What is the first thing that pops in your head when someone mentions Idaho?
“POTATOES!” More often than not, is the response.
I live in the PACIFIC NORTHWEST in a city known as Spokane. Spokane is located on the far east side of Washington State.. only about a 20 minute drive to the Northern Idaho Border…. Also known as The Idaho Panhandle.. This, is where I from!
It’s hilarious that about 85% of the time I mention I am from Idaho.. I receive the most ridiculous.. but understandably inaccurate remarks.
One of my favorites….
“Oh, Idaho? Land of potatoes! Ha, Ha, Ha”
I mean, I guess I could slightly understand why you would say this… but only slightly. And only if you are from the EAST COAST or DOWN SOUTH. If you were raised in the pacific northwest and throw a comment like that at us, you are going to get more than a dirty look. But, it would be the same as somone from PNW throwing a cheese comment at someone from Wisconsin, or a desert remark at someone from Arizona.
Growing up in North Idaho, you also receive jokes about: (and I will admit some one these are pretty funny… but mostly because they are so ridiculous.)
- Bipolar Weather Patterns
- Rednecks & Hicks
- How similar Idaho sounds to Ohio & Iowa so they must be “right next to each other” ….(Sadly, I get this one more often than you would think.)
- Huckleberries are an ACTUAL BERRY.. not just the name of a character in a book!
- And lastly, but most certainly not least.. THE POTATO MISUNDERSTANDING
I am here to clear up all 5 of these Misconstrued Topics with pictures and what is REALLY going on in Idaho. As well is supply 10 amazing places in Idaho that most people are completely unaware of…
1. “BIPOLAR WEATHER”
So this is so absolutely 110% TRUE! I have seen it all as far as “bipolar weather”patterns in North Idaho. I have seen snowy Junes, sunny Christmas days, summer storms that caused the wind to throw trees through houses & break power lines, and I have seen snow that buries cars….. I’m sure all you North Idahoans remember the winter of 2008….
Now, Idaho is not alone on this one… Texas and some other Midwest areas have the same crazy weather patterns. But I guarantee in Northern Idaho you will see heat in the summer that would make you think your in Arizona, people skiing on the sidewalk through town,
and cars get completely buried in snow.
Photo Credit: Spokesman Review
2. IDAHO FOLK
Now first off, I want you to open a new tab, go to google, and define both “Redneck” & “Hick” in the search bar. Even “Hillbilly”. They are simply terms that make no sense when describing Idahoans, because they are definitely not unsophisticated nor unintelligent.. that is just a generalization. I cannot say that there are NO unsophisticated or unintelligent people there.. I mean c’mon.
EVERY CITY OR TOWN HAVE THEIR OWN % FOR EACH SIDE OF THAT SPECTRUM
BUT, I can confidently say that almost every OG North Idahoan have what I like to call: Mountain Smarts: The knowledge and ability to survive in what some people like to call:
“out in the country”
but what we like to call:
Honestly though, a large percentage of men here wear cowboy boots, have jacked up 4X4 trucks, go “mudding” regularily, drink a lot of beer, go hunting, and more often than not have a can of chewing tobacco in their pocket. THESE are TRUE alligations. But hey, if you are a handsome gentlemen wanting to take me on a date going mudding in a big 4X4 truck drinking beer and having fun…I am all in! But thats because Im an Idaho gal. And as for North Idaho chicks… we shoot guns, are not afraid to play dirty, and know how to drive a stick shift! And, we can kick some serious ass when we need to.
3. IOWA vs. OHIO vs. IDAHO…
Okay…I am going to just let photography explain this one….
And of course, IDAHO
Each of these 3 states have both mountainous areas and rollings hills but neither is or can be descibed as either one or the other.
That’s right folks.. THEY ARE A BERRY! I am not kidding I have had people actually say to me that they thought Huckleberry was just from the Mark Twain Novel……. I could not help dropping my jaw at that one.. BUT I UNDERSTAND, how are they supposed to know, they do not grow everywhere.
Huckleberries, like blueberries are very rich in antioxidants!
Although they look the same, their taste difference could shock you. You can nibble on blueberries for quite a while and every once in a while you will pop one in your mouth and than pucker up because that one was.. well, not quite ready yet.
THAT folks, is what huckleberries taste like. They are sweet but boy are they TART, creating the perfect balance of flavors for baking. The tart little berry sure makes for some scrumptious desserts!
And while blueberries hold a rich dark blue color, huckleberries are a deep red purble color that will very quickly stain your skin.. So prepare to have purple fingers!
Come fall time, when huckleberry season hits, people get picking! You will see huckleberry pies, cakes, pastries, milkshake specials, preserves, jams, jellies, vinigarettes you name it! Signs go up as flies drop to sell fresh picked huckleberries, some selling for $50 a lb!!
5. THE GREAT POTATO MISUNDERSTANDING
This one is not so much a misunderstanding as it is just a… I will call it miseducation.
So, to start.. Idaho is not the only state that farms potatoes. Infact, at least HALF of the United States has land dedicated to growing potatoes! Can’t give Idaho all the credit…..
Than why is Idaho known for farming potatoes? Idaho does have multiple farms located in the Southeast region of the state, including popular brand name: “Idahoan”, but the real question is What makes Idaho’s potatoes better than other states potatoes?
Well let’s just say Idaho has a little special magic in their air, soil, and water that makes our potatoes a little extra tasty…
The Idaho Russet is actually a relative of a variety originally found on the slopes of the Peruvian Andes – a place that turns out to be a lot like the area in Eastern Idaho.
Volcanic material once covered all our land and as it slowly eroded over many years, it created a soil that is dark, rich, well-drained and packed with minerals
And the access to pure snowmelt from the Teton Mountains to irrigate their fields.
As well as an education of growing potatoes that took generations and generation to accumulate.
You can visit Blackfoot, ID and go to the Idaho Potato Museum and learn shocking facts about Idaho, farming, and of course… POTATOES.
Here are a few sneak peak shocking facts:
- The average american eats 142.7 lbs of potatoes every year
- 48.1 lbs of fresh potatoes
- 58.9 lbs of frozen potatoes: french fries, tator tots, hash browns, etc.
- 16 lbs of potato chips
- 18 lbs dehydrated: mashed potatoe flakes, au gratin mixes, etc.
- 1.7 lbs Canned
2. The Spanish discovered the potatoe is 1537 and carried some on a return ship to Europe. The vegetable had a hard time being accepted and was actually considered to be poisonous & evil in England by Society for the Preventious of Unwholesome Diets; also know as S.P.U.D., hence the nickname.
Now, all this potato farming is down on the southside of the state…but that doesnt mean that is all there is…..
The Rocky Mountains take up a large part of Idaho and are a reason to why Idaho has so much breath-taking and beautiful scenery, along with Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and a small portion of New Mexico.
Now what about all the awesome things you could do and see that nobody ever mentions unless you google it??
Here are just a few: (in no particular order)
Schweitzer Mountain Resort is North Idahos Finest Resort when it comes to carving some magnificent powder..or riding some amazing mountain bike trails!
but you go down south.. and there is more going on than just potatoes…
2. VISIT SUN VALLEY
3. DIG FOR GARNETS:
The Star Garnet is only found in two places on earth: India & Idaho
4. VISIT GOLDBUG HOT SPRINGS
5. HIKE CHIMNEY ROCK
6. SNOWMOBILE THE SELKIRK RANGE
In North Idaho town Bonners Ferry, just south of the canadian border
7. VISIT KETCHAM, ID
Ketchum sits beside the second-largest roadless area in the Lower 48 – the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness – making it one of the most isolated spots in the country
8. HIKE TO BORAH PEAK
Idaho’s largest Mountain: 12,662 ft.
9. CHECK OUT THE BRUNEAU DUNES OBSERVATORY
10. SPEND THE NIGHT IN A FOREST FIRE LOOKOUT
11. CANOE ON REDFISH LAKE
12. BASE JUMP TWIN FALLS, ID
13. VISIT IDAHO’S CAPITAL CITY: BOISE
and hike table rock….
or drive to Lucky Peak State Park….
STILL not convinced?
I am pretty confident you now have a different understanding and outlook of Idaho, North & South both very different. But both absolutely breath taking.
Any Idahoans reading this I have left out hundreds of other possibilites, as it would take an entire lifetime to adventure through all beautiful ways of Idaho.
BUT, just for some icing on the cake, here are a few educational facts!