Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fruity Healthy Salsa (Super Kid Friendly!)

Salsa is a great afternoon snack as the summer starts to wind down. 

At the beginning of this month we talked about foods that promote healthy eyes in children. We all know how hard it can be to get kids to eat foods, but who could resist this delicious looking fruity salsa! We are sure your kids will enjoy! 

This salsa is bright and colorful and includes yummy things like bell peppers, tomatoes, and cantaloupe. These are excellent sources of Vitamin A and C, as well as carotenoids which are the compounds that give some fruits + veggies their yellow, orange, and red pigments, these are also thought to help decrease the risk of many eye disease. 

Your kids will love this fruity combination of tomatoes, cantaloupe, apples, and a hint of lime. If you want to tone down the heat, use just one seeded jalapeno or none at all. Packed with lycopene from the tomato, vitamins A and C from the melon, and fiber from the apple, this healthy and delicious snack is a big winner.

Best of all if you decide to make this as a "grown" up snack you can adjust the heat of the salsa by adding more jalapeno. 


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Monday, August 17, 2015

Final Harvest Report for 2015


Happy Monday Everyone! As most of you are aware of we closed our U-Pick about two weeks ago now (wow how time flies!) and we had such a great season! Thanks to everyone who came and bought/picked from us. We wanted to make one final harvest report, because tho we are done harvesting (and processing!) our blueberries we still are picking and processing blackberries, and Aronia berries.

We have finally finished harvesting and processing our blueberries. If you ordered bulk 30 pound boxes from us you should have received a phone call letting you know they are ready to be picked up. If not, feel free to call us at 541-752-0460.

Our blueberries did incredible this year. We harvested, and processed a record amount! We made it through the hot weather and our farming practices are really starting to show. If you missed it check out the following table. In 2010 we test our berries for what minerals where in them and how they stacked up against our competition. This summer we did it again, and we have seen a ton of improvement. 

Our blackberries are still being harvested and processed. We are not selling any fresh but we will have frozen in the coming weeks. (Just the same as raspberries- we expect to have these suckers back in stock in mid September.)

Our Aronia berries are just a baby crop and we are still at least a week away from picking them. It's just a baby crop and we are excited to start experimenting with them in freeze dried powders and spreads. If you are unaware what Aronia berries are check out this post from us, it give a good over view of them.

We also wish to remind everyone we have switched to our Fall/Winter Hours, Monday - Friday 10 am to 4 pm.

Lastly we are trying to get to 1000 likes on Facebook, when this happens we will be doing a contest/giveaway of our products! So tell your friends, family members, and neighbors about us!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bars, Kid Friendly!


Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bars
Prep Time: 10 Mins  Cook Time:  25 Mins  Total Time: 35 Mins
These Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bars are soft, moist and full of good-for-you and tasty ingredients. They come together in a cinch in one bowl and make the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack.



Ingredients:
Wet Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups mashed banana (4 bananas)
  • ½ cup brown cane sugar*
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1½ cups oats (or scant 1½ cups oat flour)
  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
Mix-Ins
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • ½ cups oats
  • 1/2 cup dried SVO blueberries

Directions: 
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F or 180F. Grease a square baking pan with coconut oil or non stick spray.
  2. Blend the oats until a fine flour forms (using a blender or an immersion blender).
  3. Add the banana to a large mixing bowl. Blend or mash the banana. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the large bowl. Whisk them together until they are fluffy and fully combined.
  4. Whisk and add the seeds, baking powder and sea salt, one by one, to the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Fold in the oat flour and almond meal until a thick and fully combined batter is formed.
  5. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips (1/2 cup) to the batter until the oats and chocolate chips are evenly dispersed.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon and sprinkle the extra 2 tbsp of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the bars begin to golden and a toothpick inserted in the bars comes out almost clear. Leave the bars to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  7. Cut and store the cooled bars in a sealed container in the freezer for a couple of weeks or in a sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge. Enjoy!
NOTES
* Substitute brown cane sugar with light brown sugar (Note: this recipe will no longer be refined sugar free)
* Ensure that all your products are certified gluten-free if necessary (oats, baking powder, almond meal)
* Ensure that all your chocolate chips are certified vegan if necessary

Bonus:

We found a great article about why you should ditch the conventional baby food.

5 Reasons to Ditch Store Bought Baby Food.
Reason #1: Organic homemade baby food makes kids smarter.  Ok, ok I can’t guarantee your child will be smarter if he eats organic baby food but homemade organic baby food has a higher nutrient content so it can’t hurt, right?  Studies show that organic produce has higher levels of vitamin C and antioxidants than conventional produce.  Scientists guess this could be due to conventional farming practices that encourage quick, high yields.  Growing extra large tomatoes at the speed of light (as a random example) saturates produce with sugar and water which may decrease nutrient content.  What about organic baby food in a jar?  I’m afraid the news isn’t great.  The process used to prepare organic baby food for grocery store shelf life includes heating the food at high temperatures to kill bacteria.  Unfortunately, the high heat also kills many vitamins and nutrients as well.
Reason # 2: Organic homemade baby food won’t increase a child’s risk of cancer.Why?  Because organic food is free of pesticides, the chemicals that put infants more at risk for cancer, nervous system toxicity, reproductive and hormonal disorders.  Maybe it’s common knowledge that conventional produce is grown with farming methods that use pesticides and insecticides while organic farming practices do not use these substances.  But here are a few (lesser known) reasons I’m convinced organic produce is worth the higher price point (for infants and children in particular):
  • Two popular organophosphorus (OP) pesticides used on conventional produce, malathion and chlorpyrifos, interfere with nerve function and can cause behavioral disturbances.
  • The Environmental Working Group, non-profit environmental research group in Washington DC, points out that the brain of a newborn child develops quickly and is particularly sensitive to toxic substances.  Because of their susceptibility to developmental toxicity, infants exposed to the chemicals found in conventional baby food are more at risk for cancer, nervous system toxicity, reproductive and hormonal disorders.
  • According the Environmental Defense Fund, a non -profit environmental group committed to solving environmental problems reports that more than 1 million children ages 1 to 5 consume a minimum of 15 pesticides a day from conventional fruits and vegetables.  Of these 1 million plus children, at least 600,000 eat amounts of OP pesticides from fruits and vegetables that the federal government deems unsafe!
  • The National Academy of Sciences conducted a five-year study and concluded in 1993 that government standards for pesticides in food do not account for the special vulnerability of infants.
  • Farmers on conventional farms have been shown to have a higher rate of cancer and there are also suggestions that pesticides may be linked to Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • The Environmental Working Group and the National Academy of Sciences support infants receiving more protection from pesticides in food and water.
What is particularly disturbing about conventional baby food and infants is the fact that infant’s bodies are smaller and they metabolize food more quickly than adults.  Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the James Beard Foundation, recommends choosing organic food options because small children are “exposed to proportionately greater amounts of chemicals that act as neurotoxins, endocrine disrupters, and carcinogens.”  Because of their size, these chemicals will cause more harm in children than in adults.
There is good news, however.  Because children are able to metabolize food at a quicker rate, they are also able to eliminate pesticides and insecticides from their system at a faster rate when organic food is introduced to their diets.   A study done at the University of Washington monitored the diets of 23 elementary school children to research the effect of organic diets.  Researchers replaced conventional diets with organic diets over a 15-day period.  The amount of OP pesticides in the children’s urine dropped almost immediately when organic diets were introduced and then rose again when the conventional diets resumed.
What’s in a jar of conventional baby food?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed conventional baby food samples from leading manufacturers to find out how many pesticides infants eat.  EWG found 16 different pesticides in the 8 baby food items they tested.  Of those 16 pesticides, “three are probably human carcinogens, five are possible human carcinogens, eight are neurotoxins, five are endocrine disruptors, and five are categorized as oral toxicity 1 chemicals, the most toxic designation.”  Fruit samples contained more pesticides than vegetable samples- with pears, peaches and applesauce leading the pack.
Reason #3: Our babies aren’t lab rats.  Really, they aren’t! So why would we feed them conventional food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?  I’d prefer science experiments containing non-food genes and bits of pieces of insect and human genetics stay out of my baby’s food thank you very much.  The United States is one of the only countries that does not require conventional food makers to identify GMOs in food (WHY?!).  Homemade organic baby food does not contain GMOs.  Enough said.
Reason #4: Babies get used to mom’s cooking.  Trust me, it’s an acquired taste. Children’s eating habits and opinions about nutrition form early and stay with them for life so early exposure to a wide variety of healthy food is key.  A child’s palate is forming in the womb, so what mama ate while pregnant will influence his food preferences as well.  The more you expose your baby to your style of cooking early, the better chance your toddler or preschooler will continue to eat mom’s cooking.
Reason #5: Mama knows if her kid starts stealing cars later in life it won’t be because she jacked him up on chemicals and preservatives. Whew, you can rest easy.
Interested in some of our favorite baby food recipes?  Both my kids loved these between the ages of 6-18months (ish)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2 Day Soil Biology Workshop Presented by EarthFort


Sunset Valley Organics owner, Bob Wilt will be a guest speaker on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 3 pm. We are excited for this opportunity to share with the community about our practices and what makes good healthy soil.






2-day Soil Biology Workshop
August 13th & 14th, 2015OR
October 22nd & 23rd, 2015

$500 per person Ask us about our Group Rates!
If you can measure it, you can manage it.
Explore a biologically-based approach to plant and soil management. We will explore soil’s physical, chemical, and biological processes and relationships, as well as understanding your system’s soil ecology in this 2 day workshop.*

• Learn how and why to build soil organic matter

• Understand the major functions of soil bacteria, fungi, protozoa & nematodes

• Discover the relationship between soil biology and soil nutrient chemistry

• Figure out how to tell when compost is good or bad

You will find out how soil organisms can work for you, helping you reduce the need for chemical inputs and breaking down residues biologically.

*Our workshops are accredited for continuing education credits by the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board. This workshop is also reviewed and approved for credit by the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects; ask for details.

Presenters:
• Matt Slaughter, Earthfort President & Lab Director will discuss soil habitat, soil properties, compost and compost tea production, and the value of soil biology testing.

• Michel Wiman, Earthfort Associate & Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Educator (M.S. Land Resources and Environmental Science) will speak about managing pests biologically and the benefits of doing so to your soil.

• Melissa Putzke, Earthfort Associate & professional landscape designer (Master Landscape Architecture) will talk about plant succession as it relates to soil biology.

• Additional Guest Speakers, to share their experiences working with soil biology.

Send us a soil or compost sample and discuss the results of your soil test in the workshop!

Register for the workshop and write AUG52015 on testing order form to receive 50% off testing services for ONE “Advanced Biology Package” soil sample. Sample must be received by July 29th! (Find sampling instructions and testing form here.)

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with a detailed workshop agenda, location directions, and local accommodation suggestions within 24 hours.

Spaces fill up quickly so register today!  

$500 per person Ask us about our Group Rates!

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Monday, August 10, 2015

SVO Article in Cascade Minerals


Sunset Valley Organics Makes Cascade Minerals  Part of Its Healthy Soils Program

Located in the middle of the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon, Sunset Valley Organics is a family farm owned and operated by Bob Wilt and Wilt Farms. The farm’s roots date back to the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until several years ago that Bob Wilt switched over to organic production after recognizing the link between soil health and nutrition.
Today, Sunset Valley Organics produces great tasting, nutrient dense organic berries that require minimal processing because they are grown in healthy soil that is teeming with beneficial microbes.

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SVO August Newsletter


August Already?! 

This summer is just flying by! We have never been so busy as we are this summer. Because berries were early our blueberries and blackberries are having to be harvested at the same time. Which makes for a lot of excitement. It seems that this year we are having to deal with all kinds of new problems, such as we had to figure out if we had enough crates to put berries in, in contrast to how fast we were processing them. These are the kind of problems we want to have. 

Follow Us on Social Media! Facebook Twitter Blog Pinterest Instagram

Details of our Harvest

Machine Picker Unloading Blueberries on Truck
If you have been following us on any of our social media we have been sending out weekly updates called “Harvest Reports” in which we summarize what is going on for the week, what we have available for purchase at our farm stand and how we think our berries are ripening. This is the best way other than giving us a call, to find out how things are going. Click here to read our latest Harvest Report. 
We are officially done with the fresh season, our Farm Stand is now closed, and that means our U-Pick is now closed as well.  We had a great season and are already looking forward to next years harvest! 
We are still processing blueberries and blackberries. So if your on our list to call we have some updated information for you: If you ordered Jersey (the small berries) you should have received a phone call from us by now. If you ordered Blue Crop (the bigger berries) we are still processing them and will be calling you soon. If you haven't gotten a call and think you should have you can call us at 541-752-0560.
Fresh Picked Blackberries
We are also excited to be harvesting a baby crop of Aronia berries. We are hopefully to start experiments for products this fall (including freeze dried powder!). 
We expect to be done processing all of this years fruit some time in mid August. 
We will of course continue to offer frozen berries all year round. We expect to have raspberries back in stock sometime in late September. We have frozen blueberries available, and strawberries. For blackberries we currently have 5 pound cases, and later on after harvest we will have the 25 pound cases back in stock. 
Once we have a product back in stock we will announce it on our twitter and Facebook so be sure to be following us! 
Other Useful Links: SVO Website  Local Harvest

Back to Fall/Winter Hours

We are switching back to our fall/winter hours of Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm PST. 

Nutrition Tests

Back in 2010 we sent our blueberries to a lab to have some independent testing done for the nutrition of our berries. Well this year we sent them away again to see where we stand and if we had improved at all. We are happy to announce the following table are our results. (This is for blueberries only)
We will be updating our website to reflect these new results. We are very excited about our improvements, and that we are continuing to uphold a standard of healthy living for our customers. 

Social Butterflies!

We have had a very busy month on FacebookTwitter, and our Blog. It’s the best way to keep up to date with our harvest this year. Each week we post about our harvest, recipes, and more! On Facebook this summer we have a goal of getting to 1,000 likes, we are currently at 852, at 1000 likes we will be having a give a away of a gift basket full of our products. So if you haven't liked us please do so, and share our page with all your friends & family! We will announce details for the give away on our Facebook once we have hit 1,000 likes. 
We would also like to announce that we now have an active Instagram account. You can follow us@SVOrganics . On our Instagram you can see more details about our harvest and yummy recipes we love to make! 
This month Pinterest we will be doing a few different things. First we have a brand new board celebrating all the great things about America, especially the delicious food! We are also adding to our BlueberryRaspberry, and BlackberryInspired boards, as well as Harmonious Berry Blends. We also have a new board,Summer Adventures.

Blueberry Chicken Chopped Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup roughly-chopped toasted pecans
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese (or any soft cheese)
  • Dijon vinaigrette (see below)

To make the salad:

Season chicken breasts on both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.
  2. Transfer chicken breasts to a separate plate and let rest for at least 5-10 minutes.  Then chop into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the chicken to a large bowl with the lettuce, blueberries, pecans, red onion, blue cheese, and vinaigrette. Toss to combine.  Serve immediately.
Number of servings (yield): 3-5

Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

To make the vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients together until combined.


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