Road Trip!

If you’re among the 34.7 million Americans expected to take to the road and skies for Labor Day, then you will definitely want to be well prepared with a few healthy snacks for the road.

Trail MixWith protein to stabilize blood sugar, vitamins, minerals, fiber, plus plenty of heart-healthy fats, homemade trail mixes are the perfect travel snack. Here are a few trail mix combinations from Earthbound Farm that you can customize to your family’s taste:

Happy, healthy snacking and safe travels!

Wisconsin Farmer Teaches Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee County Students About Conservation

HorizonOrganic dairy farmers Tim and Melissa Dobberphul (Kewaskum, WI) are all about making a positive environmental impact on their 320-acre organic farm. And, they don’t stop there! They use their farm to help educate Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee county high school students about the importance of taking care of the environment.

As organic dairy farmers, Tim and Melissa don’t use antibiotics, growth or reproductive hormones or persistent pesticides, and their 75 dairy cows freely graze in the pasture. Eighty acres of their farm borders Wallace Creek and has been in permanent pasture since 2001, when the farm transitioned to a grazing operation. And, due to their farm’s proximity to the Milwaukee River watershed, they’re also focused on and passionate about water conservation efforts. Through effective water management techniques, Tim and Melissa remove sediment and other pollutants from wastewater to help improve water quality. They also keep clear water clean with a system that collects and guides rainfall to Wallace Creek. And, at the same time, their pasture serves as buffer and filter for the stream.  All of these efforts are designed to help preserve the health of the watershed. For Tim and Melissa, the idea is simple. They believe in leaving something better than they found it.

In addition, for the past nine years,  Tim and Melissa have partnered with the Washington County Land & Water Conservation Division and River Edge Nature Center to open up their farm to teach inner city students why and how to protect fresh water sources in the Milwaukee River Watershed. In 2013 alone, the farm hosted 75 students.

In 2009, Tim was featured as an example of farmers using agricultural best management practices in The Greater Milwaukee Water Quality Connections (http://www.scribd.com/doc/108605462/Greater-Milwaukee-Water-Quality). The article highlighted that Tim’s approach to farming is not just good for business, but also part of his passion for protecting the environment.

Our Decision to Remove Carrageenan

Over the last several years, consumers have become more interested in what’s in their food and how it’s produced. We respect that concern, and share a passion with our consumers to change the way the world eats for the better.

We’ve listened to our consumers and talked with them about the food we produce. Many of our conversations have focused on the use of carrageenan, a purified extract of red seaweed that is widely used in food products as a natural thickener and stabilizer. The kind of carrageenan we use is food grade, which has been proven safe and approved for use in food products for nearly two decades.

Even though it is safe, our consumers have told us they want products without it. That’s why several months ago we decided to remove carrageenan from our Horizon and Silk products, and since that time, we have been working on our product formulations to ensure we maintain the integrity and delicious taste our consumers have come to expect. This change will occur gradually over the next two years, as it takes time to work through the many formulations of our various products.

We remain committed to transparency around knowing how our food is produced and where it comes from, and look forward to our continued dialogue with our consumers.

Meet the Kroll Family

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Family has always been a big part of local organic dairy farmer Hans Kroll’s life. Inspired by his great-great grandfather, who built Kroll Farm in Long Prairie, Minn., in 1892, Hans and his wife Lynn made the decision to take over the farm in 1988, and have been raising their seven children on the farm ever since.

The Kroll farm, which has now been in Hans’ family for five generations, is home to 30 cows on 380 acres. The farm also produces maple syrup and feed for their dairy cows. Hans transitioned the farm to organic in 2003 at the urging of one of his daughters. After attending an organic farming workshop at the University of Minnesota, Hans soon saw organic as his best bet for preserving the farm for future Kroll generations and making the farm more economically viable, an important consideration knowing several of his kids are interested in eventually helping to run the farm.

Throughout the years, all of Hans’ seven kids have played a part in helping the farm succeed and thrive. And, the family support doesn’t end there. Hans’ father lives next door and pitches in on the farm as well. The Kroll Farm is a true family operation.

Since 2003, the Kroll family has been working hand in hand with Horizon Organic to produce some of the highest quality organic milk in the state—a testament to their teamwork and support. The family was even presented with an award from Horizon Organic in 2008 for not only successfully navigating the transition to organic dairying, but also for serving as a model for other organic farmers.

Keep it up, Kroll family – you’re awesome!

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The family was recently featured in their local newspaper, the Long Prairie Leader. An excerpt from that article is below:

There is no doubt that life on the farm teaches many values one can take with them for a lifetime. Getting up early to finish the morning chores, or working through the heat to finish stacking hay bales may not give someone immediate appreciation, but the hard work ethic gained can stick with them for a lifetime.

“They see the importance of work and see accomplishments and there is some gratification of that even though at the time it seems like just work,” Hans said. “You may be able to get that at another job, but here it’s more of a family thing. You’re not just going to a summer job, you’re pulling together as a family.”

This is just one of the many reasons Hans is glad he decided to take over the farm.

Perk up a Picnic with Flavorful Silk Recipes

Popsicle ImageDuring these hot days of summer, it’s easy to lose your motivation to cook a meal, especially one that requires cranking up the oven or standing over a steaming pan.

In honor of National Picnic Month, why not get out of the kitchen with these flavorful, effortless snacks that can be easily prepared and packed up for an outdoor picnic?

So stop sweating it in the kitchen and get out and enjoy the weather!

We Play Hard!

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Horizon Organic was a proud sponsor of the Kids Adventure Games, which took place in Vail, Colo. last week. Complete with adventure racing through Vail and the surrounding wilderness for kids ages six to 14, a free Family Adventure Expo, a Family Mud Run and more, the event encouraged teamwork, healthy active lifestyles and fun for kids of all ages. So, how could we not get involved?

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Image 3Horizon was onsite providing delicious, fun snacks and beverages for kids and parents alike. Racers fueled up with Horizon Organic milk and enjoyed creamy Mac & Cheese at the Horizon Mac & Cheese Awards Celebration. There was also a Horizon Expo Booth providing samples of our new Horizon Snack Crackers, Snack Grahams and Sandwich Crackers. Overall, we had an exciting week with a little “snackage” and A LOT of family fun.

For more information on the KEEN Kids Adventure Games and other recreational events in the Vail, CO. area, visit www.vailkidsadventuregames.com.

From Banners to Bags

Have you heard of Green Guru?

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Green Guru is a great company founded on principles of sustainability that turns bike tubes, banners, wetsuits, climbing rope and PETE recycled plastic bottles into reusable products. They make wallets, bike gear, accessories and trendy tote bags. They turned our outdated marketing materials into reusable products.

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We’re fans – check them out!

Super Shrink Me is a great reminder to make healthier choices

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At WhiteWave, we’re all about people living healthier, happier lives. In 2013, Boulder dietician Ande Anderson’s boyfriend, Ike Allen, set out to do just that. And, the two documented Ike’s adventures as he attempted to lose his “fast food junkie” ways to shed some weight.

Super Shrink Me premiered last year and features the story of Ike’s weight loss, including interviews about food’s connection to our health and well-being from popular restaurants and food companies. One of those interviews was with Blaine McPeak, president of WhiteWave. Blaine talks about the health benefits of plant-based drinks and their growth in popularity.

With a simple focus on better options in terms of calories (like ditching fried chicken in favor of grilled chicken) and food choices (think breakfast smoothies made with Silk products!), Ike was able to drop some extra pounds and feel better. Ike’s journey is a fascinating reminder of some of the simple things we can all be doing to ensure smart eating habits.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ike’s story, you can view the trailer here: http://www.avaiya.com/super-shrink-me/

We’ve found a Home in Colorado

We love its tall peaks, winding rivers, spacious valleys and charming communities. Yep, we are pretty lucky to call Colorado home. In fact, WhiteWave President, Blaine McPeak, recently shared our love for ‘The Centennial State’ with the Denver Business Journal: “We could have gone anywhere, but the company was committed to the corridor between Denver and Boulder… We’re really trying to change the way the world eats and Colorado has proved progressive in the entire natural and organic food movement,” he said.

In honor of Colorado Day today, we want to share the natural beauty of our home state as seen through the eyes of our employees. Here are a couple of their favorite shots:

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Horizon Organic 2014 Hope Scholarships Winners Announced

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In 2007, Horizon Organic became the first national organic dairy brand to offer scholarships for the next generation of organic leaders, with the launch of its Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Scholarship program. The HOPE scholarship program aims to encourage young people to enter the field of organic agriculture.

Last week, a committee of organic industry leaders, including members of the National Organic Standards Board, Northeast Organic Farming Association and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, awarded $2,500 each to four children and grandchildren of Horizon’s nearly 700 family farmers. Each of the recipients proved passionate about the future of the organic industry and demonstrated a keen interest in educating people on the importance of organic farming.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of our 2014 HOPE scholarship:

  • Callie Brodt (Ferndale, Calif.), age 20, is inspired by her grandfather, Horizon farmer Jim Walker of Walker Dairy. She heads into her junior year at Chico State University, where she will be helping the university’s dairy program research organic feed techniques using a system that produces organic, sprouted fodder in only six days.
  • Philip Fagundes (Merced, Calif.), age 20, is the son of Horizon farmer Ralph Fagundes, who owns and operates Fagundes Brothers Dairy with his brothers in Atwater, Calif. Philip. “I want to use my research skills to develop better methods of organic farming and educate people on why organic is an important part of the dairy world,” Philip said. Philip plans to graduate in spring 2015 from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Agricultural Business.
  • Ashlie Hardy (Farmington, Maine), age 20, is the daughter of Horizon farmers Henry and Teresa Hardy of Hardy Farm. “By continuing my organic education, I will be able to contribute to organic agriculture and take part in the hands-on, active part of farming,” Ashlie said. Ashlie attends McGill University in Quebec, Canada, where she is pursuing a degree in Farm Management and Technology.
  • Sierra Knight (Lisbon, N.Y.), age 20, is the daughter of Horizon farmer Bradley Knight of Knight’s Meadow View Farm. “The health of a herd is crucial to the success of any farm operation, including organic farms,” Sierra said. Sierra is attending The State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, where she is majoring in biology, her first step toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian.