Butternut Squash Soup
Whip up a quick butternut squash soup with Stahlbush Island Farms’ diced butternut squash. Photo by © S.White | Fotolia.



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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



January 2008
Last Updated October 2018

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

Stahlbush Island Farms

Earth-Friendly Frozen Vegetables


CAPSULE REPORT: There are many excuses for not eating enough vegetables. Our main one is, “didn’t have time to pick up fresh vegetables.” Having tried Stahlbush Island Farms, we now have a few bags of frozen in the freezer. After we learned to thaw and microwave the vegetables instead of boil them, frozen, in water, we achieved much more satisfying results. Overall, the line was superior to garden-variety (pun intended) frozen vegetables. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

Not enough fruit and vegetables in your diet? Stahlbush Island Farms wants to help with a line of frozen, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables that ensure you’ll always have something healthy to pull from the freezer.

Stahlbush Island Farms is a family-owned farm located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, one of America’s lush farming areas (and one of the most fertile and pristine agricultural regions in the world). While the entire farm is not certified organic, it’s the closet thing:

  • An environmentally-friendly farm committed to sustainable agriculture, having helped pioneer practices that leave the soil healthier and the groundwater cleaner for future generations.
  • In 1997 it became the first farm to become Certified Sustainable by the Food Alliance.
  • Stahlbush even generates electricity using agricultural by-product from the farm. They produce enough green energy annually to power the processing plant. From the entire process, Stahlbush is left with a rich organic fertilizer that is used to nurture next year's crops.

The company has been named both Oregon’s Agriculturist Of The Year and Food Processor Of The Year.

Stahlbush Island Farms grows many crops on more than 4,000 acres. It also makes the Farmer’s Market brand of organic canned products. Much of the food grown and processed at the farm is sold to other food companies who use the fruits and vegetables for ingredients in soups, pies, baby foods and other products.

For the frozen fruits and vegetables, the produce is quick frozen for a fresher, more natural taste and appearance. It’s then packaged in natural kraft paper bags, which give the brand an environmentally-friendly, biodegradable look compared to plastic bags; but of necessity, there is a light plastic coating on the inside.

The colorful homespun graphics of the fruit and vegetables on the kraft paper reach out like a Hallmark card, and may convince those who are reticent to eat their fruits and veggies that they should give them a chance.

Overall comments:

  • There is a challenge in cooking frozen vegetables when you are accustomed to fresh ones. Frozen vegetables are cooked twice: first before being frozen, then again by you, before serving. As a result, they will never be al dente or have the texture of a fresh-cooked vegetable. You need to experiment with how to best cook them without getting mush. We found that microwaving or steaming (we don’t like to boil due to loss of nutrients to the boiling water) didn’t produce results to our satisfaction. The best technique seemed to let the frozen produce thaw—which didn’t take that much time—and then microwave them.
  • There is satisfaction in knowing that we were eating pesticide-free food grown by an environmentally-concerned farmer.
  • Everyone responded to the friendly graphics. If vegetable-hesitant people will respond to anything, it is likely to be the happy veggie illustrations on the Stahlbush packaging.

Stahlbush Frozen Vegetable Varieties

The vegetables can be cooked on stovetop or microwaved.

  • Broccoli Florets seemed just O.K., until we compared them to the frozen vegetables of a prominent national brand. What seemed like boredom in the Stahlbush broccoli suddenly became superiority. We were noncommittal eating Stahlbush; eating the prominent brand was school-cafeteria punishment.
  • Cauliflower, ditto.
  • Diced Butternut Squash was tasty, but so soft that the cubes were almost ready to be mashed. (However, that’s not a bad thing to do with them.) Our tester cooked these and the previous vegetables in boiling water. After this attempt, we developed the microwaving technique. Unfortunately, we didn’t have extra bags of broccoli, cauliflower and squash to re-test.

For more information about squash, read our Squash Glossary.

Stahlberg Frozen Vegetables
  • Cut Spinach, Green Peas and Sweet Potatoes fared better from microwaving when thawed. Of all frozen vegetables, spinach probably fares best, in that it seems closest to fresh. Green peas were fine—most people are so accepting of frozen green peas that they don’t even think to buy fresh peas in season (a mistake—fresh spring peas are celestial). Sweet potatoes, like butternut squash, don’t keep their consistency that well when frozen. It is so easy to keep a supply of sweet potatoes at home—they’ll keep for several weeks in a cool, dark place or even in a picturesque basket on a countertop. And you can pop them right into the microwave, making them, in our opinion, the better solution (and one which does not take up your freezer space).
  • Super Sweet Corn is an easy vegetable to preserve, canned or frozen. These kernels were crisp and sweet (although not super-sweet); no complaints.

Stahlbush Frozen Fruit Varieties

We don’t rely on frozen fruit, preferring to enjoy fresh fruit in season. We’ll eat grapefruit in the winter, or enjoy a persimmon or a banana, and wait for berry season to arrive. However, we recognize that others want to make fruit smoothies, or have some form of fruit to add to cereal and yogurt. While these frozen fruits didn’t have the same natural sugar content as a good fresh berry—and they lose their firmness in the freezing process—they are ready, willing and able to do what you want them to do.

  • Blueberries were big and plump.
  • Cranberries, Marion
    Blackberries, Red Raspberries
    added color when we mixed them with seasonal fruit salads.
  • Whole Strawberries were a bit tart, required some sweetener and made us long for sweet fresh berries.
Stahlbush Frozen Fruit

But, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. So while there’s no substitute for fresh, there’s no excuse for skipping fruits and vegetables. A plate of frozen berries with some sweetener is better than a dish of ice cream. Clear out some pints form the freezer, and load in a few colorful kraft bags from Stahlbush Island Farms.


FROZEN FRUITS: Blueberries, Cranberries, Marion Blackberries, Red Raspberries, Whole Strawberries
FROZEN VEGETABLES: Broccoli Florets, Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Cut Spinach, Green Peas, Super Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes

Certified Kosher By KOF-K

  • 10-Ounce Bag Frozen

    $ Suggested Retail Price
  • 10-Ounce Bag Frozen

    $ Suggested Retail Price

Prices and varieties are verified at publication but are subject to change.

Stahlbush Island FarmsThe frozen vegetable group

Available at retailers nationwide. For a local store, telephone 1.541.757.1497 (Pacific Time) or email sif@stahlbush.com. For more information visit Stahlbush.com.

Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication but are subject to change.


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