will be featured at $6 a bottle.

The ninth annual Savor Idaho event will be held June 11th. Local wineries, restaurants and community come together to savor the top food and wine flavors in the state. If you were lucky enough to get tickets to this sold-out event, look for the Idaho Preferred booth where you can sample a variety of seasonal Idaho foods while enjoying local wines. A complete list of participating wineries can be found here.

If you missed out on Savor Idaho, you can still enjoy Idaho wines and music all along the Sunny Slope trail. Join Ste. Chapelle every Sunday from 1-4:30 p.m. for their Summer Concert Series. Purchase your ticket ahead of time for the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Or, visit and become a member at Fujishin Family Cellars winery and receive 15% off all wines and merchandise. If Sawtooth winery is closer, join their wine club and receive 10% off each bottle or even better, 20% off each case.

You don’t have to miss out on yoga class while celebrating Idaho Wine Month – just stop by Williamson Vineyards on Sunny Slope Road in Caldwell and do both! Their Wine Down Wednesday event on June 21st will include a glass of wine and a 1 hour yoga class for only $20 ($15 for wine club members).

Idaho is lucky to have wineries that not only have great wines, but also come with a great view. Check out the scenery at Bitner Vineyards, Sawtooth Winery, 3 Horse Ranch in Eagle or Indian Creek Winery in Kuna. Pack a lunch and have a picnic along the way. Find of picnic recipes on our Idaho Preferred website.

Live up North? Be sure to check out Colter’s Creek Vineyard and Winery. Better yet, make a weekend out of it June 23-25th and enjoy a scenic horseback ride, a relaxing night on the deck accompanied by live music and a great view. More information on this great stay click here.

Don’t forget the South-Central Wine Region; stop by Cold Springs Winery in Hammett or do some wine tasting and have lunch and maybe a round of golf at Crossings Winery in Glenns Ferry.

June is Dairy Month too – so enjoy some Idaho cheese with that Idaho wine! Here are some pairing ideas:

We would love to see how you celebrate wine month here in Idaho. Please use the hashtag #Idahopreferred on Instagram in all of your upcoming adventures!

Give Mom Locally Grown Flowers For Mother’s 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 GreenhouseMoss Greenhouse  and Warm Springs Greenhouse supply to local nurseries and garden centers in southwest Idaho including Zamzows, D& B and Albertsons. Or find locally grown flowers and plants at Blue Barn Produce, Edwards Greenhouse, Cloverdale Nursery, Five Mile Farm & Greenhouse 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 compost or soil amendments. Compost from Magic Valley Compost and  Smartgro are produced locally.  These products are a great addition to soil 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. Find a nursery near you:

Locate a Nursery Near You:

Boise Area


Garden Valley

Idaho Falls



Northern Idaho

Twin Falls

Western Idaho


February is National Heart Month

newsletter headerFebruary is National Heart Month and Idaho is bursting with heart-healthy products that you can incorporate into your diet to support your cardiovascular system. With only a little bit of planning, you can create healthy menus with nutritious, local foods.

Follow our easy guide to learn how to add cardiovascular-healthy Idaho cuisine to your diet and give your heart some LOVE!

Ancient Grains

Teff is a low-glycemic grain that is hyper-rich in health benefits. This heart-loving superfood is gluten-free, high in protein and calcium. A cup of cooked teff offers 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach! It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C and iron— nutrients not commonly found in grains. Teff, commonly grown in Ethiopia, is grown right here in Idaho by The Teff Company. For more information on The Teff Company and their products visit Teff grain, flour and other products can also be found at your local retail and specialty food stores.

Baked Goods
Breads made with whole grains, flaxseed and oats are also good for your cardiovascular system. Choose whole-grain loaves from Zeppole, Alpicella and Great Harvest Bread. Looking for a special treat? Try Zeppole Morning Glory Muffins that can be found at their bakery, Whole Foods Market and other coffee shops and cafes around Boise.

Idaho is the second largest producer of barley in the nation. While most of the barley we grow is malted and used for making beer, you can still find Idaho pearled barley at some grocery stores or online. Barley is a healthy 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 on the Idaho Barley Commission website.

Grains & Seeds
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 flaxseed 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 Market.

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 are grown 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 the Harvest Ridge Organics website. Online ordering is coming soon but until then you can find them at the Lewiston and Moscow Farmers Markets and the Moscow Food Co-Op.

Legumes, including 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-round and can be found in bulk and packaged at the Boise and Moscow Co-Ops and at you local farmers markets. Look for Zursun Idaho Heirloom beans and lentils packaged at the Boise Co-op and at Whole Foods market. Visit Zursun Idaho Heirloom Beans recipe page for tasty meal ideas and follow the Idaho Bean Commission on Facebook for other great recipes.

Still hungry? Visit and follow us on Facebook.

Start Thinking About Idaho Greenhouse and Nursery Products

think springWhen planning your landscaping design this year, choose to plant Idaho-grown trees, shrubs and flowers from local growers. Idaho 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 outdoor space.

reggear tree farmIdaho 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 determine how to prepare the ground for site planting. Also, find flowers, hanging baskets and more to design the perfect local outdoor paradise!

Locate a Nursery Near You:

Trees_floweringBoise Area


Garden Valley

Idaho Falls



Northern Idaho

Twin Falls

Western Idaho

Don’t forget!
 Look for homegrown soil and potting products such as Magic Valley Compost and Smart Gro, a premium organic compost that can be ordered direct online at or found in retail locations across the state.

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.