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Year of the Goat • Raspberries and Reverence
Art of the Slaughter • Tapping into Summer
Celebrating the food culture of Idaho
Summer 2015 • Number 11
Member of Edible Communities
31 North End
Bringing the garden back
to Garden City
By Tara Morgan
35 The Year of the Goat
Teton Valley style
By Christina Shepherd McGuire
37 Tapping into Summer
A tour of Idaho’s refreshing
summer beer releases
By Jessica Murri
40 What’s in season
Illustration By Mike Landa
Elisa Nicole Clark of North End
Organic Nursery. Photo by Guy Hand
2 Grist for the mill
4 The Rise
of Bigwood Bread
Ketchum company opens new
organic baking facility and café
By Jamie Truppi
6 Powder and Pomace
Pend d’Oreille Winery’s
Steve Meyer lives the dream
By Tara Morgan
8 Fishing the Redband
How to hook
a native redband trout
By Randy King
10 Pull Tabs, Not Corks
e strange folks at Split Rail
discuss La Bohéme
By Linda Whittig
14 Idaho Cherries
Delicate, delectable and in season
By Jamie Truppi
17 From Choricero
e rare pepper that makes
traditional Basque sausage sing
By Tara Morgan
20 The Slow-Cooker
Life’s Kitchen helps
at-risk teens learn life skills
By Jessica Murri
22 Photo Essay
Summer in pictures
By Laurie Pearman
24 The Art of
Taking a clear-eyed look at what
it means to turn life into food
By Eric Hayes
Reﬂecting on food and faith
at a North Idaho monastery
By Susan H. Swetnam
2 edible Idaho Summer 2015
GRIST FOR THE MILL
Claudia Sánchez Mahedy
MANAGING EDITOR Guy Hand
EDITOR Tara Morgan
Doug Adrianson • Robin Zimmermann
Camrin Dengel • Janel Gion • Guy Hand
Eric Hayes • Randy King • Mike Landa
Christina Shephard McGuire
Dannielle Nicholson • Tara Morgan
Jessica Murri • Laurie Pearman
Kirsten Schultz • Arlie Sommer
Patrick Sweeney • Susan H. Swetnam
Jamie Truppi • Linda Whittig
DESIGNER Melissa Petersen
WEB DESIGN Mary Ogle
Jeanne Lambert • Arlie Sommer
P.O. Box 6315, Sun Valley, ID 83353
208.928.7150 • email@example.com
SALES & MARKETING
Karrie Raine • Karrie@edibleidaho.com
Arlie Sommer • Arlie@edibleidaho.com
Jessica Norris • Jessica@edibleidaho.com
Andrea Svedberg • Andrea@edibleidaho.com
Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omis-
sions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please
accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you.
Edible Idaho is published quarterly by La Nueva Mesa,
LLC. Telephone: 208.928.7150. Distribution is
throughout Idaho and nationally by subscription. All
rights reserved. Subscription rate is $28 annually. Pub-
lished seasonally: spring, summer, fall and winter. Call
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or subscription information. No part of this publication
may be used without written permission of the publisher.
Whether you’re clandestinely cracking a brew on
the banks of the Boise River or casting your line
into the Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho sum-
mers are all about cold water and even colder
beer. In this issue, Jessica Murri takes us on a
statewide tour of summer brews—from Laugh-
ing Dog Brewing’s Grapefruit IPA in Ponderay
to Salmon River Brewery’s Mom’s Ginger Plum
Also in this issue, Linda Whittig pulls back
the tab on Idaho’s first canned white wine—
Strange Folk’s refreshing La Bohéme Riesling—
and Randy King takes us on redband trout
fishing adventure on a tiny creek in the middle of
the Owyhee Mountains.
For those who prefer to spend the season
spraying cold water on their gardens, summer is
all about swelling fruits and the slow creep of
vines. With guidance from certified “garden
hoes” Lindsay Schramm and Elisa Clark, I take you on a tour of native, xeric and edible plants
at the North End Organic Nursery’s sprawling new location in Garden City.
For the summer socializers, we’ve got a slew of stories covering seasonal food festivals. Jamie
Truppi grabs her cherry-pitter and heads to Gem County for a story on one of the season’s first
ripe fruits: cherries. In addition to uncovering the history of small-scale cherry growing in the
region, Truppi also gives us a guide to this year’s Emmett Cherry Festival, which goes down
Wednesday, June 17, through Saturday, June 20.
Speaking of fruit festivals, in her piece Raspberries and Reverence, Susan H. Swetnam brings
us on a retreat to a northern Idaho hillside where Benedictine nuns quietly pluck ripe raspber-
ries in the early morning sun. The Sisters of St. Gertrude of Cottonwood spend countless sum-
mer hours collecting berries and making angel food cake in preparation for their annual
Raspberry Festival, which takes place Sunday, Aug. 2.
Finally, in honor of Jaialdi, a massive Basque festival that storms Boise every five years in late
July, I examine the juicy Basque chorizo and the rare pepper that makes this prized sausage so
special: the choricero. From seed-starting secrets to picky processing practices, I look into the tra-
dition of choricero pepper-growing and chorizo-making in Idaho.
So pop the top on a cold brew, grab a bowl of ripe fruit and settle into an air-conditioned
nook; it’s time to sink your teeth into the Summer 2015 edition of Edible Idaho.
Just $28 for 4 seasonal issues of the best in local food.
Fill out this form (you may photocopy) and mail with check or money order payable to:
P.O. Box 6315, Sun Valley, ID 83353
Or, subscribe online at www.edibleidaho.com
Don’t Miss an Issue. Subscribe Today!
4 edible Idaho Summer 2015
The Rise of Bigwood Bread
Ketchum company opens new organic baking facility and café
By Jamie Truppi
Nestled in the light-industrial district of
Ketchum—where half of the houses are empty
most of the time, where restaurants struggle
to make it through “slack” season and where
transients and transplants strive to make a liv-
ing—a thriving bakery burns through 10,000
pounds of organic flour every week. And that’s
on a slow week. During peak season, that
Bigwood Bread has weathered the seasons
in Ketchum for almost 30 years, winning the
hearts of locals and visitors with their delight-
ful baked goods and dedication to the com-
From the massive window outside Big-
wood Bread’s new eco-conscious building,
you can see rows upon rows of bread rounds
rising and challah buns baking in massive
ovens. There are also giant metal towers of
fresh sourdough, campagne, lavash and Vita-
grain breads (to name a few) and hundreds of
bags of cookies. What onlookers can’t see is
the apartment-sized room that houses moun-
finally consistent. Everything is still made by
hand—breads still originate from the same
decades-old starter created by founders Art
Kabeary and Rob Wallace (the two guys fea-
tured on the logo)—but the ovens are new, the
temperatures are regulated and the space is ef-
After a decade spent tending volatile
leaven in the old space, Ponce had to modify
his recipe so that it would flourish in the new,
“I can sleep at night now,” he said.
Current owners CarlyTempest and her fa-
ther George Golleher (along with their spouses
Bryan Tempest and Rita Golleher), are relieved
to be in the new energy-efficient, well-organized
space. Still, bothTempest and Golleher wish the
storage room was larger. While the new bakery
is a well-oiled machine compared to the old
one, demand for Bigwood’s products is on the
rise. Besides baking and cooking for its two
restaurants—the new Bakery Café and the
smaller Downtown Café, located in a white
tains of organic flour, the bakery’s state-of-the-
art pastry and production rooms and the tem-
perature-controlled loading docks.
Bigwood’s old space—pint-sized com-
pared to the new 10,000-square-foot struc-
ture—had too much temperature fluctuation
for a bakery. On cold winter days, head baker
Alex Ponce had to find the warmest spot in the
building for the bread to rest and rise. On hot
summer days, the bread had to be moved into
a cooler. The bakery’s 18-year-old French
ovens were finicky, with uneven temperatures
that required bakers to shift loaves around fre-
quently. Because the space was so small, two
cycles of loaves were baked every day in order
to supply local cafés and vendors.
In November 2014, Bigwood Bread
moved into to its new building, which took
years to design and build. Not only is the new
Bakery Café the first commercial building in
Blaine County built to the International
Green Construction Code, but the bakery is
house across the street from Ketchum’s Town
Square—Bigwood also supplies bread, bagels,
cookies, pastries and granola to Wood River
Valley restaurants and grocery stores. And it
sends a daily truck to Boise to provide the
Treasure Valley with fresh-baked goods.
Like its bread, the food offered in Big-
wood’s two cafés is made from scratch, often
with organic, locally sourced ingredients. In ad-
dition to serving sandwich and salad staples like
the Bigwood BLT and the Chicken Chipotle
Salad, Bigwood’s Bakery Café has also ex-
panded its menu. New breakfast items include
an open-faced tartine with sliced avocado and
“birdseed” pancakes (inspired by Bigwood’s
popular cookie), while new lunch items include
a hearth-baked daily pizza special and Mexican
dishes like sopes and street tacos.
True to Ketchum’s dichotomous na-
ture—melding sophistication and simplic-
ity—Bigwood’s spacious new Bakery Café
combines high peaked beams and a cozy fire-
place reminiscent of old European ski lodges
with rustic country flourishes. It’s a quick stop
for those who want to grab a coffee and a cup-
cake and head back to work, but it also wel-
comes lingerers looking to enjoy a post-meal
wine or après-bike-ride beer.
The staff seems at ease with a never-end-
ing line of people stepping up to the counter
to order. Aromas of espresso and fresh-baked
bread swirl in the air each time the doors open.
There’s never a lull, only bustling bodies and
the happy hum of an artisan bakery.
Bigwood Bread Bakery Café
271 Northwood Way, Ketchum
208.726.2035 • BigwoodBread.com
Bigwood Bread Downtown Café
380 N. East Ave., Ketchum
208.928.7868 • BigwoodBread.com
Jamie Truppi is pursuing her Master of Science
degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health. Be-
sides studying, writing and asking a lot of ques-
tions, she attempts to balance experiments in the
kitchen and garden with being a mom.
6 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Pend d’Oreille Winery’s
Steve Meyer lives the dream in Sandpoint
By Tara Morgan
Photos By Janel Gion
The lure of fresh powder has shaped Steve Meyer’s life profoundly. In
1985, Meyer took a gap semester before enrolling in college. He bought
a one-way ticket to France and packed his skis.
“I figured I would get a job in the Alps as a ski patrolman or a ski
instructor,” he said. “Along the way, I stopped off to visit an acquain-
tance who was a French winemaker. … I ended up staying on Francois’
couch for six months, working in vineyards, learning about wine and
just having a life-changing experience.”
After Meyer returned from Meursault, France—a town in Bur-
gundy renowned for Chardonnay—he immersed himself in the craft of
winemaking. He got a job with Roudon-Smith Winery in the Santa
Cruz Mountains, where he eventually became an assistant winemaker.
But soon, the snow summoned him elsewhere. Meyer and now-wife
Julie relocated to Sandpoint—home to the Schweitzer Mountain Re-
sort—and opened the Pend d’Oreille Winery in 1995.
“The idea was to combine lifestyle preferences,” said Meyer. “The
skiing theme is pretty strong in our lives so that was an important rea-
son to be here.”
Though Pend d’Oreille Winery is celebrating its 20th
this year, Meyer still feels the rippling effects of that long-ago trip to
“It was formative, in that the French winemaking style really fo-
cuses on balance and varietal integrity,” said Meyer. “In other words,
the intent is for the grape and for the character of the fruit to be able to
show, instead of the winemaker. … My intent is to create wines of bal-
ance and finesse, and part of that is by having some restraint in how we
One of Meyer’s flagship wines—a Chardonnay with a “kiss of oak”
made with grapes sourced from Kirby Vickers’ vineyard in Sunnyslope,
is essentially a love letter to his time in France.
Steve Meyer and wife, Julie.
“That’s really an important wine for me for a couple of reasons:
One, Kirby does such a fine job producing the fruit. The other is it
gives me the chance to make the wine that I learned to make in Bur-
gundy,” said Meyer. “Out of all the wines we make, that one truly re-
flects our formative winemaking years.”
Though Meyer has made other wines with Idaho grapes in the
past—sourcing Malbec from the former Woodriver Cellars Winery and
Pinot Noir from Indian Creek Winery—most of his current grape con-
tracts are in Washington’s Columbia Valley.
“I would like to make more Idaho wine but the distance thing is a
little bit of a challenge and the other thing is, until recently, there really
wasn’t much red wine grapes available, so we’ve turned our focus to the
Columbia Valley, where I’m physically closer to and I can go out and
sample the vineyard,” said Meyer.
In addition to working with more common varietals like Chardon-
nay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Meyer also likes experimenting
with lesser-known grapes like Albariño, Carménère, Mourvèdre and
“Even though we are not the actual farmer in this case, we are pro-
ducing the wines in Sandpoint and when people see our trucks come in
with the harvest and they see us out working on the wine press, it helps
to create a connection between the glass of wine in their hand and the
vineyard,” said Meyer.
By sponsoring Cyclocross racing and Telemark skiing, and host-
ing events where customers can stomp grapes and blend wines straight
from the barrels, Meyer says Pend d’Oreille Winery has been able to
“expand the wine experience” in Sandpoint. And the winery’s new tast-
ing room has helped them connect even better with consumers. The
sprawling, open space boasts a gift shop, a long tasting bar and a
bustling restaurant, The Bistro Rouge.
“In this new facility, we have a full-blown kitchen where we can do
dishes that complement the varietals that we’re producing,” said Meyer.
Bistro Rouge Chef Stefhanie Royer’s modern Northwest menu in-
cludes items like Idaho steelhead served over pea purée—which Meyer
says is “off the hook delicious” with Pend d’Oreille’s Chardonnay—
and beet con lardons, an artfully arranged salad with microgreens, goat
cheese and a balsamic reduction.
“That dish with our Roussanne, or even Cabernet Franc, is a won-
derful combination,” said Meyer. “The pepper and attitude in the Cab
Franc marries really well with the richness of the beet.”
Meyer says that Pend d’Oreille’s new space has “added to the deck
of cards that makes downtown click.”
“I think one result of all the effort that we put in all the time is the
development of what I term ‘community capital,’” added Meyer.
“That’s when we’re walking down the street and somebody says, ‘Hey,
good job, Steve. Love the new venue. Love that new Cabernet Franc or
the Albariño.’ It makes us feel really good that we’re connecting with
After 20 years of hard work, it seems like Meyer is living the dream.
And that’s fitting, considering that’s essentially the winery’s motto.
“On our cork we have a French saying: ‘Rêves ta vie, vis tes rêves,’
and that means, ‘Dream your life, live your dreams.’”
Pend d’Oreille Winery
301 Cedar St. #101, Sandpoint, ID 83864
208.265.8545 • PoWine.com
Tara Morgan is a freelance food and booze writer. She’s the food editor for
Boise Weekly, an editor for Edible Idaho and creator of BoiseFeed.com.
8 edible Idaho Summer 2015
How to hook a native redband trout
By Randy King
Water flowed freely between two car-sized boulders, delivering a steady
stream into a deep pool carved into the rocks below. The pool wasn’t
quite eight feet across, but it was nearly 10 feet deep. Large sheets of
granite lay across much of the stream and sheltered it from the blazing
sun above, keeping the water cool and hiding unknown treasures in its
On a boulder near the pool, my buddy Ryan McDaniel was lying
on his side and casting his fly rod. A short burst of line shot from his
Depression-era bamboo rod, which he whipped back and forth until
the correct amount of line had been expended and the correct distance
had been reached. It was a Norman Maclean-esque trout chasing mo-
ment, but in the Southern Idaho high desert.
The trout we were fishing have an interesting background: Colum-
bia River redband trout are a close relative of the ubiquitous rainbow
trout found throughout Idaho streams, but the Columbia River redband
trout are wild and native. According to Chris Walser, professor of biology
at The College of Idaho, Columbia River redband trout have been in the
Great Basin area (the big bowl that contains most of Southwest Idaho
and Northern Utah) for the past 50,000 years, which has allowed them
plenty of time to evolve and adapt to the region’s climate.
Historically, Columbia River redband trout occupied inland waters
east of the Cascades and below Barrier Falls (like Shoshone Falls). In
the 1880s, fish management practices led to the introduction of the
coastal rainbow trout. Some of the earliest fish hatcheries in the west
began operation in California and figured out how to grow and dis-
perse coastal rainbow trout throughout the United States.
“The introduction of coastal rainbow trout in Idaho is basically an
artifact of historical fish management,” said Walser.
These hatchery trout were allowed to breed and, over the past 100
years, have passed their hatchery genes to the native redband trout.
“You don’t find genetically pure populations [of redband trout]
unless you are in an isolated location—a location not historically
stocked with hatchery fish,” explained Walser.
The heavily regulated South Fork of the Boise River, for example,
has a sustainable population of large rainbow trout. These fish are wild,
but carry the genes of hatchery trout.
I was seeking native redband trout, which is how I found myself on
a tiny creek in the middle of the Owyhee Mountains. In order to avoid
detection by the trout that lurked below, McDaniel wouldn’t stand on
the boulder. Instead, he belly-crawled up to the edge to cast. A big
shadow looming across the surface of the water is a sure sign that trou-
ble is on the horizon.
Every few casts, McDaniel would drop his line onto the base of
the waterfall, right where the falling water hit the pool. He then would
quickly shorten his line and let his artificial fly, a small grasshopper im-
itation, float atop the water.
From below, a fish not quite eight inches long lunged itself out of
the water to eat the hopper with ferocity. No novice, McDaniel waited
for a few inches of line to disappear below the surface before he set his
hook with a quick pop of the wrist.
“Fish on,” he uttered, but not too loud.
On the other end of McDaniel’s line was a wild trout, not the
hand-fed version stocked in many waterways by the Idaho Department
of Fish and Game. Since it was young, this native fish had to fight for
every inch in length and every scrap of its food. This fish was a survivor.
And that is why the trout, small as it was, put up such a fight. The lit-
tle pugilist showcased a wide variety of acrobatics—it skipped across
the top of the water like a dolphin, dove like a steelhead and rolled like
a sturgeon. Life for this fish had been a struggle and it knew how to
fight. It was a wild fish.
Eventually simple machinery and larger brains won the day. After
the fish finally gave in, McDaniel reeled him to the edge of the boulder
he was crouched on. He grabbed his line and hoisted the little pan-fry
onto the rock. A quick slice from a pocket knife and the fish was no more.
“One more and we’re set,” I said, watching the scene play out.
Soon I was hooked onto a fish as well—my much less graceful earth-
worm had worked. After both fish were eviscerated, we cooked them over
a campfire. Wild onions and a little mustard gave these delicate-tasting,
native fish a strong bite to complement their wild nature.
Randy King is a dedicated father of three boys and a husband who gets in
trouble for having “dead things” on the countertop. For more recipes and
writing, visit ChefRandyKing.com.
10 edible Idaho Summer 2015
The strange folks at Split Rail discuss La Bohéme
By Linda Whittig
PHOTOS BY GUY HAND
“Winemaking sucks,” Split Rail owner Jed Glavin declared, hovering over
a clattering line of silver cans. “You invest all this money and then you just
sit around for a couple years with it tied up in barrels full of wine.”
Although Glavin is still committed to traditional winemaking with
a line of bottled wines, this spring he decided to try something new. He
ditched the barrels—and the bottles—for his latest release, a canned Ries-
ling called La Bohéme. It’s the first canned wine to be released in Idaho.
In March, Glavin watched as those silver cans rattled single-file down
an automated production line at Sawtooth Winery (where the Riesling
was made and aged in stainless steel tanks). As each empty can passed, a
white puff of nitrogen displaced the ambient air, a rush of amber wine re-
placed that and a pull-tab cap dropped on top to seal the deal.
From the start, Glavin has pushed the wine envelope. In addition
to releasing a barrel-aged rosé, Split Rail was one of the first local winer-
ies to sell wine by the keg and offer growler fills. But Glavin didn’t set
out to be an industry trendsetter. His winemaking adventures began in
2006, when he made 10 gallons in his garage. The hobby took a sharp
turn in 2010, when he enrolled in a crash course at University of Cali-
fornia, Davis, and then partnered with Mike Crowley, a certified oe-
nologist and owner of Garden City’s Syringa Winery. In 2012, Split
Rail was born with its first commercial release, a Syrah.
Glavin has a whole list of reasons why canned wines make sense.
Jed Glavin of Split Rail Winery
12 edible Idaho Summer 2015
“Bottled wine can be clunky and cans are significantly more sus-
tainable,” he said. “There’s obvious places and spaces for it—outdoors,
hiking, picnics, pool parties, golfing, concerts, rafting, etc. Wine needs
to be more accessible, more every day.”
While putting wine in cans is not a common practice, it’s not new
either. Australia’s Barokes Wines sold their first canned wine in 2003.
They invented Vinsafe, a liner that protects the wine from the can and
vice versa. Francis Ford Coppola Winery was hot on their heels in 2004,
releasing Sofia—a fun sparkling number that comes in an equally fun
187 milliliter pink can complete with a sippy straw.
“We have seen rapid rise in alternative wine packaging—tetra packs,
cans and pouches—over the past few years,” said Brian Golden, director
of education for Hayden Beverage, the local distributor for Sofia.
But today there’s still only a handful of domestic wineries putting
wines in cans: Infinite Monkey Theorem from Denver, CO, and Union
Wine Company from outside Portland, OR, are two of the big ones. It’s
only fitting that Glavin would join that list.
“We love German-style Rieslings, and this wine has residual sugar
but retains a high acid content which helps to balance it,” said Glavin.
“I think sometimes people have this negative perception of semi-sweet
wines. Wines with some sugar content can retain a super floral nose and
have more interesting flavors on the palate than dry wines. … We really
encourage people to pour the wine into a wine glass the first time tast-
ing it to get the whole perspective of the wine. There’s a lot more going
on in that can than you may expect.”
Due to alcohol laws, all wine has to be packaged in derivatives of
the classic 750 milliliter bottle size. Glavin opted to go with a 375 mil-
liliter (or 12.7 ounce) size, which meant he had to source his cans from
England. This took much longer than he had expected and required a
minimum order of 112,000 cans.
Glavin teamed up with Mother Road Mobile Canning out of New
Mexico. Though La Bohéme was the first wine the company packaged,
they now have jobs lined up at several other wineries across the coun-
try. La Bohéme is currently being sold for $6 a can (which is the equiv-
alent of two generous glasses) or $24 for a four-pack at select retailers
around the Valley, as well as in Split Rail’s tasting room.
“So far everyone has been stoked and super supportive about the
concept,” said Glavin. “We love everyone’s willingness to think outside
the box about this. It gives us hope about what we can do in the wine
industry. There has always been a place for bottles and corks. Let the
new generation explore new mediums, new packaging, new fermenta-
tion vessels, new marketing. We want wine to be exciting.”
Linda Whittig, when not writing BistroOneSix.com, can be found around
Boise sipping wine (from whatever type of package it might have come out of)
with her husband.
14 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Delicate, delectable and in season
STORY AND PHOTOS BY JAMIE TRUPPI
Every June, I anticipate the arrival of one of Idaho’s first ripe fruits:
Growing up in Boise, I plucked fresh cherries from my grand-
mother’s huge tree and reveled in her cherry syrup. I drizzled it on bis-
cuits and pancakes, and used to sneak into the kitchen for small sips of
syrup when Grams wasn’t looking. I always associated perfect cherries
with my grandmother’s green thumb, but I now know Southern Idaho’s
climate is ideal for cherry-growing.
Although Idaho is the fifth biggest cherry-producing state in the
country (and the first globally for sweet cherries), many of the state’s
historic small orchards have disappeared. Large commercial farms in
Canyon, Washington, Payette and Gem counties make up the major-
ity of cherry exports—century-old orchards like Symms Fruit Ranch
and Williamson Orchards and Vineyards near Caldwell carry the state
for cherry production.
But some smaller orchards still grow immaculate cherries for lo-
cals: companies like L&D Organics in Emmett, Waterwheel Gardens in
Emmett, Cabalo’s Orchards in Kuna and T&M Orchard near Twin
Falls all supply farmers markets and a few local grocery stores during the
short cherry season, mid-June to mid-July.
A Ripe History
Orchards once flourished in the Emmett Valley, which was called “The
Valley of Plenty” according to Larry Lombard of L&D Organics, who
has been growing cherries in Emmett since 1997. Beginning in the late
1880s, an assortment of fruits and vegetables were grown for miners in
the Boise Basin, Idaho City and Weiser.
In 1902, the railroad came to town and brought refrigerated cars,
creating the opportunity to expand the varieties of fruit grown to in-
clude cherries. Kurtis Williams of Waterwheel Gardens said 100 boxcars
of fruit left Emmett every day at that time. The mines closed in 1906,
reducing the need for local fruit. But in 1924, the Black Canyon Dam
was built to the northeast on the Payette River, and an intricate system
of canals began irrigating Emmett’s orchards to grow fruit for export.
Chan Cabalo of Cabalo’s Orchards in Kuna recounted stories of
WWII internment camps filled with German POWs who would work
in the orchards. At that time, the Treasure Valley was thick with cherry,
prune and peach orchards that supplied fruit to soldiers. These and
other orchards around the state largely disappeared when commodity
markets started demanding grains.
Half a century later, an influx of huge fruit farms in Washington
state, coupled with increased imports from China, caused many small
Idaho orchards to disappear. Big corporations like Tree Top and Al-
bertsons started sourcing cherries from more economical ventures out-
side of Emmett.
“This left the locals without a market,” said Williams. “People put
a lot of their eggs into one basket.”
Many farmers were left with little choice but to sell their orchards
Sweets and Sours
Today, there are still a handful of small-scale cherry orchards in Idaho.
And the popular sweet varieties they grow—Bing, Rainier, Royal Ann,
Stella and Lambert—are a hot commodity when they're ripe. Sweets
are best eaten fresh, dried or juiced. Rainiers are ideal for making
You can find these classic sweet cherry varieties at farmers markets in
Boise, McCall, Ketchum and Hailey, as well as at the Wood River Sus-
tainability Center in Hailey, through Idaho’s Bounty and on the menu at
many area restaurants. Some less-known varieties from Cabalo’s Orchard
like Index, Black Republican, Blackgold and Selah—each of which ripens
at a slightly different time—are available at the orchard, at Vogel Farms
Country Market in Kuna and through Idaho’s Bounty.
The demand for tart or sour cherries plummeted for years, but
people are rediscovering traditional recipes and have once again been
asking farmers for these cherries. Tart cherries are best in baked goods,
like pie and cobbler, and are also excellent dried. A true cherry pie has
a tart bite that is balanced with just a little added sugar. The small
Montmorency cherry, grown by most Idaho cherry farmers, is the quin-
tessential tart cherry, though some argue that North Star cherries are
tastier. Cabalo’s Orchard has both varieties, while Waterwheel Gardens
reserves the Montmorency for homemade jams.
Mike and Tanya Oveharenko of T&M Orchard near Twin Falls
are raising a number of Carnelian cherries—powerfully tart, hearty
cherries that originated near the Black Sea. They are traditionally grown
for medicinal reasons, like curing hemorrhoids, and the seeds are full of
vitamins and minerals. These early-blooming Carnelians start in Sep-
tember, don’t freeze during the winter and ripen in February or March.
These cherries are hard to come by and tend to sell out, mostly to the
Oveharenko’s Bosnian and Ukrainian neighbors, who covet the Car-
nelians, especially the Sunrise, Red Star and Yellow varieties.
While farmers like the Oveharenkos are planting new varieties,
others are experimenting with new growing methods. Cherry trees are
finicky when first planted—they need constant attention and water for
the first couple of years. After that, they grow heartily, but still don’t
produce fruit for several more years.
At Cabalo’s Orchards, they’ve adopted the tall spindle growing
method, which is relatively new to the United States but extremely ef-
ficient for production. Basically, a trellis system dwarfs the trees and
grows the buds (not the branches), which produces more fruit. The trees
remain closer to the ground, creating an ideal U-pick situation that is
also easy for machine harvesting. Normally, most cherry trees grow so
tall that the cherries are difficult to access safely.
In 2014, Cabalo’s put in 125 new sweet cherry trees, which they
hope to open for U-pick in the summer of 2016. Cabalo’s cherries are
not yet available for U-pick.
Preserving the Harvest
Cherries are best when eaten ripe, but not too ripe.
“You have to leave them on the tree long enough,” said Cabalo.
“Be patient. That extra week makes the flavor amazing.”
Small-scale farmers net their trees to keep the moths and birds away
(birds know exactly when cherries are a week away from perfection). In
large-scale operations, cherries are often picked before their tasty prime.
If you have a cherry tree at home, picking and preserving the bounty
can be a laborious, but worthwhile, undertaking. Cherries are delicate,
so processing must be structured: Pick them in the morning before it’s too
hot (both for the picker and for the cherry), then process that afternoon.
Cherries have to be transferred immediately to a cool place or they’ll get
smashed. If stems are removed too soon, the cherries will bruise.
A cherry-pitter is key for preservation: first pit, then arrange the
cherries on trays, and finally, freeze or dehydrate. Or you can can make
jam to spoon atop yogurt or ice cream. For juice, no pitting is necessary
if you have a steam-juicer. Whether you can the juice for drinking or use
it to make cherry syrup like my grandma used to make, I implore you
to take the time to revel in Idaho’s short, delectable cherry season.
Jamie Truppi is pursuing her master of science degree in nutrition and inte-
grative health. Besides studying, writing and asking a lot of questions, she at-
tempts to balance experiments in kitchen and garden with being a mom,
exploring and practicing yoga.
Emmett Cherry Festival
Since the 1930s, thousands of people have flocked to Gem County
every June to kick off the summer at the Emmett Cherry Festival,
which runs this year from Wednesday, June 17, to Saturday, June
20. If Mother Nature cooperates, the festival’s featured cherries
will hail from 12 local cherry orchards.
Last year, farmers sold out of every single ripe cherry. Bring
your buckets and some extra time, because a number of the or-
chards are U-pick. Some popular events celebrating the ripe fruit
include the Pie Eating Contest, which draws everyone from young
children to seniors; the Pit Spit, held on the courthouse steps with
a nine-time reigning champion to beat; and the Great Cherry
Bake-Off, where the winner will take home the title “The Cherry
on Top.” Events begin around 11am and last until dark; the ma-
jority of them are held in the City Park on Main Street.
The festival also features a carnival, 126 craft booths from
across the country, 21 food vendors (some of whom incorporate
cherries into their dishes), a lineup of live music, a car show and
an art competition. Saturday, June 20, boasts the majority of
events, including the Kiwanis Breakfast and Fun Run, the Fire-
man Hose Competition and the Cherry Festival Parade, which
takes place later in the evening.
This year will be the 81st Emmett Cherry Festival. Visit Em-
mettCherryFestival.com to download a festival map and a sched-
ule of events, and also to sign up for various competitions. Make
sure to arrive early to find a parking spot.
Basque chorizo comes in many juicy forms—long and thin, short and
fat, studded with garlic or packed with paprika—but the sausage’s
defining ingredient, the thing that makes it truly and uniquely Basque,
is the choricero pepper.
When it’s very young, the mild green pepper is sometimes blis-
tered in a hot pan and dusted with sea salt. More often, it’s allowed to
ripen on the vine to a brilliant red and strung up to dry in long, spiky
clusters. As winter settles in, the peppers shrivel into wrinkled, deep
burgundy shells that conceal dozens of rattling seeds.
Choricero pepper seeds are a kind of currency in Idaho’s Basque
community—if you want to get your hands on top-notch seeds, you've
got to get in good with a seed saver or a seed smuggler.
“Like everything in choriceros, I knew somebody that knew some-
body that knew somebody to get the ‘good seed,’” said Phil Sarasqueta,
a Basque choricero grower in Twin Falls.
The choricero peppers grown in Idaho today are descendants of
seeds that were once tucked into someone’s coat pocket or stashed in
their suitcase on their way over from the Basque country.
The rare pepper that makes
traditional Basque sausage sing
By Tara Morgan
PHOTOS BY LAURIE PEARMAN
These chorizos were made by Rex Blackburn (a Boise
Basque who grows choricero peppers) and Alex Cardoza.
“It’s not exactly like we’re trying to sneak in cocaine,” Sarasqueta
added with a laugh. “But you know.”
Sarasqueta, a self-proclaimed “newbie” in the choricero-growing
scene, has planted around 250 peppers for the last three years. He sows
two peppers side-by-side per row, and spaces them exactly a foot apart.
Each row is approximately 40 inches away from the next and the plants
are watered on a drip irrigation system.
Though these details might seem like gardening minutiae, each
factor is a hotly debated subject at Basque bars. After a little wine, the
choricero can become an inexhaustible topic of conversation. After a
lot of wine, the conversation often dissolves into straight-up bragging,
with gardeners boasting that their peppers are bigger, better or more
abundant than everyone else’s.
Edwards Greenhouse owner Garnette Edwards has been involved
with the plucky Basque pepper-growing community for the last 25 to
“My father actually met a lot of these Basque people back in the
day when he and his father delivered in the mid to late 1930s to the
Basque boarding houses,” said Edwards.
What began with one Basque woman starting her seeds at the
greenhouse blossomed to include 20 or more families. Now, every year
at the end of February, Basque pepper growers bring their saved seeds
to be started at Edwards, some requesting multiple flats. They pick up
their starts at the end of May, when they’re around six inches long and
ready to be planted.
“They’re kind of secretive and competitive about their peppers,”
said Edwards’ daughter, Production Manager Erin Monnie. “They’re
always coming in and making sure their peppers are better than the
other guys’ peppers. It’s a friendly competition, but it’s really fun.
They’re some of my favorite customers.”
Instead of labelling the young choricero starts with their owners’
names, Edwards had to establish a special coding system to prevent pep-
“We started numbering them because somebody would be, like,
‘It’s OK, I know that person; I can take those,’” said Monnie. “And
then that person would come in later and be, like, ‘Oh, I didn’t say
that.’ So we had to code them.”
But there’s another code that can work against Basque pepper
seeds: genetics. After a few generations, the seedstock tends to slowly
evolve due to cross-pollination.
“Over time, a line of peppers kind of deteriorates,” said Sarasqueta.
“You save the seeds, grow the peppers, save the seeds, grow the peppers,
save the seeds. Unless you’re very, very careful on only picking the very
best peppers as your seed peppers … your peppers just aren’t quite as
good after several years.”
Many Basque gardeners also plant other old-country pepper vari-
eties, including piquillo, espelette, morrón and gernika—which are
often confused with choricero, but have a more pointed tip and are pri-
marily pan-fried and eaten green.
“Most of these fellows grow pimentos and fry peppers so it’ll have
some of those characteristics melded together. Or you won’t get a big
production out of them, or there will be a glitch,” said Edwards. “Then
it’s time to go back to the Basque country and get more seed.”
But that’s changing, too. There are now a couple of seed compa-
nies that sell Basque peppers stateside. Secret Seed Cartel, an Ohio farm
that specializes in rare or unavailable seed varieties, sells packets of 10
choricero seeds for $4. They also sell Basque espelette and gernika seeds.
Locally, the Snake River Seed Cooperative sells gernika and piquillo
pepper seeds. And the Basque Market offers bags of dried whole
choricero peppers, along with jars of carne de pimiento choricero, or
choricero pepper pulp.
Dan Ansotegui, founder of Bar Gernika, has a specific process for
turning his dried choriceros into carne de pimiento choricero.
“After they’ve dried, you reconstitute them. The easiest way to do it
is to break them apart at the top,” explained Ansotegui. “You take off the
stem, you take out the seeds and then you throw them in water. You can
either soak them in water for 24 hours like my grandmother used to do,
or you can bring them to a boil. As soon as they come to a boil you shut
them off and you put a lid on them and let them sit for about an hour
and then you put them in a food processor. I always go through a Mouli
or a food mill and that gets rid of the thick skin. What you get is this
meaty sauce that’s about the consistency of tomato sauce.”
From there, each chorizo recipe varies slightly. Some call for more
salt or garlic, while others prefer the flavor of paprika or other peppers.
Regardless, the choricero pulp gets folded into the spiced ground pork,
staining the mixture a vibrant red. The seasoned meat is then piped into
sausage casings and the links are hung to dry-age for a couple of days
or longer in a cool place.
“It’s very much an art, not a science,” said Sarasqueta, referring to
the chorizo process.
Sarasqueta’s family experiments with different recipes and methods
for making chorizo every winter at their traditional matanza (Spanish
for “slaughter” or “killing”) held in California.
“For generations now, there’s been some Basque family that got
together every January and killed pigs and made all kinds of sausage—
morcilla, chorizo, home-cured hams, bacon, the whole nine yards,” said
Sarasqueta. “Everything but the squeal.”
If you weren’t invited to a matanza this year, you can still sink your
teeth into a plump chorizo at Jaialdi, a boisterous Basque event that
storms Boise every five years in late July. Gem Meat Packing Co. in Gar-
den City will supply the festival with Basque chorizos, which owner Brent
Compton says are made with medium-spicy dried “chili pods” from Cal-
ifornia andTexas since choricero peppers aren’t grown commercially. For
Jaialdi alone, which runs from Tuesday, July 28, through Sunday, Aug. 2,
the company anticipates selling around 20,000 chorizos.
“It started out with Basque people eating them,” said Basque Mu-
seum Director Patty Miller. “But now you can buy chorizos at the hot
dog stands on all the corners.”
Tara Morgan is a freelance food and booze writer. She’s the food editor for
Boise Weekly, an editor for Edible Idaho and creator of BoiseFeed.com.
18 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Tuesday, July 28–Wednesday, July 29
Welcome to Boise
Basque Block, 5–11pm, free
Head down to the Basque Block for food, drinks and live music.
Thursday, July 30
CenturyLink Arena, 7pm, $15
Weightlifters from the Basque Country will hoist 250- to 400-pound
cylinders and 350-pound stone balls. There will also be woodchop-
ping and traditional farm sports, where competitors throw hay bales,
lift wagons and see who can carry milk cans the farthest.
Basque Block, 8:45pm, free
Dancing with live music by Luhartz and The Crazy Wheels.
Friday, July 31
Basque-ing on the Block
Basque Block, noon–6pm, free
Grab some food, get a drink and listen to Basque music.
Morrison Center, 7pm, $35
A celebration of traditional Basque music and dance, including per-
formers from Euskadi and Boise’s Oinkari Dancers.
Saturday, August 1
Basque-ing at Expo Idaho
Expo Idaho, 10am–6pm, $6.50 online, $7 gate,
free for kids under 10
Dozens of dance groups from around the west will perform on two
indoor stages. Basque vendors will sell Basque novelties, souvenirs
and clothing. Food, drinks and sheep wagon displays will also be
San Inazio Mass
St. Mark’s, 7960 Northview St., 7pm, free
The annual San Inazio Mass will be celebrated in Basque and Eng-
lish. The Oñati Dancers will perform a sacred liturgical dance on the
altar, with assistance from the Oinkari Basque Dancers.
Expo Idaho, 9pm–1am, $11.50 online, $12 gate
Dancing with music from Amuma Says No and The Crazy Wheels.
Open to all ages.
Sunday, August 2
Basque-ing at Expo Idaho
Expo Idaho, 11am–5pm, $6.50 online, $7 gate, free for kids under
10. See Saturday’s description.
Basque Block, 8pm, free
Dancing with music by Luhartz and Amuma Says No.
Jaialdi 2015 Schedule
Every five years, Boise hosts a big Basque blowout called Jaialdi. In 2010, organizers estimated around 30,000 people attended, and they ex-
pect 2015 to be even bigger. If you’re looking to sample Basque chorizo, throw back a few kalimotxos (red wine and cola) or just soak up some
Basque culture, here’s the full schedule of events happening this year:
20 edible Idaho Summer 2015
The Slow-Cooker Model
Life’s Kitchen helps at-risk teens learn life skills
By Jessica Murri
PHOTOS BY PATRICK SWEENEY
When Joe Love stepped into Life’s Kitchen at
age 17, he was a self-described “bad kid.” Ju-
venile detention was his second home, drugs
were his pastime, he broke into houses for fun
and his mother was at the end of her rope.
That was back in 2004.
“I started from the bottom, just washing
dishes, working until 1am just to keep up,
coming home soaked,” he said. Then he
smiled. “Now I’m a chef in a restaurant.”
Love’s situation isn’t unique among the
trainees at Life’s Kitchen, all between 16 and 20
years old. Most come from troubled back-
grounds rife with poverty, homelessness, drug
and alcohol abuse, run-ins with the criminal jus-
tice system, challenges at school, domestic vio-
lence, teenage pregnancy and mental illness.
Life’s Kitchen has a mission to help kids
like Love change the trajectory of their lives
by training them to work in a commercial
kitchen environment. But the program goes
beyond catering events and making meals for
the Interfaith Sanctuary. Life’s Kitchen also
Executive Director Jeremy Maxand works
hard to keep it.
Maxand took over the 12-year-old or-
ganization two years ago. He has experience
doing case management for troubled youth in
Alaska, so he’s good at breaking through to
kids who are sick of being lectured by adults.
“You’ve got the microwave version of job
training, but our model is more of the Crock-
Pot, slow-cooker model,” Maxand said. “A lot
of it [involves] adult mentoring. The vehicle
is food and the food service industry, because
we want to give them jobs and get them going.
But the other component that isn’t as easy to
see has to do with giving them healthy, posi-
tive exposure to adult role models who can
help them develop their purpose and direction
and resiliency and ethics and confidence to
help them hold a day job and change the tra-
jectory of their lives.”
The nonprofit is funded through dona-
tions, grants and training programs for com-
mercial kitchens around town. Life’s Kitchen
takes no more than 15 teenagers at a time and
each one completes a 40-hour-per-week, 16-
week program, which is valued at $3,500 per
person, though the teens attend for free. Over
the years, Life’s Kitchen has provided more
than 260,000 hours of job training and trainees
have produced nearly one million free or re-
duced cost meals for community members.
Life’s Kitchen also has partnerships with
a number of local restaurants like Asiago’s,
Alavita, Fork, Grind Modern Burger and Pie
Hole, where trainees can be placed in kitchen
jobs and internships.
Maxand said a lot of kids get attached to
the program and struggle when it comes to an
end. He said it’s not uncommon to see their
mugshots pop up after they graduate, either.
“All the time,” he said. “I reach out, try
and give them support and let them know that
every day is a new day and they can pick them-
selves up and they have support and it’s not
the end of the world. Our job is to equip them
as best we can and support them along the
way. We run into adults all the time who were
in the program a decade ago, and they’re
Adults like Love, who graduated back in
2004. Today, he’s 29, married with two kids
helps kids get their GEDs and teaches them
about balancing budgets, finding housing,
building resumes and taking care of them-
On any given weekday in Life’s Kitchen’s
cramped commercial kitchen on the corner of
Ninth Street and Royal Boulevard in Boise’s
Lusk District, rap music blares and almost a
dozen teenagers in chef coats weave around
each other carrying industrial-sized baking
sheets, gigantic pots and boxes of frozen corn.
They laugh and talk like high school stu-
dents, but work with the urgency of profes-
sional line cooks. One girl has her ears gauged;
her friend’s forearm is covered in tattoos. They
roast corn kernels, prepare jumbo sausage-
stuffed mushrooms, spoon out cookie dough
and make barbecue sauce.
One of the teens has a perfect cocoa pow-
der handprint on his white chef coat—a literal
pat on the back. The environment is fast-
paced, but fun and positive. That’s the way
and works as the sous-chef at Kahootz Steak
& Alehouse in Meridian.
“When I first started [at Life’s Kitchen],
I kind of treated it like a joke and I almost got
kicked out,” Love said. “Looking back now ...
I don’t know what I would have done without
that program. My son looks up to me a lot.
When he was in kindergarten, at the end of
the year all the students had to stand up and
say what they wanted to be when they grew
up. He said he wanted to be like his dad.”
Like Love’s life trajectory, Life’s Kitchen
is also undergoing a transformation. Due to
the pending redevelopment of Boise’s Lusk
District, the nonprofit plans to build a new
job training and food production facility in
Garden City, just south of the Waterfront
District. Maxand said Life’s Kitchen is
fundraising through the fall of 2016, with
construction planned for the summer of
2017. He’s confident Life’s Kitchen will re-
main open through the transition, and there
won’t be a gap in training for local at-risk
Recipe for Success
(written by former Life’s Kitchen trainee
7 unruly teenagers
1 cup of unsolved past mistakes
3 professional chefs
4 office workers
3 gallons of patience
A dash of stern discipline
A fully functional kitchen
Take teenagers and all the other ingredi-
ents and put into kitchen. Take teens,
tolerance and past mistakes, vigorously
beat in mixing bowl with professional
chefs. Slowly mix in patience and add
stern discipline to taste. Garnish with of-
fice staff and serve cold.
Jessica Murri grew up in the North End near the
Boise River. Today, she lives there once again, and
spends her time hiking, backpacking, cycling,
kayaking, skiing and working as a staff writer for
the Boise Weekly.
22 edible Idaho Summer 2015
STORY AND PHOTOS
BY LAURIE PEARMAN
In 2009, I began photographing the Treas-
ure Valley’s food and agriculture scene. I
was intrigued by this eclectic group’s
ceaseless devotion to local food.
On some occasions, my day began in
a field with a muddy, overalled farmer and
ended in a lounge with a polished, bow-
tied bartender mentioning the herbs
grown by that same farmer. It made me re-
alize that our community is connected in
wonderfully unexpected ways.
Over the years, I’ve shot everything
from livestock to agricultural landscapes
to artfully plated meals. I’ve tried to cap-
ture all the wonderful things Boise has to
offer—from flaky French croissants to
complex craft cocktails to piping hot
Seasons change, menus evolve and
our food community continues to grow,
constantly providing a visual feast of pat-
terns, textures and colors. I’ve especially
enjoyed capturing the faces of the farmers
in their fields, chefs in their kitchens and
all those food patrons enjoying the results
of all that labor.
Laurie Pearman is a Boise-based freelance
photographer. Many of these images were
taken for Boise Weekly, where she was the
main photographer for several years.
24 edible Idaho Summer 2015
The Art of
Taking a clear-eyed look
at what it means to turn life into food
By Eric Hayes
PHOTOS BY ARLIE SOMMER
Eileen Staichowski is having trouble choosing an outfit this morning.
Two years ago, she quit a high-paying job as a safety engineer on the
East Coast and moved west to turn her lifelong passion for food into a
livelihood. She worked as a cheesemaker in Driggs, then took a job at
the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force in Boise, but still she felt the need
to “fill the gaps” in her knowledge of farming and food production.
That’s why today she’s reflecting on which of her clothes are best
suited for bloodstains.
After careful consideration she chooses a green flannel shirt and
brown canvas pants: earth-tones and heavy materials to fit the crisp De-
cember morning. She then eats a quick breakfast and is ready to go; but
before leaving her house, her boyfriend tells her to “have fun.” The two
exchange a look acknowledging the awkward phrasing. Eileen is par-
ticipating in her first livestock harvest—a slaughter of lambs—and
“fun” isn’t exactly what she has in mind. A hug follows, and Eileen
walks out the front door.
The slaughter takes place at Purple Sage Farms outside Middleton,
about 25 miles from Eileen’s North End Boise apartment. The owners’
sons, Kelby and Mike Sommer, introduce themselves to Eileen with a
hearty handshake. They will be Eileen’s guides through the process, and
are happy to pass their knowledge on to this willing initiate. Eileen
stands by a wood fence as the brothers guide a flock of 100 lambs to the
corral. One 80-pound lamb on this farm will produce about 15 pounds
of boned meat. Because the lambs are grass-fed, they’re much smaller
than corn- and silage-fed lambs raised on feedlots, but their flesh is de-
cidedly more tender and better tasting. Two sheep dogs nip at the lambs’
ears as the brothers shepherd the flock into a corral, where they cull the
larger lambs from the smaller ones and direct the weightier creatures
into a barn. Eileen follows them in and ask the brothers how they will
select the animals for slaughter.
“Not much of a science to it. Whichever look the biggest,” says
The brothers isolate a large, light-colored sheep and carry it out of
the barn by its legs. The lamb is placed belly-up in a cradle-buck—a
sawhorse-shaped device with legs that extend beyond their vertices to
create cradling Xs that keep the lamb calm and positioned for easier
bloodletting. Eileen watches from a short distance as Mike holds the
creature’s legs and Kelby slides a blade across the animal’s throat, open-
ing a wound that severs the creature’s esophagus, carotid artery and
jugular vein. The lamb emits a gurgling sound as it strains for a final
breath, and Eileen whimpers softly as two streams of blood flow into a
shallow hole, dug earlier that morning. The blood forms a bright crim-
son pool in the morning sun.
Two minutes after the initial cut is made, the red flow turns to a
trickle and the lifeless body is placed on a pallet. Knives are cleaned and
sharpened, and the process begins again. The brothers invite Eileen into
the barn to select the second lamb, and ask if she’d like to help carry it
to the cradle-buck. Eileen doesn’t hesitate. The brothers make their de-
cision. Eileen grips the chosen lamb by fore- and hind-leg opposite
Mike and lifts. She’s amazed by the lamb’s malleability, how easily it
submits to this handling. She keeps hold of the animal’s legs after plac-
ing it in the cradle-buck and watches Kelby make the cut, gauging the
tension of the knife against the lamb’s skin, measuring her resolve to do
the deed herself.
A third lamb is selected and slaughtered, and then Kelby asks
Eileen if she’d like to cut the fourth lamb’s throat.
“No,” she says. “I don’t have the technique.”
She’s worried about doing something wrong, causing the animal
unnecessary pain or damaging the final product. Ultimately, it’s the
tension that bothers her: the tension of blade on skin, the knife as in-
termediary between wills and bodies. How much tension is enough?
How much is too little? Either direction has its risks, and she won’t be
comfortable until she understands the space in the center.
So she has no problem stepping back, having learned from her
work as a safety engineer that uncertainty often causes more damage
than false confidence, and the consequences of a mistake here will be
visceral—experienced as her own emotional pain by way of the animal’s
suffering. Perhaps when she’s more comfortable with the feel of the an-
imal’s body she will be comfortable inflicting the lethal trauma, but for
now she’s content with her role as participant-witness.
When the fifth lamb is killed and all the heads and hooves are re-
moved with a reciprocating saw, Eileen picks up a knife and helps with
the skinning. The brothers show her the way to slice the skin around the
tendons near the animal’s knee and peel the subcutaneous fat layer from
the muscle. Though Eileen’s first cuts are timid, she quickly gains a feel
for the animal’s tissue, and soon the knife seems to create its own course
between body and skin. “This is amazing,” she says a little later, her
knife cutting an artery around the beast’s heart, “the way everything
wants to come apart.”
The last separations are made on the carcass, and Eileen is taught
how to cut the tongues out of the animals’ heads. With no clear de-
marcations of the shift, a process that began as life-becoming-death has
become the body-becoming-food. Where did this change take place?
Or was it always the same thing? Best not to think about it while hold-
ing a knife, though, says Eileen. This work requires concentration, and
she can sort through those questions later.
The tongues are placed in steel pans with edible parts like the
hearts and livers, and the heads are tossed with the rest of the offal in
the wheelbarrow. Intestines are cleaned with metal rod-and-wire tools
for sausage casing, and the lambs’ flesh and bones are hung in the
garage, where they will age for a week or two, and then be further sep-
arated into edible parts: shanks for roasting, chops for grilling, the legs
and shoulders ground for sausage. The parts will then be stored in freez-
ers and either traded to other food producers or cooked in the homes
of the farmers’ friends and family members.
The deed, it seems, is done. The brothers cart the unusable rem-
nants of the lambs to a far corner of the pasture and bury them in a
shallow grave. Years later, the descendants of the lambs killed today
will feed on grass containing their nutrients: classic circle-of-life busi-
ness. In the meantime, Eileen cleans her knife and washes her hands.
She can’t say how much time has passed since breakfast, but she
knows she’s hungry.
Eric Hayes is a freelance writer and journalist. He lives and works in Idaho,
where he was born and raised. He received his MFA in creative writing from
the University of Idaho in 2014.
26 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Raspberries and Reverence
Reflecting on food and faith at a North Idaho monastery
By Susan H. Swetnam
Even in late July, the 6:30am breeze is cool at 4,000 feet so we’re all
bundled up. That’s about to change, though, for a hot day is pre-
dicted—that’s the reason we’ve already been working on this northern
Idaho hillside for half an hour.
Even now the sun nudges the crest of the mountains to the east, 40
miles distant. Soon the vast prairie of wheat below will burst into golden
flame and the glare will obscure the notch, now clearly visible, through which
Lewis and Clark emerged from their rough passage over the Lolo Trail.
As we’ve done every morning this week, we’re attacking a dozen
dense rows of raspberry canes, picking from both sides in a futile at-
tempt to stay even with their prodigious output. A chickadee calls “dee-
dee-DEE”; a hummingbird buzzes by on its way to the sprawling
There’s no human noise here except tiny thuds as thumb-sized,
garnet-red berries plump with sweet juice land in our buckets. My co-
laborers are Benedictine nuns, the Sisters of St. Gertrude of Cotton-
wood, and their rule prescribes silence until morning praise at 8:30am.
Still, the mood is companionable, and I’m not the only one popping an
occasional raspberry into her mouth. Sister Wilma—who at 93 has
given up direction of the larger garden but still rules the raspberries—
grins and nods when I deliver another bucket to the accumulating clus-
ter at the patch’s edge. The assembly of buckets now covers more than
a square yard.
The berries we’re gathering are designated for an event familiar to
many people in North Idaho, Boise, Eastern Washington and wherever
there are Catholics in Idaho: the annual Raspberry Festival that the sis-
ters hold on the first Sunday in August to benefit their historical mu-
seum. This year’s festival takes place Sunday, Aug. 2, from 9am to 4pm.
Over its more than two decades of existence, the festival has become a
big deal. Yearly crowds have expanded to between 2,500 and 4,000 peo-
ple who wander the monastery grounds under the tall pines, tour the
chapel, browse the vendors and visit with the sisters. But, most impor-
tantly, they come to chow down on raspberry shortcake.
On the surface, this event might look like just another folksy re-
gional food festival, but the Raspberry Festival at St. Gertrude’s has
roots that run deeply and fundamentally into the heart of the commu-
nity that organizes it. I began to see this connection between food and
faith during the years of summer retreats I spent at the monastery. But
only after conducting an oral history project in conjunction with the
Idaho Humanities Council’s Key Ingredients program did the rich con-
nections between food and core monastic values come home. These
connections begin with the very nature of Benedictine life.
While some other Catholic monastic orders tend to the ascetic,
Benedictine tradition honors and acknowledges this world along with
the spiritual realm as God’s good creation. Practical-thinking St. Bene-
dict built into his fourth-century Rule (the order’s guiding document)
specific instructions for performing daily chores, including how monks
and nuns should manage their fields, pantries, kitchens and dining
rooms. He insisted that such work, just like prayer, provided opportu-
nities to forge holy relationships with God and the community.
This particular Idaho Benedictine community has been honoring
Benedict’s ethos for more than 100 years, though the particulars of food
production and consumption have varied based on the evolving nature
of religious life. When the sisters first arrived in Idaho in 1909, invited
by local German Catholics, they attempted to maintain the strict tra-
ditions of their European motherhouse in Sarnen, Switzerland. They
raised nearly all of their food on the grounds via unrelenting physical
labor. What they ate reflected their vow of poverty: cabbage, potatoes,
turnips, carrots, onions and occasional pork from convent pigs that be-
came soups and stews. Meals were accompanied by bread and pickles;
sweets were limited to applesauce or rhubarb.
After an epidemic of tuberculosis carried off dozens of nuns in the
mid-20th century, their diet became more varied. Tomatoes, green pep-
pers, broccoli and spinach were planted, along with fruit trees. Groups
of nuns gleaned fruit from the orchards of friends and took fishing trips
to nearby lakes and rivers, stocking their new freezers with bounty.
Another major paradigm shift in convent eating habits came after
1962, when the directives of the Second Vatican Council encouraged
monastic outreach to the wider world. The sisters went out to work
across Idaho as nurses and teachers, or went to school for training. Lay
women were hired as supplemental cooks and introduced new dishes,
Livestock disappeared with the decreased resident labor force. Meat
came instead from patrons, who sent truckloads of chickens and sides of
beef for butchering parties.The convent opened itself to a retreat ministry,
so visitors’ food preferences had to be accommodated. Salads, low-fat
main dishes, even vegetarian options appeared in the 1980s and 1990s.
The mature professional women—former poverty lawyers, social
workers and artists among them who gravitated to religious life after
Vatican II—further expanded the menu. Hot peppers, dark greens, basil
and mints were planted in the garden. Small wars were fought over re-
ducing the amount of sugar in monastery jams and the cooking time of
vegetables. Influenced by green values, the sisters now garden organically
and eat locally and seasonally whenever possible. Otherwise, they pur-
chase food from Fair Trade sources.
But the best single example of the connection between commu-
nity values and food at St. Gertrude’s is those famous raspberries. One
of the literal fruits of the outreach connections fostered by Vatican II,
the raspberries were donated by friends sometime in the late 1970s. By
the early 1990s, the crop had become so prolific that the sisters were
28 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Sisters reminisce about their first seasons in the field as newcom-
ers—idealistic, nervous and apt to make mistakes. As they age, they rue-
fully contrast their past and present energy and lovingly remember the
quirky picking practices of their companions, now dead or aged. As
they take well-worn buckets, jars and kettles out of storage, then lov-
ingly clean and replace the equipment, these nuns literally touch the
past and remember their own accumulating life spent here.
The Raspberry Festival also offers an opportunity to practice hos-
pitality, a practice Benedict describes as welcoming “all guests who pres-
ent themselves ... as Christ ... with all the courtesy of love.”
That commitment is inescapable for all but the most infirm on the
first Sunday in August. So many visitors show up that the Idaho County
Sheriff’s Department has to come to direct traffic. The nuns arrange and
supervise; set up and take down; staff a gift shop booth and an informa-
tion kiosk about religious life; circulate and greet. A few even bring up the
rear in the fun run, shouting encouragement to competitors.
But the busiest of them all are the members of the frenzied kitchen
crew, supervised by Sister Wilma until her death in 2010 and now by
those she taught. They ladle berries over hundreds of servings of home-
made angel food or chocolate cake and top each plate with a blob of
Cool Whip. Servings have historically been so enormous (“Don’t be
stingy,” was Wilma’s mantra) that some patrons laughed out loud upon
receiving their plates. Though servings have moderated to reflect actual
appetites in recent years, “a big piece” is still available on request, as is
extra Cool Whip.
Besides evoking traditional Benedictine values, the cultivation of
raspberries at St. Gertrude’s honors the community’s recent emphasis
harvesting more berries than they could consume. A festival based on
raspberries seemed like a natural way to use up the surplus and also raise
funds for modernizing and expanding the museum. The first Raspberry
Festival was held in 1993.
Now in its 21st year, the event is much more than a potlatch and
fundraiser. As community members have realized, the work it entails of-
fers multiple opportunities to affirm Benedictine principles, both vener-
able and contemporary. One of the most important is the valuation of
physical labor, posited in Rule as sacred service. Though all nuns prom-
ise to perform labora (work) as well as ora (prayer), in the modern
monastery many find themselves working with their heads, not their
hands. Every summer, however, thanks to the avalanche of raspberries,
the Benedictine tradition of physical work reasserts itself out of necessity.
The prioress and sub-prioress pick; the director of retreats and li-
brarian pick; the Retreat Center staff picks. For three weeks, alarm clocks
ring in the dark as women don long pants and thick gloves. Workers
stoop, reach, bend and straighten.Thorns scratch and insects bite. Berries
are processed in the basement kitchen, packed into five-gallon buckets
and carried upstairs to the large walk-in freezer. Sometimes they’re made
on the spot into flat after flat of jam and stacked in the pantry.
At raspberry harvest time the nuns are also invited to remember
their promise of stability: disciplining themselves to stay put in one par-
ticular place. Raspberry season rituals invite these nuns to call to mind
their own tenure on this North Idaho patch of land. Comparative mem-
ories of past harvests easily come to mind, for many sisters sign up to
pick the same row summer after summer.
on responsible care of the Earth. As the community’s “Philosophy of
Land Stewardship” document affirms, this concern is grounded in spir-
itual as well as ecological considerations:
“We, the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St.
Gertrude, have been entrusted with the gift of land by our
loving God and Creator. Through the years our community
and this land have been bonded together. With humility we
recognize the Earth (humus) as the source from which we
(humanity) received our life and sustenance. Our inner spirits
are renewed by the contemplative environment it provides.”
Reverent contemplation of the world’s beauty comes naturally in
raspberry season. On mornings like the one described above, harvesters
cannot help but be aware of the fruitfulness and peace of Monastery
Hill. Nor can they avoid thinking about the Earth’s rhythms. When
sisters compare their hauls or hear the running tally for the year re-
ported each lunchtime, they reflect on climate and microclimate.
“But you’re higher on the hill and get earlier sun,” one remarked
to another. “No wonder yours are ahead of mine.”
More symbolically, the abundant raspberry harvest also links this
community to its patron, St. Gertrude of Helfta, a 13th-century scholar,
writer and mystic whose works glow with joyfully optimistic theology. St.
Gertrude insists on God’s unconditional “lovingkindness” and forgive-
ness. At St. Gertrude’s, one needs to look no farther than the raspberry
patch for presumptive evidence that a loving God is generous, indeed—
especially to those who devote their lives to his service. No one else in the
vicinity has ever had such consistently abundant berry harvests.
Expensive and fragile in the outer world, raspberries often appear
on the convent table, fresh in season or in the form of jam out-of-sea-
son. Raspberries are heaped into enormous bowls to celebrate festivals,
birthdays or “just because.”
“Here, we have raspberries in winter,” an elderly nun remarked.
“God is so good to us.”
So if you find yourself sitting down to a plate of raspberry short-
cake on the shady grass in front of the Monastery of St. Gertrude on
Sunday, Aug. 2, take a moment to contemplate the beautiful implica-
tions of this beautiful dessert. This is local food at its most nuanced;
it’s food that reflects a century-old commitment to this place, to this
community and to an eco-spirituality that existed long before the term
was coined. Raspberries are a tasty treat anywhere, but at St. Gertrude’s
they’re also an incarnation of faith and love.
This article is dedicated to Sister Wilma Schlangen, OSB, 1915–2010.
Susan Swetnam is a professor emerita at Idaho State University. Her articles
and creative nonfiction pieces have appeared in a variety of national, schol-
arly, regional and little magazines, including Gourmet, Mademoiselle, Fron-
tiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and Journal of the West; and in the
Greenwood Press American Regional Cultures series, to which she con-
tributed a chapter on foodways of the Northern Rockies. She lives and cooks
North End Organic Nursery
Bringing the garden back to Garden City
By Tara Morgan
PHOTOS BY GUY HAND
On a sunny spring afternoon, both Chinden
Boulevard and the North End Organic Nurs-
ery were undergoing frenzied construction,
the smells of fresh asphalt and organic fertil-
izer mixing into a pungent brew. While vested
workers directed cars around a maze of orange
cones, NEON owner and store manager Lind-
say Schramm directed an army of employees
to stock shelves, tend plant starts and shovel
giant mounds of garden soil.
North End Organic Nursery relocated
from its roost at 2350 W. Hill Rd. to the
sprawling former Costume Shop space at
3777 E. Chinden Blvd. in January. In addi-
tion to increased visibility—37,000 cars
motor down that stretch of road every day—
the new location has allowed NEON to, as
they like to say, “bring the garden back to Gar-
“A lot of the other nurseries in town will
have a huge nursery full of plants but a very
small garden center; we’re kind of the oppo-
site,” said Schramm, wearing a “Talk Dirt to
Me” T-shirt. “We’re trying to provide the tools
that people need to be successful at gardening.
We’re a very large garden center with a smaller
nursery that’s very specialized in native and
NEON’s garden center features every-
thing from organic pest- and weed-control
products to more than 1,000 varieties of open-
pollinated, heirloom, organic seeds. Rows of
hoes and rakes give way to stone fermenting
crocks and locally crafted herbal tinctures.
And that’s only half of it.
“When we were searching, I didn’t think
this building was something that we would be
able to manage because I thought it was just
way too big, but then we paired up with J.
Michaels Florist, the flower studio, and split
the building in half,” said Schramm.
pollinating insect or do something beneficial
for your yard by fixing nitrogen back into the
soil,” said horticulturalist Elisa Clark.
Walking past rows of just-blossoming
fruit trees—everything from Cornelian cher-
ries to Giant Elberta peaches—Clark ex-
plained that NEON is particularly focused on
“interesting, unique edibles.”
“We have goji berries, which are a huge
antioxidant plant—they do really well here;
they’re drought-tolerant,” said Clark. “We
now have honeyberries—they’re great for al-
kaline soil; they’re kind of a blueberry. …
We’re also carrying seaberries, which do great
in alkaline/clay soils and help to amend the
The front part of the space is flooded
with natural light and peppered with artful
flower arrangements, home décor, handcrafted
jewelry and even a glass display case filled with
chocolate truffles. As it turns out, a florist
makes a fitting partner for a certified organic
But the most vibrant part of NEON’s new
operation is located in a one-acre plot behind
the building. Past a hand-lettered sign that reads
“Welcome to our gardens” an array of verdant
plants and trees rest under a shaded canopy,
while a nearby greenhouse buzzes with activity.
“The plants that we focus on here are na-
tive, xeric, drought-tolerant, edible, attract a
Lindsay Schramm and Elisa Nicole Clark, owners of NEON
soils. Figs—normally people think you can’t
have a fig here, but you can.”
NEON also carries an assortment of small
potted citrus trees, like the Palestine Sweet
Lime, Buddha’s Hand and Pearl Tangelo.
“It’s important to move them outside for
the summer, and once it gets cold again just
bring them inside and they’ll bloom indoors,”
In addition to helping others create sus-
tainable, edible landscapes at their homes,
NEON plans to build raised beds around the
perimeter of its back lot in Garden City.
“We’re going to be doing edible land-
scaping right along this fence on either side,”
said Schramm, pointing to the base of a chain-
link fence topped with a menacing curl of
barbed wire. “We’re going to build raised beds
so we can do demonstration gardens and have
people come out here and experience and
practice being a gardener.”
Along with offering hands-on experience
for their students—NEON teaches a rotating
lineup of classes ranging from vermiculture to
pruning to seed-starting—Schramm hopes the
raised beds will also help benefit and beautify
“It’s Garden City, we need the tall fence,
we need the barbed wire just because we have
a lot of stuff back here,” said Schramm. “But
we’re going to do the best we can to hide it all
with edibles—so growing up blackberries or
raspberries or kiwi vines; different edibles that
can kind of soften the hard edges that Garden
City is known for.”
As NEON continues to grow, Schramm
plans to open a coffee shop and a deli inside
the building that offers organic salads and
sandwiches. She also hopes to sell fermented
kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles made onsite
using local, seasonal ingredients. And, contin-
uing a tradition established at its original lo-
cation, NEON will set up a small farmers
market in the parking lot Tuesdays from 4 to
6:30pm throughout the growing season.
“Our mission is to get people to grow their
own food, plain and simple,” said Schramm.
“And to be able to do it without chemicals and
be able to do it without worrying about GMOs.
If we can get a few dozen people every year to
grow their own food for the first time, we’re
good to go. That’s our mission.”
North End Organic Nursery
3777 E. Chinden Blvd.
Garden City, ID 83714
NorthEndNursery.com • 208.389.4769
Tara Morgan is a freelance food and booze writer.
She’s the food editor for Boise Weekly, an editor
for Edible Idaho and creator of BoiseFeed.com.
The early spring wind stroked my face as I stepped out of the car in
“Drictor” (the region of the Teton Valley that lies between Driggs and
Victor) and onto Winter Winds Farm. I peeked around one of the two
outbuildings and was greeted by a herd of 18 curious faces: Nubian
goats, a breed known for their long, floppy ears and the high butterfat
content of their milk. I quickly chatted them up before seeking out
Winter Winds owners Ginny Robbins and Nathan Ray, a chef by trade,
who explained how he got into the biz.
“I wanted to be part of the community … and bring back the skill
of cheesemaking,” said Ray. “Like in any industry, the artisanal little
guy is coming back.”
And that’s an understatement. Goat dairies are popping up like
weeds in the Teton Valley, second only to backyard chickens. Each year,
a new purveyor peddles their prized chèvres and aged goat cheeses at
local farmers markets. Winter Winds, for example, sells fresh chèvre
and crottin, a surface-ripened goat cheese similar to brie.
But goat farming isn’t just about the cheese. Raising these versatile
creatures offers a low-maintenance way to farm, one that makes a sustain-
able livelihood much more feasible. “I was a one-girl operation and could
manhandle them easier than a cow,” said Marianne Sturken Vanderpool
of Teton Goats, while milking Momma, one of her oldest producers.
Dairy goats are about one-sixth the size of a cow and much easier
to milk. They are steady producers with longer productive lives than
their counterparts. Also, it takes less feed for a goat to produce one gal-
lon of milk than it does for a cow to produce the same.
Vanderpool hand-milks most of her goats for a daily yield of ap-
proximately six creamy gallons from five animals—enough to produce and
sell goat milk, several types of chèvre, feta and handmade goat-milk soaps.
Goats are also hardy creatures, making them a good choice for the
Idaho landscape. Vanderpool’s goats are a mix of Saanen, Alpine and
Nubian breeds. Saanens rank high in production, Alpines are suited to
cold climates and high altitudes, and Nubians provide the dual purpose
of meat and milk.
Both Winter Winds Farm and Teton Goats operate a closed-loop
system by composting goat manure and spreading it onto their fields.
“My interpretation of sustainability is using my farm byproducts in pro-
of the Goat
Sustainable farming, Teton Valley style
By Christina Shepherd McGuire
PHOTOS BY CAMRIN DENGEL
36 edible Idaho Summer 2015
duction,” said Vanderpool. She and her husband, Ty, also hay their
neighboring acreage, selling fertilizer-free hay to fellow farmers. And
both farms gift their whey (the byproduct of cheesemaking) to local pig
farmers. Ray loves the sweet, nutty flavor of whey-raised pigs and hopes
to someday expand his farm to raise them.
In addition to producing milk, goats also make good weeders. Goat
Mountain Ranch in Ashton provides a prescriptive grazing service for
land that needs noxious weed or fire mitigation. Goats are efficient
browsers that select a high-quality diet from low-quality forages.
“The mothers teach their young how to eat invasive weeds, as they
have much more protein than grasses,” said owner Mark Harbaugh.
Derek Ellis, of Ellis Custom Meats in Victor, butchers goats for lo-
cals. He says the meat has a similar taste to lamb. Harbaugh agrees, de-
scribing the flavor as somewhere between elk and lamb. He says you
can prepare it as you would any other red meat—pan-seared, barbecued
or roasted. “If I had the time, I think goat sausage would crush it na-
tionally,” Ellis added.
Ray and Robbins of Winter Winds Farm slaughter most of their
bucks for meat, trading it for fresh veggies and eggs. “I hate gardening,”
Robbins confessed. “Raising goats is a way to be involved in my own
food production without having to garden.”
This year, Winter Winds Farm will expand their milking opera-
tion with USDA certification. This will allow them to distribute their
products out of state, putting them closer towards their goal of finan-
cial security via farm life.
Goat farms like these are thriving in mindful communities across
the country. And these multi-use animals, with their quirky personali-
ties and delectable yields, continue to help new farmers foster a sus-
tainable, low-maintenance living from the land.
Winter Winds Farm
375 W. 4000 S., Victor, ID 83455
208.243.5151 • WinterWindsFarm.com
PO Box 771, Victor ID 83455
208.709.1574 • TetonGoats.com
Christina Shepherd McGuire is managing editor for Teton Family Magazine.
Read more of her musings at ChristinaShepherdMcGuire.com.
A tour of Idaho’s refreshing summer beer releases
By Jessica Murri
Most adventures that take place during Idaho’s
warm summer months call for a beer. Whether it’s
finishing up a multi-day backpacking trip through
the Sawtooths, navigating Payette Lake on a
stand-up paddleboard or spending the evening
around a backyard fire pit—cold beer is the ex-
clamation point at the end of a long summer day.
Luckily, Idaho boasts dozens of craft breweries
that whip up special summer releases just for this
purpose. Here’s a look at some interesting summer
beers from all corners of the state—from the banks
of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the base of the Tetons to
our sunny capital city, Boise. Cheers.
38 edible Idaho Summer 2015
Grand Teton Brewing Company, Victor
The Snarling Badger, as de-
scribed by Barrel Manager
Max Shafer, is like “drink-
ing a really nice wheat beer
and biting into a lemon at
the same time.”
Snarling Badger is one
of Grand Teton Brewing’s
most popular seasonal re-
leases. It’s light in color, low
in hops and uses lactobacil-
lus bacteria to sour the beer
before it’s fermented—the same bacteria used to make yogurt.
Snarling Badger teeters between beer and shandy, drawing in
fans who aren’t big beer drinkers. It’s available around the state on
July 1, in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles.
Perfect place to enjoy: “It should be enjoyed outdoors on a
nice, sunny, warm day,” Shafer said. “It’s one of my favorite beers
to enjoy barbecuing, especially with a vinaigrette marinade or
chicken with cracked pepper and salt rubbed on it, some olive oil
and a good lemon drizzle.”
Woodland Empire Ale Craft, Boise
In collaboration with Dawson
Taylor Coffee Roasters,
Woodland Empire’s “Sauce
Boss,” Rob Landerman took
coffee beer and turned it on its
head. What emerged is a clas-
sic Belgian saison made with
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans.
“It sounds strange,”
Landerman said, “but it’s re-
ally incredible because the
bean is light and fruity, and it doesn’t have the dark, chocolaty
coffee notes. It has more of a citrusy acidity, like lemon custard.”
Perfect place to enjoy: “On a warm, sunny patio after a bike
ride,” Landerman said.
Selkirk Abbey Brewing Co., Post Falls
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 4.9%
International Bitterness Units (IBU): 20
Selkirk Abbey owner Jeff
Whitman takes the history
behind brewing beer seri-
ously. When crafting his
summer release, the Huck-
leberry Chapel witbier, he
followed Belgian brewing
traditions closely. To make
the brew, he infused corian-
der and orange peel—just
like the Belgians do—then
“It works well because
the sweet, tart flavor of the huckleberry brings out more of the or-
ange peel,” Whitman said. “You get more of a citrus note out of
it. It’s not an overly huckleberry beer.”
The Huckleberry Chapel is available in bottles in Idaho,
Montana and Eastern Washington.
Perfect place to enjoy: “On a boat in the sun,” Whitman
said. “It’s a sunshine beer.”
Payette Brewing Co., Boise
Fly Line Vienna Lager
The Fly Line Vienna Lager
was such a popular sum-
mer release last year that
Payette decided to bring it
back on draft and in 12-
ounce cans. It’s an easy-
drinking beer, without
much of a hop presence
and a little malty sweet-
“It’s a larger crowd pleaser for us because we know not every-
one loves their beers super hop-forward,” said Payette’s Sheila
The brew uses pilsner and Vienna malts, which give it a
smooth, refreshing taste.
Perfect place to enjoy: “You can hang out in the hammock
and really relax with this one,” Francis said.
Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay
In the background of any con-
versation with Laughing Dog
Brewing’s owner Fred Colby,
you can hear his dog, Ben, bark-
ing. The yellow Lab turned 12
this spring, and he continues to
inspire the brews coming out of
Laughing Dog’s taproom every
This summer, Laughing
Dog is offering a Grapefruit
IPA, based off the brewery’s reg-
“You know when you peel a grapefruit and get that really
strong smell from the essential oils bursting through the skin?”
Colby said. “That’s this beer.”
So far, Colby has only tested the beer in small batches, but
each time, customers emptied the kegs in 30 minutes. While it’s
only available on draft in restaurants and growler-fill stations
around the state this summer, next summer it could be canned.
Perfect place to enjoy: “Sitting on the deck outside where it’s
nice and beautiful,” Colby said.
Salmon River Brewery, McCall
Mom’s Ginger Plum
When Matt Ganz, a “zymurgist” at
Salmon River Brewery in McCall,
brews a batch of Mom’s Ginger
Plum, he uses 100 pounds of Italian
plum purée in the fermentation. He
also clears out the ginger section of
his local grocery store, throws the
root into the Cuisinart and dumps
it into the boil. What he gets is a
light pale ale with the subtle aroma
of fresh plums, some zippy carbon-
ation and a hint of ginger.
“When designing a beer, brewers use ingredients that they’re
passionate about,” Ganz said. “For me, it’s plums.”
Perfect place to enjoy: “In a nice big eddy somewhere on a
river,” Ganz said.
Sawtooth Brewery, Ketchum
Cold Spring Pilsner
While many breweries around the state are releasing summer beers with lots of frills—like huckle-
berry, grapefruit and souring agents—Sawtooth Brewery is sticking to the classics.
This summer, owner and head brewer Paul Holle has brewed up the Cold Springs Pilsner—a
light, Indian-style pilsner available on draft and in bottles around Southern Idaho. Pilsner, according
to Holle, is the watercolor of beer.
“It’s definitely not an easy beer to make,” Holle said. “There’s nothing that can hide imperfections
or imbalances. You’re really letting only the yeast, malt and hops that you’ve added to the water shine.”
Perfect place to enjoy: “At a beer garden, on a patio, next to the river or after a hike,” Holle said.
“Let the sun shine through.”
Jessica Murri, originally from Boise, grew up in the North End near the Boise
River. Today, she lives there once again and spends her time hiking, back-
packing, cycling, kayaking, skiing, and working as a staff writer for the Boise
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”