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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