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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We just celebrated our pre-thanksgiving at the office with a potluck!  Hope your holiday are filled with family, fun, and great food!  If you still need some inspiration, here are some of our favorite holiday dishes.  Don’t forget to look for our brand, Farmer’s Market, for all of your canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie mix, butternut squash, and sweet potato needs this holiday season.

1. Pumpkin Pie:  Can’t get more traditional than pumpkin pie!

2. Cranberry Sauce: So good on turkey, ice cream, breads and muffins!

3. Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes: A simple side dish that can’t go wrong over the holidays.

4. Pumpkin Cranberry Delight Cheesecake: Recently voted most popular new recipe at our office Pumpkin Tasting, and it’s gluten free!

5. Pumpkin Brownies:  Still searching for a unique recipe to bring to your Thanksgiving party?  These pumpkin brownies might just do the trick!

6. Barefoot Contessa’s Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake: This one made it to our company potluck and was a big hit!

7. Cheesy Smashed Cauliflower:  Possibly one of the easiest, most amazing dishes ever! It’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes and tastes just as good…promise.  Just boil the contents of one bag of Stahlbush cauliflower for about 10 minutes, drain and return to pan.  Mash with a potato masher or fork.  Add one tablespoon milk and 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste or add a dash of cayenne pepper.

8. Baked Butternut Squash: A great, simple dish for the holidays.

9. Baked Sweet Corn: Our super sweet corn is a real treat for the holidays and this recipe uses kitchen staple ingredients…great in a pinch!

10. Creamed Spinach: Spice it up a bit this holiday season with a little creamed spinach as a side dish!

Tuesday’s Ag Expo Wrap-up

We love educating youth about agriculture!  We went to the Ag Expo at the Linn Benton County Fairgrounds.  It’s an event to teach 3rd and 4th graders from 11 schools about agriculture.  In the course of three days, over 650 kids will pass through the stations at the fairgrounds.  Our station is “learning in the lab.”  We set up an organoleptic test where our “lab specialists” judged the sweetness and tenderness of two different varieties of corn through taste.  We had samples of Golden Jubilee Corn and Golden Jubilee Super Sweet Corn.  The kids accurately detected more sweetness and tenderness in our deep yellow Super Sweet Corn variety!  Go kids!

After that experiment, we had the kids name some winter squash varieties that are grown in Oregon.  We also brought examples of all of the winter squash varieties that we grow!  We pulled them right off the farm yesterday.  We also dried seeds and had them match the seed with the squash.

Whoa Golden Delicious Pumpkin!

golden delicious pumpkins are funny!

Dickinson pumpkins sure are heavy!

It's a game of pass the pumpkin...

Don't drop it!

Time to play with a kabocha squash!

Butternut Squash

Pose with the Butternut Squash

And wrap it up with everyone's favorite game, Guess that Crop!

I know!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s wrap-up at the Ag Expo 2012!


Fall into Recipes!

Well it’s official!  The leaves are changing, the air is turning crisp, and we’re dreaming of cranberries, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.  Here’s a list of our top 10 ideas to help you FALL into Recipes!

1. Pumpkin Pie: The all-time fall favorite! Check out this recipe from our sister company, Farmer’s Market Foods.

2. Cranberry Almond Scones:  These brightly colored breakfast delights are the perfect comfort food for a crisp, fall morning.

3. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes:  A deliciously sweet treat for the morning.  Recipe by Farmer’s Market Foods.

4. Sweet Potato Hash: A savory morning meal with a great fall twist!

5. Pumpkin Scones with Mascarpone Icing: These scones are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a decadent snack.

6. Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes:  The easiest, most delicious side dish that can be ready in a snap.

7. Sweet Potato Biscuits: A southern twist to a good, old-fashioned biscuit.

8. Pumpkin Bourbon Shake:  The grown-up milkshake to satisfy your inner child.

9. Cranberry Sauce: The ultimate companion of turkey, Thanksgiving, and the fall spirit.

10. Sweet Potato Souffle: A deceptively easy recipe to make your friends and family think that you moonlight as a professional chef.

Farm-Fresh Lunch

We invited a few lucky people to come out to the farm and lunch with us.  It was a fun opportunity to educate them about the farm, have them try some of our food, and get to know us a little better.  We served a farm salad with garbanzo beans and wheat berries, a vegetable saute with spinach, onion, broccoli, and super sweet corn, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and a sparkling strawberry sipper to wash it all down.  Can you tell we love our food here?


The Stahlbush Story

Have you ever wondered how Stahlbush Island Farms got its start? This two-minute video, narrated by one of the owners Karla S. Chambers, was created by Whole Foods as part of an ongoing series called the Whole Story. It’s amazing! It captures the essence of who we are in the most flawless way imaginable. Make sure to find our products at your local Whole Foods. Enjoy!

Read the blog post from Whole Foods about Stahlbush here.