Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Turning Waste into Blue Gold

The science of soil can be overwhelming, but Bob over at Sunset Valley Organics has turned it into a delicious art-form. Farms in Oregon historically relied on sawdust to promote a solid blueberry crop, yet as housing demanded more lumber, sawdust prices skyrocketed.

This has forced farmers to find more cost-efficient options, and subsequently better material to grow their berries. Because blueberries favor acidic soils that are high in organic matter, Bob turned to different locally available waste streams, including horse, cow and chicken manure, sawdust, straw, and seed screenings. This concoction of rather unsavory ingredients is mixed together into long windrows where they are turned weekly for 12 to 14 weeks. The compost is faithfully attended during the “active” phase; monitoring the temperature and moisture. Once the active phase is done, the piles are left to cool, and at 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the windrows are moved into a large pile and left to cure for at least a year before application. When the big day comes, the compost is spread at a depth of ⅜” with a sawdust spreader.

Bob partnered with Oregon State University to illustrate the benefits of this particular blend of compost. They put together an in-depth study highlighting Sunset Valley Organic's composing and noting the benefits this could serve for other Oregon farmers.

Bob’s perfect compost mixture is his hidden secret to his delicious, nutrient dense blueberries. Sunset Valley Organic's blueberries provide significantly more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Calcium, Zinc, and Magnesium then other berries tested. Since utilizing this compost, bob has seen a drop in harmful pests and a rise in infiltration rates of his soils. All of this allows his organic blueberries the best possible environment to become the juiciest and most delicious blueberries on the market. Order Premium Organic Dried Blueberries from the farm today and taste the benefits of Bob’s soil.



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