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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  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!)

For the hand pie:
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)
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
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  

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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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Magazine of the Month

If your like us, here at SVO,  we get magazines in the mail, not as much as it use to be but there are still some. With the switch to digital it seems like ads are what make up the magazines that are out on the shelfs. We think this is annoying, we want more content! Well luckily there is a magazine that focuses on content and not ads.

CUISINE at home Magazine is packed full of recipes, it comes every two months and is a publication under the August Home Publishing, they publish other magazines such as Woodsmith Magazine, ShopNotes Magazine, My Home My Style Magazine, and Garden Gate Magazine. Just like any other magazine it's got a table of contents, but unlike other magazines the table of contents is on the first page, followed by a note from the editor, no pesky ads. So refreshing!

There is a 'tips & timesavors' bit and from there on its nothing but recipes. Not a single ad insight.

So if you haven't already check out this magazine we highly recommend it.

Here is a recipe from the latest issue we can't wait to try out:

Strawberry & Pineapple Trifles
with amaretto & vanilla yogurt

Makes 4 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 Cup diced fresh strawberries
1 Cup diced fresh pineapple
2 Tbsp. Amaretto liqueur juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 purchased angle food cake, cubed (3 cups)
1 Cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
1/4 Cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped
4 Sprigs fresh mint

Macerate: Strawberries and pineapple in Amaretto and lemon juice, 15 minutes.

Layer: Half of the angle food cake on bottom of four 1 1/2-cup trifle dishes; top with half the strawberry mixture, half the yogurt, and half the nuts. Repeat layering.

Garnish: Trifles with mint. Serve trifles immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Perserving: 261 cal; 6g total fat (0g sat, 0g mono, 0g poly); 1mg chol; 322mg sodium; 43g carb (3g fiber; 17g total sugar); 8g protein; 1mg iron; 156mg calcium.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Health Benefits of Strawberries

Need more reasons to love strawberries? Well here is ten, we are so excited for summer and strawberry season! Those sweet juicy berries will be here before you know it.

1. Strawberries boost immunity. These little guys are a great source for vitamin C. Most mammals with the exception of humans have the ability to produce vitamin C naturally, which is why we need to make sure we get the proper amount everyday. And strawberries are so delicious, why would you say no? In one serving of fresh strawberries (which is half a cup) you get about 52mg which is about half of the daily requirement, so all you have to do is double up to a whole cup and you get all the vitamin C you need everyday. Yum! 

2. Strawberries promote eye health. The antioxidants in strawberries might also prevent cataracts,
which can lead to blindness in old age. But not for us! Our eyes require vitamin C to protect them from exposure to free-radicals from the sun's UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens. Vitamin C also plays an important role in strengthening  the eye's cornea and retina. While high doses of vitamin C have been found to increase the risk of cataracts in women over 65, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm note that the risk pertains to vitamin C obtained from supplements, not the vitamins from fruits and vegetables.

3. Strawberries help fight cancer. Vitamin C is one of the antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention since a healthy immune system is the body's best defense. A phytochemical called elegiac- acid also found in strawberries-is another. Elegiac acid has been shown to have an anti-cancer properties like suppressing cancer cell growth. Strawberries also have the antioxidants lutein and zeathancins. Antioxidants are scavengers to free-radical and neutralized the potentially negative effect they can have on our cells.

4. Strawberries can help minimize wrinkles. Vitamin C is a powerful tool we need to take more advantage of, as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve sink's elasticity and resilience. Since we lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C may result in healthier, younger-looking sin. But vitamin C isn't the only naturally- occurring wrinkle fighter found in strawberries. Researchers at hallym university in the republic of Korea concluded that elegiac acid visibly prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory response- two major factors in development of wrinkles- in human skin cells, after continued exposure to skin-damaging UV-B rays.

5. Strawberries fight bad cholesterol. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, hearth disease is one of the leading causes of death among Canadian women. Luckily, strawberries also contain powerful heart-health boosters.  “Ellagic acid and flavonoids— or phytochemicals—can provide an antioxidant effect that can benefit heart health in various ways,” explains Edwards. “One way includes counteracting the effect of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL—bad cholesterol in the blood—which causes plaque to build up in arteries. A second way is that they provide an anti-inflammatory effect, which is also good for the heart.” Researchers at the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center in Toronto studied the effect of strawberries on a cholesterol-lowering diet and concluded that adding strawberries to the diet reduced oxidative damage, as well as blood lipids—both of which play a role in heart disease and diabetes.

6. Strawberries reduce inflammation. The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries
may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that women who eat 16 or more strawberries per week are 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)—an indication of inflammation in the body.

7. Strawberries regulate blood pressure. Potassium is yet another heart healthy nutrient, and with 134 mg per serving, strawberries are considered a "medium source," according to Alberta Health Services. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and may even help to lower high blood pressure by acting as a buffer against the negative effects of sodium. With their impact on the reduction of LDL, inflammation and high blood pressure, strawberries have earned the title of one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat.

8. Strawberries boost fibre. Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion, and strawberries naturally contain about 2 g per serving. Problems that can arise from lack of fibre include constipation and diverticulitis—an inflammation of the intestines—which affects approximately 50 percent of people over 60. Fibre can also aid in fighting type 2 diabetes. “Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugars (i.e. glucose) in the blood,” says Edwards. "As a result, adults who are managing diabetes can enjoy strawberries—in moderation—in their diet."

9. Strawberries aid in weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best defenses against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention just plain good for your overall well-being. “Strawberries are naturally low calorie (around 28 kCal per serving), fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar,” says Edwards. “Strawberries do contain natural sugars—though total sugars are fairly low with 4 grams per serving—and the total carbohydrate content is equivalent to less than a half slice of bread. Triple your serving to 1.5 cups and you'll have a snack that's less than 100 calories—and much healthier than those pre-packaged 100-calorie snacks!”

10. Strawberries promote pre-natal health. Folate is a B-vitamin recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, and strawberries are a good source with 21 mcg per serving. Folate is necessary in the early stages of pregnancy to help in the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and the folic acid in strawberries may help to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

How To Keep Berries Fresh Longer

I am sure many of you are aware of this little tip but if not there is a simple little trick to keeping berries fresh for days or maybe even a week longer.
I find myself making two trips to the store most weeks because my kiddos can literally eat pounds of fresh berries in just a day or two. This takes a few extra minutes when you get home but the bonus is you might get to buy more up front and skip an extra trip to the store.
Or if you have a hard time getting through the berries you buy, it gives you a little extra time to eat your fruit before the mold sets in.
I was always told not to wash berries until you are ready to eat but actually you can wash them in advance and then grab and go!
Once you get home just submerge your berries in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.  (So 1 cup vinegar for every 10 cups of water.)
I have actually used up to 1 cup vinegar for 3 cups water so you don’t need to be super careful with measurements.
Some people use the sink and just stopper it but I get squeamish about using the sink since sinks really are pretty germy.
I have a little tub that works great from the Dollar Tree. Just add your water and vinegar solution and dump them in.  Let them soak for just a few minutes and then the key is to let them dry completely.
You can either spread them on a dish towel to dry or set them in a colander.  Once they are dry place a paper towel on the bottom of your container, add the fruit and voila!  You are done.
Pop them in the fridge like normal. What I actually like to do is cut the tops off as they are laid out to dry and slice them and then put them in a Tupperware.  It makes the fruit easy to grab and go (and I am more likely to actually grab it and not a handful of chips!)
This process should be fine for raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.  And you will not taste any vinegar flavor on your berries.

From My Frugal Adventures

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