Idaho Climate for Fruit Production

Idaho's climate is well adapted to the commercial and home production of selected fruit crops. Suitability of a particular crop, however, depends on the region.

Southwestern Idaho including Canyon, Payette, Gem, and Owahee counties have relatively mild climate, warm summers and a long growing season. These area supports commercial apple, cherry, plum, peach, table grape, wine grape, raspberry and strawberry production.

The Lewiston and Orofino areas along the Clearwater River drainage also enjoy a mild climate and long growing season. The same crops that do well in Boise typically do well in this area, although varieties are more limited.

Southeastern Idaho has a cool, short growing season and cold winters. Raspberries, strawberries, currants, gooseberries, apples and some pears and plums can be grown here. Blueberries can be grown in some locations where acidic soil are found or can be created.

Northern and central Idaho are mountainous and have highly variable climates, depending on elevation. Choose cold hardy, early ripening crops here. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, currants, gooseberries, saskatoons, haskaps, apples, pears and European plums usually perform well in this region. Bonner County is the home of several commercial blueberry growers and market gardeners throughout the region produce a wide variety of berries and home fruits. The hillsides are covered with mountain huckleberry, Idaho's state fruit, and huckleberry processors and marketers can be found throughout the region.

Climatic coinditions in the southwestern region is favorable for production of high quality fruit with outstanding flavor.  The region has a typical four seasons with about 10-12 inches of parcipitation.  Minumum winter tempertures can range from minus 8  to plus 8  F, although some years they can plung down to minus 20 F.   The region enjoys a gradual warming in the spring, allowing for a good fruit set for  most decidious fruits.  Warm and long summer days and cool nights during maturation prodive excellent conditions for fruit color fomation and flavor preservation.  Gradual drop in temperatures in the fall facilitaes excellent pigment (color) formation and gradual dormancy process.  Decidious fruits in the region have no problem in meeting their required dormancy period.  Sandy loam soils with good drainage, meshed with the favorable climate conditions make the area highly suitable for fruit production, and the region has attracted fruit buyers from all around the world, particulary during the past 10 years.