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

 

Idaho Filled Gift Baskets

December is here – which means Christmas is right around the corner! It is time to start shopping for the special people in your life. When you make your list consider locally grown and produced Idaho Preferred® gifts that support local farmers and economy. Idaho Preferred members have made it easy by creating ready-made gift baskets. Find a complete list of DIY Idaho Preferred gift basket ideas here. Here are a few examples of the numerous gifts ideas offered by by Idaho Preferred members.

Weiser Classic Candy has created this variety box that includes items from Dilly’s, Homemade by Dorothy and their very own sweet treats. Weiser Classic Candy offers a  variety of gift boxes for the holidays. Check out their selection here.

What better way to give an Idaho gift then an Idaho shaped gift basket made from Homemade by Dorothy. This gift box includes their Potato Soup Mix, Potato Muffin Mix and Potato Pancake Mix and a jar of wild huckleberry jelly to top it all off.  Order this gift box here.

Wagner’s Idaho Mustard has made it easy to spice up the holidays with The Three Mustard-teers gift box! This gift box has three mustard varieties of your choice. Order your mustard gift box here.

Farr Candy Co. has combined all of their favorites into a 24 count gift box for the candy lover in your family. Order thier assorted gift box of candy here.

For the adults on your list – think Idaho wines!  Bitner Vineyards describes this gift basket as “the best gift ever this holiday season.” The deluxe basket comes with a bottle of wine, two stemless glasses, chocolate from Weiser Classic Candy, a Bitner Vineyards wine opener. Place your order before it’s too late by emailing mary@bitnervineyards.com.

3 Horse Ranch offers wooden gift boxes of wine. The gift box can include 1 to 6 bottles of wine. Whether you prefer reds or whites, 3 Horse Ranch will accommodate. Order your holiday gift box here or drop into their tasting room (Wednesday-Sunday 12-6PM) and pick it up.

If you want to showcase Idaho’s many wineries and varietals, check out these Idaho Preferred winery’s selections as well. Cold Springs Winery, Crossings Winery, Fujishin Family Cellars,  Huston Vineyards, Indian Creek Winery, Sawtooth Winery, Snake River Winery, Ste. Chapelle Winery or Terra Nativa Vineyards.  Find their contact information here.

 

 

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.