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Sunflower Oil, High Oleic

Sunflower Oil, High Oleic (scroll for pictures)

This mild flavored oil is cold pressed from organic sunflowers we grew on the farm. We were able to watch the seeds being pressed and the oil was coming out at 81 degrees, cooler than a summer day! After leaving the press the oil goes directly through a filter to remove tiny bits of seed and shell and that’s IT! It is completely unrefined. It is great for popping corn, frying eggs, sauteing vegetables, baking, and cooking over medium heat, but like all unrefined oils should not be used in high heat frying.
We used to use olive oil, but would buy the refined, lighter varieties because we didn’t like the pungent flavor of the extra virgin types. So now we are getting the health benefits of an organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined oil without having to put up with the strong taste.
Is high oleic sunflower oil as good for you as olive oil? Everyone agrees that most Americans consume too much omega-6 oil, which is the most susceptible to oxidation. Many studies have shown that diets rich in omega-9 oil can reduce heart disease and bad cholesterol. Many conservative advocates agree that the most important thing is not the amount of oil one consumes but the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, with the ideal of 1:1 – 1:4 reference: http://www.mercola.com/article/omega3.htm. Olive oil contains less than 1% omega-3 and about 10-15% omega-6 for a ratio of slightly more than 1:10 (reference wikipedia). High oleic sunflower oil is only 4-5% omega-6 but 0% omega 3, therefore an infinite ratio. This ratio is the reason some will say that olive oil is better than high oleic sunflower oil. But olive oil is a poor source of omega-3 because it contains such a small amount. Reference: http://www.livestrong.com/article/148744-is-olive-oil-a-good-source-of-o… One should not depend on olive oil for omega-3 intake. So, if you are eating other foods or supplements that are providing your omega-3’s your omega-3:6 ratio will be better if you are eating high oleic sunflower oil vs. olive oil.

Average High oliec sunflower oil: 85% omega-9, 5% omega-6, 10% saturated fats
Average Olive oil: 75% omega-9, 15% omega-6, <1% omega-3, 10% saturated fats

What does high oleic mean? High oleic refers to the amount of omega 9’s in this type of oil, 84-87%, which is higher than any other cooking oil. High oliec sunflower oil also has the lowest amount of omega 6’s of any cooking oil, 4-5%. Soybean, corn, cottonseed, regular sunflower, and safflower oil all contain over 50% of omega-6 oils.

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Free Range Chicken

Our cornish x rock meat chickens start off in the barn, protected from cats, skunks, opossoms and any other critter that would like to feast on cute fuzzy chicks. Chickens need access to temperatures around 90 degrees the first week of life, and by 3 weeks old can be weaned from external heat sources. That is when they typically go outside to our Joel Salatin style movable pens. Meat chickens are not good natural foragers, perferring to lounge in the shade. That is why we pop the wheels on and move the pens every day. We bring the forage right underneath their feet! That also puts them on fresh clean ground, elimenating the need for manure disposal, it is perfectly placed on the field already by the chickens. Fresh greens and bugs, clean air and ground means that medications, antibiotics and hormones are unnecessary. We usally put the chickens on alfalfa or clover fields because they prefer legumes and will eat much more of these greens than grass alone.

What else do they eat? Chickens cannot simply be grass fed. They do not have the rumen (4th stomach) to obtain enough protein to live on grass alone. Instead God has given chickens a “crop” which is specially designed to digest hard seeds and grains. Too much grass can clog up a crop and could cause death. (Cows are the opposite where too much grain damages the rumen and can cause death). We have our own feed grinder and grind a mix of corn, whole roasted soybeans, wheat and oats. We only grind 1-2 weeks of food at a time because nutrition begins to deterioriate after grinding. We add Fertrell organic vitamin and mineral balancer to insure maximum health. Almost all of the grains we feed are grown right here on the farm. If we do have to buy some grain we buy certified organic from a nearby farmer.

When the chickens are ready, we take them to Arthur, IL to be prepared by an Amish processor who is USDA inspected. They have a fantastically clean, well supervised operation. We sometimes process some for ouselves, but we cannot sell at the farmer’s markets without an inspection stamp.

Chicken can be picked up at the Downers Grove, Libertyville, or Barrington Farmer’s markets (see sidebar). Chicken can also be ordered and picked up at our semi-annual bulk food order (see sidebar). If you call ahead you can also just come and pick up chicken here at the farm most anytime.

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Bakery

Bakery

We moved our Staff of Life Bakery operation from New Lenox, IL to Dwight, IL in 2005 when we finished building our home and outbuildings. We are inspected and licensed by the Livingston Co. Health Department. We are not open to the public, but you may call for an appointment to pick things up. We primarily sell our breads and cookies at various farmer’s markets (see sidebar) during the summer. We have a very limited baking schedule from Nov. to April. The most unique thing about our bakery is that we stone grind our organic whole wheat flour fresh each time we bake. The flavor and texture of fresh ground baked goods is hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it.