I’m leaving for the Idaho Food & Wine Festival – and the Barley Brothers Traveling Beer Show – oh, and beer tasting and wine tasting… please don’t hate me…where was I going with this? Oh yeah – So, I’m leaving TOMORROW (WOOHOO!) for a crazy weekend in a place I have never been before.
As of yesterday, all I knew about Idaho is that it’s known for its potatoes. Hence, the above photo.
Today, I know a lot more than that. Here is my Top Ten List of things I sure didn’t know about Idaho, and I bet you didn’t either.
10. Idaho has great dirt for spuds and grows 1/3 of America’s favorite starchy vegetable – but, that’s not its top agricultural product.
9. Idaho grows a lot more than potatoes: onions, peas, plums, mint, peaches, cherries, apples, hops – and Moscow Idaho is “The Lentil Capital of the World.” I think India might have something to say about that, but hey, I didn’t make up the name. None of these are Idaho’s top agricultural product either.
8. The largest Hops farm in the world – is in Idaho. This may, in part, explain the booming Micro-Brew industry. Still not Idaho’s top agricultural product.
7. There are 31 Micro-Breweries in Idaho. Not bad – but, San Diego has more than 50 in the county. As we beer-lovers know, it’s not quantity, but quality, that counts. Can’t wait to see what these guys and gals are brewing at Table Rock, 10 Barrel, Highlands Hollow, Sockeye Brewery, Crooked Fence Barrelhouse, and Payette Brewery!
6. There are 45 wineries in Idaho. You know, coming from California, being raised in wine Santa Barbara country, some people expect me to be particular about my wine. Maybe even a wine snob. True confession: I am. Idaho – Bring It On.
5. Idaho’s Top Agricultural Product Is: (drumroll please) DAIRY! So, let’s just get this straight. They have beer, wine, and cheese. How did I not know this?! Those are my three major food groups.
4. Potato Vodka. Enough said.
3. It’s an Idaho law that selling an “Idaho Deluxe” potato with rot, cracking or sunburn can get you 6 months in jail (they take their reputation seriously). Also, cannibalism is expressly prohibited, except in emergencies. Good to know.
2. Idaho and India are the only two places where you can find Star Garnets, and the largest diamond found on US soil was unearthed in Idaho. In fact, it’s nickname is “the Gem State.” Now why they don’t put that on their license plates instead of potatoes, I’ll never know.
1. It’s all about the Great Outdoors. Whitewater rafting, fishing, skiing, snowboarding – looks like Idaho will even see ME on a bike (this never happens).
What I know is good – but I also have a list of things I want to know. Like, what’s it like living in what’s been called “the reddest state” (ie. predominantly Republican) with very few minorities? What does that kind of homogeneity mean for their food culture? And can good wine really come from Spud Country? Do Idahoans have a good sense of humor about those potatoes? So many questions.
If you’re in Boise this weekend, be sure to check out the Idaho Food & Wine Festival and the Barley Brothers’ Traveling Beer Show! And, if you’ve been to Idaho, tell me what you think of the place in the comments!
Photo via www.waterarchives.org
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