"A Complete, Comprehensive Description of the Agricultural, Stock Raising, and Mineral Resources of Idaho" compiled from the latest reports of 1891 was a promotional effort of the Union Pacific Railway. The "Diversity of Idaho Agriculture" chapter states that "potatoes yield abundantly, averaging over 200 bushels to the acre, equal to the finest grown in Utah, varying in price from $1 to $3 per 100 pounds, according to the season. When they are well watered, they are of large size, white, mealy, and delicious. Many thousand carloads of potatoes were shipped from Idaho points over the Union Pacific Railway in 1887, 1888, and 1890, to Eastern markets, where they are in great demand."
According to a Union Pacific Railway booklet, Lemhi County was famous for superior-quality potatoes and found a ready market everywhere in the mining camps. "The yield of potatoes in this valley has averaged over 250 bushels to the acre, and the market price varies from $1.50 to $4.50 per hundred pounds . . . the writer has seen some of these tubers weighing four pounds and eight ounces, and was assured by the producer that he had bushels of the same kind in the field, all sound and solid potatoes. During the 17 years in which Lemhi Valley has been farmed, no failure of this crop has ever been reported."
These first Idaho settlers were pioneers mentally as well as geographically because they had the initiative and willingness to better their conditions regardless of physical hardships and uncertain futures.
In the river valleys, where water was easily diverted, and with the rich, volcanic-ash soil, these hearty people raised a few more potatoes than they needed and found that the extra potatoes resulted in a good cash crop. From this small beginning, Idaho's farmers set out on the conquest of the potato markets of the United States.