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Heirloom Corn Seed Project Takes Root in Southwestern Idaho

Farmers in southwest Idaho will begin growing out heirloom corn seed this year for a project that could lead to value-added niche opportunities for small- and medium-scale farmers.

BOISE — A group of small- and medium-scale farmers in southwestern Idaho is part of a fledgling project that seeks to grow heirloom corn seed for the local tortilla market.

The project, funded in part by a USDA grant, has so far conducted field trials of 24 heirloom corn cultivars. Heirloom corn, sometimes called “ancient grains,” are niche varieties that have been grown for generations or even hundreds of years.

A chef from Diablo & Sons, a Boise restaurant opening in April, has selected the most promising varieties from the trial and about 10 farmers will grow that seed out this year.

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