Author Archive | Laura Wolstenholme

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A New Life for Old Seed: Building a Market for Ancient Grains

Photo by Bob Vestal.

Photo by Bob Vestal.

Glorious, golden grain is waving again over much of Idaho this fall. Of the 50 states, Idaho is number six in wheat production, number three in barley. But one class of grains is barely present, despite growing demand across the U.S.

Popularly labeled “ancient grains,” their names roll off your tongue like poetry: emmer, farro, spelt, teff, quinoa, einkorn, Kamut®, amaranth, freekeh, millet. They offer flavor, nutrition and versatility unique from modern wheat. Diverse and distinct, at one time each nourished entire cultures.

Now, sparked by curiosity and potential markets, a small group of entrepreneurial and inventive farmers in Idaho are growing ancient grains, though not without hardships.… Read More

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Foraging From the Forest Floor: A Life in Mycology

I’ve always been more of a wild mushroom alarmist than aficionado, despite hearing about the delectable porcini, chanterelles and morels in Idaho forests. The cure to my mushroom cowardice arrived recently in the petite and energetic person of Hope Miller, a mushroom expert, who lives in McCall. She and her late husband, Orson Miller, have been international forces in the world of mycology for 45 years.

foraging2

Photo by Guy Hand

 McCall’s conifer forests are habitat to thousands of mushroom species, some edible, many not. These mycological mysteries are what drew the Millers to the West. In 1961, they settled in McCall, first as a summer retreat, then to retire.… Read More

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Cliffs

The Tomato Independence Project

TIP_logo1Biting into a rich, local tomato is a delicious experience, but how many of us actually savor this simple pleasure? A startling fact is that Idaho imports approximately 95% of its food; so in reality, not many of us get to enjoy tomatoes grown in Idaho. Most of our produce in stores comes from out of state, products of efficient and large-scale farming that are bred to be durable, but often at the expense of flavor and variety.

To help rediscover the superior flavor of food grown here, Treasure Valley Food Coalition kicked off early this year the Tomato Independence Project, or TIP. … Read More

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Eggs

Reserve a Slice of Summer

A list of southwestern Idaho farms that are running CSA subscriptions in 2013.

Photo by Guy Hand

Photo by Guy Hand

While we wait impatiently for the season of fresh, sun-warmed fruits and vegetables, there is something we can do now to prepare for summer’s delicious bounty: buy a share from a local CSA farm. A flourishing of community-supported gardens has made fresh and local food more accessible than ever in southwestern Idaho.

Community supported agriculture, known as CSA, is simple in concept. Early in the year, farmers sell shares of their farm’s produce harvested during the growing season, typically an 18-to-20-week period from May to October.… Read More

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