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.



Porterhouse Market: February Restaurant of the Month

meatThere are many great places in Idaho where you can take your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, but this year why not make a special meal for two at home? Perhaps your culinary skills aren’t at the same level of some of Idaho’s top chefs, but with the right, local ingredients and a great recipe, anyone can make a tasty homemade meal!

At Porterhouse Market, our February Restaurant of the Month, you can order the freshest, high-quality cuts of meat from pork crown roasts, frenched racks of lamb, prime rib of pork, short ribs, beef cheeks, shanks and many more specialty items! Meat is what they do best. They also make in-house fresh sausage, pot pies, lasagna, salads, dessert bars and more to help you create the ultimate dining experience.

Owner Dave Faulk, carefully selects the best sources for his ingredients. Dave grew up on a small beef ranch and dairy farm, has worked in a packing house and has fished for salmon in Alaska. Needless to say, Dave knows his fresh protein sources. After leaving the fishing grounds he started his first business as a butcher who specialized in processing meat for hunters and ranchers – this was the seed that sprouted Porterhouse Market!

Dave’s passion for food and cooking leads him to relentlessly search out only the finest ingredients available in Idaho or as close to home as possible. They visit and tour each of the locations where they source their salmon, beef, pork and trout and personally know the ranchers and farmers who locally produce their lamb, tomatoes eggs, spices and more.

Whether you want to make your own dinner at home using the best seafood and meat from the market, or order from their catering menu and claim it as you own, Porterhouse Market in eagle is your one-stop-shop. Looking for a quick and tasty lunch? Stop by from 11:00-2:00pm and get the freshest cold cut, house roasted deli meat sandwich. Their hot lunch and salads are served from 11:00am until 5:00pm. Porterhouse will also cater your next event, business lunch or special occasion. With 15-years in business, they are professionals who are passionate about sourcing, preparing and serving the finest, highest quality, locally sourced cuisine!

Porterhouse Market
600 S Rivershore ln ste 190
Eagle Id. 83616

Phone: 208.938.1441
Fax: 208.938.3985

Idaho Pizza Company: January Restaurant of the Month

Idaho Pizza Co.Our January Restaurant of the Month pick was easy as pie (pun intended). Idaho Pizza Company is the perfect place to grab a local meal the entire family will love, especially after the holidays during these snowy January days when you’d rather dine out than cook at home. This local pizza joint has been around since 1998 and has been a staple in homes around the Treasure Valley.

It all started when original owner and founder, Don Cantrell, started working as a busboy for a California pizza franchise at age sixteen. After working for the company for over 27 years, he had his “ah-ha” moment and decided to open his own pizza franchise, Idaho Pizza Company. Now owned by John and Leah McNicholl and their four children, Idaho Pizza Company is fully dedicated to their employees, customers, hard work, enthusiasm and delicious pizza!

Idaho Pizza CompanyThis locally owned and operated franchise truly takes great pride in supporting their local economy. Idaho Pizza Co. provides jobs to over 300 local families and supports Idaho farmers and ranchers. Their pizza and other menu items are made with Idaho grown, raised and processed ingredients. The flour and cheese alone account for approximately 32% of their food products. Now that’s keeping it local! View their full menu here.

So the next time you’re wondering what you should have for dinner or order-in for the big game, swing by one of the many Idaho Pizza Company’s locations from Weiser to Twin Falls, and dine-in, carry out, or have delicious, local pizza conveniently delivered right to your front door!

Find an Idaho Pizza Company near you.

Could You Eat Local for a Year?

Pledge to live local in 2017.

At the dawn of the new year, we all make resolutions about how we are going to improve ourselves over the next 365 days…

Most of these personal promises revolve around our health and fitness goals – whether we want to lose that ten pounds we packed on between the months of October-January, commit to cooking more and eating out less, choosing healthier drinks and snacks, giving up caffeine, actually using that monthly gym membership, gaining more lean muscle mass, walking every day, trying a new sport or activity, drinking more water… and this list goes on.

Live eat local

These are all excellent resolutions, but what if we tried something new? What if we pledged to live local for a year. What does that mean you might wonder? Well, to us at Idaho Preferred, living local means choosing Idaho grown, raised or processed products and supporting our farmers, ranchers and Idaho agricultural industry that contributes to 20% of our economy in the Gem State. If we tried, could we commit to eating local, Idaho grown, raised or processed products for a full year? It might take some planning, a few sacrifices and a little bit of creativity – but isn’t that what New Year’s Resolutions are all about?

OK, real talk – we realize that Idaho’s climate doesn’t allow for fresh produce 365 days of the year, and yes, It would be very difficult to eat 100% Idaho all year round. (Unless you did some SERIOUS planning during harvest season and canned and froze all of your favorite fruits and veggies for the winter months.) But could we commit to eating 20%-50% Idaho for a full year? Perhaps so!

Idaho has a vast abundance of agricultural products, some of which you might not even realize are made with local ingredients, making it easier than you think to consume only food and drink from this great state. Want to learn how? Read on!

Make 2017 the year you resolve to live local and eat the amazing agricultural products we grow and produce in this wonderful state.

Even during these cold winter months you can find quality local items on grocery store shelves. You just need to know what to look for and where and when to look for it! Idaho also has over fifty wineries and a new craft brewery seems to pop up everywhere you turn, as well as many restaurants that proudly serve local foods, beers, wines and spirits all year-round.

What You Can Find Local in January

Fresh Produce

Apple ShutterstockYes, it’s winter in Idaho but you can still find some fresh produce items including potatoes, onions, apples, garlic, winter squash and herbs. Potatoes, onions and squash are always a great staple to have in your kitchen as they can be added to almost any meal. There are still local apples floating around in January, too. Look for Fortress (Henggeler Packing Co.), Symms Fruit Ranch and Garrett Ranches apples at your local retail stores including Walmart, Albertsons, Winco, the Boise Co-op and Whole Foods.


brisketMeat and fish are an Idaho raised product that is always in season. Look for local beef, lamb, pork, bacon, sausage, elk, chicken, trout and venison when out shopping for your next meal. Try something different like Idaho raised yak meat from Howling Winds Farm. Look for some of our amazing Idaho meat and fish producers including 24 West Ranch, Black Pine Deer Farm, Clear Springs Foods, Snake River Farms, Double R Ranch, Lava Lake Lamb, Fish Breeders of Idaho, Gutierrez Family Farms, Falls Brand, Desert Mountain Grass Fed Beef, M&N Cattle, Sisler Ranch, Snedaker’s Fine Swine, Vogel Farms. (Click on the ranch name for more info.) Use our handy website search function to find other protein producers in the state.


dairyIdaho is the third largest dairy state in the nation. We have an abundance of locally produced dairy products available all year-round. Look for milk, cheese, butter, cream and other products from Darigold, Meadowgold, Eden Creamery, Indegoat Che’vreHigh Desert, Wood’n Goat Garden, Ballard Family Dairy and Cloverleaf Creamery at retail stores including Walmart, Albertson’s, Winco, Whole Foods Market, M&W Warm Springs MarketRosauer’s and Vogel Farms Country Market.

Beans & Lentils

Zursun Lentils in BagsAdd a different kind of protein to your diet and shop for local beans and lentils. 13 Foods has frozen, ready-to-use garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and lentils grown right in the Palouse area! Look for their products in the frozen section of your local grocery stores. Prefer dry beans? Zursun heirloom beans and legumes can be found at the following locations here.

Flour, Bread & Baked Goods
Fresh baked bread

Do you like to bake? Purchase Idaho flour from Harvest Ridge Organics or Idaho Grain and Flour Mill. You can also get all of your other main baking ingredients: butter, milk, eggs, sugar all from Idaho.

If being Betty Crocker in the kitchen really isn’t your thing, you can still choose to purchase baked goods from some of our great bakeries that use Idaho ingredients such as Alpicella, Great Harvest Bread Co., Sweet Valley Cookie Co. and Zeppole Baking Company. Idaho breads range from artisan loaves to sliced sandwich breads. There is no excuse to NOT buy locally made breads, pastries and baked goods! Breads from Zeppole’s, Great Harvest Bread Co. and Alpicella Bakery are all made with Pendleton flour right out of Blackfoot, Idaho.

Specialty Products

Wagner's MustardWhether you’re looking for on-the-go energy, your daily chocolate fix or a savory snack, Idaho has an abundance of local, specialty foods that you can find in stores everywhere. Look for honey, jelly, jam, baking mixes, bars, soup mixes, syrups and more. A few of our favorites include: Cowboy Tom’s flapjack mix, Kaufmann Farms hearty barley soup mix, The Berry Ranch and Baker Ranch jams, jellies and fruit syrups, D’arcy’s Bakeshop pasta sauces, Fat Daddy’s caramelized onions and BBQ sauces, Fitz Wraps, Fresca Mexican Foods corn chips and tortillas, Homemade by Dorothy huckleberry, jams, syrups, baking and hot cocoa mixes, Litehouse dressings, Legacy Farms jams and jellies, Backcountry Bars, Pepper Fusion soy sauces and pepper jellies, Casa Valdez tortillas, Wagner mustard, Treasure Valley Salsa and Zacca Hummus!

Check out all of the Idaho Preferred specialty product producers here

Honey, Sugar & Chocolate

honeyCheck out our Idaho Preferred brands including Browning’s Honey Co., Cox Honey Farms, Gorder Honey Company, Reisinger Apiaries, The Honey Store, and Treasure Valley Honey & Bees Corp.! Chocolate lovers rejoice, we have some of the best local hand-dipped chocolates, gourmet fudge and confections in all the land – Weiser Classic Candy and Idaho Candy Co. take the cake in satisfying all of your sweet-tooth needs.

Beverage Products

beerThe glass is always full in Idaho as we have some amazing local beverage producers including wine, beer and spirits. The craft beer industry is booming and Idaho has landed some excellent breweries such as Payette Brewing Co., Powderhaus Brewing and Sockeye Brewing, all brewers using Idaho grown hops and barley. Sip the suds that are made with Idaho-grown ingredients. Idaho has over 50 wineries in the state, some of them use Idaho-grown grapes! Check out our list of wineries below. Idaho has some pretty amazing distilleries as well. Local spirits include potato vodkas from 44 North Vodka and whiskey and bourbon from 8 Feather Distillery. The best part about these beverages? They are not only brewed, distilled or bottled here in Idaho, they are also made with Idaho-grown hops, barley, grapes, grains and potatoes!

Wine3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, Bitner Vineyards, Cold Springs Winery, Colter’s Creek Winery, Crossings Winery, Huston Vineyards, Indian Creek Winery, Sawtooth Winery, Snake River Winery, Ste. Chapelle Winery

BeerEdge Brewing, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, Payette Brewing Co, Powderhaus BrewingSockeye Brewing

Spirits44 North Vodka, 8 Feathers Distillery

Non-alcoholic – Try Starkey Spring Water, bottled right here in Council, ID. The water comes from an ancient geothermal spring near the Weiser River  in the Idaho Mountains. Or Rocks Natural Idaho Spring Water out of Idaho City.

For a full list of Idaho beverage producers click here.


Venison Meatballs - Rupert'sLove dining out? So do we. And lucky for us, we can continue to make local choices when eating outside of our own kitchens. Chefs and culinary experts in Idaho have done a fantastic job of sourcing locally grown and raised ingredients when possible and producing wonderful seasonal menus and year-round staples. Some of these year-round menu items include bread, cheese, meat and french fries but also look for the items on their seasonal menu or the daily special. Don’t be shy, ask you server, “What’s local on the menu?” They will be happy to point out the Idaho menu items for you to choose from. Any chef who is sourcing Idaho ingredients wants the consumer to know they are eating the best, quality, local products available! Most restaurants call out Idaho farms on their menu too, so just be sure to look or ask.

Check out all of our Idaho Preferred restaurants who have made a commitment to serving-up local dishes all throughout the state.


IdPref_FreshCalendarTake the  Local Pledge on our homepage  and receive our monthly newsletter full of local goodness featuring what products are in season, delicious recipes, local news and events an Idaho restaurant of the month. 

Get a FREE What’s Fresh In Idaho magnet when you join!


Idaho is Top Travel Destination in the World

Idaho has been named the #7 Hottest Travel Destination in the world by Vogue.

Sawtooth Mountains at SunsetWhat do Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Madagascar and Idaho all have in common? They were named in the 2017 Top Ten Hottest Travel Destinations by Vogue Magazine.

According to Vogue, Idaho is having a moment – naming our great state as one of America’s top travel destinations, highlighting The Modern Hotel & Bar, endless trails to hike and bike, our amazing craft beer scene and our beloved mountains and ski resorts. Read the full article here:

For more information about Idaho and the things to explore, visit the Idaho Tourism website.



Sockeye Grill & Brewery: December Restaurant of the Month

Sockeye Grill + BreweryCelebrate the holidays at our December Restaurant of the Month, Sockeye Grill & Brewery. 

Not only does Sockeye Grill & Brewery make award-winning craft brews using Idaho grown hops and grains, but the food is sourced locally too. With two locations (Cole Road and Fairview Ave) in Boise this fine establishment is perfect for your next holiday party, friendly get together or fun night out.

Fingersteaks with friesHead Chef Dan Hihath, an Idaho native, is known for his flavorful combinations of fresh, local ingredients and high-quality sourcing. He has enhanced the Sockeye menu with distinctive touches – look for the high-end pub food daily lunch and dinner specials! Their regular menu includes options like Idaho Trout Filet, an 8-oz. pan seared Idaho trout fillet topped with sage, lemon and pecan pan sauce served with sauteed seasonal vegetables and garlic smashed red potatoes. Their Hell-Diver finger steaks (pictured right) are made from ⅓ lb house hickory smoked tri-tip and hand battered in their Hell-Diver Pale Ale and served with a house made cocktail sauce and Idaho potato fries. You can also find several menu items from starters to entrees featuring the infamous Sockeye Salmon including Sockeye Salmon Spread, Sockeye Salmon Strips, Sockeye Salmon Pita, Sockeye Salmon dinner… and the list goes on. Check out their full menu here.

BeerSockeye Grill & Brewery simply oozes Idaho, from its symbolical name to its outdoorsy and rugged ambiance to the local food and fine craft brew flavors. Not to mention right now they are celebrating The 12 Beers of Christmas – check out their complete calendar of events to see the festive feature of the day from December 12-23, as well as fun workshops, live music and events throughout the end of the year.

Several of Sockeye’s special brews are named for notable landmarks along the Middle Fork including their flagship beer, Dagger Falls IPA, as well as Powerhouse Porter, Velvet Falls Cream Ale and Hell-Diver Pale Ale. So not only are the ingredients Idaho-grown the names are cleverly geographical too.

Fun Fact: Sockeye Brewing wasn’t only named after the state’s iconic wild fish, the Sockeye Salmon, they also have a strong heartline for returning this special fish back to their home at Redfish Lake near Stanley, Idaho. The Sockeye team joins numerous events and fundraising efforts of many non-profit organizations that strive to keep the Sockeye Salmon alive and return them to healthy rivers in it’s native wilderness habitat. Their efforts and hard work continue in an effort to return the infamous red fish back to Redfish Lake.

Gyro with saladSo next time you are pondering a place to sit down, kick-back, have a pint and some amazing local grub, swim over to Sockeye Grill & Brewery. Plus, 2016 is their 20th Year Anniversary, so send them out with a bang and celebrate before the calendar turns to 2017!


Cole Road
3019 N Cole Rd, Boise, ID 83704
Phone: (208) 658-1533

Fairview Ave
12542 W Fairview Ave, Boise, ID 83713
Phone: (208) 322-5200

Visit to see each location’s hours of operation, what’s on tap, menu and event calendar.

Find Local Gifts for the Holidays

‘Tis the Season of Local Gift Giving! Choose Local, Idaho Products.

Looking for that special gift idea? Consider locally grown and produced Idaho Preferred® gifts that are not only unique, but also support local agriculture and the economy.

Idaho Gift Baskets

It’s easy to find local gifts in Idaho! Specialty food baskets are the perfect present because they can be personalized for each person on your shopping list. Create a unique basket with Idaho specialty foods including jams, jellies, syrups, honey, soup and baking mixes. Get creative and include a cookbook, meats, cheeses, wine, beer or a fine aged whiskey. The possibilities are endless!

Homemade by DorothyBreakfast in a Basket: The most important meal of the day is a great local gift! Include Cowboy Tom’s Flapjack mix, homemade jam or fruit syrups from D’arcy’sThe Berry Ranch, Legacy Farms or Baker Ranch. Add some huckleberry cocoa mix from Homemade by Dorothy and healthy, all-natural Backcountry Bars to the ensemble. This gift will be sure to please the “morning person” on your list.  
Casa Valdez Tortillas

Savory Foods Basket: Build a gift with more savory flavors with Idaho Preferred Wagner Mustard or Mom’s Mustard and local cheese. Include Casa Valdez tortillas, Treasure Valley Salsa, a unique blackberry pepper jelly or spice mix from Rivers Bend Candles and Crafts, hearty Barley Soup mix from Kauffman Farmsa tasty variety of hummus dips from Zacca Hummus and zesty pickled veggies from Dilly’s. Don’t forget, local honey makes a great gift and ships well to friends and family from out of state to give them a sweet taste of local! Find a list of Idaho Preferred honey producers here.

beerFor Beer Lovers: Why not get a little crafty and put together a holiday gift basket that includes a six-pack of their favorite micro-brew from Sockeye, Edge, Payette or Powderhaus Brewing along with some local meats and cheese? Each brewery features a unique variety of craft beers including seasonal flavors. They also offer the option of filling a growler of beer currently on tap – make a growler basket your friends and family will enjoy refilling all year long!

Local Idaho Wine and Chocolates

The Wine & Spirit Enthusiast: Another great gift idea is an all-Idaho wine basket. It is easy to create a collection to please even the most discerning palate – from award-winning Riesling to rich and complex Tempranillo. For a list of Idaho Preferred wineries click here or go to

8 Feathers Distillery - Idaho Corn WhiskeyIf your adult friends and family are not wine and beer drinkers, consider Idaho spirits like potato and huckleberry vodkas from 44 North Vodka or an Idaho whiskey from 8 Feathers Distillery –  perfect for holiday celebrations.

Ballard Cheese plate

Cheese: Nothing quite completes a holiday gift basket like delicious Idaho cheese. Pair a block of cheese with any Idaho food and beverage basket, or give an all-cheese basket like one of these special gift selections from Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese. For something unique, try the Idaho Golden Greek Grilling cheese. This delicious Halloumi-style cheese will brown in a skillet without melting and goes great on local bread drizzled with Idaho honey or a dollop of Baker Ranch raspberry jam. Try making this Grillin Cheese Appetizer for your own holiday party or include it on a homemade recipe card in your gift basket! Ballard’s also offers a wide range of other cheeses such as Idaho White Cheddar, Truffle Salt Cheddar, Pepper Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, Feta and several flavors of fresh cheese curds (squeaky cheese) that can be found at retailers throughout the state. You can find a complete list of their cheese here.

Eden Creamery Logo NewLove a good goat cheese? So do we! And we have some top-notch Idaho goat cheese producers. Try Indie Goat Che’vre, Wood n’ Goat Garden or Eden Creamery cheeses. Delicious as an appetizer or smeared on local bread or fruit and exceptional paired with an Idaho wine. You can find Idaho cheeses at local retailers including Walmart, Albertsons, Winco, the Boise Co-op and Whole Foods Market.

Fresh baked breadBread: Let’s face it, we all love carbs. Breads and pastries also make excellent gifts during the holidays. Add some carbolicous local goodies to your basket with some delicious freshly baked bread from Zeppole Baking Company, Alpicella Bakery or Great Harvest Bread Co.!

Sweet Valley Cookie Co.Cookies: During the holidays, time is always hard to find, so save some of it and get your holiday cookies from Sweet Valley Cookie Co. Soft, chewy and absolutely delightful, these cookies are the perfect gift. Make sure to get some for yourself too!

Chocolate: How could we forget chocolate?! Find decadent chocolate toffee from the Toffee Cottage in Emmett or amazing specialty chocolates made with Idaho ingredients from Weiser Classic Candy or Idaho Candy Co.!

apples, flour, eggs

For the Iron Chef: Do you have someone that loves to cook or bake on your list? Start with the Idaho Preferred cookbook that features over 100 recipes that use Idaho ingredients all grouped by season. Add some ingredients to their basket like Idaho flour from Idaho Grain and Flour Mills or Harvest Ridge Organics, local eggs from Vogel Farms, local honey, Idaho sugar, local apples, fingerling potatoes from Southwind Farms and dairy products from Cloverleaf Creamery,  Darigold, High Desert Milk or Boise Milk.

brisketAdd a touch of fancy and consider including Idaho sturgeon caviar, American style Kobe beef from M&N Cattle or 100% grass-fed and finished beef from Desert Mountain, lamb from Lava Lake Lamb or Gutierrez Family Farms.

And BACON. Want the best bacon in all the land? Check-out Sneadaker’s Fine Swine. Visit their Facebook page and give them a call to order specialty pork products, or pick up some Falls Brand bacon at your local grocery.

Killer Whey! - Vanilla Ice CreamFor Your Buff, Carb-Conscious Companion: Staying healthy during the holidays is tough, but some people are dedicated to their diets and workout regimen no matter what time of the year. Have someone on your list like this? Then give them the gift of Killer Whey!, a new healthy ice cream made with Idaho dairy whey protein and sweetened with Xylitol (a natural sweetener found in many fruits and vegetables). Read more about Killer Whey! ice cream here.

Or give them a gift card to stores like Whole Foods Market or the Boise Co-op where they can load up on all of their favorite local health-nut foods.

Di Lunas - SandpointLast Minute Local Gifts: No time to build a basket and need a gift in a pinch? Let Vogel Farms Country Market or Dorothy’s do it for you! Check out Vogel Farms’ fantastic selection of  all-Idaho gift baskets here or create your own special basket online with Homemade by Dorothy products. Not really a gift-baskety giver? Who doesn’t love a good gift card?! Run out (or even call, some restaurants take payment by phone) and grab a gift certificate to a locally owned restaurant that features seasonal, Idaho ingredients on their menu. Restaurants all over the state are supporting Idaho farmers and ranchers by serving local foods on their menus. Visit our list of local restaurants that serve an abundance of Idaho-grown foods. Do you know of a restaurant in Idaho that does an amazing job of sourcing local foods that you don’t see on our list? Please let us know by contacting Idaho Preferred Christmas Elf.

This year, give thoughtful gifts made from the highest quality foods and beverages, produced locally by Idaho farmers, ranchers, winemakers, brewers and specialty food producers.

Live Eat Local Cookbook

Order the Idaho Preferred Cookbook








Farm to School Month Success in Idaho

What Happened During Farm to School Month?

Whittier Elementary_BoyWaving_ApplesA lot! Thanks to all of our outstanding schools who took “One Small Step” and added local products to their cafeteria menus, classroom curriculum and activities!

October was National Farm to School Month and this year the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Idaho Preferred® Program launched a statewide Farm to School Month initiative that supported the 2016 National Farm to School Month theme, One Small Step, which highlighted the simple things anyone can do to get informed, get involved and take action to incorporate local agriculture in schools and communities. Idaho Preferred® provided all schools with resources such as suggested menu applications, classroom posters, teacher curriculum and fun physical activities that advance a food theme. These weekly themes also represented some of Idaho’s major agricultural industries – including dairy, potatoes, apples and trout – and focused on easily accessible local foods.

Idaho Preferred® also had the opportunity to witness some of the amazing Farm to School efforts first hand and was invited to school lunchrooms across the state including Whittier Elementary (Boise), Midvale Jr/Sr High School (Midvale), Hagerman Schools (Hagerman), Wilder School District (Wilder) and Marsing School District (Marsing), which also included a special visit from USDA Under Secretary Concannon.

A big THANK YOU goes out to the dedicated food service and child nutrition professionals who made Farm to School a success in Idaho!

F2S Month Highlights:

Whittier Elementary_Boy+Girl_EatingApplesWhittier Elementary School, Boise
Monday, October 3 –

This year, Idaho Preferred kicked off National Farm to School Month at Whittier Elementary School in Boise on Whittier Elementary_Larry_SymmsFruitRanchMonday, October 3. Whittier Elementary participated in “Crunch” week and served local apples from Symms Fruit Ranch in Caldwell on their lunch buffet all week long. In gym class, the students did “crunch” themed activities including group crunches and talked about the importance of eating healthy and being active. During lunch, the students were served apples by growers from Symms Fruit Ranch and learned about the importance of Idaho agriculture and Farm to School from the Principal, Dr. Fernanda Brendefur and guest speaker, Celia Gould, the Director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Thanks, Whittier Elementary, for welcoming us into your school to kick-off National Farm to School Month and for your outstanding job at taking “One Small Step” in Farm to School!

Midvale Jr/Sr High School, Midvale
Wednesday, October 5 –

IMG_20161005_143216660_TOPMidvale School extended an invitation to everyone in the community including farmers and ranchers to attend an afternoon assembly at their school on Wednesday, October 5, filled with fun and informational Farm to School activities. The half-day of Farm to School event began with local lunch featuring hamburger patties supplied by AgriBeef and homemade potato salad and beans grown in Idaho! Lunch was followed by presentations by AgriBeef and University of Idaho Extension on the beef industry and beef by-products.The day ended with fun-filled beef-themed activities including roping, pole bending, and a beef quiz bowl.

Midvale promoted the event on school billboards, in local newspapers, online and in the school halls in a great effort to generate awareness and advocate for Farm to School in their community. Before and after the event, each student was given an assessment test to see what they already knew or learned about the beef industry. Way to go Midvale! Thanks for the fun and educational Farm to School celebration!


hagerman_30298664142_ohagerman-f2s_30154339700_oHagerman School, Hagerman
Monday, October 17 – 

Hagerman 8th and 9th graders had a special treat during their regularly scheduled agriculture class on Monday, October 17. The students, who are in Daniel Knapp’s class, learn about agriculture, hydroponics and aquaculture in the school’s impressive greenhouse and ag shop. On this day, however, they received a cooking lesson using the trout they raise and fresh vegetables and herbs they grow in their greenhouse. Four cooking stations were set for the class so each student had a hands-on experience. Chef Kirt Martin of Snake River Grill in Hagerman, lead the cooking demonstration and taught the students how to filet a trout, pan fry the fish and make a garden fresh marinara sauce using school-grown ingredients. He also prepared a spaghetti squash as a healthy alternative to pasta, and topped it with the marinara and the trout.

Chef Kirt Martin, is an advocate for Farm to School Science, Parent/Child Interaction and Healthy Eating. Chef Kirt has a passion for teaching children and young adults how to choose healthy foods and incorporate fresh, local ingredients in delicious recipes every day. Thanks Chef Kirt, Daniel Knapp and Hagerman School for your dedication to nutrition, education and Farm to School!

Wilder School District, Wilder
Friday, October 21 –IMG_20161021_111649549

Wilder Schools participated in the potato “Smash” Farm to School theme on Friday, October 21, which also coincided with their annual homecoming celebration. The football themed lunch included twice baked potato skins with local cheese, Idaho apples from Henggeler Packing Co., and an authentic Mexican soup called pozole, made with hominy and pork and garnished with cabbage, onion and radish. As an extra special treat, the amazing food service workers made football shaped rice krispie treats for all of the students grades K-12. FFA students helped to serve the lunch and set-up display tables with their agriculture projects.

Thank you, Wilder, for your Farm to School enthusiasm and community wide initiative!

Marsing School District, Marsing

Thursday, October 27 –

20161027_112628United Stated Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Concannon visited Marsing Schools at lunch on Thursday, October 27 during National Farm to School Month. At Marsing, over 700 students from grades K-12 cycle through the cafeteria daily and are fed a local and nutritious lunch including a salad bar with local vegetables and fruits. Marsing participated in all four of the Idaho Preferred Farm to School month themes and included apples, potatoes, dairy and trout into their school lunch and classroom curriculum throughout the month of October. The school dining hall is lined with Incredible Edible Posters and Farm to School classroom art featuring apples and trout done by the students. In addition, they have a great electronic menu board that features the item being served for the day, as well as a special Farm to School section that showcases which farms provided the ingredients for their meal. Child Nutrition Director, Theresa sources local ingredients whenever possible, including fresh berries from Franko Farm, which are quite a treat!

Thank you Marsing, for incorporating Farm to School in your lunchroom and classroom and for providing a healthy, local lunch to students!


Idaho Farm to School Champions:

These schools reported Farm to School activities in our weekly survey:

Week 1 – Apple Crunch

  • Whittier Elementary_Apples_SymmsFruitRanchNotus School District – Featured Apple Nachos. Check it out on Facebook!
  • Hillcrest School
  • Marsing Schools – Students did apple related coloring and writing activities.
  • Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind – Featured local milk, apples, and potatoes all in the same week!
  • Challis Joint School District #181
  • Salmon Jr. and Senior High School
  • Boise School District

Idaho potato bitesWeek 2 – Potato Smash

  • Wilder School District – Culinary classes researched potato recipes.
  • Boise School District
  • Wendell Elementary School
  • Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind

farm-to-school-month---marsing_30656644796_oWeek 3- Dairy Dunk

  • Boise School District
  • Wendell Elementary School
  • Marsing School District – Students received fun dairy related promo items.
  • Potlatch School District

IMG_4700Week 4 – Trout Splash

  • Notus School District – Served Sesame Trout and featured the Trout Week flyer.
  • Wendell Elementary School
  • Marsing School District – Child Nutrition provided fun trout facts and coloring pages for students!