Potatoes first came to Idaho by way of Henry Harmon Spalding, a Presbyterian missionary. In 1836 Spalding began a mission at Lapwai to establish Christianity with the Nez Perce Indians. He wanted to teach these people how to feed themselves through the development of their own agriculture. The Nez Perce people began trading the Idaho potatoes to settlers for other goods.
The first significant fields of potatoes were planted by immigrants coming to Idaho. This took place almost three years prior to the organization of the Idaho Territory.
There people grew large harvests of potatoes in the rich Idaho soil. The extra crops were turned into cash which was used to begin a great potato market.
The gold rush that reached Idaho in 1860 also played a…