Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guess What's Blooming at Sunset Valley Organics?

Sunset Valley Organics has been abuzz getting ready for their blueberry bushes to bud. That’s a lot of Bs to keep straight. But don’t worry, Bob Wilts has it all covered. Since September, a hired force of workers has been pruning away the dead wood of the plants, leaving the new wood with plenty of blooming room. Right now the buds are swelling, and in a couple of weeks they will open up into gorgeous white flowers ready for pollination. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What’s important now is careful tending, to make sure the blueberries are as ripe, plump and perfect as possible to be labeled Sunset Valley. The secret is in the soil, the blueberry’s very own compost tea that is brewed up full of vitamins and nutrients. Bob brews up a thousand gallons of fertilizer at a time that’s been eaten and ground up by worms again. Then the “tea” is made just right for all of Oregon’s many climates: cold, wet, dry, sunny. Just to make sure the blueberry crop gets the best possible nutrients to make the most mouth-watering organic blueberries.

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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.