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Frey Organic Wine Blog

Eliza Frey
 
July 24, 2011 | Eliza Frey

Sunflower oil: a blooming venture

Organic sunflower plantings.
Young organic sunflowers at Frey Vineyards.

At Frey Vineyards this year we are experimenting with growing sunflowers to press for high quality organic oils.  Sunflower oil is great for cooking and as a body oil.  The plants also provide excellent food for our ranch bees as the flowers mature.  Sunflower oil is the most important source of food oil in the world, and we are excited to start producing it here.

We chose the Russian cultivar Peredovik sunflower (Helianthus annus). While most sunflowers have an oil content of 25-35%, the peredovic can yield up to 50% oil from its small black seeds. The Peredovic sunflower also has a very short growing season of about 12 weeks which allows plenty of time to maturity despite our wet and soggy spring this year.  We will harvest in the fall and press the seeds in our cold-press seed press. This year we expect about 25 gallons and hope to expand in the future.

The sunflower project fits nicely into our ever-expanding quest for more local sources of basic food products.  We can harvest them with our small combine, which is also used for harvesting wheat that is interplanted in our vineyards.  The spent press cake of the sunflower is a high quality feed for livestock and the stalks will make a great addition to our compost piles.
We will keep you posted about our progress!

Eliza Frey
 
August 31, 2010 | Eliza Frey

Grapes and Grains – Our first vineyard grain harvest

After 30 years of organic grape growing we are continually interested in diversifying our farm or bringing back lost traditions. A century ago, Mendocino County grew all of its grain, and we’re experimenting with bringing local grain production back! Much of the prime grain lands of the county have been converted to vineyards, but we are now demonstrating that grapes and grains can be grown together.

Organic wheat in organic winegrape vineyard.
Organic wheat growing in Frey organic vineyard.

Frey Vineyards is collaborating with the Mendocino Grain Project and a handful of local vineyards and small farms to bring the tradition of grain growing back to Mendocino County. Together with the Grain Project we have purchased a small combine that can fit between vineyard rows to harvest grains and dry beans. In the fall of 2009 we inter-planted a variety of wheat, oats, barley and rye in every third row of selected organic vineyards. The combine ran through our vineyards in late July and we reaped several bushels of fresh grains. This year didn’t bring huge yields, but we identified the most productive sections of our vineyards and will fine-tune planting and cultivation practices to increase productivity in the years to come. This is an exciting project that is moving us closer to our goal of increasing local food production and rethinking what vineyards are capable of.

Organic wheat harvest in organic grape vineyard.
Doug Mosel of Mendocino Grain Project driving the mini-combine.

Wheat between the organic vines.
Wheat between the vines.

Eliza Frey
 
February 1, 2010 | Eliza Frey

Frey Wine featured in Mireya Navarro’s new book, Green Wedding!

Attention future brides and grooms! As we seek to bring eco-consciousness into all aspects of our lives, your wedding celebrations can take on a whole new dimension. Frey Organic Wines was recently featured in the new book Green Wedding: Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration. The book, written by New York Times style correspondent Mireya Navarro, lists our certified Organic Wines as a perfect fit for eco friendly nuptials!

It is a beautiful book full of nice photos, inspirational examples and practical solutions to common challenges in wedding planning. Also included are ideas for locations, alternative gifting options, tree-free invitations, local decorations, seasonal cuisine, socially responsible honeymooning and green lifestyle choices for the new couple.

The book is available at mireyanavarro.com. The book cover is shown below.

Cover of "Green Wedding" book.

 

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