A guest blog post by Feliciana Puig, Sunflower Oil Specialist – Twin Cities Metro Area for Driftless Organics.
Our culture is being reacquainted with an old wisdom: local is better. Fortunately, the vast majority of the fresh food we need to sustain ourselves is available locally as a direct result of the diligent work of our own farming community. But what about the supporting cast? The spices, salts, sugars, and oils? In creating a local diet, these ingredients are often overlooked, because local options aren’t readily available. It was precisely this dilemma that inspired Josh Engel of Driftless Organics to begin experimenting with growing and pressing organic sunflower seeds several years ago.
Rich and nutty in flavor, Driftless Organics’ sunflower oil is delicious in salad dressings, drizzled fresh over bread, and mixed into fresh hummus. It is equally delicious in low-heat stir-fries and sautés, soups, sweet or savory baked goods, and popcorn. This versatile, virgin oil boasts higher nutritional value than most cooking oils, and it’s local and organic!
The sunflower seeds, grown in Soldiers Grove, WI, are harvested and cleaned in mid-October and cold expeller pressed in northern Wisconsin. This simple, temperature-controlled (not exceeding 120 °F) mechanical extraction method produces a pure, full-flavored oil, uncompromised in its structure and nutritional integrity. Sunflower oil is extremely low in saturated fats and contains almost no trans fats (8.41% and 0.03% respectively). It is also high in oleic acid, meaning that its fat content is over 80% monounsaturated (its only close competitor is olive oil, at 70%).
Monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy by definition, supporting increased “good” HDL cholesterol, and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol in the body. Driftless Organics’ sunflower oil is high in Vitamin E, making it a powerful antioxidant, and high in omega 9 fatty acids that can help eliminate plaque build-up in the arteries.
Driftless Organics is a small, organic vegetable operation nestled in the rolling hills of Southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless Region. Started on just ¼ acre of family farmland in 1993, brothers Josh and Noah Engel and co-owner Mike Lind now cultivate 130 acres of vegetables, potatoes, small grains, and cover crops. An additional 50 acres is planted in glorious, gold-pedaled sunflowers, truly a sight to behold.
The farm serves over 700 families through their Community Supported Agriculture program and supplies food co-ops and grocery stores throughout Southwestern Wisconsin and the Twin Cities Metro Area. In addition to sunflower oil, Josh is also experimenting with soybean, canola, grapeseed, and a seasonal pumpkin seed oil.
The sunflower oil is generally available in two sizes: 8.5oz, 17oz, however ½ gallon, 1 gallon, and bulk may also be available: ask about it at Mississippi Market or visit: www.driftlessorganics.com.
Meet Feliciana and sample Driftless Organics Sunflower Oil on Friday, December 2nd 11-2pm at the Selby Dale location, and Friday, December 9th 11-2pm at the West 7th location.