Seasonal Products for October
Welcome the fall season by enjoying a deliciously sweet Idaho apple fresh from the orchard! Apples are Idaho’s number one fruit crop topping 60 million pounds harvested per year. Idaho apples are available August through early March, allowing many months to enjoy this delectable harvest treat.
Idaho apple farmers grow at least nine different varieties of apples, including Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Rome. They are also growing newer varieties including Pink Lady and Honey Crisp. Each apple is carefully cultivated and harvested so that it is delivered to you fresh, crisp and juicy- just the way an apple should be! You can find local apples in many local retailers and farmers markets as well as U-pick orchards.
Like all fruits and vegetables, apples are an important part of a healthy diet. Apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and contain a multitude of important nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, and naturally occurring anti-oxidants. With all of the healthful benefits of apples, celebrate the harvest season with your favorite Idaho apple-fresh from the tree!
What to Look For: Choose fresh, bright, firm textured apples and avoid apples with dark, pressure marks over the surface.
How to Store: Fresh apples can be kept at room temperature for few days and stored inside the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks. Wash them in clean running cold water before use.
- It takes a medium-sized apple tree 6-10 years before it fully produces fruit. Once fully grown, an apple tree will produce enough apples to make 225 pies each year!
Idaho Apple Producers
- Henggeler Packing Company, Inc.
- 6730 Elmore Road
Fruitland, ID 83619
- Kelley’s Canyon Orchard
- 1903 River Road
Filer, ID 83328
- Northview Orchard
- 1826 East 4500 North
Buhl, ID 83316
- Purvis Nursery & Orchard
- 1568 Hill Road
Homedale, ID 83678
- Ribier Gardens
- Symms Fruit Ranch, Inc.
- 14068 Sunny Slope Rd.
Caldwell, ID 83607
- Tyler’s Rocky Point Orchard
- 145 E. South Slope Rd.
Emmett, ID 83617
- Williams Fruit Ranch
- 2455 W. South Slope Rd.
Emmett, ID 83617
- Wood’n Goat Garden LLC
- 1172 S. 2000 W.
Sterling, ID 83210
Beets are a root vegetable that grow quickly and have many different varieties from deep red, yellow or even white. Beets are not only delicious but a great source of potassium, magnesium, fiber and more.
Idaho beets are available from early July through October. You most likely won’t find them in grocery stores but they always at your local farmers markets and farm stands!
What to Look For: Choose firm, rounded beets with smooth skins and no noticeable bruising. Fresh beets, sold in bunches, should have the greens attached and 1 to 2 inches of root end, which looks like a tail. Do not buy beets with wilted, browning leaves—the leafy greens indicate the freshness of the beets. If the greens have been trimmed, look for bunches with at least 2 inches of stem still attached.
How To Store: Cut the greens from the beets as soon as you get home, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem attached. The beets will not spoil if left at cool room temperature for a few days, but they do best when refrigerated for up to 10 days. If they turn soft, discard them. Don’t toss the beet greens because they are packed full of nutrients. You can add them raw to vegetable juices or sauteed similarly to mustard greens and swiss chard. Beet greens should be washed and cooked on the day you buy them. They do not keep well, however if necessary, place them, unwashed, into a perforated plastic bag and refrigerated overnight.
Idaho beverage choices are as varied as the foods. As one of the top milk producers in the nation, Idaho dairy farm families provide nutritious milk that is widely available.
Because of our natural sprints, we have great bottle water producers here in Idaho too, like Rocks bottled water in Idaho City and Starkey Spring Water.
Other beverages include fresh apple cider made with Idaho-grown apples as well as hard ciders.
Idaho’s wine industry continues to grow and provide a wide variety of quality varietals. With over 40 wineries across the state, Idaho wines are plentiful and easily found at retailers, wine shops and restaurants. Idaho’s unique climate and volcanic soils allow cultivation of grapes of exceptional sweetness and acidity needed for production of wines with great character to pair with everyday meals and special celebrations.
But wine is not the only industry seeing great growth. The Idaho micro-beer industry is achieving regional and national recognition for its quality brews made from locally grown barley and hops. These beers are making their way into grocery stores and restaurants across the state. In addition, Idaho’s spirits industry in enjoying great popularity. Potato vodka, flavored with Idaho’s state fruit – the huckleberry – is just one of the many specialty beverages gaining national attention.
Easy to pack and perfect for that favorite dip, the crunchy texture and sweet taste of carrots make them popular among both adults and children. Locally grown Idaho carrots are in season from July through November. For local carrots head to your farmers market or farm stand. Since carrots aren’t grown on a large scale in Idaho you most likely won’t find them in grocery stores.
What to Look For: When buying carrots, look for bright orange-gold color and medium size. Usually the smaller the carrot, the sweeter it will be. For fun and variety, look for rainbow carrots. Some Idaho farmers are growing purple, red and yellow carrots!
How to Store: Carrots store well in cool dry environment, such as in the refrigerator. Before storing, remove carrot tops otherwise the green swill soon wilt and moisture will be drawn from the roots, turning the carrot limp and rubbery. Instead of throwing away the tops, which are full of nutrition, try adding them to soups or chopping them and adding to your salads.
Did you know that Idaho is one of the top dairy producing states in the nation? That’s right. We rank 3rd in milk and cheese production in the US. The milk purchased at local retailers is most likely produced and processed in Idaho. As a major cheese processor, Idaho produces cheddar, Colby Jack, cream cheese, cottage cheese and other pasteurized cheeses. You can find Idaho cheeses, including cheese branded under the Idaho label, throughout the year. Other milk products produced in Idaho include butter, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
- Dairy is Idaho’s #1 agriculture industry.
- 70% of the milk produced in Idaho is made into cheese.
- One 8 oz. glass of milk provides 30% of daily calcium needs.
- Milk contains nine essential nutrients including protein, potassium and Vitamins A, D and B12.
Want to check out some of the great dairies around the state? Download the Idaho Dairy Trail Map.
When you start to think about your next home improvement project make sure to look for Idaho forest products. Whether it is lumber for a new deck, shingles or wood framed windows you need, all of these products can come from Idaho’s forests.
Forest products include all products made of wood fiber such as timber, wood chips, sawdust or shavings including lumber, paper, particleboard, fence, corral posts or rails, shingles, shakes, firewood or pellets, logs used in the construction of log homes or any other product sold commercially. Idaho’s forests are one of the states most valuable resources and provide us with high quality materials.
By choosing Idaho forest products you are helping to grow our local economy. To find Idaho wood products look for the Idaho Preferred logo at your local lumber or home improvement store.
For more information visit the Idaho Forest Products Commissions website.
In Idaho, a wide variety of culinary herbs are grown in greenhouses and outdoors. Greenhouse production allows some local herbs to be available almost year-around but most are grown outdoors and available only seasonally. Purple Sage Farms in Middleton, one of Idaho’s largest herb producers, has begun to dry herbs which further extends availability. You can find Idaho herbs in grocery stores and at farmers markets.
Fresh Herbs Basics
What to Look for: Fresh herbs are delicate. Look for herbs that are bright green and appear to hold their shape. Avoid herbs that are browning or wilting.
How to Store: Wash herbs with a salad spinner with cold water. Swirl the herbs gently around in the water to loosen any debris. Drain the water, then spin the herbs dry and lay them on a layer of paper towels and pat gently with more paper towels to blot away any excess moisture. Store by arranging them lengthwise in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel, rolling them up like a jelly roll, then transfer the bundle to a plastic zipper lock bag and store in the refrigerator.
Fun Facts about Mint
- Idaho ranks 3rd in the nation for mint production with 13,000 acres harvested annually.
- Idaho grows both spearmint and peppermint.
- Toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum manufacturers use about 90% of mint oil.
- One drop of mint oil can produce over 30 sticks of gum.
Looking for a 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
Specialty food baskets are the perfect gift 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.
Breakfast 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’s, The 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.
Savory Foods Basket: Build a gift with more savory flavors with Idaho Preferred Wagner Mustard or Mom’s Mustard, Treasure Valley Salsa, a unique blackberry pepper jelly or spice mix from Rivers Bend Candles and Crafts, hearty Barley Soup mix from Kauffman Farms, a 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.
For 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!
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 www.idahowines.org.
If 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.
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.
Love 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.
Bread: 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.!
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.!
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.
Add 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.
For 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 try giving 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.
Last 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.
Idaho breads baked with the finest Idaho ingredients, including Idaho flour can be found at local bakeries, retailers, farmers markets, and even served in restaurants. Idaho bakers make a wide variety of breads from baguettes and rolls to specialty and sandwich breads.
Idaho grains such as barley, wheat, spelt, and flax can be found throughout the year. Idaho ranks 2nd in the nation in barley production and is one of the top 10 wheat producing state. In addition to bread, Idaho grains are used in tortillas, pasta, crackers, cookies, cereal and more.
Fun Facts about Wheat
- Idaho ranks 5th in the nation in wheat production.
- Wheat is grown in 42 of the 44 counties in Idaho.
- Whole grains from wheat provide fiber and other nutrients to keep your body healthy.
- A bushel of Idaho wheat weighs about 60 lbs. and will make 75 loaves of bread.
- Idaho growers produce close to 100 million bushels of wheat.
- One acre (about the size of a football field) produces enough wheat to provide your family with break for 10 years!
Both wine and table grape varieties are grown on more than 1,600 acres of vineyards across Idaho. The long warm summer days, cool nights and well-drained volcanic soils are key ingredients for growing grapes with exceptional flavor and sugar content.
Idaho grapes are harvested in September and October—after Californian and before Chilean grapes arrive in the market, giving Idaho an important marketing window for table grapes. Several table grape growers in Idaho are selling their grapes to local schools where the sweet and delicious fruit is a big hit with Idaho students.
Idaho also grows great wine grapes that make wonderful Idaho wines.
Grapes are also great served fresh, or as part of the Grape and Plum Ambrosia.
Several types of greens are grown in Idaho including spring mixes, kale, different lettuce varieties, spinach, arugula and more. Greens like cooler temperatures and are therefore some of the first vegetables to appear in the spring – some as early as March. Others can tolerate heat and are available throughout the summer and fall. Some Idaho greens are produced in greenhouses which provides a consistent supply of greens for consumers and restaurants from early spring through late fall. Find Idaho greens at the farmers market, on the menu at several Idaho Preferred restaurants and through Idaho’s Bounty.
What to Look for: Look for leafy greens that have a rich color. Avoid greens that are browning or wilting.
How to Store: Wash greens with a salad spinner with cold water. Swirl the herbs gently around in the water to loosen any debris. Drain the water and spin the greens. Drain water spun from greens, then store greens in a salad container in the refrigerator.
- Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.
- They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins.
Idaho producers raise a large variety of meats from chicken to cattle and trout to yak. You can easily find local meats at retail locations, farmers markets, or by purchasing on-line, direct from the producer.
Ranchers in Idaho produce many types of beef including grain and grass-fed, organic and natural. Idaho even has producers of American-style Kobe beef. American-style Kobe beef is highly marbled and of the highest quality.
Idaho is the number one trout producing state in the U.S. growing 46% of all farm raised trout. Sturgeon meat, Idaho caviar, tilapia, and catfish are also raised in Idaho.
Pork producers and processors in Idaho offer both fresh and processed pork products such as sausage, ham and chorizo. Other meat products such as lamb, chicken, goat, turkey and even yak are raised and processed in Idaho and can be found throughout the year at grocery stores, farmers markets and on-line.
The Idaho Preferred program stretches beyond just food and beverages to promote many other local Idaho businesses and agriculture products. In addition to local nursery and forest products, Idaho Preferred members produce hay, pet foods, wool products, potting soil mixes and more.
Plant Idaho Flowers
Nursery and greenhouse production is an important agricultural industry in Idaho making it easy to fill your garden and flower pots with locally grown plants. Look for the Idaho Preferred logo on hanging baskets, flower bowls, herb starts and plants grown in local greenhouses. Growers such as Ward’s Greenhouse, Moss Greenhouses, Olson’s Greenhouse and Warm Springs Greenhouse supply to local nurseries and garden centers in southwest Idaho including Zamzows, D&B Supply, Bi-Mart, Walmart and Albertsons while Rustic Gardens, Sunnyside Gardens, Town & Country Gardens and Blue Barn Produce & More sell direct to consumers at on-site locations and farmers markets.
Idaho nursery growers and local greenhouses also carry a wide range of annuals and perennials. You can give your garden a new look every growing season with annuals such as pansies, petunias, and marigolds. Their life cycles lasts one season which allows for fun experimentation. Perennials such as salvia, peonies, day lilies or rudbeckia can help brighten up your garden, and once established, most perennials are low-maintenance. Perennials thrive during spring and summer, die back in colder months and return to bloom in spring, giving your garden a consistent look each growing season.
Need a little help with your garden planning? FarWest Landscape and Garden Center is a full-service gardening center, staffed by expert gardeners, that can help you with all of your green-thumb needs including planting and delivery service. Idaho also produces excellent, earth-friendly soil and compost products in the state from processors such as Magic Dirt potting soil, Magic Valley Compost and Smart Gro fertilizer.
Grow Idaho Trees and Shrubs
Idaho also has several tree farms throughout the state that grow hearty, beautiful trees that thrive in Idaho’s high desert climate.
If you need to add a little shade to your yard look for locally grown trees from Clayton Tree Farm, Cloverdale Nursery, Bonners Ferry Nursery, Du-Rite Nursery, or Town & Country Gardens.
Idaho 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 how to prepare the ground for site planting. Buying Idaho-grown plants and trees is not only a great way to support the local economy, but the plants are also acclimated to the growing conditions in Idaho assuring a magnificent lawn, landscape or garden.
Click here to view a map of local nurseries and growers throughout the state.
The Snake River Valley area in Idaho and Eastern Oregon is the largest onion growing region in the U.S. The climate and soil create the perfect conditions for growing yellow, white and red varieties. Crops are planted in March and April and harvested starting in August. State-of-the-art storage facilities allow Idaho-Eastern Oregon onions to be available from August through March or April.
Idaho onions are known for their golden color, globe shape, remarkably mild flavor and crisp texture. These attributes combine to make Idaho onions some of the most versatile, best tasting, and popular onions in the world.
What To Look For: It’s important to select a fresh onion and the right variety for your cooking needs. The freshest onions will be heavy in your hand and firm to the touch.
- Yellow Onions: When a recipe calls for onions, it’s almost always referring to the all-purpose yellow onion variety. Yellow onions have a strong astringent flavor that will make your eyes swell with tears, but become sweeter the longer they cook.
- White Onions: Many people confuse white and yellow onions. But the biggest difference is how they are prepared in the kitchen. While they can be substituted for cooking yellow onions, a white onion is best served raw. White onions are often used in salsa and on hamburgers.
- Red Onions: Red onions add a beautiful splash of color to your dish and have a mild flavor that is perfect for enjoying raw.
- Sweet Onions: Vidalia, Walla Walla and Spanish are all types of sweet onion. Naturally very sweet, they are often found in onion rings, or by the true onion lover as the star on a parsley and onion sandwich. Sweet onions can be yellow or white in color, but they have more water and less sulfur compared to other onions, which is why they don’t have a sharp flavor. They don’t store as long as other onions, so be sure to enjoy them within a few days of purchasing.
How to Store: Onions can store well for up to two weeks in a cool, dark place. If an onion is soft or gives off a powerful odor, it has most likely passed its peak of freshness.
- Idaho ranks 5th in the nation in onion production.
- Southwest Idaho is famous for Giant Spanish sweet onions.
- 25% of all U.S. onions come directly from the Snake River Valley of Southwest Idaho and Eastern Oregon.
- Idaho onions are high in Vitamin C and folate, and they are a great source of fiber, Vitamin B6 and Potassium.
What kind of Organic Products are Grown in Idaho?
Idaho has over 250 operations that produce a diversity of organic crops including vegetables, meats, milk, eggs, and wine, as well as non-food crops such as hay and barley.
An Idaho-certified organic food product is one which has been produced without the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides or growth regulators for a period of at least 36 months prior to harvest. It is a product marketed using the term ‘organic’ (or as a derivative) in its labeling or advertising and is processed, packaged, transported and stored to retain maximum nutritional value, without the use of artificial preservatives, coloring or other additives, irradiation or synthetic pesticides. The organic system of production emphasizes sustainability and limited natural inputs, relying heavily on such things as crop rotation and animal manure for soil health and fertility.
Find Organic Products from Idaho Preferred Members>>
Peaches are one of summer’s most anticipated fruits. Picked at the peak of ripeness, Idaho peaches are large, sweet and drip-off-your-chin juicy! Unlike peaches grown elsewhere and shipped to Idaho, locally grown peaches are allowed to ripen on the tree leading to a juicier and more flavorful fruit.
What To Look For: Ripe, yellow-fleshed peaches should have a golden hue behind their reddish blush. That blush is not a sign of ripeness it’s just where the sun shone on the peach. Lighter yellow color means a less-ripe peach. Avoid peaches that are bruised, scratched or have wrinkly skin. It’s also important to pay attention to the smell and feel of each fruit. Most peaches should smell the way they taste. No smell usually means no taste and is an indicator of an under-ripe peach. Ready-to-eat peaches should feel heavy for their size, but the “give” of a peach can tell you how ripe the fruit is. Hold the peach in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze with your whole fingers to gauge how hard or soft the peach is. Real “give” when you squeeze means the peach can be eaten right away or left out on the counter for a day or two before becoming soft. Soft peaches will bruise slightly when you squeeze and should be enjoyed right away.
How to Store: Store at room temperature until ripe – refrigerating peaches before they are ripe can lead to loss of flavor, texture and appearance. To hasten ripening, place peaches in a paper bag at room temperature and check daily. Once ripe, place peaches in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
Where to Find: Look for sweet and juicy Idaho peaches at local retailers like Whole Foods, Winco, Albertsons, local farmers markets and road-side fruit stands. Peaches can also be purchased at the orchard where some u-pick opportunities might be available.
Idaho Peaches from Idaho Preferred on Vimeo.
Pears are grown throughout Idaho, but primarily in the southwest Snake River Valley. Major Idaho varieties include Bartlett, Anjou, and Bosc pears. Harvest season in Idaho is late August and September, but due to storage capabilities pears are available fresh through November.
Idaho Bartlett pears are the most common variety with the classic pear shape and golden color when ripe. Bartletts are sweet, soft, delicious, and perfect for snacking. Idaho Bosc pears have skinny necks with thick, brown skin. Bosc pears can be tricky to select because they can be soft or hard when ripe. Their flavor can be wonderful when they’re ready, or tough and tasteless when they’re not perfectly ripe. For this reason, many save Bosc pears for baking.
What To Look For: Pears are a unique fruit that ripen best off of the tree. Pears shipped and sold in grocery stores are often fully mature, but not ripe. Look for pears that are firm without bruises or spots. Pears are ripe when the skin near the stem yields to gentle pressure.
How to Store: Store at room temperature until ripe – refrigerating pears before they are ripe can lead to loss of flavor, texture and appearance. To hasten ripening, place pears in a paper bag at room temperature and check daily. Once ripe, place pears in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to three days.
- Idaho is great for growing pears because of its rich volcanic soil and mild, dry climate.
- Idaho and other Northwest states account for 98% of the U.S. pear production.
- Idaho pears are available August through September, Idhao pears come in several varieties including Bosc and Bartlett.
- One pear has 24% of your daily-recommended value of fiber and is a great source of Vitamin C and potassium.
- Pears do not ripen on the tree! You must pick the fruit and let them ripen from the inside out.
With over a century of growing potatoes, Idaho is the the top producer in the US and has been every year since 1957. Idaho produces around 30% of all U.S. fall production each year. The growing conditions in Idaho give farmers an advantage. Warm days, cool nights, ample water supplies and fertile volcanic soils are ideal for tuber sets, producing a potato with a high solid count- the secret behind fluffy bakers and firm french fries. While the russet is the most well-known of the Famous Idaho Potatoes, Idaho also grows more than 25 other varieties including Yukon Golds, Reds, and Fingerlings. Potatoes are harvested in the fall but available year around in grocery stores and restaurants
In 1837 Henry Spalding, a Presbyterian missionary, planted the first potatoes in Lapwai, Idaho. Today, potatoes are grown on nearly 350,000 acres across southern and eastern parts of the state. If we had to eat all the potatoes grown in Idaho, every man, women and child in Idaho would have to eat 55 potatoes every single day, all year long! Instead, Idaho potatoes are exported across the US and around the world!
Move over baked and mashed potatoes, these recipes are stealing the show! Try a new potato recipe for dinner tonight:
Idaho’s favorable growing conditions allow the state’s pumpkin harvest to produce many varieties that are pleasing to the eye and rich in flavor. There are two different types of pumpkins – carving pumpkins and pie pumpkins – and they are very different in structure and taste.
To find a local pumpkin patch in your area please visit Idaho Pumpkin Patches and More.
What To Look For
Pumpkins grown for carving are large, have a thick hard rind on the outside and thin, stringy pulp on the inside. These pumpkins are filled with seeds (which can be baked and made into a delicious snack!) but the flesh on the inside will have little or no flavor if cooked. These pumpkins are perfect for carving jack-0-lanterns or using as a festival fall display. Choose a pumpkin that has a bold orange color with no bruises or soft spots and a nice sized, sturdy stem.
Pumpkins grown for baking are smaller in size and labeled as a “cooking”, “pie” or “sugar” pumpkin. These types of pumpkins have a sweet, tender flesh that are particularly good for cooking and baking. Choose smooth, deep-orange pumpkins that are heavy for their size. These small varieties weigh 4-6 pounds and will yield 1 ½ – 2 cups of pumpkin puree. Baking pumpkins are perfect for making pumpkin bread, pie, cheesecake, muffins, pancakes, cookies, rolls and soups.
How to Store: Store baking pumpkins in the pantry for up to one month.
- Idaho pumpkins are available from September through November.
- The pulp of Idaho pumpkins is great for soups, breads, desserts and even main dishes.
- Pumpkins are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is vital for healthy vision.
- Pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin C to help fight off colds.
- Pumpkins are a type of winter squash. Winter squash differs from summer squash in that the skin is hard, thick and inedible.
Find Idaho Preferred pumpkin growers here.
Idaho Pumpkins and Winter Squash from Idaho Preferred on Vimeo.
What is a specialty food?
Specialty foods are edible goods that are made with unique and high-quality ingredients in small quantities such as honey, jellies and jams, mustard, baking mixes, sauces and granola. All Idaho Preferred specialty food products are made with Idaho-grown ingredients. When you choose Idaho Preferred specialty products you are supporting local businesses and Idaho farmers!
Because Idaho is rich in agriculture, we have an impressive variety of specialty foods containing locally sourced ingredients. There are some unique products like Idaho sturgeon caviar and on-the-go meals like Fit Wrapz. Specialty foods also make great gifts as most have a long shelf life and are easy to add into customized baskets. Learn more about local gifts here.
Look for the following specialty products when you are out shopping at grocery stores and farmers markets all throughout the state:
Beverages – Rock’s Natural Spring Water, Starkey Spring Water
Candy & Chocolate – Weiser Classic Candy, The Toffee Cottage
Caviar – Fish Breeders of Idaho
Cooking & Baking Mix – Cowboy Tom’s, Homemade by Dorothy, Kauffman Hearty Barley Soup Mix, D’Arcy’s Bakeshoppe
Drink Mix/Hot Cocoa – Homemade by Dorothy
Granola/Energy Bars – Nature’s Indulgence Granola, Backcountry Bar
Honey – Browning’s Honey Co., Cox Honey Farms, Rocky Mountain Honey Co., Reisinger Apiaries, The Honey Store, Treasure Valley Honey & Bees, Wood’n Goat Garden, Orchard Valley Bees
Hummus – Zacca Hummus
Jam/Jelly – The Berry Ranch, Homemade by Dorothy, Baker Ranch, Pepper Fusion Products, Legacy Farms
Mustard – Wagner’s Mustard
Salad Dressing – Litehouse
Sauce – D’Arcy’s Bakeshoppe
Soup– Gina Cucina LLC.
Syrup – Homemade by Dorothy
Nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes that are truly vine-ripened. Although some tomatoes may be available year-round, vine-ripened tomatoes are only available during the summer growing season—or when grown in a local greenhouse.
Idaho’s farmers produce tomatoes primarily for local markets, which allow them to harvest their tomatoes when they are truly ripe. Idaho’s warm summer days and brisk cool nights allow the sugar to build inside the tomatoes and helps produce a sweet and juicy tomato. Tomatoes are also grown locally in greenhouses, which extends the season from early spring through late fall.
How to pick: Choosing the perfect tomato will call upon multiple senses. You’ll need to inspect, feel and smell your way to the perfect fruit. The best tomatoes are free of blemishes and bruises and should be a deep, bright red. A good tomato is firm enough to resist pressure, but not hard. Touch is also a good way to test heirloom tomatoes, which can be purple, lumpy, tiny or green even when ripe. And, the most flavorful tomato will have a fragrant smell. The sweet and earthy smell from the stem of the tomatoes will be a clear indicator that your taste buds will enjoy your selection.
How to store: One of the most common food storage mistakes is keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures can affect the flavor and texture of a tomato in a mater of days. Instead, store tomatoes in a bowl with stems up. Tomato stems are fragile, so if they are placed faced down, they are likely to bruise, which leads to rot. Keep tomatoes away from heat and direct sunlight. Tomatoes should keep for at least a week when stored this way.
Fresh Tomato Cucumber Gazpacho
Peach and Tomato Salsa
Fresh Idaho tomatoes are delicious raw, sautéed, grilled, and stewed. Tomatoes are versatile and add great flavor to any recipe – so try a new tomato recipe today!
Winter squash comes in several different sizes, shapes, colors and varieties. The most common winter squash varieties include acorn, banana, butternut, delicata and spaghetti. Winter squashes have a hard outer rind and orange flesh on the inside. These squashes come on later in the growing season and they have a longer shelf life making them a great staple in winter and even early spring months when other local vegetables are hard to come by.
Unlike summer squashes the rind on winter squash is hard and not edible. Choose winter squashes that have a hard rind, feel heavy and have no soft spots. You can store winter squash for several months in a cool pantry, cabinet, garage or basement.
Winter Squash Basics
What To Look For: Shop for winter squash based on an even color, a hard rind, firmness, and one that feels heavy for its size. Avoid squash that have soft spots, dull and wrinkled skin or is light for its size.
How to Store: It’s simple to prepare winter squash after the fall harvest. When storing winter squash directly from your garden, allow the squash to cure for 10 to 14 days. Curing simply means storing winter squash at a warm temperature with good air circulation. Curing the squash allows excess water to dissipate, which will make the skins harder for storing, reduce rot, and concentrates natural sweetness of the vegetable. Curing is not recommended for acorn squash varieties. After your squash have been cured, story them in a cool dry place.
The following is the shelf life of common winter squash varieties:
- Acorn Squash: Four weeks
- Spaghetti Squash: Four to Five weeks
- Butternut Squash: Up to six months
Winter Squash Video
Idaho Pumpkins and Winter Squash from Idaho Preferred on Vimeo.