October is Farm to School Month

October is National Farm to School Month and this year Idaho Preferred® will work to help schools in Idaho take part in this celebration by incorporating Idaho foods into cafeteria menus, offering classroom curriculum and suggesting physical activities.
We are encouraging Idaho schools to incorporate a local food in their breakfast, lunch or snack menus. Weekly themes have been created to help identify local foods that are easily accessible or may already be on the menus! Weekly themes include: Idaho grapes, Idaho melons, Idaho apples and Idaho potatoes!

Week 1 – Idaho Grapes

We kicked off Farm to School month with juicy table grapes! Did you know Idaho produces table grapes? Although a small agriculture industry, new growers are now starting to produce table grapes in Southern Idaho. Grapes in Idaho are harvested in late September through early October and are only available for about 4-6 weeks!

Student at Grace Jordan Elementary in Boise celebrated Farm to School with a harvest lunch that included: Idaho cheese, Idaho grown corn on the cob, Idaho grown grapes and local tomatoes grown at the Boise High Community Garden.

Kevin with Dry Creek Farms in Eagle attended the celebration and served the grapes. The kids thought it was pretty fun to have a farmer serving his own produce! The corn on the menu was from Tellez Farms in Nampa. The students had the opportunity to shuck the corn on the cob for their meal that day. Channel 2 News and Channel 7 News joined us at the harvest lunch that day. Watch the full news article here.

We also received pictures from other schools that are participating in the weekly themes. For example to the right is a picture we received of local grapes being served at Homedale Elementary School. Notus Elementary also shared pictures of local grapes being served and positive feedback from the students! 


Week 2 – Idaho Melons

Idaho produces a variety of melons including watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew. Watermelon is the most common melon type in Idaho and is available through early fall. Over 60 schools in Idaho chose to serve Idaho grown melons last week!


Week 3 is Idaho Apples.
Apples are so easy to integrate into menus and kids love apples. Apples in Idaho are available the beginning of September and some varieties are still available through March. Idaho produces 60 million pounds of apples a year making apples Idaho’s top fruit.

Week 4 is Idaho Potatoes. Farm to School month will conclude with Famous Idaho Potatoes. Idaho Potatoes are available year around. Idaho raises a variety of potatoes- reds, russets, golds, fingerlings, and more. Nearly 320,000 acres in Idaho are potato fields!

2018 Farm to School drawing contest. 
In Idaho we love our potatoes and being active!  This year, we want students to draw a picture of the famous Spuddy Buddy doing their favorite physical activities (examples: skiing, dancing, rollerblading, etc).Students who send in a drawing will be eligible to win a prize, like a large Spuddy Buddy or workout shirt! Find the rules here.

More Fun Farm to School Events:

Shoshone School District celebrated this week with a Harvest Festival! They had a guest speaker come and teach the kids how to make cheese balls.
Gooding School District served farm fresh raspberries from Little D’s Berries in Gooding.
Notus Elementary School took 150 students to Blue Barn Produce to pick out small pumpkins in a self made pumpkin patch.
Blue Barn Produce offered teachers a discount on mini pumpkins for their classrooms and their students.

Idaho Preferred Retail Roadshow

We are hitting the road! Help us celebrate Idaho Preferred month by joining us on our second annual Retail Roadshow in September. We will be traveling to 23 retail stores throughout the state from Post Falls to Idaho Falls and Hailey to Preston promoting Idaho-grown produce and more.  September is the peak of harvest season giving consumers a wide variety of seasonal produce options at their local grocery store.  
You know that when you shop locally, you support Idaho!  Purchasing Idaho products not only supports Idaho farmers, producers and communities, it also provides fresh, high quality local products for consumers.
The first retail roadshow in 2017 resulted an increase in sales of fresh local produce by over $2.2 million – and we hope to beat that in 2018!  You can check out a list of what’s in season here.

 

During the Idaho Preferred Roadshow, shoppers will be able to:
Sample fresh local produce at peak flavor
Enjoy sale prices on Idaho products
Meet a local farmer
Pick up new Idaho recipe ideas
Learn fun facts about Idaho agriculture
Enter to win giveaways!

Follow us on Facebook for event information specific to the location. Tag @IdahoPreferred on your Retail Roadshow journey!

A Berry Sweet Season in Idaho

It’s Summertime – the weather is nice and that means Idaho grown berries, cherries and U-picks!

Strawberries are the first berry to come into season.When you buy strawberries make sure they are plump and red. Since strawberries don’t ripen after they’ve been picked, avoid dull-colored berries and ones with yellow or green patches on their skin. Rhubarb is also in season, which only seems appropriate for Idaho strawberry rhubarb crisp. Get creative and use Natures Indulgence Granola for a crunchy sweet topping.

The Idaho Blueberry will begin harvest in late June and run until the middle of July. The season is short for blueberries in Idaho-so don’t miss out when you shop! The Idaho Blueberry can be found in Albertson’s and Grasmick distributing for retail, schools and restaurants.
Lucky for us there are two seasons for raspberries in Idaho. Some varieties begin ripening around the end of June, just as strawberries are finishing up. Other varieties come on in August and are available until the first frost in the fall. Blackberries are the last berry to harvest around the middle of August. Blackberries are not grown commercially in Idaho, but many small farmers and backyard gardeners grow and sell them directly to consumers. Pick your own berries at The Berry Ranch in Nampa, or buy fresh berries on site at Vogel Farms in Kuna. Blue Barn Produce takes berry orders for flats of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries during the season. Enjoy berries year around by freezing them or making them into jams.

Cherry Season is short and sweet! Look for fresh Idaho grown cherries at the Farmer’s Markets and in retail stores. Always look for shiny, plump cherries with fresh green stems and dark coloring for their variety. Cherries can be used in a sweet dessert like Cherry Pie or as a savory topping to Idaho trout. Idaho Cherries from SYMMS Fruit Ranch can be found in retail stores or on site at their fruit stand, open Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm and Saturday 9am-1pm. Purvis Orchard grows fresh cherries and sells them Wednesday’s at the Caldwell Farmers Market from 3-7pm and Saturday’s from 9am-1pm at the Nampa Farmer’s MarketTyler’s Rocky Point Orchard in Emmett, Northview Orchard in Buhl, Williams Fruit Ranch in Emmett and Kelly’s Canyon Orchard in Filer offer u-pick. Take your family, and let your kids experience picking fruit right from the tree. Pack a picnic and make a day trip out of it!

How to Store: Keep cherries unwashed and stems attached, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

Got IDAHO Milk??

June is Idaho Dairy Month, a time to celebrate Idaho’s #1 agriculture industry. Idaho is the fourth largest milk producing state in the United States and third in cheese production. Milk products produced in Idaho include cheese, butter, sour cream, yogurt and ice cream.

The Twin Falls Chobani plant is the largest yogurt plant in the world, producing the most popular Greek style yogurt in the US and also the innovative Chobani flip and Chobani drinkables. The Twin Falls plant uses milk from Idaho dairies, specifically those in the Magic Valley. Next time yogurt is on your grocery list, buy Chobani and  savor the local Idaho flavor!

Cloverleaf Creamery uses recyclable glass bottles to keep milk colder and fresher. Cloverleaf Creamery produces farm fresh milk, cream, butter and ice cream on their family farm in Buhl. You can find their product at retailers throughout the state.  However, if you are in Buhl don’t pass up the opportunity to stop by their creamery and taste one of over 20 flavors of delicious small batch ice creams.

Darigold manages one of the largest dairy co-ops in the world with several member dairy farmers located in Idaho. Darigold produces a variety of dairy products that are available in most retailers across Idaho.

Legendairy Creamery LLC, is a new creamery located in Meridian. They bottle their milk in a uniquely shaped plastic milk jug. Legendairy is a certified organic creamery that produces whole milk, 2% milk, half and half and old-fashioned cream top whole milk.

For more Idaho dairy product options, try Ballard Family cheeses,  Farr’s Ice Cream, Glanbia cheese, High Desert butter, Lactalis mozzarella cheese or Manwaring’s hand crafted specialty cheeses. Find a list of Idaho dairy products here.

Idaho has over 500 dairies, and they are all family owned. Milk you purchase arrives in the grocery store within just a day or so of when it left the dairy, providing a very fresh, wholesome and nutritious product for your family. Milk contains nine essential nutrients including protein, potassium and Vitamins A, D and B12.
With this abundant supply of Idaho milk and great variety of dairy products, buying Idaho milk, cheese, ice cream, butter is easy! Celebrate Idaho Dairy Month by buying local and showing your appreciation for Idaho dairy farm families!

Fun Facts:
Glanbia Nutritionals in Twin Falls has one of the largest cheese producing plants in the world.
Ballard Cheese LLC. in Gooding is a family owned business that makes all their cheese by hand from their small herd of Jersey Cows.
Farr’s Candy Co. in Idaho Falls which now produces ice cream from Idaho milk, has been family owned since 1911.
High Desert Milk, in Burley, a producer of high quality butter, originated in 2001 as six dairy producers with aspirations to create a stable market for their milk and develop dairy products that they could be proud of.
Manwaring Cheese Co. in Rigby, Idaho opened their first cheese factory in 1970.
Lactalis American Group, produces mozzarella cheese products in their Nampa plant that can be found under the Precious or Sorrento brand names in most local grocers.

Local Mother’s Day Events

Celebrate Mother’s Day all weekend long!

Your Mom deserves a special day to celebrate doing all the things she loves!  In addition to spending time with family, most Moms enjoy a day YOU plan for her  – so check out these local events that include sunshine, shopping, flowers, food and maybe even a little wine-tasting!

Edwards Greenhouse Mother’s Day Potting Party: Sunday, May 13th from 11:00am to 3:00pm kids can plant annuals in an 8″ pot and get their picture taken to include in the card they make for Mom.

Mom’s Weekend on the SunnySlope Wine Trail: Take your mother out on this wine trail in Canyon County this weekend! Each winery will be offering something a little different that could include concerts, complimentary flowers, special tastings, and more. Tasting fees may apply and are set by the individual wineries.  These wineries also have special events planned including:

Spring Fling/Mother’s Day Show at Blue Barn Produce: Saturday, May 12th from 10am to 4pm Blue Barn Produce will have local vendors, food trucks and a full shop. Shop their barn for local plants, products, produce and more!

Wine & Flowers at Franz Witte: Friday, May 11th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm Franz Witte will host a Wine & Flower Event. Take your pots, hanging baskets and window boxes or get them there and they will plant them up for you with the flowers you purchase from the nursery. There will be wine to sip on and music to enjoy all night. Tickets are $10 and include a glass of wine and a $10 off coupon to put towards your new flowers!

Local Farmers Markets: There are so many reasons to shop at local farmers markets. Farmers markets are one of the best venues to find locally grown produce, meats, eggs, specialty foods and even wine and flowers – all in one place. Take your mom to a local farmers market to find Idaho-grown gifts! Find a market near you.

Shop at local nurseries: What mom doesn’t like flowers? This Mother’s Day take your mom to a local nursery to pick out her own local blooming gift. Look for the Idaho Preferred logo when you shop for local items including hanging baskets, bedding plants, vegetable starts, trees and other great Idaho nursery products.

2018 Nursery Retail Road Show


Add some color to your landscape this year and support local Idaho growers. Idaho Preferred nursery growers and retailers throughout the state will be celebrating the start of planting season with the 2018 Spring Nursery Retail Roadshow. The roadshow will promote locally grown plants, trees, flowers and other nursery products and include stops at Idaho Preferred member retail nurseries across the state.  The celebration will include displays, giveaways, planting events and specialty pricing on Idaho grown products. Nursery Roadshow events will be promoted through social media, digital advertisements and radio and kick off at Moss Greenhouse in Jerome April 28th. Join us for the Spring Nursery Retail Roadshow at a location near you!

April 28 Moss Greenhouse (Jerome) 11am-2pm
April 29th D&B (Twin Falls) 11am-2pm
May 4th D&B (Nampa) 3pm-6pm
May 5th Franz Witte (Boise) 11am-2pm
May 6th FarWest (Boise) 1am-2pm
May 11th Zamzows (Eagle) 3pm-6pm
May 12th Old Valley Farm & Nursery (Eagle) 11am-2pm
May 13th Edwards Greenhouse (Boise) 11am-2pm
May 18th Town & Country Gardens (Idaho Falls) 3pm-6pm
May 19th Sunnyside Gardens (Idaho Falls) 11am-2pm

Growers like Ward’s GreenhouseMoss Greenhouse  and Warm Springs Greenhouse supply to local nurseries and garden centers in southwest Idaho including Zamzows, D&B, Ridley’s, Fred Meyers’s and Albertsons. Or find locally grown flowers and plants at Blue Barn Produce, Edwards GreenhouseFive Mile Farm & Greenhouse or Far West Nursery.  Locally grown plants can be found throughout the state.  Alpha Nursery in Cascade, Moss Greenhouse in the Magic Valley and Hollyberry Nursery in Hansen all support local growers.  In eastern Idaho you can find local plants at Sunnyside Gardens or Town and Country Gardens. Plants that are grown in Idaho are already acclimated to the Idaho weather conditions and are more likely to survive and thrive in your yard or garden.

Flowers aren’t the only option for color – Idaho nurseries grow a variety of hearty trees and shrubs for the Idaho climate. Flowering trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape setting. Find trees grown by Clayton Tree Farms in Wilder, Bonners Ferry Nursery in North Idaho, Cloverdale Nursery in Boise and Reggear Tree Farm in Orofino.
Our local growers and retailers are experts in their field and understand that soil conditions vary greatly throughout Idaho. If you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out to your local growers and nurseries. Find a complete list of Idaho Preferred growers and nurseries here. Look for the Idaho Preferred logo when you shop for nursery products grown in Idaho!

 

FoodFort 2018

Now in its third year, Foodfort is a wildly successful part of Boise’s iconic Treefort Music Festival.  Foodfort offers attendees an opportunity to taste a wide variety of local foods prepared by some of Idaho’s best chefs.  From tandoori lamb to smoked barley and veggie shooters to suckling pig, chefs from Boise, Cascade and Ketchum will be serving up amazing Idaho foods in the Alefort tent.

No wristband is required for this three day event located in the Owyhee Plaza parking lot – but get there early as the line starts early and the venue fills up fast. All ages are welcome at Foodfort which runs Friday, March 23rd 4pm-8pm, Saturday, March 24th 12pm-8pm and Sunday, March 25th 1pm-5pm.

For details visit the Foodfort website.

 

Make Your Heart Happy this Valentine’s Day

Whether you are making a home cooked meal for Valentine’s Day or going out to eat, keep it local! Before you make reservations check out our Idaho Preferred restaurants that use local ingredients on their menu. Find the complete list here. Or, try a new recipe at home that includes local ingredients. Idaho has a variety of proteins available such as beef, pork, lamb and trout. Trout is a great source of protein and low in calories and fat. Try making these Rainbow Trout Fajitas at home. To accompany your fajitas, try a new twist on Spanish sides like Mexican barley or lentils instead of rice, and one of many varieties of dry beans grown in Idaho. Compliment your local homemade meal with some Idaho wine. And, finish the night with a bowl of delicious local ice cream from Farr’s or Cloverleaf Creamery.

Focus your side dishes on ingredients that are heart healthy in honor of February being heart month!
Beans & Lentils
Dried beans and lentils are a great source of plant protein and are available year around. Find Zursun beans and lentils at the Boise Co-op and Whole Foods or contact Zursun directly in Twin Falls, Idaho. Rangen Inc. grows beans in Buhl, Idaho. Learn more about about Rangen Inc. here.
Barley
Idaho is the second largest producer of barley in the nation and many barley foods now carry the American Heart Association’s seal of approval. Barley is great as a side in place of rice, or in soups and stews. Look for Hearty Barley soup made by Kauffman Farms in Filer, Idaho. Order their products here.

Extend the holiday into the weekend and stop by Idaho wineries for special holiday events. Huston Vineyards is hosting a Wine & Chocolate weekend featuring a different sweet treat each day. Click here for details. Ste. Chapelle is also having a wine and chocolate pairing event and will feature live music. Learn more about this event here. Bitner Vineyards will be hosting a wine,cheese and chocolate event featuring Weiser Classic Candy. Find out more details for this event here. Finally, visit Indian Creek Winery for a fun Valentine’s Bazaar with live music, wine tasting and a photo booth. Find out more information here.

A Reasonable New Years Resolution


Let us help you make a New Year’s resolution that’s not only good for you, but good for our economy as well. This year pledge to eat more local foods and drink more local beverages! While this may seem like a difficult task this time of year, there are actually many specialty foods and beverages available year around in Idaho.

For a full list of Idaho grown and processed items start by visiting our website www.idahopreferred.com. Here you will also find recipes that make cooking local easy and delicious!

Start your local food quest with Idaho honey. Idaho has numerous honey companies across the state including Browning’s Honey Co. in Idaho Falls, Cox Honey Farms in Shelley, Rocky Mountain Honey in Idaho Falls, Orchard Valley Bees in Wilder, The Honey Store in Fruitland and Treasure Valley Bees in Parma.

Next, treat yourself to a local breakfast- Anew Foods makes a healthy cereal containing oats, nuts and dried fruit and no preservatives. The Backcountry Bar is a nutritional energy bar that is a great start to your day.  These bars are soft, with a variety of seeds, rolled oats and dried fruits and make a perfect on the go breakfast or snack.  Nature’s Indulgence is a family owned business that produces a variety of granolas that can be eaten dry, with milk, or added to Idaho’s Chobani yogurt. If you like a more traditional breakfast, try Cowboy Tom’s delicious whole wheat pancakes that are made with wheat that comes straight from the fields in Declo. Or, try their other whole grain varieties like Flax Jacks, Organic Buckwheat or gluten free Teff pancake mixes.

When breakfast wears off and you need a middle of the day snack, Zacca Hummus has you covered with three different hummus varieties. Treasure Valley Salsa offers a great variety of salsas for snacking and cooking and pairs well with tortillas from Idaho’s Fresca or Casa Valdez tortillas.

There are many Idaho foods available year around to satisfy your sweet tooth. Homemade by Dorothy and D’arcy’s Bakeshoppe make jams/jelly. The Toffee Cottage in Emmett, Weiser Classic Candy in Weiser, Idaho Candy Company in Boise and Farr’s Candy Co in Idaho Falls all have a variety of candies.  And if you didn’t get enough Christmas cookies try Sweet Valley Cookie Company’s many varieties.

If you are over 21, it’s easy to find a local beverage year around. Idaho has a good variety of beer, wine and spirits.
44 North Vodka makes a versatile Magic Valley wheat vodka as well as huckleberry, nectarine and cherry flavors. Add some asparagus from Dilly’s Pickled Veggies to your vodka for the perfect garnish to a Bloody Mary.  There are over 50 wineries in the state of Idaho. Grapes thrive in Idaho’s climate conditions that produce perfect wine grapes. Try some Idaho wine today!  If wine isn’t your thing, try one of Idaho’s many local brews.  Idaho ranks third in the U.S. for hop production, growing over 3,000 acres, and first in the U.S. for barley production – most of it going for malting. Support these local farmers by trying Idaho-made beer

Buy Local Poinsettias

candy cane

Just because the weather is cooler and the leaves have fallen, doesn’t mean that all of Idaho’s beautiful plant products are out of season. Local nurseries, greenhouses and tree farms offer plenty of colorful options for your home this winter. Many Idaho nurseries and greenhouses use sustainable geothermal heat to grow variety of Christmas plants! Geothermal heat is a clean and efficient way to heat a greenhouse and these locally grown plants do not have to be trucked long distances, another environmental benefit of choosing Idaho-grown products.

Poinsettias can easily fit into any holiday decor theme and color scheme.  Although bright red is probably the most popular and well known, these plants can be found in solid white, pink or burgundy and in many beautiful variegated shades.  Once you get your poinsettia home, place it in an area with filtered sunlight and away from heater vents or very cold drafts.  Poinsettias are native to Mexico, so they prefer warm temperatures between 65-75 degrees and should only be watered when soil is dry to the touch.  Blooms should last 4-6 weeks and do not need fertilization during this time.

Find beautiful holiday poinsettias now at Idaho Preferred® greenhouses and retailers including Albertson’s, Bi-Mart and some D&B Supply stores.

Ward’s Greenhouse

Warm Springs Greenhouse