Produce Vendor

King's Crown Organics

Nate Jones operates King’s Crown Organics in Glenn’s Ferry Idaho. His is the largest local organic farm that the Co-op purchases from. Nate has been farming since 1975 when he came back to help out with the family farm. Two years later, he began farming on his own. In 1987, he decided to switch to organic. He initially got into organic agriculture because he knew he could make more money than with conventional ag. Nate is now a role model in the organic farming world—he is constantly experimenting with ways to improve overall soil health and conserve water usage.

When his son Wilder isn’t away at college, he helps out his dad on the farm. In fact, the day after Wilder was born, Nate drove a load of potatoes to the Co-op on his way to pick up Wilder and his mom from the hospital. You could say he was born to farm.

King’s Crown Organics grows beans, onions, melons, potatoes, and more. In addition to the Boise Co-op, you can find King’s Crown at the Ketchum Farmers Market and the Boise Farmers Market when their melon are in season. If you haven’t tried one of their infamous melons, then you haven’t really tasted summer.

King’s Crown Organics Snapshot

  • Their first organic crop was garlic

  • Selling to the Co-op for over 25 years, since we were located on Hill Road

  • 700+ acres in organic production

  • Sells potatoes to Boise Fry Co.

  • Like M & M Heath, also grows dried beans for Amy’s Organics.

  • Started raising cattle in 2018 for Desert Mountain Grassfed Beef.

M & M Heath Farm

Mike and Marie Heath farm 20 acres in beautiful Buhl, Idaho. It may sound like a lot to handle, but they’ve scaled back from the 500 acres they used to manage! Mike decided to farm organically after a Methodist mission trip to Malaysia. He witnessed Malaysian farmers using organic growing practices and was inspired to do so himself upon his return to the US. And we’re sure glad he did! M & M Heath primarily grows organic potatoes, winter squash, and dried beans. You can find their dried beans in our Grocery & Bulk departments under the Sunset Butte Organics brand. They grow flageolet, pinto, white, small white, cannelini, and black beans.

M & M Heath Snapshot

  • Selling to the Co-op for over 25 years, since we were on Hill Road!

  • Our Deli uses their dried beans in our infamous housemade burritos.

  • They grow many potato varieties including: Melody, Yukon, Reds, Red Sonja, Russets, Fingerlings (Russian Banana, French Fingerling, Peruvian Purple), Huckleberry Gold, Adirondack Purple, & Purple Majesty

  • You can also find their potatoes at Boise Fry Co.

  • Fun fact: they grow organic black and red beans for Amy’s Organics, so if you buy an Amy’s frozen burrito, there’s a good chance it has some Idaho-grown beans in it.

Peaceful Belly Farm

Clay and Josie Erskine started farming 16 years ago. At their first farmers market, they had 6 bags of salad mix. 8 years later, they scaled up to a 60 acre plot of land in the Dry Creek Valley. Growing over 180 different crops, Peaceful Belly is likely the most crop-diverse crop in the Treasure Valley. They rely heavily on crop rotation rather than inputs like fertilizer or compost. Water is a constant worry in the high desert climate, and they have 3 different watering systems on their land, including the waterwise drip tape.

Peaceful Belly is known for their creativity and innovation in the farm-to-table movement. They started making hard cider last year, and they partner with local chefs (like Nate Whitley of the Modern) to host dinners right on the farms. Now, they are looking at their next big move, and fulfilling a dream shared by many farmers: owning their own land. Peaceful Belly Farm is moving to a 35 acre plot in Marsing, Idaho and will offer lodging, a cidery, and wine. We are so excited to see what awesome new things they will be cooking up with their move out to Marsing. Find out the latest at their website.

Peaceful Belly Farm Snapshot

  • Started farming 16 years ago

  • 10 employees work on the farm

  • Grow over 40 varieties of winter squash

  • Infamous for their Freaks of the Garden video

  • Their spinach always flowers on the solstice!

Eagle Creek Orchard

Nestled along Eagle Creek in Richland, Oregon is the 5 acre stretch which holds the beautiful organic fruit orchard of Rob and Linda Cordtz. We spent several hours walking among the trees, learning about different fruit varieties, tree grafting, frost protection, homebrewing, beekeeping, and more. 

While they are located right on Eagle Creek, Richland is very much a desert that only sees about 8 inches of rain per year. Because of this, there are wild fluctuations in temperature and they have come up with some great ways to guard against this. 

Frost Protection

2013 brought a late spring frost that was cold enough to kill fruit buds in the orchard, resulting in a lot of crop losses that year. Linda describes how they dealt with the harsh reality of losing these living things that they care so lovingly for: "You reinvent yourself. You don't have time to sulk, so you just pick yourself up and figure out what you have to do next." In order to prevent a similar situation, they installed propane and diesel heaters throughout the orchards, which helped get them through the harsh winter of early 2017 (which brought the coldest temperatures since the 1960s). While they may have lost a lot of blossoms this year and will have a much smaller peach harvest, none of the trees suffered permanent damage in the harsh winter. They also use a wind machine to circulate the warm air through the property, which is powered by a Chevrolet engine.

The Best Peaches on the Planet

If you haven't tried any of the fruit from Eagle Creek, you're definitely missing out. Everyone at the Co-op looks forward to these peaches. Their amazing flavor is due in large part to the amazing care that goes into the health of the soil. They are the kind of fruit that you need to eat outside or over a sink, bent forward to keep the juice from running down your chin! Though this year's peach harvest might be small, we'll still have a lot of other delicious varieties of fruit from Eagle Creek throughout the summer. Keep an eye out for apricots, plums, plumcots, apples, and more!

Farming is a Gamble

Rob joked that farming is similar to gambling in Vegas, in that it's likely you'll lose your money doing either one. The difference is in the time it takes to lose it: "Lose it all quick there, or take years to lose it out here". Farming seems like a harder yet more satisfying way to lose it all.

Rob worked in the Forest Service for 20 years, and they moved to Richland to escape the food desert of McCall. Where they live, they are able to trade locally for a lot of what they don't produce themselves: vegetables, meat, and more. 

Eagle Creek Orchard Snapshot

  • 13 years on the orchard
  • 5 acres with 1200 fruit trees
  • They grow apples, apricots, peaches, plums, and more! 
  • 18 varieties of peaches
  • They harvested 70,000 lbs of fruit in 2016!

Rolling Hills Peonies

 

Tucked away down a dead end road in Star, Idaho, sits the enchanting 5 acre plot of Anju and Albert. Anju is the greenhouse nursery manager at Edwards Greenhouse in Boise, and her expertise and love of plants really comes through when you walk around the property--it is covered in beautiful flowers of all kinds. But the real treat is the large plot of peonies behind the house. Shocks of blossoms in yellow, white, crimson, salmon, and coral are made all the more vibrant by the background of their deep green leaves. Anju is thrilled to live in a climate where peonies thrive, and it's easy to see why. Walking among the rows of peonies is a pretty incredible way to spend a Monday morning.

The peony season is brief but intense. While these flowers are only harvested for 3-4 weeks in the late spring, they bloom like crazy in that time span. Anju and Albert harvest every morning and evening, about 500 stems per day. They sell exclusively to the Boise Co-op, and have for 3 years now, which makes us feel pretty special!

Rolling Hills Snapshot

  • Started selling to the Boise Co-op in 2014
  • They have over 600 peony plants!
  • Peony varieties at their farm include single, double, Itoh, and bomb
  • Peony plants can live for 150 years, and are very drought-tolerant
  • The season is brief! Keep an eye out for them in mid to late May, and get them while you can

Columbia Ridge Farm

In the realm of local growers, Columbia Ridge Farm is fairly new to the scene. But in terms of operating a small business, they have a lot of experience. After 12 years in the retail power-sports business selling snowmobiles, they decided to sell it and switch to growing food.

The timing couldn't have worked out better--if you've been shopping at the Co-op for a while, you may remember Kay Pennington, who supplied the Co-op with wheatgrass for years. Kay was getting ready to retire just as Columbia Ridge Farm was looking to add more products to their line at the Co-op. The Co-op made the connection, and Columbia Ridge Farms agreed to take over Kay's spot as the primary wheatgrass supplier, and Kay imparted some great wisdom to the new growers. 

While they primarily grow sprouts and wheatgrass for the Co-op, they also have chickens, goats, and horses, and use the greenhouse to start plants that they later transplant outside for their own garden. They use the spent fiber from the sprouting trays to feed the chickens, who pick every last sprout and seed out of it, then compost the rest. Plus, the greenhouse is solar powered, so you can feel good knowing you're eating solar-powered sprouts, herbs, and wheatgrass!  This past winter was quite the test for the new greenhouse, with record snowfall and low temperatures--but it stood the test and we couldn't be happier. 

Keep an eye out for them on our events calendar to see when they will be sampling their delicious sprouts in our Produce departments! 

Columbia Ridge Farm Snapshot

  • Started in 2016
  • Selling to the Co-op since 2016
  • All plant production happens in one greenhouse
  • Solar-powered greenhouse
  • Primarily grow wheatgrass, sprouts, & herbs
  • Greenhouse is heated with radiant heat flooring
  • Look for their eggs in both stores as well