Idaho Celebrates National Farm to School Month


Farm to SchoolThe Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Idaho Preferred® Program will celebrate statewide Farm to School Month in October as part of the National Farm to School Month. The initiative seeks to feature the ways farm-to-school efforts can improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.

The 2016 National Farm to School Month theme, One Small Step, highlights the simple things anyone can do to get informed, get involved and take action to advance the initiative in schools and communities.

To assist schools in making the most out of farm-to-school opportunities, Idaho Preferred® will provide such resources as suggested menu applications, classroom posters, teacher curriculum and fun physical activities that advance a food theme. These weekly themes also represent some of Idaho’s major agricultural industries – including dairy, potatoes, apples and trout – and focus on easily accessible local foods.

The official start to Idaho’s Farm to School Month will occur Monday, October 3 at Whittier Elementary School in Boise. During lunch, the school will be taking “One Small Step” by adding fresh Idaho apples and vegetables to their salad bar. The menu addition will be used at all cafeterias in the Boise School District on October 3, and will include 40 cases or about 6,500 Idaho-grown apples. Throughout the year, Boise schools also will serve Idaho grapes, green peppers, garbanzo beans, trout, potatoes and a wide variety of dairy products.

“Students, parents, faculty and food service staff in our district are really supportive of preparing and eating locally grown and produced items,” said Peggy Bodnar, RDN, LD, SNS, Food and Nutrition Services supervisor for the Boise School District. “We love supporting the local economy, and the foods Idaho produces taste fantastic!”

“Celebrating National Farm to School Month is just one more element of our very active Idaho Farm to School program” said Leah Clark, Idaho’s lead for the National Farm to School Network and manager of ISDA’s Idaho Preferred® program. “Our Idaho Farm to School program is a great collaboration between the Idaho’s departments of Agriculture and Education, Idaho Ag in the Classroom and, most importantly, our school nutrition professionals. And, it is paying off. The most recent USDA Farm to School Census shows that 45 percent of Idaho schools, or 55 districts with over 107,700 students, are serving local foods. In 2015, more than $4.2 million was spent by Idaho schools on locally produced foods.”

About Idaho Preferred®

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Idaho Preferred® program promotes the quality, diversity and availability of local food and agricultural products grown, raised or processed in Idaho. Idaho Preferred® strives to increase consumer awareness of local farmers, ranchers and food processors; provide education and information about seasonal local product availability; reach out to local communities and schools; and provide a connection between producers and retailers.

For more information about National Farm to School Month visit the National Farm to School Network website.

For more information and resources for Idaho schools, visit the Idaho Preferred Farm to School webpage.

State & Lemp: September Restaurant of the Month

State_LempState & Lemp is like nothing else in Boise.  This small unassuming location that gives the restaurant its name, is home to outstanding contemporary American cuisine that is built on local, seasonal ingredients.  Menus at State & Lemp change weekly and each night, Wednesday through Saturday, dining guests enjoy a prix fixe menu crafted by an amazingly creative chef /management team including Owner / Founders Jay Henry and Remi McManus and Chef Kris Komori.

photo by: Guy Hand
Photo by: Guy Hand

The modern and contemporary menu offerings at State & Lemp are creatively designed and presented, yet use predominantly local staples including pork, grass fed beef, seasonal vegetables and a wide variety of grains and cheeses.  Walk the Boise Farmers Market on Saturday morning and you are likely to see Chef Kris, a James Beard nominee, shopping the local market and carefully selecting fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.  As noted on their website, the State & Lemp team “…builds relationships with local farmers, ranchers and artists to create an environment that highlights the diversity of our community.”

If you plan to dine at State & Lemp, there are some things you need to know.  First, make reservations at  Seating is limited to one seating at 7:00pm Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, and two on Saturday at 6:30 & 9:00pm.  Second, the menu is set each week.  Check their website for the weekly offering.  Third, expect the unexpected and enjoy trying new flavors, foods and wines.  Recently the menu included local pork with melon, green beans and marigold, followed by a Corn Mousse with blueberry, barley, rice and tarragon.  All courses are perfectly paired with a specific wine for those who choose that menu option. Finally, plan to dine at State & Lemp for your next special occasion adult night out as prices are set at $60-$75 per person for the five course meal.

2870 W State Street • Boise, ID 83702

Reservations: Open Table or 208-429-6735

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 7:00pm
Saturday: 6:30 & 9:00pm


Idaho Preferred® Month

September is Proclaimed “Idaho Preferred® Month”
for the Tenth Year in a Row

eat local

September 2016 marks the tenth 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.

TSchweitzer Fall Fest+ID Prefhe month-long celebration will kick-off this year in Northern Idaho at the Schweitzer Fall Festival in Sandpoint on Friday, September 3 through Monday, September 5, 2016. This northern event of the summer is expected to have around 7,500 attendees throughout the three-day festival of local music, food, wine, crafts and over eighty local micro-brews, beers and ciders. The Idaho Preferred® team will sample local apples from Henggeler Packing Co. and Litehouse Foods yogurt dip, which is made with Idaho dairy in their Sandpoint plant. Idaho Preferred® will work to educate festival-goers about choosing local, seasonal products and the importance of Idaho agriculture.

Idaho Preferred® will continue to promote local agriculture throughout Idaho Preferred Month through social media, Google, television ads, retail in-store product demos, farmers’ markets and more. View the full schedule of Idaho Preferred® Month events below.

Idaho Preferred® Month Promotional Calendar:

  • Sept 1-5 – Twin Falls Fair display in Ag Pavilion
  • Sept 3 – Bell Ringer at Capital City Public Market proclaiming Idaho Preferred® Month
  • Sept 3-5 –Schweitzer Mountain Fall Fest in Sandpoint
  • Sept 3-11 – In-store peach demos, Walmart, select stores statewide
  • Sept 9-11 – In-store peach demos, Albertsons, all Idaho stores
  • Sept 17 – In-store local product demos, Whole Foods, Boise
  • Sept 20-22 – Media tour with Idaho Wine Commission
  • Every Saturday in Sept – Idaho Preferred tent at the Boise Farmers Market
  • Various dates – fresh produce demos in Swensens (Twin Falls area), Broulims (Eastern Idaho), and Atkinsons (Sun Valley)

Follow Idaho Preferred® on social media!

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

During the month of September Idaho Preferred® encourages Idahoans to support Idaho farmers, ranchers and processors by choosing local products when they shop or dine out. Take the Local Pledge at to sign up for the monthly newsletter featuring seasonal local products, recipes, events and an Idaho restaurant of the month.

ID Pref CrateAbout Idaho Preferred®

Idaho Preferred® is a program managed by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to promote the quality, diversity and availability of local food and agricultural products we grow, raise and process in Idaho. Idaho Preferred® strives to increase consumer awareness of local farmers, ranchers and food processors, provide education and information about seasonal local product availability, outreach to local communities and schools as well as provide a connection between producers and retailers.

For more information, or to notify the Idaho Preferred® team of a local event featuring Idaho agricultural products, please contact Emily Del Favero at (208) 332-8532 or email .

Ripe and Juicy Idaho Peaches

Peaches in basketThis summer, sink your teeth into an Idaho peach and taste the difference of locally grown tree fruit! Our growing conditions are perfect for peaches. Idaho’s hot, dry days and cool nights allow for maximum sugar production and ultimate sweetness! Local peaches are more flavorful than those shipped in from out of state because they are left on the tree longer and picked at peak ripeness. To ensure you find the freshest peaches in your area, look for the Idaho Preferred® logo.

Want to pick your own juicy peach? Visit Kelley’s Canyon Orchard in Filer, ID they have u-pick or you can purchase directly from their farm stand. Look for Symms Fruit Ranch peaches at Whole Foods, Albertsons and Winco locations. You can also visit their farm stand and buy direct from the orchard here.

Idaho peaches are grown across the Gem State by many producers including: Garrett Ranches Packing, Henggeler Packing Co., Kelley’s Canyon Orchard, Northview OrchardPurvis Nursery & Orchard, Ribier Gardens, Tyler’s Rocky Point OrchardSymms Fruit RanchWilliams Fruit Ranch and Wood’n Goat Garden. Visit your local farmers market to find peaches from a grower near you!

Idaho Honey Peach Ice CreamOur favorite way to enjoy this summer treat is fresh from the tree, but this versatile fruit is also delicious dried, frozen, grilled, canned or made into jellies and jams. Try some of our delicious local peach recipes like Honey Peach Ice Cream.

The Modern: August Restaurant of the Month

the modern pork chopOne of the hippest spots in Boise, The Modern Hotel & Bar, located in the Linen District takes the cake for local cuisine. The restaurant and lounge which is located in a chic boutique hotel provides guests with simple, small plates made with locally sourced ingredients.

Head Chef Nate Whitley prepares delectable meals that showcase produce and meats grown by local farmers and ranchers. We recommend the Smoked Brisket which is oh-so-tender and juicy! Served with a homemade local peach and apricot salad and sweet onion purée, it is a light and flavorful dish on the must-try list. The beautifully prepared Pork Chop served on top of heirloom polenta, red cabbage, green beans, carrots and summer squash was an overall fan favorite. And the Gnocchi served with chanterelle and beech mushrooms, swiss chard and crème fraîche was smashing. A slightly more filling dish, but still a slight portion that will leave room for dessert! Speaking of dessert, the Lemon Cake with seasonal fruit and ice cream is absolutely sensational.

The Modern’s list of local ingredients is impressive and listed at the bottom of each menu so you know where your food is sourced. They procure ingredients from many wonderful Idaho producers and processors including: Peaceful Belly, Fiddlers Green Farm, Waterwheel Gardens, Purple Sage Farms, Next Generation Organics, Sweet Valley Organics, Idaho Tropical Fruit Co., Snake River Poultry, Gaston’s Bakery, Idaho’s Bounty, Lava Lake, Malheur River Meats, TrueRoots Organic, Eden Creamery, Onsen Farm, King’s Crown Organics, Ballard Cheese, Meadowlark Farm, MM Heath Farms, Idaho Kombucha Co and Acme Bakeshop.

When the weather is fine, guests can sit and relax on the outdoor patio and listen to local music while enjoying a nice cold Idaho brew from Payette Brewing, Grand Teton Brewing, Laughing Dog Brewing Co. or Woodland Empire. With a talented chef, friendly staff, fresh ambiance and a bounty of local ingredients there was only one thing we could possibly whine about – there wasn’t a drop of Idaho wine in the house!

The Modern is also known for their brunch menu which boasts local ingredients throughout. (Follow them on Instagram to see their gorgeous food photography!) Next time you are downtown Boise, head to the Linen District, hang out with the cool cats and try the fresh and trendy local cuisine at The Modern!

1314 West Grove Street • Boise, ID 83702

Reservations: 208.424.8244

Dinner – Sunday-Wednesday: 5-10p / Thurs-Sat: 5-11p
Brunch – Saturday+Sunday: 8a-2p

Local Litehouse Foods Places 1st at ACS Competition

LitehouseLitehouse®, Inc. swept the Blue Cheese category at the 2016 American Cheese Society (ACS) competition, following last year’s win in the Rindless Blue Cheese division. The Litehouse team won first place for its Simply Artisan Reserve Double Crème Gorgonzola, second place for its Simply Artisan Reserve True Gorgonzola and third place for its Simply Artisan Reserve True Blue. The 2016 ACS Cheese Contest was held July 27-30 in Des Moines, IA.

The Simply Artisan Reserve line is a category leader, and currently is growing by 70 percent. The line of crafted deli cheeses has won accolades by industry experts, retailers and consumers.

“Litehouse has a long heritage of making artisan cheese in a traditional way. Though we are known for our delicious refrigerated salad dressings, our handcrafted blue and gorgonzola cheeses are a point of pride for our employee owners and loved by the families we make them for,” said Margi Gunter, brand manager for deli for Litehouse, Inc. “We are thrilled to earn this top honor for our Simply Artisan Blue Cheese, a longtime favorite of our customers.”

More than 260 cheese makers submitted 1,843 products for this year’s ACS Judging and Competition. Unlike other cheese competitions where cheeses are graded down for technical defects, the goal of the ACS Judging and Competition is to award cheeses that are of the highest aesthetic and technical quality.

Litehouse’s master cheesemaker Marvin Sharp has been making cheese for more than 40 years and crafted the three award-winning cheeses. Simply Artisan Reserve Double Crème Gorgonzola is made from rBST-free milk, aged for 100 days and made with twice the cream of traditional gorgonzola cheeses. Made with rBST free milk, deliciously rich and developed in flavor due to 100 days aging, Simply Artisan Blue Cheese is crafted, flipped, and salted by hand. A two-time honoree, this cheese was awarded first place at the ACS’s 2015 competition. Simply Artisan Reserve Gorgonzola Cheese is handcrafted and vintage aged a minimum of 100 days, resulting in a cheese that is delightfully smooth and creamy in texture.

About Litehouse, Inc.
Litehouse, Inc. started in the Hope, Idaho restaurant of the Hawkins family over 50 years ago. Since that time, it has become the leader in refrigerated salad dressings, fruit and veggie dips, sauces, Instantly Fresh® Herbs, blue cheese, and pressed apple cider, manufacturing these delicious products at its three U.S. facilities based in Michigan, Utah and Idaho. Litehouse is proud to be 100% employee-owned and each one of the employee owners is proud to carry on the high standards of quality and innovation, living up to the slogan…Families Making Food for Families. For more information, visit, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

About the American Cheese Society (ACS)
ACS is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. At nearly 1,700 members strong, ACS provides advocacy, education, business development, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and extended industry. ACS strives to continually raise the quality and availability of cheese in the Americas.

Article Credit: Roxie Lowther, Kari Ramsey

Media Contacts: Roxie Lowther
1-800-669-3169 Ext. 249
Kari Ramsey

The Orchard House: July Restaurant of the Month

Orchard House LogoNestled off of State Route 55 in Caldwell is the quaint and cozy Orchard House restaurant. The Orchard House focuses on serving fresh, local, seasonally inspired cuisine. They use real local butter, fresh herbs and high quality creams and milk. Everything on the menu is made fresh to order, so when you visit, prepare to sit back, relax and enjoy your time there.

With a wide selection of menu items there is something for everyone to love. For the early risers who make it during breakfast hours, try the Orchard House Spuds – roasted Idaho potatoes topped with crumbled bacon, bell pepper, onion, cheddar cheese, green onion and sour cream. Lunch goers can’t go wrong with one of their many delicious sandwich, salad and wrap choices. And if you are dining out for dinner, try the Idaho Red Trout which is evenly coated in flour and pan seared to perfection served with an Idaho potato, seasonal veggies and bread. We recommend adding the homemade soup du jour!

The Orchard House proudly serves award winning Snake River AVA wines. Relax outside on their patio and enjoy a glass of Idaho’s finest vino. A large selection of the wine they serve is available for purchase, too. Their featured wines are available by the glass. Be sure to ask your server to see the complete wine list!

TIP: Save room for dessert.
Their made from scratch, seasonal dessert items change daily and are absolutely divine. We highly recommend the crisp or cobbler which is made with locally grown fruit and served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The Orchard House is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, making it convenient to dine at anytime. And after your fill of local food and drink – drive a little further down the road to Symms Fruit Ranch and visit their market stand – peaches are now in season! Continue on and visit the beautiful Ste. Chapelle winery and enjoy the view from their outside patio overlooking the vineyard and the always awe inspiring Idaho landscape.

14949 Sunnyslope Rd.
Caldwell, Idaho 83607

Contact: (208) 459.8200

Monday-Saturday: 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am-9:00pm

Middleton School District Voted Top Farm to School Program in Idaho

Middleton School District’s Farm to School Program Named
“One in a Melon” Award Winner

One in a Melon LogoMIDDLETON, ID, May 24, 2016 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service recently awarded Middleton School District a “One in a Melon” award for administering an exemplary Farm to School program.  One school district per state was selected for the award by receiving the most public nominations.

From March 15 – April 15, parents, teachers, community stakeholders, and students were invited to visit USDA’s Farm to School Census website and nominate their favorite Farm to School program to receive the award.  According to the Census, 55[1] Idaho districts have farm to school programs, and a total of 5,254 districts participate across the U.S.

Middleton School District has been participating in farm to school since the 2000 – 2001 school year.  They have purchased local produce from a variety of farmers in the area and began featuring self-serve fruit and vegetable “salad” bars for all schools in 2003-2004.

In 2010 Middleton School District started a program called “Spotlight of the Week”.  The program features items which many students may not have seen or eaten before.  In addition, fruit & vegetable “salad” bars highlight nutritional information and fun facts on posters and via emails sent to all faculty members.  The Middleton School District notes that they frequently receive calls from parents asking where parents can find these new items that their kids are asking for.

Farm to school programs help kids form healthy habits, learn where their food comes from, and develop an understanding of the importance of nutrition and agriculture.   Results of the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census show that schools with robust farm to school programs report reductions in food waste, higher school meal participation rates, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables.  Census results also show that U.S. schools invested nearly $800 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in the 2013- 2014 school year, which is money going directly back into local communities.

For more information about Middleton School District’s farm to school program, please contact Barbara Bumgardner at 208-585-6700.


[1] USDA, The Farm to School Census.


Capitol Cellars: June Restaurant of the Month






A hidden gem in the Treasure Valley, Capitol Cellars, holds true to their commitment to local cuisine. Located in the historical Belgravia Building in downtown Boise, Executive Chef Dave Shipley takes pride in creating local, homemade meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. The restaurant has a unique and charming ambiance, making it the perfect place for a business breakfast, casual lunch or special occasion dinner.

capitol-cellars_26915193064_oWith a true farm-to-table philosophy, Capitol Cellars incorporates Idaho-grown and raised ingredients and seasonal specials so there is always something local on the menu.  

“We try to get as much local as we can,” said Chef Dave Shipley. “If we can’t find a certain ingredient in Idaho, we will get it from the next closest source keeping it as local as possible.”  

capitol-cellars_27524276205_oBecause owners Skip and Melinda Smyser both served terms in the Legislature, daughter and restaurant manager, Logan Smyser, incorporated a political theme using creatively named menu items such as The Senator’s Prime Rib, Bethene’s Beet Salad, Joe Williams Watermelon Salad and Pete’s Idaho Lamb Osso Bucco. And don’t pass up the Bison-tennial Ribs – sourced locally and prepared to perfection.

For breakfast try the Idaho Quiche made with Kurobuta ham, local Gouda cheese, Idaho potato and thyme from Purple Sage Farms. When hunger strikes at lunch hour, grab the quick soup and salad special. We recommend the Kauffman Farms Barley Soup made with locally grown barley in Filer, Idaho. Or order the seasonal soup du jour feature as it’s always made with local goodness.

Not too hungry? No worries. Stay classy and relax with a bottle of Idaho wine and nibble on their housemade Charcuterie plate. They cure their meats in-house and make their own bison chorizo from Browns Bison Ranch and lamb sausage using Lava Lake Lamb.

capitol-cellars_26915161334_oWe recommend visiting more than once or bringing a group of friends who like to share, as the dinner menu is divine and loaded with local ingredients – you’ll want to try them all!

capitol-cellars_26915153104_oWe sampled a smorgasbord of Idaho cuisine including: Len’s Lettuce Wraps- Kurobuta pork belly, butter lettuce from Laura Lee Farms, carrot, radish coins, roasted pepper-lemongrass sambal and local micro greens from Purple Sage Farms with a ginger-scallion sauce (YUM!), the Bison-tennial Ribs featuring local bison and a butternut squash-apple coleslaw, Chef Shipley’s pick: the Taylor Topper Trout- pistachio dusted Hagerman red trout, scallion mashed Idaho potato, bacon braised kale and citrus beurre blanc, and of course, The Senator’s Prime-Rib- Idaho-northwest raised beef, Idaho baked potato, warm housemade horseradish sauce and au jus. Their vegetable sides rotate seasonally as well – right now it’s local IdaSpear asparagus from Owyhee Produce.

capitol-cellars_27524256705_oThe local love doesn’t end before the dessert menu, so your meal shouldn’t either. The all-Idaho creme brulee is made with Matthews Farms eggs, local cream and sugar. Or try the homemade chocolate ice cream made with local dairy, sugar and Sockeye Brewing porter. While it is common to share a dessert and certainly enough for two, you might wish you had gotten your own once your spoon hits the bottom of the bowl. Yeah, it’s that good.

capitol-cellars_27452076011_oIn addition to the Idaho foods, Capitol Cellars has one of the best Idaho wine lists in town. Make sure you go on a Wednesday for their Wine Down Wednesday special – 25% off bottles of all Idaho wines! So this summer when you have guests in town, or just want a great Idaho meal, head downtown and down the stairs to Capital Cellars.

Location: 110 S 5th St, Boise, ID 83702

Mon-Fri 7:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 9:00pm



Celebrate Idaho Dairy

National Dairy Month

117June is National Dairy Month and in Idaho there are many reasons to celebrate. Dairy is Idaho #1 agriculture industry adding over $3 Billion to our state’s economy. We rank 3rd in the nation in milk and cheese production and are a major producer of many other milk products sold domestically and abroad. All of Idaho’s 500+ dairies are family owned and many are multi-generational. These families care for over 580,000 cows – each producing an average of 7 gallons of milk per day. 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.

dairyCelebrate June Dairy Month with a cold glass of milk, cheese, ice cream, or this yogurt parfait topped with Idaho strawberries – also fresh and local in June!  Want to learn more about the dairy industry first hand?  Visit a Meridian dairy hosted by United Dairymen of Idaho – for more information, please visit: