Business

Want to support local farms? Here are five (fun) things you can do.

More and more Idaho women have a defining role in ag business

Chelsea DeFriez is one of the primary operators on her family's registered black angus ranch in Caldwell. Robin Kelley operates a fourth generation orchard in Filer. One-third of Idaho farms are managed, operated or owned by women.
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Chelsea DeFriez is one of the primary operators on her family's registered black angus ranch in Caldwell. Robin Kelley operates a fourth generation orchard in Filer. One-third of Idaho farms are managed, operated or owned by women.

Farmland in the Treasure Valley may be disappearing by the day, but you don’t need to travel far to find Idahoans working hard to provide food for the community. If you’re interested in supporting local farms or you just want to learn more about Idaho’s thriving agriculture industry, there are plenty of fun activities you can do this summer that helps local farmers and ranchers.

1. Tour a local farm

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Janie Burns keeps a few geese, along with chickens and market lambs, at Meadowlark Farms in Nampa. The barn was built in 1915. kjones@idahostatesman.com

The Ada County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a series of farm tours starting this month, featuring frequent vendors at the Boise Farmers Market. Tickets cost $10 each, with a mid-day picnic and transportation included in the trip. Families are encouraged to join, but only children 10 and older are allowed on the working farms.

The first tour 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 1500 Shoreline Drive. You can meet the farmers and tour Purple Sage Farms in Middleton, Meadowlark Farms in Nampa and Kelley Orchards in Weiser.

2. Stock your weekend barbecue (and fridge) with locally-sourced steaks and burgers

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Chelsea DeFriez is one of the primary operators on her family’s registered black angus ranch. She also started their beef store, which she somehow manages while being a mom to six kids under 13. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Support local ranches by buying beef, lamb and other meat locally. Ranchers like Valli-Hi Angus Ranch offer USDA-certified lamb, as well as tenderloins, rib-eye steak, hamburger meat and more. You can order online, over the phone or stop by the ranch’s meat store on Friday and Saturday at 14740 Valli Hi Ln. in Caldwell and see what’s available.

3. Take a self-guided Sunnyslope Wine Tour

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All signs point to Idaho wine lovers spending some time out in Sunnyslope in Novemer to enjoy the post-harvest vibe and sample some wine aging in barrels.

Tour the more than 15 wineries and vineyards on the Sunnyslope Wine Trail in Caldwell, part of Idaho’s Snake River Valley AVA. Download a map or pick one up from the wine trail’s welcome center in Downtown Caldwell, where you can find more resources and recommendations from the Destination Caldwell staff.

Williamson Orchard and Vineyard is also hosting a vineyard education event and walking tour Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $23.

4. Sign up for a subscription box from local farmers

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Alex Cardoza created this farm-style dinner. Clockwise from top left: steamed Peaceful Belly Farm baby carrots with pureed cilantro sauce; Peaceful Belly Swiss chard and Eden Creamery goat cheese tart; roasted Malheur River Meats pork loin with grilled Fiddler’s Green Farm onions and house-made pickles; Fiddler’s Green Farm beets in hazelnut tarragon sauce; and salad using H & H Farms greenhouse tomatoes with cucumber, shallots and wild purslane. Also pictured are Acme Bakery baguettes. Tara Morgan Wild Plum Events and Eats

Several Treasure Valley farms participate in a type of fresh food subscription service — known as CSA’s, or Community Supported Agriculture — that delivers anything from fresh produce to specially-prepared meals to your front door.

Some farms are still taking subscriptions for the 2019 season, while others are closed until spring. Prices vary by farm, but most charge $300-$400 for a full season:

5. Pick your own fruit at Kelley’s Canyon Orchards

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Cups full of Rainier cherries await patrons of Kelley’s Canyon Orchard at the Boise Farmers Market. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Kelley’s Canyon Orchards is a historic Idaho farm that’s been in the Kelley family for more than a century. It’s about a 90 minute drive from the Treasure Valley, but you and your family can spend the day picking your own fruit or shopping at the open air fruit stand. You can even book a stay in the orchard’s historic cottage. Peaches, pears and plums are available through September, and visitors can join the orchards’ National Peach Day celebration on Thursday, Aug. 22.

1903 River Road

Filer, ID 83328

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

208-543-5330

Is there a fun activity you think should be added to this list? We’re building a seasonal database of fun farm activities. Contact reporter Nicole Foy at 208-377-6347 or email nfoy@idahostatesman.com.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

We're diving deep into Idaho agriculture

Reporter Nicole Foy is helping the Idaho Statesman expand coverage of agriculture, farming and food across Idaho. Agriculture and food production has long been an important part of Idaho’s economy, with dairies, international agribusinesses and food processors among the state’s top employers. Many Idahoans have close ties to agriculture, even as houses continue to replace farmland, especially in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley.

If you have agriculture-related story ideas, contact Nicole at 208-377-6347 or nfoy@idahostatesman.com. You can also take our survey.

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Investigative reporter Nicole Foy covers Latinos, agriculture and government accountability issues. She graduated from Biola University and previously worked for the Idaho Press and the Orange County Register. Her Hispanic affairs beat reporting won first place in the 2018 Associated Press regional awards. Ella habla español.
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