Susan and I hatched a plan to visit as many foodie hotspots in Teton Valley, Idaho as we could hit in a day. Teton Valley, Idaho is the community just on the other side of the mountains from Jackson Hole. We call them the "Backside" of the Tetons; they call us the "Dark Side". We have powder skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort; they have even more powder and less people skiing at Grand Targhee.
We have lots of fancy restaurants here in Jackson, and wonderful purveyors of fine food. But what I found in Teton Valley was an exciting grass-roots community of artisan farmers, bakers, and cheesemakers, who take enormous care and pride in their products.
Not to mention Idaho's only organic mushroom farmer Tye Tilt. It will take an entire post to properly describe his Mountain Valley Mushroom operation.
First stop: Snowdrift Farm in VIctor to gather some fresh eggs. Dairy farmers Georgie, Sue and Erika were out when we stopped by, so it looked like the animals were in charge.
Teton Valley Creamery is located in downtown Driggs, Idaho on 80 N. Main St., just past the Corner Drugstore on the left. Cheesemaker Kristopher Malling uses raw milk from a farm just a few miles down the road to craft his gelato, cheese curds, and soon, artisan cheeses.
Grace was there the day we stopped by, and was happy to show us their immaculately beautiful creamery. I wish you could see Grace's big rubber boots.
Then Grace took us into the back of the Creamery, where the young cheeses are maturing. Like a neonatal nurse doting over her charges, Grace explained that these babies wouldn't be ready for a few more months.
Teton Valley Creamery, 80 North Main St., Driggs, Idaho.
By the way, if you go to the Creamery, be sure to stop into the little house directly behind the alley. Locals know and love Pendl's Bakery and Cafe (pendlspastries.com), but many Jacksonites have not yet found this Austrian pastry shop. Susan and I ducked in for a hearty bowl of lentil vegetable soup, and some chat with the locals. I couldn't resist bringing home a box of pastries: WItches' Tits, Florentiner, Nussknacker (hazelnuts, almonds, dark chocolate and a cookie crust), and Zigeuners. Pendl's is a dangerous place for a sweet tooth like mine.
Last but not least, we headed west on Bates Rd. until we got to Tye Tilt's Mountain Valley Mushroom farm.
While over at Tye's place, we ran into Derek Ellis, who was making custom sausage. We were impressed with the care a friend's deer was being processed (congratulations Jeff K.) in the makeshift game processing workshop.
Teton Valley, Idaho: foodie contacts
460 Bread in Driggs, Idaho. Take Highway 33 to Driggs, and go right on Johnson Avenue, a half-mile south of the only stoplight in town. 460bread.com. (208) 354-0460.
Pendl's Bakery and Cafe in Driggs, Idaho. Tucked behind the Teton Valley Creamery that is on Main Street, you'll find Pendl's at 40 Depot Street. pendlspastries.com, (208) 354-5623.
Teton Valley Creamery in Driggs, Idaho. 80 North Main St. in downtown Driggs. (208) 354-0404.
Table Rock Custom Meats in Driggs, Idaho. Give Derek Ellis a call if you need custom sausage, game processing, and meat cut to order. (208) 821-0889.
Bell Cow Creamery in Tetonia, Idaho. Blaire Kribs is Susan's milkmaid connection (Blaire's business card actually says "milkmaid"). Blaire makes fresh butter, ricotta cheese, Greeek-style yogurt and more. You can reach her at (208) 709-8114 or on Facebook: Bell Cow Creamery. When I last saw Blaire at the Driggs Farmers' Market she was planning to deliver orders to Driggs on Friday mornings. Her ricotta is stupendous.
Joe Quiroz actually lives in Lander, WY, but he can get estate-grown olive oil delivered to your door. The Arbequina olive oil tastes like it's from Italy, but it is grown in the Italian tradition in California by friends of Joe's. It was a happy day for me when my 2.5 gallon jug of Arbequina olive oil arrived. I can no longer complain about the lack of good olive oil around here. To contact Joe, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out the olive producers at californiaoliveranch.com. Joe is currently taking orders for the Olio Nuevo, or unfiltered olive oil, that will soon be pressed.