What’s the story behind the name Starvation Alley?
Starvation Alley is the historical nickname of Cranberry Road in Long Beach, Washington, off of which most of the region’s cranberry farms were located. The name was very tongue in cheek, for while cranberry farming in Washington wasn’t a particularly lucrative line of work historically, the local landscape provided sustenance fit for a king. In addition to many other fruits grown regionally, shellfish and seafood are abundant on the peninsula, prompting the catchy, “tide’s out, table’s set!”
What does “Local Harvest” mean? How is it different from “Organic?”
Starvation Alley incentivizes cranberry farmers to go through a three year certifying process to become organic growers. We work not only to ensure a market for that future organic crop, but during this three year period, we buy the not-yet-certified-organic crop from the farmer as well, easing the transition. Our products labeled “Local Harvest” are made from these transitional crops.
Where are you and where are your partner farms?
Starvation Alley Farms are in Long Beach, WA. We have two other partner farms in Long Beach as well, Black Dog Bogs and Cruel Mistress. Our remaining partner farms are on the Oregon Coast: Johnson Creek is in Bandon and Poverty Ridge is in Sixes.
How do cranberries grow?
Cranberries grow in shallow sunken fields called bogs, but contrary to popular misconception, cranberries do not grow under water! Cranberries are perennial vine fruits, whose plants intertwine to form a thick mat in the bottom of the sandy bog that is dry for the entirety of the growing season. When the berries are ripe, the bogs are flooded and a specialized tractor called a beater drives through the bogs, teasing berries off their vines with a paddle wheel. The berries float to the surface of the flooded bog and are essentially skimmed and scooped off the top of the water into waiting totes for processing.
SPC? B Corps? What do these mean?
Our juice company is a Social Purpose Company (SPC): a legal classification for for-profit companies, allowing them to hold a socially driven mission statement. As an SPC, Starvation Alley may legally make conscious decisions that do not maximize profits so long as they fulfill our mission The mission of Starvation Alley SPC is to increase farmer livelihood and decrease harmful impacts of farming on communities and the environment.
We also became a certified B Corporation in November of 2014, which is basically another way of saying, "hey, we care a lot about what we're trying to do here!"
Tell me about the cranberry juice.
Starvation Alley cranberry juice is . . .
- Unsweetened and undiluted
- Made of a single ingredient: cranberries
- Cold pressed and never heated, making it tart, but not bitter
- 1.5 pounds of berries, pressed and unconcentrated (per 16 oz.)
The juice is surprisingly versatile - be creative! Here are a few ideas to get you started. Also check out our Cranberry Juice Recipes page for some great concoctions!
- Dilute with sparkling water, other fruit juices, and/or teas for a refreshing cold drink
- Combine with apple cider and mulling spices for a hot drink
- Try it in your smoothies or yogurt
- Use in place of vinegar for tang in salad dressings
- Add it to a homemade salsa, marinade, or reduction sauce
- Mix with lager, session, or pilsner for a Cranshandy
- And of course it makes a mean cocktail!
Tell me about the nutritional and medicinal properties of cranberries!
- Cranberries are high in antioxidants (like acai, blueberries), and vitamin C
- They are most notably used medicinally to clear Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)
- And they’re also great for your bladder, kidneys, and for flushing out your system
- Dig in deeper here.
How are organically grown cranberries different from conventionally grown cranberries?
Conventionally grown cranberries require 100 pounds of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides per growing season. In autumn, small ponds and lakes are pumped into cranberry bogs, where berries are “wet harvested” as described above. Once harvest completes, the water is pumped back, creating a direct conduit between “fertilizers” and groundwater.
Organically grown cranberries require more hands on farming, including a mid-season flood to protect buds from insect eggs and worms, hand weeding, vinegar solutions, and the application of organically certified compost and fertilizer. But for each acre of cranberries grown organically, 100 pounds of fertilizers are kept out of our waterways annually!