Perhaps the one crop that Gem Valley is most famous for is their certified seed potatoes. Each fall, during harvest time, tourists from all over the nation flock to this area to purchase their winters supply of these delicious potatoes. With its rich volcanic soil, warm summer days with cool evenings, and an abundant supply of water, this valley is an ideal place for raising potatoes. The other major crops grown in Gem Valley are alfalfa (hay), and grain. In l902 the Last Chance Canal was completed, supplying the Grace Valley with an abundant flow of water for irrigation purposes. Many of the crops receive sprinkler irrigation with the bulk of the water being supplied from the Bear River through the Last Chance Canal system.
Seed potatoes are a vital part of the economic picture of Gem Valley. Potatoes were first raised in the valley in 1922. These potatoes were sold locally to other families throughout the winter. The first certified seed potatoes were raised in Grace in 1943. The number of growers and acres planted grew over the years and today over 6000 acres are planted. In the early years, only the famed Russet Burbanks for which Idaho became famous were planted. Now many specialty varieties are also raised, meeting the demands of modern usage. Grace has become the second largest certified seed growing area in the state of Idaho and is known nationwide for its high quality production.
In 1956, the seed growers formed an association. Since then, the Grace area has evolved into a management area and all potato growers in the area are required to plant certified seed. The reputation of Grace seed has grown and today this seed is sold throughout Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and even Hawaii.
Harvest time is an exciting time in Gem Valley with the sophisticated potato
harvesting equipment and trucks working in the fields. School is dismissed
for a ten day period as the young people lend a helping hand. Many farmers
bag their oversize potatoes and sell them to the public at very reasonable
prices and are they delicious. The following is a list of growers in Gem
GEM VALLEY CERTIFIED SEED POTATO GROWERS