Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Newsletter from SVO

News From Around the Farm

Harvest is finally over for us, yesterday was our last day processing Aronia Berries. What a season we had! We harvested far more than we did last year, we did so much that we’re still doing the totals for inventories. The most improved crop we had were our Aronia berries. We had a brix (sugar content) average of 22%, last year we were under 20, this improvement has resulted in the Aronia berries not having that overwhelming astringent flavor, and being much more palatable. We are really excited to start drying these berries because we think that the improved flavor will translate well into the dried berries. When we have Aronia berry freeze dried powder it will be from this years berries, so we are also looking forward to getting that in stock.
Speaking of freeze dried powders, they have really taken off the last couple of months. Thank you to all who have bought it! We are excited to be bringing black raspberry, red raspberry, and aronia berry freeze dried powders to our shop. We are sending the fruit to be made into powder this fall, so it will be sometime in the winter when we will have it for sale. We do still have blueberry and blackberry freeze dried powder and will have it in stock all year round now.
Now that harvest is over, we are actually still moderately busy, getting the plants ready for winter. It’s in the fall when the plant decides how many fruit buds to set for next summer’s harvest. So we make sure the plants are healthy, and getting all the food they need before they start hibernating for winter. Another reason we feed after harvest is because if the plant has a lot of sugar in it then that can act as a natural anti freeze, and if we get some harsh winter weather the plants can pull through all by themselves. We are also cleaning up the fields, cutting back the weeds and doing some beautifying to the farm. Once the plants have berries on them we can’t run machines down the rows because berries will fall on the ground, so we can’t do our weed management like we would like to.
If you want to find out more about our farming practices then check out our blog through out the month! We are resuming our Biological 101 series and the topics we will be covering this month are: The Importance of the Ryzosphere, and Nutrient and Their function. We are playing catch up because we haven’t posted anything since April. Right now we are planning on have posts up on September 10th and September 24th, so be sure to check back often!
Did you know we have a YouTube? Well we do! Check out our interview with our Falconier who takes care of bird control for us in the summer. We have also been posting a lot to instagram, if you want to see some behind the scenes type stuff of what happens on the farm be sure to check it out. 

Cold Weather Shipping 

We will be able to bring back our Cold Weather Shipping special sometime in October. For those who are new to this, every year when it’s cold nation wide we are able to send our frozen berries by ground rather than 2 day air. Which saves a lot of money! We can only offer this while it’s cold out, usually fall through the early part of spring. You do need to call us if you would the ground shipping though. Our online store is not set up for it. You can call us Monday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm Pacific.

Holiday Gift Boxes:

The Holidays are coming! It’s weird that it is already that time of the year again, right? We have gift boxes!If you want a gift box, but don’t see anything you like on our site, give us a call, we are more than happy to do custom gift boxes! If your thinking about ordering a bunch of them please keep in mind that if you want us to ship them to multiple address the order does NOT qualify for free shipping if it goes over $225.00. But if we ship it all to one address then it can qualify for free shipping, as long it’s more than $225.00. We are also offering if you buy 10 gift boxes you get one free (excludes shipping). Our gift boxes are great for birthdays, house warming’s, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years. Basically anytime you need a present or a nice gesture, we’ve got you covered.

Office Hours

Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm PDT. 
We are observing Labor day, and will be closed Saturday September 3 through September 5, and will be resuming normal hours on Tuesday September 6. 

Blackberry Coffee Cake


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box super moist yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick or 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts
  • Glaze:
    2/3 cup powdered sugar
    2 to 3 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large bowl using a mixer combine the yellow cake mix, butter, eggs, milk and sour cream. In a smaller bowl combine the blackberries, sugar, cinnamon and nuts.
  2. Gently mix together with a spoon. Spray a 10 inch bundt pan with cooking spray.
  3. Pour in the cake mix batter then gently swirl in the blackberries until covered. I use a kitchen knife to do this.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes checking to make sure cake is done in center.
  5. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and remove from cake pan. You can just sprinkle with powdered sugar or add the glaze.
  6. For the Glaze: Whisk together and drizzle over cake.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Importance of the Ryzosphere

We are finally getting back on track with our biological series since harvest is now over! We left off with talking about why it's important to farm with a biological mind set, now lets us start to focus in on some fine details that really impact how the plant is able to react to the biology. We will be starting with the Ryzosphere.

So what exactly is the Ryzosphere? 

The Ryzosphere is a microscopic area surrounding the root tip where micros live and feed off of the sugar and exudates that are secreted by the plant. These microbes feed off the sugars that the plant secrets thought the root tip in turn multiply and feed off the available minerals that are the very edge of the ryzosphere. As the micros (bacteria) feed as they die or are eaten by protozoa the plant takes up the dead bacteria, which is rich in minerals, or the digested bacteria that the protozoa feed on.

In this form, this is real plant food, and how minerals get into the plant making the plant nutrient dense.


The difference between this approach (biological) and conventional is that the conventional grower will only feed N-P-K. The only way a plant can be nutrient dense is by using the microbes in the ryzosphere to soublize ALL the necessary minerals to be nutrient dense, rather than just N-P-K.

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