Robin and I attend several “conferences” each year on different subjects. One of my favorites, and I think Robin’s too, is the Year of Idaho Food and in this case, the Fettuccine Forum. The bottom line of tonight’s program is to eat local; buy local; support the local farmers. All of the speakers on the program, invited the audience to Think Local. They reminded everyone that we do indeed have space for our own garden. Yes, even in an apartment. There are a variety of containers that can be used to plant tomatoes, carrots, herbs or a host of other vegetables. We were encouraged to use our imagination.
For instance. Robin and I have utilized for the past 3 years that small space between or fence on an alley and the black top of the alley. We have installed raised beds and grow a variety of herbs and tomatoes along with roses and quince. And for the past 27 years, we have herbs planted in the space between the sidewalk and the street – rosemary, several types of thyme, sage, oregano, mint. And we are totally aware that the city can come and “reclaim” their right-of-way. So far, all we have had are compliments. And the idea has spread. There are at least a dozen such gardens that have been made in the past 3 years in our neighborhood. It is possible and can be extremely productive. Here are the speakers for tonight’s program and some of the information they presented.

Amy Hutchinson – She proclaimed that Idaho does in fact have “their own” food types beside the Potato, which is one. Think locally made Fry Sauce. When in Idaho, we get this sauce with fries instead of ketchup. If you want ketchup, you must ask for it. Huckleberries are the prize of the mountains and make a wonderful jam or topping for ice cream. Or in pancakes. The Black Tail Watermelon was developed in Northern Idaho to compensate for the short growing season. And finally, she stated that for every 1% of food raised and consumed locally in Idaho, that the state receives $1 million in income. Thank you Any for participating in this event and sharing this information.

This is the poster for this years event. It looks almost like the Sun Valley Sun. The vegetables pictured here are all grown or produced here in Idaho.

Guy Hand – Local NPR celebrity, writer and producer. He stated that Idaho has a growing industry in brewers and vineyards. We produce caviar here, too! The Common Thread between the people of Idaho must be Active Participation in eating and supporting local farmers – large or small. The Palouse valley in Northern Idaho shipped 80% of it’s wheat production to Asia. And as a note, try to find locally ground Idaho wheat for baking in this area. Extremely hard to locate. And that is part of the economic problem. And Guy re-stated to have the “neighborhood type gardens.” The small, but very productive, “Victory Gardens”, if you remember those. I do.

Guy pointed out that there are places within Idaho that have the type of heirloom apples, as pictured here, growing “wild” along sections of the Snake River. He tried some and said they were really good.

And did you know that there is a citrus crop grown here in the Gem State? They may be in a hot house setting, but it is still productive. guy took this photograph of one such “orchard”. He said that when he entered the greenhouse, that the wonderfully sweet and pungent citrus aroma engulfed his senses. Thank you too, Guy, for and informative talk and for these photographs.

Janie Burns – Owner of the Meadow Lark Farms in Idaho and a Buy Local – Eat Local advocate. Her main premise tonight was to get “… more people to think about the foods they eat.” She stated that food is directly related to health and most healthcare facilitators connect food with health. In Ada county – the county Boise is in –  and in Canyon county – the neighboring county to Ada, we spend $113 million a year on obesity problems. Now that’s a serious problem for Idaho. However, the Planning Council has finally realized that agricultural lands are an asset to housing and commercial developments and not a detriment! She further stated that there are school districts that are now turning away from the heavily fried and starchy foods in cafeterias to serving only locally produced foods to the tune of $1 million a year. So the challenge that she posed, and gave suggestions for the answer was, “Do Some of These: Grow something; Learn to cook at home – whole foods, not processed foods, and use the left-overs – Ask ‘Is it local’ when purchasing foods and eating out. And the most important thing she says is to say, “Thank you for having local products” in both stores and in restaurants. Thank you Janie and all of the presenters for this informative forum.

Here are some of the foods that you should be eating daily. All of these can be bought locally in Idaho.

At the end of the “talks”, the floor was opened for questions. Here Guy and Amy converse with the floor. Guy is in deep thought. Janie moderated this secession of the program.

The Fettuccine Plate. There was also Pizza Swirls and Chocolate Cup Cakes. Beer and wine were also served. These were all produced locally!

This was a great evening with some great information and ideas. I know Robin and I really do try to Think and Buy and Eat Local. We hope you do too. It only takes a little effort and the results are huge and extremely satisfying. Come look at our Alley Garden sometime this spring. The photo here is but a small portion of the alley garden. Cheers!