September is Idaho Preferred Month, which honors local farms and family ranches

Posted at 4:57 PM, Sep 19, 2023

CALDWELL, Idaho — The Gem State is home to thousands of farms and ranches that produce a bounty of crops across the state. September is Idaho Preferred Month, which honors the 25,000 farms and family ranches that contribute to the 185 commodities produced throughout the state, among them Cherry Hill farms.

"So here at Cherry Hill Farms, we are a family farm; I'm the fifth generation,” said Sean Rowley, manager at Cherry Hill Farms.

What once started as a small farm in the 1920's has now grown to multiple family farms across Idaho and Utah. Originally starting off growing tart cherries, but since then expanded after the Rowleys made their way to Idaho in 2012.

"Since then, we have a tradition of some newer varieties, different varieties, and younger orchards that we hope will be producing for the next 20 to 30 years,” said Rowley.

Idaho holds the distinction of being the 5th largest state to boost the agricultural economy. The Idaho Department of Agriculture says the agriculture industry contributes $8.1 billion to the local economy, and much of that is due to Idaho's climate being ideal for crops.

"Maybe a quarter to a third of our fruit stays here in Idaho, and the rest is shipped throughout the mountain west,” said Rowley.

The goal of Idaho Preferred Month is to allow consumers to learn about the local goodness surrounding the food and agriculture industry.

"Really good time to get to know your local food sources, to get to know your farmers, and to really understand where your food is coming from,” said Dawn Larzelier, with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

During the month-long celebration, local stores will post a logo that ensures that the food purchased is grown, raised, or crafted in Idaho.