Stay Fresh this Fall! Tips for Keeping Your Veggies Fresh Year-Round

Today is the first official day of fall, but that doesn’t have to mean the end of fresh fruits and veggies. Sure, it’s easier to maintain garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, strawberries, etc. in the summer, but with the proper preparation, you can enjoy fresh fruits and veggies year-round.

Earthbound Farm-sponsored Ashley Koff, RD, has the secret to keeping produce fresh for months!

Earthbound Salad

Vegetables contain enzymes that are essential for their growth and ripening. If the enzyme activity isn’t stopped before freezing, the vegetables may continue to mature, which can lead to discoloration, development of off-flavors and deterioration of the structure of the vegetable (hence the “black and gross” result). 

Freezing slows down the enzymes’ action but won’t completely stop it. What will? Blanching or steaming the veggies, then cooling them quickly in ice water before you freeze them, will inactivate the vegetables’ ripening enzymes, thereby preserving their color, texture and flavor. 

You already know that the quality of frozen vegetables depends on the quality of the fresh produce. Most types of fresh vegetables can be frozen successfully, as long as they’re blanched and cooled prior to freezing. Blanching times vary with the vegetable and its size, and it’s important to get that right: underblanching actually stimulates the activity of the ripening enzymes (which is worse than no blanching at all), and overblanching robs the veggies of flavor, color and nutrients.

 Vegetables with a high water content or a delicate cell structure — like lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, celery, and onions — don’t freeze well and tend to lose their crisp texture.

Fresh vegetables are Nature’s nutrient powerhouses. Freezing your veggies — the right way — not only retains their nutrient value, it lets you enjoy the fresh, healthy flavor of peak-season veggies a week or even months later.    — Ashley

Content for this post was taken from the “Ask Our Experts” section of the Earthbound Farm blog, Organic Bound.

 

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Getting in the Back to School Groove

Horizon-Mac-and-Cheese-Coupon1

It can take some time to get back into the school routine once fall rolls around. Suddenly the easygoing nature of summer is replaced by a daily schedule filled with school and after-school activities. Well, this year, we’re here to help (at least when it comes to packed school lunches!) Specifically, we’ve teamed up with Frances Largeman-Roth, to create a back to school calendar full of a month’s worth of lunch-time ideas to make life a little easier on mom during the busy back to school timeframe. And, as a bonus, you can check out Frances’ latest blog post with ideas on how to get a lunch station set up in your own kitchen!

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Exciting News!

We’re delighted to share the news that WhiteWave has agreed to acquire So Delicious® Dairy Free.  Based in Eugene, Ore., So Delicious manufactures, markets and distributes plant-based frozen desserts, beverages, creamers and cultured products under the So Delicious® Dairy Free brand. You can learn more about this news here.

So Delicious has a proven track record of growth and innovation and its offerings are 100% plant-based and non-GMO verified. And importantly, like WhiteWave, So Delicious is strongly associated with uncompromising non-GMO integrity, nutritious products, environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Horizon Organic® Announces Recipients of 2014 HOPE and National Quality Awards

“Organic is an important part of our lives out here on the farm. We’re here on this earth for a short time, but we can make a lasting impact.”

— Andrew Batdorf, Recipient of the 2014 HOPE Award

During Farm Aid 2014 last Saturday, Horizon Organic® celebrated this year’s recipients of the Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) Award and National Quality Award. Both awards are given to family farmers who consistently make notable strides in organic agriculture and organic milk production. The HOPE Award honors family farmers who advocate for organic agriculture in their local communities and nationwide; the National Quality Award recognizes farmers who produce the highest quality organic milk in the entire Horizon milk supply.

This year’s recipients of the HOPE Award, Andrew and Saraetta Batdorf of McVeytown, Pa., are honored as strong leaders in organic agriculture for their ongoing commitment to regenerative farming practices that respect and protect the environment, wildlife and livestock. Upon receiving the award, Batdorf states, “It is an honor to receive the HOPE Award, which is about organic stewardship and advocacy. This way of life makes for long days and a lot of constant, hard work. It takes time and commitment to help contribute to a cause that’s much larger than our day to day livelihood, and it’s worth it to educate and help people understand what we do.” And we agree, wholeheartedly.

Steve Galens, his wife Hope and brother Paul won Horizon’s 2014 National Quality Award for consistently delivering the highest quality milk of all of Horizon’s producers. The Galens shipped their first load of organic milk to Horizon in December 2010 and continue to produce some of the highest quality organic milk the company tests. (The family also won the National Quality Award in 2012.) Steve has milked cows since he graduated from high school, and today milks 21 cross-bred cows on the 160-acre farm where he grew up. He farms in partnership with Paul, who raises organic heifers and all of the organic feed for the farm. In speaking of the impact organic milk production has had on how he views farming, Steve says, “Organic gives me purpose to make a product that people want. My heart and soul is in it,” and advises fellow organic farmers, “There are no silver bullets to making high quality milk, but if you observe closely, you too can get similar results.”

Mike Ferry, President of Horizon, reminds us, “The success and growth of Horizon is made possible by the hard work and commitment from our nearly 700 family farmers nationwide, and their passion for organic agriculture.”

Honoring our farmers with these awards helps to raise awareness around organic farming practices and allows us to celebrate the people who improve the quality of our products, everyday. We are proud and appreciative of the care and diligence these farmers continue to put into all they produce, and want them to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed.

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WhiteWave Supports National Mandatory GMO Labeling

The labeling of products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a pressing issue in today’s food market, one many Americans are caring more about. In a recent New York Times poll, 93 percent of respondents said foods containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled accordingly. Interest in GMO labeling is also evidenced by an increasing number of national and state-level labeling initiatives.

Because we know this issue is important to many of the families who purchase our products, we’d like to reiterate our long-standing position on the issue.

At WhiteWave, we have always supported transparency in labeling and the right for people to know what’s in the food and beverages they consume. For this reason, we support mandatory national labeling for products containing GMOs. Why national labeling? The simple answer is that it leads to labeling consistency in all 50 states. All Americans have the same right to know what’s in their food. Implementing a nation-wide standard for GMO labeling will provide consistency and prevent the potential for 50 different state-specific standards.

We stand behind national GMO labeling in partnership with numerous organizations, including Just Label It. Through our support of Just Label It and other initiatives, WhiteWave has contributed more than $1 million to national GMO labeling efforts over the past several years.

We also support these efforts through our use of two national labels that can help families avoid GMOs. All of our Silk® plant-based beverages are either enrolled in or verified by the Non-GMO Project. Additionally, most of our Horizon® organic dairy products and all of our Earthbound Farm® products carry the USDA Organic Seal, the original non-GMO label. Some Horizon products are “made with organic,” and are also produced without GMO ingredients as regulated by the National Organic Program. The certified organic label is considered the original non-GMO label because any product that carries it must be produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or GMOs.

It’s important to note that we never have and never will contribute to or support initiatives that seek to defeat GMO labeling. As part of this, The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) have agreed that our membership dues have not and will not be applied toward any anti-labeling efforts in which they are currently involved. Our membership in these organizations is important to us because of the work they do to advance issues like food safety, nutrition labeling and environmental stewardship. We’re pleased to be able to maintain our partnerships with these organizations with the understanding that we remain as committed as ever to supporting national GMO labeling efforts.

We care about the issues our consumers care about, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done to advocate for national GMO labeling. Our work on this issue continues to build on our strong heritage of supporting transparency in food labeling.

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Farm Aid 2014: Celebrating Family Farmers Nationwide

Image“We all see what’s happening with agriculture, what’s happening to our small towns. They are going out of business. That’s a direct result of the farm problem. We’re still doing Farm Aid because it is contributing. It’s doing a job.”

– John Mellencamp

Horizon is thrilled to support this year’s 29th Annual Farm Aid, a benefit concert hosted in Raleigh, NC this Saturday, Sept. 13th. Since 1985, musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp have joined forces to bring Farm Aid to life, attracting farmers, fans and artists to raise funds (over $45 million thus far) and foster awareness to “help family farmers thrive”across the U.S. The event also serves to further the efforts of the Good Food Movement, a movement that aims to promote “a groundswell of support for local, organic, humanely-raised, family farm identified food.”

This year, alongside the three famed artists that kickstarted Farm Aid 29 years ago, the concert will feature performances by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Jack White, and many others. If you live near Raleigh and would like to attend the event, follow this link to purchase tickets.

Striving to cultivate healthier communities by bringing quality food to consumers is a mission we commit to every day. We are grateful for all of the hard work those behind Farm Aid continue to put into this cause, and we are honored to sponsor their ongoing efforts for the past several years.

To learn more about Farm Aid and how you can help local farms and farmers, click here!

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Shopping to Help Wounded Warriors

BIH_Final__9.9.2014There’s not a day that goes by when we’re not appreciative of our veterans. This year, Horizon is participating in the 2014 Wounded Warrior Project® Believe in Heroes® campaign to show support for these important heroes.

From Sept. 7, 2014 through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014, anyone can help support Wounded Warriors simply by grocery shopping. Along with hundreds of other brands, Horizon will have coupons in a nationwide newspaper insert on Sept. 7 and Nov. 2. The funds raised through the program will help veterans with physical injuries and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Helping our nation’s heroes is something we’re proud to support. So, starting in September, spread the word about this important program, and be on the lookout for some coupons that allow you to save a few dollars while supporting a very worthy cause. Truly a win-win.

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What are you eating for breakfast?

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why not make breakfast both delicious and nutritious?

In honor of Better Breakfast Month, we’ve pulled together a few recipes to help jumpstart your journey to a better breakfast. You don’t have to give up the bacon completely, but just know that you have options outside of reheating last night’s dinner or heaping spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar.

Fruit 1

Oatmeal 2

Quinoa 3

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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!

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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.

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