Painting The Way to Healthy Eating

Vibrant colors and farming scenes are inspiring a new conversation about nutrition.  Karla S. Chambers, a prominent figure in the food world, is the Co-owner of Stahlbush Island Farms.  Stahlbush is an environmentally friendly farm and food processor committed to sustainable agriculture and exceptional quality in Corvallis, Oregon.  Stahlbush was recently named the 2013 Sustainable Plant of the Year by Food Engineering Magazine and Business of the Year by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce. Stahlbush is unique in that it is a vertically integrated food company.  As the farmer and the processor, Stahlbush is able to let food fully ripen on the vine to achieve peak ripeness, vibrant colors, and full-bodied flavors.  The food is harvested and freshly frozen on the farm within 48 hours, sealing in a fresh-picked flavor.  The Stahlbush “frozen is fresher” concept has become very popular among the company’s consumers that are trying to incorporate fruits and vegetables into the diets of picky eaters.

“Never tried frozen until Stahlbush. My family eats more veggies now then they ever did,” said Paige Gill.

“Our grand children don’t usually eat their dinner. However they ate your corn and had seconds. I must say your corn is the best I have ever had,” said J.D.

Stahlbush has selected 6 beloved products: Blueberries, Butternut Squash, Marion Blackberries, Spinach, Strawberries and Super Sweet Corn for a special distinction, The Family’s Private Reserve. The collection was hand-picked by the Chambers family.  Each package will feature an original painting by Karla S. Chambers with a special introduction.  The move was inspired by the wine industry’s use of art to convey the message of quality, sophisticated flavors, and unique style.  The new packaging prompted the largest art magazine, Art World News, to do a feature on the “Synergy of Organic Food & Art,” in October.

The packaging is just one way that Stahlbush is using art to tell a story.  Chambers paints using the colors of Stahlbush’s perfectly ripe produce: deep blueberry blues, strawberry reds, Marion blackberry purples, pumpkin oranges, and corn yellows.

“I love color,” Chambers said.  Being able to showcase the bounty of Stahlbush on a canvas offers a unique opportunity to spread the message that color and nutrition go hand in hand.

“It’s as simple as looking at what is on your plate.  A variety of color equals a well-balanced meal,” Chambers said.

The idea really hit home when Chambers’ youngest son Joe was dining with some friends.  He looked at the plates of his companions.  They were all various shades of brown from fried foods and french fries.  The plates were in stark contrast to his mother’s multi-colored salad.  He looked at her and said, “I get it.”

Since that day, Chambers’ plan to create a children’s education and art program has become a serious endeavor.  The program will use her brightly colored paintings and Stahlbush’s colorful foods and resources as tools to help children understand the role that colors play in both the art and nutrition worlds.

“I think this program has the potential to spread nationwide,” says Chambers.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the span of 30 years.   Art programs in schools have all but disappeared, leaving a gap in creative expression.  A program that addresses both of these needs could be very powerful Chambers says.

Chambers will be painting at Expo West in Anaheim, California on March 8 to 10, where over 60,000 people will see the connection between her paintings and the food displayed at the booth.


  1. I love your wheat berries. I mix with white and brown raisins, walnuts, almonds, and honey. Refrigerate. Then when I need something sweet a couple spoons is a healthy way to satisfies my sweet tooth. Thank you.

    Do you happen to know what stores in Virginia carry your brands. Love your lentils as well.

    • Joyce,

      Thank you for contacting Stahlbush Island Farms! We love to hear people gush about our amazing products and new ways to use them. Where in Virginia are you located? Send me your zipcode and I will try to find some stores near you:)

      Warm wishes,
      The Stahlbush Family

  2. I understand that your fruits and vegetables are sustainably farmed but are they organic? I can’t seem to find the answer to this question on your site? By the way, we love your spinach and use it all winter when local fresh supplies are low. Thanks. Janet

    • Hi Jaret,

      Our spinach is certified sustainable. Our entire line of pre-cooked grains and legumes are the only items that are certified organic. Please refer to The Food Alliance for more information about the certified sustainable certification.

      Warm wishes,
      The Stahlbush Family

  3. Even though the majority of your food is not “certified” as organic, are they pesticide free? Also, are they conventionally grown w/o GMO?

    • Hi Sherri,

      Stahlbush Island Farms is certified sustainable and Non-GMO verified by the Non-GMO Report. Our policy on inputs is that healthy plants and healthy soil are our best defense against pests. In terms of inputs, our preference is to spray nothing and allow nature to fight back against the insect, weed, fungus or other pest. If we find that a substance is needed, our first choice is to go to the The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. As a last resort, and if none of these methods are adequate, only then will we turn to an input. Our policy is to only use the lowest effective amount of the most benign substance in the most targeted manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>