Farm families and fall food

Sugar Beet Food Co-Op in Oak Park carries Stahlbush Island Farms

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By Sarah Corbin

Shopping & Business Blogger

It is not often that one company can meet the passionate needs of this shopping and retail guru. Stahlbush Farms has done that.

I met Karla Chambers, a founding family member of Stahlbush Island Farms first at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. I wasn't quite familiar with them, but I certainly thought they had the most colorful food display. All of their quick frozen or canned vegetables were on display for sampling - set out like a rainbow.

Stahlbush is a family owned farm just outside of Oregon - on an island. They have organic vegetables and fruits that they sell through independent grocery stores, locally here at Sugar Beet Co-Op.

While at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual conference here in Chicago, I had the luck of meeting Karla again. There, Karla introduced me to part of her mission and driving passion as a farmer. Karla, an artist, designs all of the packaging. She has a desire to connect us all, including children, to the wonderful colors of fruits and vegetables. Karla even created a coloring book, designed so that children can add more colors to the pages as varying vegetables get introduced. It is delightful.

I love that Stahlbush's commitment to being good ethical, quality farmers translates to being good for my family - an easy way for me to grab blueberries, pumpkin even cranberries to make delicious muffins this fall. (recipe from Stahlbush Island Farms below).

"Bill and Karla Chambers, started with 2 crops, about 300 acres and a dream in 1985. Today, Stahlbush cultivates 5,000 acres in Oregon and offers the freshest individually quick frozen fruits, vegetables, grains & legumes available." You can read more about their story here. This family is paying attention to growing and using the land in a sustainable way. They are taking action to ensure and protect soil health, water conservation, wildlife and biodiversity and they have a program in place to be socially responsible and take care of their employees and the communities they serve. Stahlbush was the first farm to be certified by the Food Alliance and they were the first to build a biogas plant in North America - it generates electricity by using agricultural by-products.

 

I have spent the past year being immersed in food and consumer brands, traveling the country visiting trade shows, spending hours researching global food trends, and reminiscing about my own history in this space as a bakery and family business owner. Over the next few weeks I'm working to connect you with the stories behind items, food or other, that you can purchase locally, to support family owned businesses and mission driven merchandise. 

 

 CRANBERRY MUFFINS - recipe from Stahlbush Island Farms

  1. 1 bag Stahlbush Island Farms Cranberries
  2. 1 1/2 cups flour
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin pan.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together until well combined.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and egg.
  6. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  7. Fold in cranberries. They will float to the top so make sure to stir before pouring into the muffin pan.
  8. Pour mixture into muffin tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool on a wire rack.

Contact:
Email: sarah.abboreno@gmail.com Twitter: @localoakpark

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