organic

Restaurants to check out on your visit to Bend

Rockin’ Dave’s Bagel Bistro & Catering Co.

This is where to start if you’re in Bend at breakfast time. All the breads and pastries are made fresh daily, and they try to ensure that all foods on the menu are fresh and local. Whatever you get for breakfast, whether it’s a breakfast burrito or a homemade bagel, order it with a Bloody Mary for an exciting start to your day.

Parrilla Grill
A must-have when visiting Bend, Parrilla Grill’s menu consists mostly of Mexican-themed food and is reasonably priced, with most dishes ranging from $6-$8. If you’re unsure of what to order, try either the Fish Tacos or the Red Headed Step Child. Should you find yourself unable to make it to the restaurant itself, don’t worry they can deliver to you.

Pizza Mondo
Whether you’re gluten-free or a flour fiend, a vegetarian or a carnivore, Pizza Mondo has you covered. The toppings aren’t always what you’d find on an average pizza, and range from potatoes to bacon to pine nuts. Instead of choosing one of the tamer options, try the Big Island, which is topped with barbecue pulled pork, sweet hot peppers, bacon and pineapple. Pizzas are either 18 or 15 inches (gluten-free only available in 15), and cost anywhere from $13-$26.

Zydeco Kitchen

Lunch or dinner will be delicious if you have it at Zydeco Kitchen. Some items on the dinner menu lean toward the pricier end, but the lunch menu is mid-range. In addition to their regular menus, the restaurant also offers a full gluten-free menu. While it would be difficult to pick a bad thing to order, if you’re in for lunch, definitely try the barbecue shrimp for $11 or the homemade vegetable burger for $9. For dinner, the barbecued baby back ribs — not quite breaking the bank at $23 — are an excellent choice.

Groups call for buffer zones in pesticide use

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Aerial spraying of pesticides, or “crop dusting,” is a practice dating back to 1906.

Several public advocacy groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market. Pitchfork Rebellion, an anti-pesticide group from the Triangle Lake area organized “Occupy This! Rally for Pesticide Justice and Jobs!” The event called for banning aerial spraying of pesticides near homes and schools, creating a buffer zone to protect people’s health.

The rally began with a performance by local reggae/jam band Sol Seed, followed by a spoken word protest performance calling for a “pure organic Oregon.”

Then “Day,” a resident of the Triangle Lake area, took to the stage. Day is one of several residents of Triangle Lake who has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. 2,4-D, or 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is a major ingredient in Agent Orange, one of the chemicals used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these pesticides in all of the streams.

Several environmental groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market.

Day said,

“We’re just a bunch of hillbillies from Triangle Lake tired of getting hit by pesticides everyday.”

Studies by numerous organizations, from the EPA to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to public universities, have documented the effects of human consumption of pesticides. Pesticides can cause damage to the human nervous system, reproductive system and other organs, developmental and behavioral abnormalities, disruption of hormone function as well as immune dysfunction.

Day introduced Roy Key, a professional forester of over 40 years. Key said he was there to talk about the dangers of pesticide poisoning in Lane County.

“I’ve been in the forest business for 40 years. I’ve managed forests without herbicides or pesticides. You don’t need those substances to manage the forest.”

Key compared pesticide use to his experience in the Vietnam War.

“It’s just like Agent Orange all over again. But here in Lane County.”

Key called on attendees to tell Oregon governor John Kitzhaber to stop the use of pesticides in the state near homes and schools.

Day, a resident of Triangle Lake, has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these and other pesticides in all of the streams.

Oregon already has a buffer zone to protect waterways and salmon species. Streamside protection rules for non-federal forest land in Oregon were adopted in 1994. All private, state and local government forest landowners or operators conducting pesticide operations near streams, lakes or wetlands must comply with these rules. In November 2011, a federal judge upheld buffer zones for pesticide use near streams and rivers. Dow Chemical Company, a leader in specialty chemicals based in Michigan, filed a lawsuit seeking to undo the Oregon rules, saying that they were too restrictive. The restrictions ban the ground spraying of three agricultural insecticides within 500 feet of waterways with salmon. They also ban aerial spraying within 1000 feet of said waterways.

While Oregon has a buffer zone for pesticide use near water, it has not adopted a buffer zone near human activity. The Oregon Department of Forestry says,

“Currently, there are no regulations in Oregon requiring a buffer zone for aerial application of herbicides near specific structures or facilities, including schools.”

There are, nonetheless, safety requirements in how pesticides are used, both in residential and forested situations:

“While pesticide use in a residential setting must abide by pesticide label safety requirements, forestry applications must follow those requirements plus additional regulations spelled out in the Oregon Forest Practices Act.”

Pesticide companies, such as Dow Chemical, argue that their products abide by these safety requirements. Concerning 2,4-D, the substance found in Triangle Lake residents, Dow Chemical has said the following:

“2,4-D is available for use in U.S. crop production today because EPA has determined, after evaluating all human health and safety considerations – including the concerns expressed by activists – that current uses (including currently authorized uses on corn) pose ‘a reasonable certainty of no harm.’ This EPA conclusion was reached only after the Agency had considered all relevant data…This regulatory conclusion is supported by mainstream health and safety experts who have thoroughly evaluated the product.”

The application of pesticides has had a long and controversial history. Dr. Patricia Muir, Professor at Oregon State University’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, says that, following World War 2,

Ingrid Edstrom, nurse practitioner at Eugene’s Infrared Breast Thermography LLC, spoke of the link between pesticides and breast cancer. “Oregon has the second highest breast cancer rate per capita in the nation,” she added.

“Chemical pesticides have become the most important consciously-applied form of pest management.”

The Oregon Department of Forestry explains this popularity according to pesticides’ cost-effectiveness:

“Many landowners see herbicides as the most cost-effective means of achieving their reforestation goals following logging or fire, or for converting neglected brush land to forests.”

The first important pesticide was DDT (otherwise known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Muir says,

“DDT was discovered in 1939 by a Swiss chemist Paul Muller. In its early days, it was hailed as a miracle…It was inexpensive and easy to apply. It was so effective at killing pests and thus boosting crop yields and was so inexpensive to make that its use quickly spread over the globe. In 1948, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize for its discovery.”

As years went by, however, DDT was labeled both directly and indirectly toxic to many organisms. Most disturbingly, as Muir explains, DDT

“showed up in human breast milk at remarkably high concentrations — so high that the milk couldn’t legally be sold through interstate commerce if it were cow’s milk! [DDT] is the most widespread contaminant in human milk around the world.”

While DDT was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972, other pesticides are commonly used in Oregon. The last year in which Oregon has data compiled for pesticide use is 2008. That year it was reported that 280,001 pounds of pesticides (chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion) were used in the state.

A rally attendee protests 2,4-D, one of the pesticides found in streams near Triangle Lake.

The groups that rallied today are hoping to change how those hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are administered. They asked all attendees to fill out postcards to Governor Kitzhaber to ask for expanding pesticide buffer zones to include not just fish, but people.

Christina Hubbard, the Project Director of Forest Web, also spoke at the rally. Forest Web is a grassroots conservation organization based in Cottage Grove. Hubbard said,

“Forest Web stands in solidarity with these groups. I’ve personally been working with Day since 2007. A lot of these pople have had major clinical studies done on their urine and it is documented that they have pesticide poisoning.”

Hubbard says this rally’s message is not particularly radical.

“Really what this is about is creating a reasonable buffer zone for aerial spraying. This is common sense, to protect homes and schools.”

For more information about Oregon’s use of pesticides in agriculture, go to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website at http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/. For more information about Oregon’s use of them in forestry, go to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/privateforests/pesticides.shtml. Websites for the groups involved in the rally are: Pitchfork Rebellion, http://pitchforkrebellion.com/; STOP, http://stop-oregon.org/; Forest Web, http://www.forestweb-cg.org/.

Hydroponics for the indoor gardener

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by Robert Paul Hudson, EDN

If you have the winter blues and are longing for the beginning of the spring gardening season, consider hydroponic gardening. Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil and brings gardening indoors for anyone regardless of space or resource limitations. Instead of soil, an inert growing medium is used in combination with a nutrient rich system supplied directly to the roots, and either artificial light or sunlight if it is sufficient. Hydroponics systems on average use 10% of the water that traditional growing methods use, can be grown without the use of pesticides in a more sterile environment, and in some cases grown without seasonal interruption.

 

Daniel Shea, owner of Emerald Valley Gardens in Eugene, a store specializing in indoor gardening explains,

“Hydroponics lends itself to simplicity. The basics make it simple enough for anyone,” and goes on to say, “tomatoes, salad greens, and herbs are the most common plants for the beginner.”

Imagine being able to harvest fresh vegetables year round.

“Plants such as lettuce can be harvested continually year round if you are providing the right conditions,” according to Kelly Caudell of Corvallis Hydroponics.

 

There are two types of hydroponic methods to consider: static solution and continuous solution.

Using static solution, plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution and water in something as simple as a glass mason jar and aeration to the solution is provided with an aquarium air pump and airstone. A hole is cut in the lid of the container for the plant to grow through.  Without a lid, rockwool may be used to keep the plant firmly in place and upright. If the container is clear, it should be covered with something such as foil, butcher paper, or black plastic to block light that would create algae growth inside the container. Only the plant growth above the nutrient plant reservoir needs to come in contact with light. The nutrient and water solution is changed according to a pre-determined schedule or more accurately indicated by an electrical conductivity meter.

Continuous flow is when the solution is constantly flowing through the roots in an automated circulation system. The constant flow naturally carries oxygen to the roots and can be easily regulated for temperature and nutrients. These types of systems are typically used in larger scale growing operations.

 

Some plants will grow better with their roots in a medium rather than suspended in a liquid solution. Growing mediums include rockwool, which is made from molten rock and spun into filament fibers, expanded clay pellets, coco peat which is the fiber from coconut shells, perlite which is made from volcanic rock, pumice which is also from volcanic rock, and vermiculite which is a super-heated mineral. All of these mediums have various pros and cons, but all have excellent cation exchange capacity – the ability to attract nutrient ions and hold them for plant uptake. They are porous and absorb the nutrient solution in either static or continuous solution systems.

Because of its simplicity, a static solution is typically more cost effective.  Continuous flow will offer faster growth, blooms and higher harvest yields.

“The most critical thing to consider is light and to have the appropriate light for the plant species and the amount of area being covered,” says Caudell. “I recommend fluorescent lights for a beginner and small scale projects”.

High intensity lighting may be provided by metal halide and HID lighting that run on computerized electronic ballasts which are much more costly.

Caudell went on to say, “a good start up system including lights for two to four square feet of coverage could cost as little as $200.00.”

Virtually any plant can be grown hydroponically, whether it is fruits and vegetables, herbs, or houseplants.

“The only thing I have yet to see is root vegetables like carrots or potatoes,“ laughed Caudell, but added  “it could be done with a deep enough container and some experimentation”.

Shea said, “there is more of an interest now in local grown produce, and nothing is more local than growing it yourself.”  It is a hobby for people of all backgrounds and ages, and interest in the hobby is GROWING!

Daniel Shea
Emerald Valley Gardens
88680 McVay Hwy

Eugene, OR 97405

Kelly Caudell
Corvallis Hydroponics
5490 SW Philomath
Corvallis, OR 97333

 

Down to Earth’s Expansion a Sign Of Changing Times

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— Nate Gartrell, EDN

For Rachel Klinnert and Chris Donahue, the lines between work and play can get a little blurry.

A look at Down to Earth's Olive St. location from outdoors.

Passionate backyard gardeners, Klinnert and Donahue are co-managers of Down to Earth Home, Garden & Gift on Olive Street.

“It defines my lifestyle and what I’m interested in,” Klinnert said of her place of employment, where she manages the housewares department. “I garden, I compost, I have chickens, pets — I just started keeping bees.”

Klinnert and Donahue said that Down to Earth is designed to help Lane County residents grow, cultivate and process their own food. The shelves are fully stocked to supply customers with all the tools and information needed for the food-growing process — from building a garden box to setting the table for dinner.

“We have a tag line: Practical goods for natural living,” Donahue said. “We try to keep our products that way. We kind of have that emphasis on natural, organic and local,” said the company’s garden business manager.

Many of Down to Earth’s products are hand-crafted, and even some of their simple tools and utensils have an artistic quality about them, making them difficult to buy in bulk, and therefore a unique find at the store.

Down to Earth employee David Cothern tends to some new bulbs

“Our buyers do work hard to make it unique and different,” Donahue said of the company’s products. “They offer things that aren’t available in a bigger store.”

Like many local small businesses, Down to Earth has been based in the Eugene area since it opened in 1977. Its first nursery was a single mobile plant cart, and the store was kept afloat by a small but dedicated group of backyard growers who shopped there regularly.

By 1981, Down to Earth had expanded to four such nursery carts, and by 1989, the company moved into its first building, where it is still located, at 532 Olive Street. Eleven years later, in 2000, the business opened a second location in Eugene.

“We have a lot of support from the community,” Klinnert said. “There’s a lot of people who have shopped here for a really long time. They’re happy to support the store because it’s a local business.”

With an emphasis on natural growing, Down to Earth’s entire herbicide and pesticide line is organic. That has helped their reputation amongst many local growers, said Donahue.

A look at Down to Earth's fertilizers, which are processed through their own distribution company.

“A lot of the people who come here know they’re going to do it naturally or organically,” Donahue said. “So I think we’ve got a leg up there.”

During the economic downturn of 2008, it became fully clear to Donahue and Klinnert how important Down to Earth’s reputation really was. While many local businesses, and notable chains were suffering or going under, Down to Earth’s business actually expanded.

The reason? According to Donahue, many people began looking to backyard gardening as a means of saving money, which sent them in droves to Down to Earth.

“I think a couple years ago, the whole food movement took off,” Donahue said. “We saw an increase in starts, and seeds, and soils and supplies, and I think people started gangbuster-gardening for food.”

As time went on, Donahue began seeing many repeat customers who began backyard gardening out of necessity, but who became passionate about it after a while.

“All of a sudden, I think it had a bigger meaning for people,” Donahue said. “In the long run, I think people see the connection that, all of a sudden you’re gardening together, and meeting your neighbors.

Time Travel and the Sustainable Neighborhood

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A couple of nights ago, while sharing a bottle of wine with some friends, we accidently stumbled on a time machine.  With the first sip we were no longer standing in the man cave, amplifiers humming and instruments beckoning us up on stage.  The years dropped away from our faces, our eyes brightened, wrinkles turned to smiles.  Time travel.

Oenophile’s have a firm grasp on the glossary of wine, for the rest of us, using those words are rarely more than a slightly embarrassing attempt at sharing the interpretation of tasting the wine.  Classifying what you are tasting can be a lot like analyzing romance, go too far or try too hard and it all becomes pre-programmed responses and biology; all words, no magic.  This was magic.  The wine didn’t taste so much like a mènage of characteristics as it did an experience.  As it happens it was an experience we all had in common.

As the flavor opened on our palates the liquid became early morning, 6am early, at a beanfield;  the smell of the river, the soil, the verdant must of the pole beans, the crispness of the morning.  The smell of acres of work waiting to be done, sweat to pour, buckets to fill and empty into bags to have weighed and dumped by the lucky few who became “weighboys”.  Weight tallied, cards punched, lunchtime still hours away, fog just lifting and the heat coming on, a new row waiting to chafe on willing young hands.

Picking berries, beans, filberts, walnuts, apples and pears, while dreaded on one level, was how we’d pay for school clothes or a new bike back in the day.  The unhappiness at having to rise so early was more than offset by the sensation of being in the field, seeing friends, experiencing something distantly familiar.  Hard work is it’s own reward, but it was more than that.

The voyage only lasted for a few minutes, a couple of tips of the glass, but the echos of the adventure remained throughout the bottle.  With every sip the sensation would glow like an old bulb about to burn out, but nothing like that first transformation.  The best part was, the time travel seemed to have awakened a slumbering bit of the boy who was.

Yesterday a pear tree out in an empty lot seemed to deserve a closer look.  Pears everywhere, some turning to compost, 45lbs became a puree with a little lemon juice and headed for the freezer.

Today the blackberries that climb the fence at the back of the driveway of the vacant house across the street offered themselves up, and for the first time in years the offer was accepted.  Five gallons of rain plumped, sun ripened berries are now rinsed and spread out on sheet trays, ready for the freezer.

Heading to the fields isn’t necessarily going to happen now, that’s reserved for heartier souls.  Instead I’ve made the determination that the neighborhood is my new field.  Empty lots, homes standing vacant from foreclosure, backyard farmers driveways replete with garden bounty.  Sustainable and local; part of our motto at EDN.

The neighbor is selling quarts of blueberries out of her backyard at $5 for a gallon freezer bag full, and I get to pick them.  Its odd to be loving this again when it’s so easy to just go buy it from the grocer. I intend to pick them all.

Lane County is rich with pending harvest.  Our side of the street has so far yielded 25lbs of zucchini, 10lbs of yellow squash, 5 bunches of celery, a bag of rhubarb and enough basil to make Pesto for the entire block.  All fresh, and only a fraction of what was still available.  Next up is a visit to the neighborhood across the road.

The verdict is still out on what our odd weather has done to this years wine vintage, but the berries are perfect; pick some.

What ever sparks the inner recognition that fresh, seasonal and local food is what you have to have, is worth finding.  I re-discovered it in a bottle of wine and a short trip back in time.

Kelly Asay, EDN

Winter Green Farm: A New Face at the Market, an Old Hand at Organic Farming

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Winter Green Farm
by Sarah Nicholson, EDN

Driving (or biking) along Noti’s Poodle Creek Road, you feel like you’ve found one of those locations that make the Willamette Valley so special.  All of a sudden, the valley opens up and you see rows and rows of vegetable crops, a cluster of in-field greenhouses, a herd of cattle grazing in pasture, and a planting of flowers adorning the roadside.  A little white sign announces that you’ve come to Winter Green Farm, which considers itself “a productive farm creating harmony with the earth, humanity, and ourselves.” A long-time Eugene-area organic farm, Winter Green is now bringing its bounty back to Eugene’s Saturday Market/Lane County Farmer’s Market for the first time in eight years.

Started by Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade way back in 1980, Winter Green Farm’s ownership is now shared by three families.  Wali and Jabrila Via joined in 1985, and then in 2009 Chris and Shannon Overbaugh joined after years of employment on the farm.  The farm now boasts a large crew, some who come for a season and others who stay for a decade.  At the peak of the season, when the basil is green and the crop is plentiful, the crew grows to about 25 members.

In addition to growing 10 acres of crops for Farmer’s Markets, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program produces on 9 acres.  1.5 acres of blueberries are harvested for both the market and CSA customers, 1.5 acres of fragrant green basil are grown for the farm’s new pesto business, and 2.5 acres are set aside for a wholesale burdock (gobo) crop, which has been a farm staple since 1986.  On top of that, 70 acres are in permanent pasture and another 21 in temporary pasture for the farm’s herd of beef cattle.

Spearheaded by owner Wali Via, the farm uses biodynamic methods in addition to organic methods as part of the larger belief in the farm as a living organism.  Winter Green Farm (WGF) prides itself on producing the majority of its fertility on the farm, through it’s cattle herd, extensive composting, green manure crops, and crop rotation.  As a WGF employee for three seasons, I saw first-hand how important this view of the farm as a living organism is to its owners.  For a farm as large as Winter Green, striving to get anywhere near a closed loop is quite a challenge, and it takes a lot of careful planning and decision-making to create and foster a sustainable system. Another past employee described it as “the best soil management” of any organic farm he’d seen.

Owners and Market Managers Chris and Shannon Overbaugh said that despite successful markets in Portland and Bend, Winter Green Farm came back to the Eugene market this year to increase the farm’s presence closer to home.  “We feel it’s important to be a part of our local community and to meet our sustainability goals of selling what we can produce as close to home as possible.” Part of the challenge is starting over again in a new market, especially when it comes to having a less coveted booth location.  But “besides the less than optimal spring,” the Overbaughs say the market has been going okay so far.

They note that they are “committed to the market for the future”, and would like to see a market that is “well-managed and has a focus that meets the needs of both the community and the membership.”   A spacious venue, as well as a potential covered space to host a year-round market, are a few vendor-friendly options for the market’s future.

 

To find Winter Green Farm at Eugene’s Saturday Market, walk by the main farm and producer section on 8th street to where the booths make a right turn, and you will find a big blue sign hanging above their booth, about halfway down the row on the left-hand side.  WGF’s booth is located right in front of Park St. Café, next to Field to Table Catering.  If you can’t make it to Saturday Market, Eugene also hosts a farm stand in the parking lot of Emmaus Lutheran Church on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 6:00.  For more information on any aspect of Winter Green Farm, check out their website or contact them by e-mail at: [email protected]

Photos by Winter Green Farm and Sarah Nicholson