by Don Brown, The Idaho Foodbank
The farmers we work with are a very generous group and when they have good years they are always there to share their bounty, and with that usually comes product that is not excess, but fresh product made up for us or right out of their inventory.
The cherry harvest is underway at the LDS Orchard. Apricots are coming soon, and the LDS Orchard has set aside an entire block of apricots for us. There will be a short gap and then on to early peaches and Gala apples, then everything else will follow – plums, pears, Asian pears, late peaches and the remaining apples. Peaches, plums and pears look the best for volume as the apple harvest will be off a little from last year.
Pleasant Valley Farm (Formerly the Prison Farm) is finally progressing after a testy spring. We have planted red beets again (no turnips this year), winter squash, zucchini, watermelon, and cantaloupe. We have spaced the planting of the beets by a couple of weeks so we should have them for a longer period.
We receive a lot of food from farming excess when supply exceeds demand. The Idaho Foodbank is a great alternative for them to move this product, though it doesn’t usually help pay the bills.
Farmers are diversifying and looking for better-paying crops to accent what they normally grow and these new crops will actually subsidize their lower paying onions, potatoes and grains.
Hop farming is exploding in the valley and Idaho is now the #2 Hop producer in the U.S. Last year alone showed an 20% increase. Most of the new ground has been onion acres and will continue to increase.
Onion growers had their best year ever, prices were very great and supply never exceeded demand. While Foodbanks everywhere were scrambling to get onions and paying high prices for them, the IFB had a record year for quality and donated pounds.
Our Farmers are a very generous group and when they have good years they are always there to share their bounty, and with that usually comes product like last season that is not excess, but fresh product made up for us or right out of their inventory.