Every state has its own unique identity based on whatever there is unique about it. New York has one of the largest cities in the country and is part of the founding story of the country. Texas has cowboys, horses, and lots and lots of cattle. California has Hollywood and oranges. These things do not utterly define each state and there is plenty of crossover between states, but all of these things contribute to how a state sees itself. Something especially important in a state’s identity is the things that that state produces. Here is where Idaho gets some of its own identity. But, maybe you just moved to Idaho and you do not really know what your state is known for. There are some obvious products that pretty much everyone knows about and we will get into those as well as the less obvious, but it is important to know what makes Idaho special if you want to make a living in it. What follows then are a few of the major products that are made in Idaho and go all around the country and the world. Maybe you can give one or two of them a try in the near future.
First, we should get the elephant in the room out of the way. Potatoes. Everyone knows that Idaho is known for potatoes. It is even a joke for many people in and outside of the state, potatoes being a bit of an odd food (If delicious). There is a very good reason Idaho is known for potatoes, and that is because Idaho makes some really really good potatoes. Everyone wants Idaho’s potatoes because there are no better potatoes around. Furthermore, Idaho is where the potato was discovered by settlers of European origin. Native Americans in the area before any settlers arrived knew all about potatoes and how awesome they are and then those natives taught the arriving settlers about the virtue of the potato. From there the settlers sent back seeds and examples of the glorious golden food they had found and they were an instant hit all over the world. And it is no surprise. Potatoes go with pretty much everything and can be served in a hundred different ways. Get them in a pot to boil, smash them into a paste, and then throw them into a stew if you feel like it. Potatoes are one of the greatest and most versatile foods in the world and Idaho makes the best ones. There is basically no competition. Idaho even as museums about potatoes that you can visit if you want to learn more, but the thing I would recommend is just to find some Idaho grown potatoes, cook them up, and then just go to town on them.
Other Idaho Edibles
Potatoes are not the only edible product coming out of Idaho. In recent years Idaho has also become excellent at producing beers, wines, and other forms of alcohol. There are tons of farms churning out some quality hops and there are many different vineyards and wineries all over the state. The people behind these operations are making some excellent beer and wine that is getting recognition everywhere, even outside the United States. Idaho has great soil and a nearly perfect environment for growing some truly quality grapes and hops and people are just recently coming around to realize the incredibly useful and quality resources at their disposal. A quick look at the Idaho countryside will reveal several different places where you can find vineyards you might be able to visit and tour and there are a ton of breweries in the major cities and probably even in some of the smaller towns. If you want to be a part of the growing trend of alcohol as a labor of love rather than a mass produced product, Idaho is the place to be.
One particular product that comes out of Idaho might surprise you. Idaho is a pretty large producer of electronic components. You might not think that a place with such a low population and so much natural wilderness would be churning out advanced technology, but there are quite a few tech companies in Idaho. In fact, one of the biggest companies in Idaho is a tech company, Micron Inc., which employs a large number of Idahoans.
Of course, there are those natural wonders we just mentioned. Idaho is a very common place for tourists to spend a while sightseeing and enjoying fresh mountain air or boundless rivers. There are a thousand things to do outside in Idaho and while you might be able to do them somewhere else, Idaho is going to give you the best experience nine times out of ten. You might not call nature a product but it still brings tons of people into the state and everyone knows that Idaho is one of the greatest places on earth to get in touch with your wild side. You can ski down the snow slopes of Mount Brundage. You can relax in a hot spring deep in a chilly mountainside. You can hop in a boat and follow the water of the Snake River as it cascades downhill over rapids and through dense brush. None of the other states can really hold a candle to Idaho when it comes to the sheer variety and quality of the outdoor activities you take part in while you are in the gem state.
People are probably always going to think of potatoes first when they think of Idaho, but now you know better. Potatoes are definitely a huge part of the Idaho culture and they are nothing to be embarrassed about, but there is so much more to Idaho than just one thing. It is a state with a diverse list of defining characteristics that make up a complex swath of land. I would encourage you to give one of these aspects of Idaho a shot and get in touch with what makes the state you are living in or visiting so special.