TWIN FALLS • Idaho is famous for its potatoes.
But did you know local processors also specialize in breads, dairy, meat, wine, jams, jellies, pickled vegetables and more?
Idaho farmers and ranchers produce more than 185 different agricultural products. Asparagus grows in the spring. Strawberries, Bing cherries, apricots, and raspberries grow in the summer. Peaches, plums, pears and corn are available in the fall, and apples, onions, and potatoes can be found just about year-round.
Now, a cookbook unites all these local products into recipes you can use.
“Live. Eat. Local. Idaho Recipes For All Seasons” celebrates the 10th anniversary of Idaho Preferred, a program of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture that identifies and promotes food and agricultural products grown, raised or processed in the Gem State.
Jane Deal, the “Cheese Queen” at Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese; Leah Clark, Idaho Preferred program manager; and ISDAmarketing specialist Skylar Jett compiled the cookbook in three and a half months.
“I started putting the idea for this book together in January of 2012,” Deal said.
She said she met a lot of suppliers while co-owning the Ein Tisch Inn in Hagerman from 2003-09. Deal presented her idea to Clark at a food show in Sun Valley. Clark was able to carry it over for the Idaho Preferred project.
“Collecting recipes was the easy part,” Deal said.
This collection of recipes came from restaurant chefs, farmers and agricultural producers across the state of Idaho.
The trio of Deal, Clark and Jett worked with Warren Lassen, who did the photography and the design of the cookbook. Also included is an Idaho produce availability calendar and information on Idaho wines.
Deal said the cookbook is about providing information on how available local products are.
“My philosophy is when people get to know these products and the people who produce them, they create a relationship. Not only do you want to obtain these fresh, high-quality products, but you want to support the people who work hard to produce them,” Deal said.
Deal has been with Ballard for four years and contributed 36 recipes of her own. Idaho Preferred came up with a lot of the other recipes, she said. There are more than 100 delicious recipes in all, organized by season in order to cook with the freshest, Idaho-grown commodities.
“The cookbook is a vehicle to get people in touch with the local farms and products that are available to them in their area to help the local economy,” Deal said.
Featured in the cookbook is everything from yak to caviar. Marc and Tina Bolduc of Howling Winds Farm in Hagerman raise yaks.
“The recipe for Yak Meatballs and Wild Rice Pilaf was the first recipe I wrote for this cookbook. Yak meat is delicious and very healthy,” said Deal.
She said stories of how businesses got started and their principles are important, too. Idaho Preferred has nearly 300 members.
“It is a quality book with an elegant look. It is chock-full of beautiful photography and fantastic recipes that are easy to follow. Several local farms and ranches are featured, so that readers can learn a little about the people producing their food. It’s amazing to discover that locally grown in this area can even mean berries, caviar, goat and turkey,” said Evelyn Simon of Simon Boers Meat Goats.
Simon said as an Idaho Preferred member, her company has enjoyed the exposure and branding it provides their products.
“Some of the benefits of being an Idaho Preferred member are the exposure we get from the ads during the different seasons, being invited to participate in functions that are sponsored or promoted by Idaho Preferred, and being part of the network of vendors that help each other out when needed,” said Clark Kauffman of Kauffman Farm. “We are really impressed with the cookbook and will be ordering more for Christmas gifts. Nicely done.”
The book includes many Magic Valley businesses including Cloverleaf Creamery, M&N Cattle, Simon Boers Chevron, M & M Heath Farms, Proost Family Farms, Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese, Kauffman Farm, and Fish Processors of Hagerman.
The cookbook is available for $25 at locations including Rudy’s — A Cook’s Paradise in Twin Falls, Country Elegance in Hagerman and Cooks Food Town in Gooding.