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Idaho dairy farmers produce more milk and cheese than almost any state in the nation. Idaho is ranked third behind California and Wisconsin.

Mint And Potatoes: Peppermint Production Is Up In Idaho

David G. Massey
AP Photo
File photo of greenhouse mint.

We all know Idaho’s connection to potato chips and fries. But what about that peppermint gum you keep in your car?

Along with California, Washington and Oregon – Idaho grows a lot of mint. According to the Capital Press, the Gem State ranks third in the country for peppermint production. Between 2007 and 2012, Idaho’s harvest grew by 4,000 acres.

Much of that is harvested for gum, mint and candy – but some is used to make peppermint oil or tea. Growers often contract with household names like Colgate toothpaste or Wrigley’s gum.

The Capital Press reports that as Washington farmers age, more mint might be grown in Idaho. Washington farmers have mostly focused on spearmint, which is declining in demand: peppermint’s menthol ingredient makes it more desirable for oils. But the process of distilling the oil from the plant remains expensive.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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