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October 18, 2010 / robertstockham

Stahlbush Island Farms creates its own energy!

Stahlbush Island Farms is an organic farm and so much more.

In the 1980’s, Bill and Karla Chambers took their long family tradition of farming to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Here, the long cool summers provide the perfect environment for growing fantastic produce.  They started by planting and harvesting just two crops.  True to their family heritage, they continued to grow their farm, while remaining a sustainability leader.  In 1997, Stahlbush was the first farm to become Certified Sustainable by the Food Alliance.

Determined to control their product from farm to plate, Stahlbush became its own food processor.  They began their own frozen product line of sustainable fruits and vegetables, and went so far as to sell them in a biodegradable package.  They also started their fruit puree line.  But just having an organic farm and selling healthful, organic products was not enough for this business. In 2009, Stahlbush Island Farms opened its own energy plant.  Using biogas, they create more energy than they actually use, making them an energy producer in the region:

Stahlbush Island Farms, a national leader in sustainable agriculture and food production, operates a first-of-its-kind Biogas Plant by producing electricity from fruit and vegetable byproduct. The power plant will provide enough electricity for approximately 1,100 homes, nearly twice what the farm and food processing plant uses in a year. The $10 million dollar project took fourteen months to complete and is operated by Stahlbush Island Farms Inc.The cutting-edge Biogas plant supports Stahlbush Island Farms’ goal of minimizing its carbon footprint and gaining energy independence through the creation of a renewable, on-farm energy source. A recent innovation in the United States, and most commonly associated with dairy operations, anaerobic digesters have been creating green energy in Europe for decades. This is the first plant in North America, built with state of the art engineering and design techniques for the purpose of creating biogas from fruit and vegetable by-product.

As we look to the future, fresh potable water is rapidly becoming a precious natural resource.  Not waiting until it is too late, Stahlbush Farms is already ahead of the pack.  They use water conscious irrigating techniques, maintain water equipment to reduce loss, and even use good old fashioned brooms to clean up, to minimize water usage in their plant.  When we look to the companies that are looking to saving the planet, Stahlbush Farms is an example to farms and manufacturers across the globe.

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