Long before the sun rises above the horizon, Amanda and Gustav, of Zorn Organic Farms are planning the day ahead. As the demand for locally grown Oregon strawberries is reaching a crescendo, the farm workers are filling flat after flat with ripe berries. The shifting pink and orange colors of the sky hint at the perfect day ahead., as people stir from their slumber, not yet anticipating the delights the day may hold for them. Today is the day that Beth sets out for the fertile bottomland of the Champoeg region to gather the first truckload of the season from Zorn family Farms. Beth’s Tacoma, laden with berries, has just now arrived back in Salem, and as we unload the strawberry flats from the truck, the sweet smell of organic strawberry goodness fills the air at LifeSource. Come to the store on your way home today and get your fresh Oregon strawberries, your freshly baked shortcake from LifeSource deli, and maybe a little organic cream to whip up for dessert. It is officially Strawberry Shortcake time!
We love Oregon cranberries, and we are especially pleased to offer Vincent Family Cranberries at LifeSource!
Here is the Vincent Family’s story, in their own words!
Hello, we are the Vincent Family. Our ‘Cranberry Roots’ go back to 1957 when our grandfather, Elmer Robison, cultivated his first Cranberry ‘Bog’ on the beautiful Southern Oregon Coast. Grandpa Robison along with his wife Grandma Velna raised four children on his Cranberry farm. Three of those children have carried on the family tradition with their own sustainable and responsible Cranberry farming operations.
In 1965, our parents Kay Robison (affectionately known as Golly) married Bill Vincent (papa) and set forth to build a family that is now the heart and soul of Vincent Family Cranberries. As a successful commercial fisherman in what is now a lost, but special way of life, our dad along with Golly dove headfirst into the transition from hunter to gatherer. The life of a small Cranberry farming family is also a very special. Papa and Golly have fought hard to ensure that way of life will carry on for generations to come. As their children we are forever instilled with the LOVE and PRIDE that they have so perfectly cultivated.
The location of our farm which is a half mile from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, offers a very unique growing environment for a Cranberry. The Coastal climate is cool year around with salty winds whipping our Cranberry bogs. Our growing period is long. Our bees work harder to pollinate our crop. We harvest later than most, going into the late fall months with it’s harsher weather. This makes for a very hardy Cranberry. Smaller than most with a deep red color that can almost look black as it floats on the water of our flooded Cranberry bogs. These dark berries are sweeter and contain a higher than average natural sugar content, that requires less added sweetener before it hits the bottle. The Bandon Cranberry is renowned worldwide for these special characteristics. Those characteristics are even more dramatic with a Vincent Family Cranberry. We’re very proud of that, and very excited to pull our Cranberries out of the anonymous pool of Cranberries that end up in so many different food products on the market today. Take a second look at our Juice. Notice that deep red unadulterated color, and taste the richness of it’s tart-sweetness. We think you’ll agree that it’s something special.
Subject: Vincent Family Cranberries – Organic Certification Announcement
Hello to you and thank you sincerely for taking the time to learn more about us and what we’re working towards.
We trust that at the very least you will see the value in a direct relationship with an actual farming family that just happens to make the finished product as it sits packaged on the shelf. We haven’t taken the time to try and find out but we do know it is an exceptionally rare thing in today’s world.
First and foremost our family grows Cranberries. That’s what we do, and have done, for over fifty years here in Oregon.
Throughout those years, numerous technological and cultural advances have helped us grow more berries. Our family has always strived to farm responsibly while working to evolve our practices with every opportunity given. We’ve treated our land and our Cranberry vines the way you would expect our family to, after all these years.
With that same spirit that has shaped our farm, we are now proud to announce a bold, new undertaking. We have initiated the process of Organic Certification for our 27 acres of bogs.
We are excited and proud to be able to hold up our farming practices to the scrutiny of the certification process. Organic certification will be an important milestone and crowning achievement of years of hard work. Organic Cranberry farming is rare. Only a tiny percentage of all Cranberries harvested each year worldwide are certified.
Here in Oregon, of the roughly 2500 acres in production, about 1% of Cranberries are certified Organic. There’s a reason for that, and ‘it’s easy’ isn’t one of them. It’s going to take some extra work and some extra dollars on our end to gain this certification. But we think our timing is going to work out well.
As our juices and dried Cranberries have been so well received, it should allow us to use previously unavailable resources to do this right. For example, as of the first of this year, we were fortunate to re-hire a former employee. This achievement as well as our commitment to success are just a couple reasons we are confident that we have the right plan in place to gain certification.
We know as well as any, that a logo on our bottle won’t magically make our juice better. So in the meantime we will continue to produce “the finest Cranberries in the World,” put them in our products, and offer them to you.
The great thing about being the only Cranberry juice company that also happens to be a Cranberry Farming family is that you can also come to the farm and we’ll give you tour of our farming methods for firsthand. Better bring your work gloves though!
Thanks to all of our customers and supporters, who have helped make this all possible. We love hearing from you and nothing is better than meeting you in person.
We won’t let you down.
From all the Vincent’s,
…and from LifeSource, Thank YOU, Vincent family!
Though winter is just beginning, you can still experience the flavor of summer at its peak, with dried Oregon blueberries.
Grown organically, just outside Corvallis, these blueberries are expertly dried to keep all their flavor and nutrition.
Let’s celebrate the return of the light by enjoying a taste of summer. Sunset Valley organic dried blueberries are now available in the bulk department at LifeSource!
So many of the products we carry at LifeSource are locally grown in the Willamette Valley. Recently, several of our staff payed a visit to Hunton’s farm and Camas Country Mill. Located in the heart of the valley, these businesses supply us wheat and spelt flour for our bulk department. The tour was an incredible opportunity to see the process of flour production from field, to mill, to bag. We began our tour with a short visit to the actual fields, where we saw hard red wheat only days from harvest. Growing next to the hard wheat was an experimental planting of durum wheat, ideal for pasta. After a nibble of some fresh pastries, we set off to see the stone mill where the flours are ground. The miller had just finished milling some bread flour, and we watched as it was bagged for shipment. We learned about the triple-sifting and testing process that ensures the highest level of quality of the finished flour. As we have the opportunities to visit more local farms and businesses, we’ll bring you articles and posts in our newsletter, and here on www.lifesourcenaturalfoods.com.
LifeSource thanks Hummingbird Wholesale, The Hunton family and Camas Country Mill, for making this all possible!
A great company, from whom we buy several local products, has published their first sustainability report!
Let’s acknowledge Hummingbird Wholesale, both for their sustainability efforts, and for their beautiful documentation!
Keep it up, ‘Birds, kudos to you![embeddoc url=”https://lifesourcenaturalfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/HWSR2015.pdf” width=”100%” download=”all”]
LifeSource offers these local (Cottage Grove) seeds from Territorial Seed Company’s Biodynamic seed stock. Touted as a step beyond organic, these seeds are the beginning of a permaculture solution that treats the soil biome as an integral part of the growing process.
The Sweet Side of Organic Farming
In appreciation of their support, we invite Rodale Institute Business Members to share an article about their work on our website. These articles often include insightful information based on their experience and line of work. It provides a unique perspective of organic agriculture that we enjoy sharing with our readers.
By Nigel Willerton, CEO, Wholesome Sweeteners
At Wholesome Sweeteners, we believe that a healthy planet allows for healthy and happy people. So from the very beginning, organic, sustainable farming has been at the heart of our philosophy. We proudly partner with farmers who help us create this ideal by producing our sugars in a safe and ethical way without sacrificing superior quality or harming the land. Our customers can be confident in the great taste and great care we’ve taken to bring them the best sweeteners.
Our Organic Sugar comes from sugar cane grown in Paraguay and milled at Azucarera Paraguaya. These farmers provide an excellent model for organic, sustainable farming; every step of their process fosters a high quality product with very low environmental impact. The sugar cane is “green cut” or hand-harvested, and the tops of the sugar cane are left in the field to enrich the soil and control weeds. The cane is never burned or sprayed, a damaging practice to the cane and the field and lethal to the local wildlife trapped in the fields. After harvesting, the cane is transported to the mill where it’s crushed to extract the sweet juices. The crushed stalks, called bagasse, are used to fuel the mill’s boilers, providing enough electricity for the mills and neighboring villages so that fossil fuel is unnecessary. In fact, the mill creates so much energy from the bagasse that they are able to sell some of the electricity back to the state.
In Java, Indonesia, Wholesome Sweeteners partners with family farmers that create Organic Coconut Palm Sugar. Palm trees have been rich, food sources in Indonesia for more than 4,000 years. Farmers tap the sweet nectar from the coconut palm tree flower and turn it into Organic Coconut Palm Sugar. The trees grow wild on their property, so there is no need to use harmful, chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Every day the farmers climb the palm trees to tap the coconut palm flower at the top. Once they collect enough nectar, they heat it in large kettles where it’s stirred by hand until it cools and crystallizes, leaving behind a rich brown sugar. The farmers enjoy a reliable living from these trees: the nectar is produced year round for up to 25-40 years; the coconut fruit is used for its meat and water; and the fibrous husks are used for twine or weaving material. Most importantly, the extraction process leaves the local environment intact since the trees are never cut down destroying the farmers’ forested properties.
Wholesome Sweeteners’ organic farming practices stretch across our liquid sweeteners as well. Our Organic Blue Agave is grown in Jalisco, Mexico. The
leaves of the large plants are hand-cut by the farmers with a large blade, a “coa,” and left behind to protect the soil. The remaining core of the plant or the “piña” houses the blue agave nectar. The piña is crushed to extract the juices, which are then gently heated and filtered yielding a sweet amber agave syrup.
Our Organic Honey comes from hives located deep within the secluded jungles of Brazil and Mexico, where beekeeping protects native plants and encourages biodiversity. The beekeepers maintain an organic environment for the honeybees by never using antibiotics or other toxins on the hives. The hives have been placed among a variety of organic flora for miles and miles, knowing that bees will only travel up to 4 miles from their hives for food. Since the bees are feasting on a variety of wildflowers that change with the season, the honey’s flavor characteristics constantly evolve, deepening in color and flavor. The honey is minimally filtered allowing it to retain its inherent pollens and enzymes. In Brazil the beekeepers recycle the wax honeycombs once a bee colony has left for a new home.
Our efforts to produce safe and flavorful sweeteners would be nearly impossible without the time and dedication that the farmers give to their crops. That is why Wholesome Sweeteners is a proud supporter and advocate for Fairtrade programs. We believe in paying farmers a fair price for their crops and are encouraged to see how the added premiums are improving their lives. Nearly all of our organic granulated sugars are Fairtrade Certified as well as our Organic Blue Agave and Organic Honey. Wholesome Sweeteners has paid more than $9 million in Fairtrade premiums to villages in Paraguay, Mexico, Brazil and Malawi. This money has helped cultivate vital needs for those communities like electricity, healthcare, schools, clean water supplies and new farming equipment.
As more and more consumers demand safe and healthy food options, Wholesome Sweeteners continues to champion organic, sustainable farming whenever possible. This method of farming serves as a great reminder of the bountiful capabilities inherent in Mother Nature and how the right kind of human intervention can be the best formula for yielding a safe and delicious harvest.
Nigel Willerton, CEO, Wholesome Sweeteners
Since establishing Wholesome Sweeteners in 2001, Nigel has helped grow the Texas-based sweetener company into the U.S.’s largest Fairtrade Certified, USDA Organic and Non-GMO Verified supplier of sugars, syrups, stevia and honey. Because of its strong focus on social responsibility, Wholesome Sweeteners has paid more than $9 million in Fairtrade premiums to impoverished farming communities around the world. For more information on Wholesome Sweeteners’ commitment to organic, sustainable farming or to learn about its Fairtrade practices, visitWholesomeSweeteners.com.
Entice yourself to drink more water!
We know hydration is important on hot summer days, but sometimes just plain water is not enough to entice our taste buds. Here is an easy idea to enhance your drinking water with the addition of a few organic flavors! Combine generous slices of jalapeño, lemon, lime, mint, and cucumber with your filtered water in a glass or a pitcher. Allow the mixture to rest a little while for the flavors to mingle, then enjoy! Keep refilling the vessel until the flavors are exhausted, and keep drinking more water so you are well hydrated!
We thank Anne Marie Farrell for the photographs and the great idea!