About Our 2023 Archives Month Poster

Three Sisters: Maize (Corn), Beans, and Squash

Utah’s original inhabitants were Native Americans. These included early groups like the Ancestral Puebloans (often referred to as the Anasazi) and the Fremont. Later, the region was home to the Shoshones, Utes, Southern Paiutes, Goshutes, and Navajo peoples. These cultures often cultivated the “Three Sisters”—maize (corn), beans, and squash—because they thrive together. Corn stalks offer natural support for beans to grow upwards, while beans pull nitrogen from the air and direct it back to the soil, enriching it for the other two plants, and squash leaves shade the soil to retain moisture and ward off weeds and other pests. Native Americans would also gather wild onions, carrots, and potatoes, such as the small Four-Corners Potato, which makes an appearance here along with the Three Sisters.


Pioneer Cook Book

Utah is known for its Latter-Day Saint (or, Mormon) pioneers who arrived in the area in 1847. These pioneers learned to survive in the Utah desert with the help of friendly Native Americans, who taught them methods like growing the Three Sisters and that Sego Lily bulbs could be cooked and consumed. The pioneers also brought their own food-related traditions to Utah.

Some people also speculate that early Utah pioneers are responsible for cheesy potato casserole, or funeral potatoes, as variations of that recipe are often found in early Latter-Day Saint Relief Society cook books.


North Ogden Cherry Days

In 1932, North Ogden leaders initiated an annual celebration to showcase the cherries grown in local orchards and celebrate their community. The Cherry Days Festival has been held for 90 years, and happens each July. Orchards specializing in cherries and other fruits continue to operate across Utah, both near North Ogden and in other parts of the state.


Bear Lake Raspberry Shakes

Red Iguana and Coachman’s Dinner & Pancake House

Red Iguana

Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Drives, and recently ranked as the 35th-best restaurant in the U.S. by Yelp in 2022 (the only restaurant in Utah on that list), Red Iguana has long been a local favorite for many Utahns. They’re especially known for their various types of mole, a traditional Mexican sauce with a complex and rich flavor. 


Coachman’s Dinner & Pancake House

Coachman’s Dinner & Pancake House closed in 2021, but it was an iconic eatery for many Utahns during its 60 years in business. Its striking sign and prominent location along State Street, combined with all-day breakfast, comfort food, and low-key (cash only!) vibe, ensured a memorable meal.


Fry Sauce

While the exact originator of fry sauce is debated, you won’t walk into a burger chain in Utah now who doesn’t serve this striking pink sauce as a dipping option for your favorite fries. Fry sauce is an equal mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise, with various minced additions such as pickles, onions, and olives, depending on where you dine.


As you might guess from the name of Utah’s capitol city, salt is a large industry in Utah. Around 2 million tons of salt are extracted each year near the Great Salt Lake for purposes such as de-icing roadways, manufacturing salt pellets and salt licks, and providing bulk salt used for other manufacturing processes. The Redmond Real Salt company in Cache County mines food-grade salt with a distinctive reddish-pink hue, attributable to beneficial trace minerals, from an ancient seabed. It’s believed that early Native Americans also visited this area to mine salt for their own use.


Payson Onion Days

First held in 1929, Payson’s Golden Onion Days were originally intended as a way for citizens of Payson to celebrate existing friendships and foster new ones, all while recognizing the area as “outstanding in the production of the onion”. Onion Days takes place over Labor Day weekend annually, and onions, among other crops, remain a prevalent produce from local farms.


Torrey Apple Days

When Latter-day Saint pioneers settled in the Capitol Reef area, they planted thousands of fruit trees in the fertile Fremont River region, where Native Americans had been farming for generations. These fruit trees became a major source of food and income for the pioneer settlers. Today, Capitol Reef National Park maintains the historical orchards planted by these pioneers — including many varieties of apples — and even allows visitors to the park to pick their own fruit. The nearby town of Torrey celebrates the local apples with their Apple Days Festival held annually in July.


Sego Lilies

The sego lily is Utah’s state flower, and was considered sacred by Native Americans in the region. They used it for both culinary and ceremonial purposes. These indigenous peoples taught early Utah pioneers how to harvest and prepare the bulbs for consumption. Due to its resilience in Utah’s rocky and challenging terrain, the sego lily was vital for survival during periods when other crops failed.

From Elizabeth Huffaker’s pioneer journal: “We dug thousands of sego roots, for we heard that the Indians had lived on them for weeks and months. We relished them and carried them home in bucketfuls. How the children feasted on them, particularly when they were dried, for they tasted like butternuts.”

Green Jello


Potato Casserole (or, Funeral Potatoes)

The origins of the name “Funeral Potatoes” are uncertain, and cheesy potato casseroles aren’t unique to Utah, but the name and association between Utah and this potato casserole served at large gatherings have persisted. Early Latter-day Saint Relief Society cookbooks include funeral potatoes recipes, leading some to believe that this particular casserole originated in Utah. Similar to green Jell-O, the association was commemorated during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics with special pins.


Recipe Box

Much like the Pioneer Cook Book featured in our poster artwork, recipes are an important cultural item that are often passed down between generations and shared within communities — between Native Americans and early Pioneers, at church gatherings, and from your family members to you.

Brigham City Peach Days

Brigham City has celebrated its annual peach harvest in early September since 1904, establishing it as one of Utah’s longest-running harvest festivals. Local farms continue to set up fruit stands with peaches and other peach-related products, including peach salsa. Hurricane, Utah, has also celebrated its own Peach Days festival since 1998.


Milk & Dairy Products

Dairy cows weren’t introduced to Utah until around 1860. One of Utah’s most famous dairy farms, Winder Dairy, began selling and delivering milk and butter in 1880. Located in present-day West Valley City, Winder Dairy continued milk delivery services for over 100 years until 2019. 

Cache Valley, Utah, especially appealed to some of Utah’s pioneer settlers. Its climate, reminiscent of European dairy farming regions, encouraged them to establish dairy farms there.  In 1941, Edwin Gossner, a Swiss immigrant, came to Cache Valley and was appointed by the Cache Valley Dairy Association to manage a local cheese factory. It was so successful that by the 1960s, it became the largest Swiss cheese factory in the world for a time. 

Now, nearly 100 dairy farms of varying size are located throughout Utah, collectively producing 200 million gallons of milk annually.  Cache Valley maintains its reputation for cheese production, sourcing milk from many of Utah’s local dairy farms to produce a large selection of cheese.