Monday, September 8, 2014

Delicious Snacks for Back to School




Back to school is such an exciting time of the year, but with school comes early mornings which some may not enjoy when they have come a custom to sleeping later. We have gathered up some yummy and creative ways to have fun when it comes to snacks, treats, and meals. 





 1) An Animal Snack Attack from sugarpop.com
There are 17 awesome works of art that are easy to create at home, while we can show you all 17 here are a few of our favorites. The only down side to these wonderful images is there are no recipes to go off of, however everything seems to be able to be recreated from just looking at the images. Have fun making these delicious treats!

2) Blueberry Pancakes from Baker by Nature
We might be a bit bias on this one, but blueberry pancakes are a great way to start the day! 
Ingredients:
  • *Makes about 14 pancakes
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons butter, for the pan
  • Maple syrup, for serving
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sour cream, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder.
  2. In a separate large bowl add flour and blueberries and toss to combine, making sure berries are fully coated in the flour.
  3. Add flour mixture to the wet milk mixture, and stir just to combine; do not over mix! The batter will be thick, so don't worry if there's a lot of clumps left.
  4. Add egg whites to a large bowl or the body of a stand mixer. Beat using a handheld mixer or the whisk attachment until the whites begin to form soft peaks.
  5. With a rubber spatula fold egg whites into flour/cheese mixture, stirring until fully incorporated.
  6. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Ladle 1/3 cup scoops of the batter into the skillet, only cooking a few at a time so they don't blend together.
  8. Cook pancakes until the edges begin to brown and the top of the batter bubbles, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat for all pancake batter.
  9. Top pancakes with syrup and extra blueberries, or anything else your heart desires! Serve at once.

3) Homemade Goldfish Crackers
Sure you can buy them at the store, but if you make them at home, you can make them organic, and healthier. Adapted from food4tots

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (120g) plain flour.As an alternative you can use 1/4 cup plain flour, and 3/4 cup coconut flour (or even certified organic flour or certified organic coconut flour).
  • 8oz (220g) sharp/extra sharp certified organic cheddar cheese, shredded.
  • 60g cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspooon sea salt
  • 2 tbs cold water
Directions:
  1. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs.
  2. Add sea salt to mixture.
  3. Add shredded cheese and cut into the mixture.
  4. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. use hand to form dough and divide into 2 portions. Wrap them in plastic and chill for 20 minutes (or longer).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking trays with parchment paper. 
  7. Take out one portion of the dough from the fridge. Work with one portion at a time. Place dough in between two sheets of wax paper or cling wrap. Roll dough out to 3mm (1/8 in) thickness. Cut out shapes with your choice of cookie cutters and transfer to baking tray. 
  8. Use chopstick or toothpick to make the eye balls, and the prong of a for to carve a curvy lip. (this step is optional)
  9. Gather all the trimmings and re-roll. Repeat until all the dough is used up. 
  10. Bake or approximately 15-17 minutes, until the crackers are crispy and golden around edges. Timing will vary according to size and shape of your crackers. Cool for 10 minutes on baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Sore in an airtight container. 
Notes: 
  1. You can substitute it with 50-100% whole wheat flour.
  2. Shred the cheese finer than what is shown in the photo so that you can easily cut them into the mixture.
  3. Get orange cheese if you can.
  4. If you have food processor, pulse everything (except water) together until the dough resembles coarse sand. Then follow with step 4.
  5. Thinner dough means crispier crackers; thicker dough means puffier, more bread-like crackers. But, the dough must not be too thin or else the crackers will be difficult to handle.
  6. Crackers will turn soft pretty fast even they are kept inside an airtight container. Best to be eaten immediately or within a day or two. To extend them for a week or so, I keep them in the fridge. Lightly warm them up in the toaster oven when I want to eat them.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

September Updates: Hello Fall!

We had a great fresh season this year! Our U-Pick has never been so busy! We want to thank everyone who came out and made that possible, we truly appreciate your continued business and support.


Since our stand out front has closed we are now operating on our Fall & Winter hours. We will be open from Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm. We currently have frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. We expect to have blackberries in a couple of weeks.


This month on our blog you can find great healthy back to school snacks for kids to pack in their lunches, the journey to being a certified organic farm,  how we care for our farm after harvest, and the benefits that berries can have on cholesterol.


On our facebook page you can watch autumn take over our farm and enjoy the beautiful colors that happen. Our pinterest page is covered with delicious recipes that are good any time of the year.

This month save 10% of your order when you spend at least $20.00 on our website. Use code AUTUMN at check out. Valid now through September 26,2014.



Our Favorite Finds:

Overnight Blueberries & Cream French Toast Casserole
Serves 10
Ingredients
  • Casserole
  • 18 slices of white bread, day old works best
  • 2 (8 oz) blocks Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or 2 cups frozen blueberries (before thawed)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • Blueberry Syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or 2 cups frozen blueberries (before thawed)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
How to Make
  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray.
  2. Cut all the bread in the cubes. Spread half the bread in the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Drop by the spoonful the cream cheese mixture evenly on the bread layer, spreading if desired. (Spreading this is a little difficult, but I prefer it). Top with the blueberries and then the remaining bread.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and maple syrup. Pour over the entire casserole. Cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking to take the chill off.
  6. Remove Cling Wrap and cover with foil to bake.
  7. Bake covered at 350° for 30 minutes and then remove cover and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until center is set.
  8. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  9. Bluberry Syrup
  10. While the casserole is baking prepare the syrup. IN a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn starch and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it's reached a boil simmer for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Add in blueberries and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  11. Pour syrup over entire casserole or individual portions.
Notes
Serve immediately, or cover and store for up to 2 days, reheating before serving.
Rapberry Coconut Smoothie

Creamy dreamy raspberry smoothie made with coconut milk! Bonus: it's sugar free, dairy free, and vegan!
INGREDIENTS
  • ½ - 1 cup coconut milk (depending on how thick you like it)
  • 1 medium banana, peeled sliced and frozen
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • optional: shredded coconut flakes, sweetener of choice, to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add coconut milk, frozen banana slices and coconut extract to your blender. Pulse 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add frozen raspberries and continue to pulse until smooth.
  2. Pour into your fancy schmancy serving glass, top with a couple of raspberries and a little shredded coconut, and enjoy!

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

GMO in Oregon: A Year of Progress


Last year we posted about what exactly GMO's are and what they can do to our bodies. In a years time two counties have passes measures that prevent GMO plants being planted in their boundaries. Those counties are Jackson (15-119 Ordinance to Ban Growing of Some "Genetically-Engineered" (defined) Plants) and Josephine (17-58 Josephine County Genetically Engineered Plant Ordinance). For now these are the only counties that are able to act against GMO's in Oregon because Gov. K... banned the counties from acting on their own and moved it to a state level, to be dealt with by Oregon's government, however 150,000 signatures have been gathered, which means come November the people will vote on GMO's and determine the fate of the state. The measure Oregonians will be voting on will be require food to be labeled regarding weather or not the contain GMO's.

In the mean time the best way to prevent eating GMO's is to eat certified organic foods, they by definition can not contain any GMO's. Most certified organic farmers are even now having additional testing for GMO's so they can say with certianity they do not contain any GMO's.

Here is some additional information on Oregon's Measure 92

The Non-GMO Project has also taken off like wildfire, in just walking around my local grocery store I am seeing more and more Non-GMO Project labels. This non-profit organization is the only third party verification and labeling for Non-GMO's in North America. They currently have over 20,000 verified products from 2,200 brands,

It's our right to know what is in the food we eat, what has been done to it, and where it comes from, and it's good to hold everyone in the food industry accountable. There is still a lot we don't know about GMO's, so just because we don't know they aren't bad for us doesn't rule out that they are bad.

If you live in the state of Oregon, remember to vote this November because our votes are going to have a huge impact on food labeling and GMOs.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Chill Out Summer Recipes

Healthy Strawberry Banana Popsicle
Need a healthy way to cool down? Why not try out these three ingredient strawberry banana Popsicle. delicious. An inspired recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.
Ingredients:
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled, cut into chunks, & frozen
  • 12 large strawberries, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice (or orange juice)Directions:
Blend all of the ingredients together on high speed until smooth - about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed as you go.
Pour the mixture into Popsicle molds. If your Popsicle mold has slots for sticks, you can insert them before freezing - if not, freeze for 2 hours, then put a wooden Popsicle stick in the middle (that is what I did). Continue to freeze for an additional 6 hours or overnight - overnight is recommended for easy removal.
Run Popsicle molds under hot water to remove easily.                       *Taste the mixture before freezing. If you prefer the Popsicle to be sweeter, you may add a bit of honey. If your strawberries and banana are ripe, you shouldn't need additional sweetener.
Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps.
COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 25 MINUTES
YIELD: 12-16 PIZZA CRISPS
INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 (about 1/2 a pound) recipe of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 basil leaves, chopped + divided
  • 8-12 ounces brie, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Balsamic Honey Glaze
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare the dough 1-2 hours ahead of time.
  2. Well the dough rises make the honey balsamic glaze. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to small sauce pan and simmer until reduce by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
  3. When ready to grill the pizzas preheat the grill the high heat.
  4. Add the blackberries to a bowl and add about half of the basil. Lightly mash the blackberries with a fork.
  5. Invert a baking sheet and generously dust with flour.
  6. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll each half as thin as you can, but make sure not to rip the dough. Cut the dough into 12 to 16 squares or circles (I did both). Add the olive oil to a small bowl and brush both sides of the pizza rounds with the olive oil and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Carefully add half of the pizza rounds to the hot grill and grill for no more the 2 minutes. The dough will bubble up, this is good! Remove the pizzas using tongs and repeat with the remaining pizza rounds. When all the pizzas are grilled, turn the heat on the grill down to medium.
  8. Top the grilled side of each of the pizzas with slices of brie, but make sure to leave a 1/2 inch boarder around the edges so the brie does not melt all over the grill. Then top with lightly mashed blackberries and the chopped strawberries. Carefully return the pizzas to the grill and grill another 3 to 5 minutes, our until the brie has melted and the pizzas are crisp. Top with the remaining fresh basil and drizzle on the honey balsamic glaze.
  9. To make the American flag pizza place the the blackberries in the left hand corner of a square pizza crisp and then push the strawberries into the brie in rows. Grill as directed above.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Delicious Berry Filled 4th of July

Photo from Pampered Chef

The 4th of July is a day we spend with family and friends, enjoying BBQ's and fireworks. But it is also a day of remembering. We remember those who are serving, those who have served and those who have fallen in the name of freedom and keeping our great land safe. We at Sunset Valley Organics thank all of those who have served or are serving this nation, your bravery and sacrifice will always be deeply appreciated and remembered.

The 4th of July is also the day our four fathers announced that the United States of America was to be it's own nation, independent of Britain. Those great men dared to be different, and to think differently, much like we do on the farm. We dare to push the limits of what is certified organic farming, we push to go to the next step. We call this biological farming, we pay attention to our soil and let the land tell us what it needs, we listen to the plants and guide us to helping them be as healthy as they can be. Which in turn produces nutrient dense fruit which gives our customers a healthy living choice.

We appreciate all of our customers support over the years and hope everyone has a fun & safe 4th of July.  

Blueberry Hand Pie Ice cream Sandwiches (what a mouthful- literally!)

Ingredients:
For the hand pie:
FOR THE FILLING:
3/4 C. Sugar
3 T. Cornstarch
1/4 t. Cinnamon
1 T. Water
1 C. Blueberries
1 1/2 C. Blueberries
1 t. Fresh Lemon Juice
4-5 drops Lavender Oil(use a pure grade that is safe for consumption)
FOR THE CRUST:
1 1/2 C. Flour
1 t. Sugar
1/2 t. Salt
1/8 t. Baking Powder
5 1/2 T. Shortening, chilled
4 1/2 T. Butter, chilled
1 Egg Yolk
2 t. White Vinegar
1/2 C. Cold Water
2-3 Ice Cubes
1 egg
2 T. Milk
For the Sandwich:
7-8 C. Vanilla Ice Cream
Instructions:
For the pie:
  1. FOR THE FILLING: Place the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and mix together. Add the water and 1 C. blueberries, mixing into the sugar mixture and smashing up the berries a bit.
  2. Heat the pan on medium heat, cooking and stirring until the blueberries start to give up their juice, pressing them down to help pop them as you stir. Make sure you stir frequently so that the sugar doesn't stick to the bottom. The sauce become thick and glossy, with most of the berries burst and deflated.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C. blueberries. When the filling is cool, stir in the lemon juice and lavender oil. If you are a little timid about the lavender flavor, use 3 drops of oil. If you would like a bolder lavender flavor, use 5.
  4. Refrigerate filling. It should be cold before using it to fill the crusts.
  5. FOR THE CRUST: Place the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Place the lid on and pulse the mixture a few times to blend.
  6. Add the butter and shortening to the crust, 1 T. at a time, pulsing a few times with each addition(don't run the processor consistently). When the butter and shortening are added, pulse a few times more, or until the butter is cut down to pea sized pieces.
  7. Mix together the cold water, vinegar, egg yolk, and ice cubes. Let chill for a minute or two. Add 3 1/2-4 T. of the mixture to the dough 1 T. at a time, pulsing a few times after each addition until the dough comes together, but is not too wet. Chill immediately while you prepare to roll out the dough.
  8. Place a sheet of waxed paper on your work surface. Take half of the dough out of the fridge, place on the paper and flatten into a disc.
  9. Place another piece of waxed paper on top of the dough. Roll the dough out thin, at least 1/8" thick, or thinner, if desired.
  10. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and cut circles out of the dough that are at least 2-2 1/2" in diameter. Place dough circles on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  11. Roll out the other half of the dough in the same manner. Cut out circles of dough that are at least 1/2" larger than the dough circles on the baking sheet.
  12. Working one at a time, place 1 1/2-2 T. of the cooled filling in the center of a dough circle. Gently place one of the larger dough circles on top of the filling and seal the edges by pressing your fingertips around the edges of the dough circle. Press the tines of a fork around the edge of the circle to fully seal in the filling.
  13. Repeat this procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
  14. Place the egg and milk in a small bowl and beat well.
  15. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pies with the mixture.
  16. Sprinkle a small amount of kosher salt on top of the pies.
  17. Bake the pies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  18. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
For the sandwich:
1. This one is pretty obvious. Stuff a scoop of ice cream between two hand pies. A few tips, however:
2. For best results, stuff the ice cream between pies that are room temperature and serve immediately.
3. You can assemble these and then freeze them, and they actually freeze pretty well. But for the best texture, serve when assembled.
4. For thick ice cream sandwiches, like the ones pictured, line a wide 1 C. measuring cup with plastic wrap and press ice cream into it with a spoon. It should be easy to invert because of the plastic wrap. Place the side of the ice cream not lined in plastic on the bottom of a hand pie, then peel off the plastic and top the bottom of the ice cream with another hand pie.

recipe from The Kitchen McCabe






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Monday, June 23, 2014

June Updates- It's Berry Season!

We have finished up our fresh strawberry season and are leaping feet first into  fresh raspberry and blueberry season (our blueberry season is two weeks early this year!). Our fresh raspberry flats are $30 there are five pounds per flat. Our fresh blueberries are $38 per flat with ten pounds per flat (the current variety is duke). Our farm stand is open right now where you can purchase fresh raspberries and blueberries as well as any of our other products. Blackberries will be ready sometime in late August or early September.

U-Pick Field
Right now we are predicting we will be opening the U-Pick blueberry field around the first of July, that may change depending on what kind of weather we have. Price for U-Pick is $2.75 per pound.

Frozen & Ready to be Frozen Berries
We are anticipating that we will have frozen strawberries in July. It won't be until August sometime that we will have raspberries and blueberries ready for purchase. If you are interested in any of these berries you can pre-order now by sending us a message on Facebook or calling us at (541)752-0460 or emailing us at sunsetvalleyorganics@gmail.com.  

Around the Farm
Not only are we busy with harvest but we are also planting black raspberries that we will start taking fruit from in two years. Black Raspberries, affectionately known as “Blackcaps” by growers, are native to North America. These uniquely flavored berries are popular in specialty foods, especially jams and ice cream. The fruit is blue-black, round and small, and there’s a whitish bloom on the exterior of the berry. Black raspberries have a distinct and moderately tart flavor, small seed and like the red raspberry, contain a hollow core.

Health Benefits of Black Raspberries:

  • Contain high levels of anthocyanins, which give black raspberries their rich, dark color. Anthocyanins work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body
  • Antioxidant levels of foods are sometimes measured as ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity). The ORAC level of black raspberries is 77 μmoles/TE/g, about three times higher than blueberries, a very powerful antioxidant.
  • Rich in ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a phenolic compound known to help fight cancer, viruses and bacteria.
  • University studies are underway to determine black raspberries’ ability to slow the growth of certain cancers. In vitro studies have shown that extracts of raspberries and blackberries may slow the growth of breast, cervical, colon and esophageal cancers.
  • Studies at Ohio State University showed a 60–80 % reduction in colon tumors in rats fed a diet with black raspberries added.
  • Studies at Ohio State University showed an 80% reduction in esophageal cancers in mice fed a 5-10% diet of black raspberries.


We are excited and please that this addition to our collection of berries will be able to offer yet another delicious way to enjoy healthy living. 

Have you ever wondered about how we keep birds out of our fields? Well here is our secrete: we use falcons & falconers to come and watch over our fields for about a month and a half during harvest. This is when our berries have turned blue right up to just before we have finished. We mostly use the in our blueberry fields since that is our largest berry crop. 

Bird damage across the US costs growers in the hundreds of millions in annual profit, there are multiple practices of bird prevention from noise-makers, to scarecrows in the end though bird prevention is often a losing battle. That is until the falcon arrives, this natural pretor, hunting other birds as their food source, provides the prefect solution. With falcons patrolling fields we have seen an astounding decrease in the amount of flocks we have stalking our fields. 

The falcons are trained to frighten, not eat, sparrows and starling, however there can be some over lap. Normally though the trainer will feed them every day.  The most common crops falcons are used to protect are blueberries, cherries, and grapes. They are flown for 5-6 month covering multiple crops as they ripen and migrate with the crops. 


Later this month we will have an interview with our falconer up here on our blog so keep an eye out for when it gets posted. In the mean time here is an article that talks about falcon crop protection.  

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