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.
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
Yes, 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.
Meat 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.
Idaho 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’vre, High 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 Market, Rosauer’s and Vogel Farms Country Market.
Beans & Lentils
Add 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
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.
Whether 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
Check 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.
The 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!
Wine – 3 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
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.
Love 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.
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