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Magic Valley growers provide fresh produce

LORIEN NETTLETON

MONICA CARRILLO-CASAS
Monica
ERIC GOODELL

Every morning, Jacob Roometua and his crew can be found harvesting ripe figs at River Road Farms near Buhl.

Their figs outsell all of the fruit that grows in their orchard, Roometua says.

For 10 to 12 weeks during the summer, the farm provides fresh figs to about a half-dozen restaurants in Twin Falls and Sun Valley.

Across the Snake River, Bonnie Peters grows 1,500 strawberry plants in their greenhouse near Jerome. Rather than growing their strawberries in soil, they grow strawberry plants in water.

Peters started growing strawberries last year after her husband became interested in hydroponics.

“It was really incredible,” Peters told the Times-News. “It far exceeded my expectations.”

Neither Roometua nor Peters are typical farmers and both know their customers are not typical produce shoppers.

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River Road Farms and Peters Family Farms both provide Kathy McRae, owner of Yellow Brick Cafe in Twin Falls, with healthy food for her dining customers.

McRae first began to cook with local produce and products while in Sacramento, California. She now continues to source local foods for her restaurant.

“For the general consumer and our clientele here, I don’t know that it’s more about the taste as much as it is feeling empowered by knowing where your food is being grown,” she told the Times-News. “Knowing that it’s not being sprayed with pesticides. Knowing that it’s not being picked underripe and that it’s just chemically ripened. Knowing that we are supporting local people and we are putting money into their pockets rather than large companies.”

Since opening Yellow Brick in 2016, McRae has relied on various farms throughout Idaho: Grains from 1000 Springs Mill, trout from Riverence, produce from River Road Farms and Peters Family Farms

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