Written by Elizabeth Murray
March is the perfect time for an article I’ve been thinking about as it is National Frozen Food Month. I’ve been looking into the different options we have for buying our frozen vegetables. We all know that it’s best to get our produce from local farmers. It’s best for the environment, best for the farmers, and best for our families (not the mention it TASTES so much better!). But when it’s the off season, we need some frozen veggies to last until the great time when we can have local veggies again.
I’ve been looking into the frozen vegetables that we can purchase through the buying club. In the past, I have gotten mostly Woodstock Farms due to it being the cheapest available and the name was familiar to me from shopping at Wild Oats. Well, I was reading the back of the spinach bag a few months ago and right under the address in CT where Woodstock Farms presumably is, it stated “Product of China”! One of the other veggies says “Product of Thailand”. It doesn’t make sense to me to transport vegetables (especially Organic vegetables) half way across the world. It’s ‘carbon footprint’ is too great. For environmental reasons, I’ve been trying to purchase things from the United States when I can’t get it locally. I also prefer to support small time farmers rather than large corporations. So, I started looking at our other options. We basically have four companies from which to buy our frozen vegetables: Woodstock Farms [WODSTK], Cascadian Farms [CSCADE], Stahlbush Island Farms [STAHL], and Sno Pac Foods [SNOPAC].
Here’s some interesting things I found out. Woodstock Farms is owned by none other than United Natural Foods! Must be why it’s the cheapest! Then there is Cascadian Farms which is now owned by General Mills (Small Planet Foods, which owns Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen was bought by General Mills in 2000). Stahlbush Island Farms is owned by Bill and Karla Chambers who live and work on their farm in Corvallis Oregon. Sno Pac Foods is a family owned and operated organic farm and processing plant located in Caledonia Minnesota. Sno Pac foods is closest to us geographically, but they are also the most expensive. When the Sno Pac goes on sale, I will buy some of their veggies to try. The Stahlbush is cheaper though not as cheap as Cascadian or Woodstock. But in trying the support the smaller family farms, I am willing to pay a little extra. I also like Stahlbush Island Farms’ packaging. They use Natural Kraft Paper made with natural fibers rather than the plastic of the other companies. Stahlbush is not certified organic, but they are a certified sustainable farm using Earth friendly agriculture and they regularly test their soil and products for pesticide residue. So I am switching over to Stahlbush Island farms when I need frozen vegetables! Perhaps you will too.