February 2014 Fig Focus

Going Green is Going Strong for Valley Fig Growers

The solar panels we recently installed are doing a great job—see for yourself using our Valley Fig Growers Green Link.

So far the total energy we’ve generated equals:

37 tons of CO2 saved

4,182 gallons of gas saved

294  60 watt bulbs for 1 year of 8hr/day use

The total CO2 offset equals 929 trees.

On our Valley Fig Growers site you can see our ongoing current solar generation (kilowatt hours), as well as the temperature and wind measures at our plant in Fresno, California.

The solar panels, married with the process water anaerobic digester we completed several years ago, makes Valley Fig Growers a model for other California food processors and keeps us on the cutting edge of the sustainability movement.

Love at First Bite Twitter Party, February 12

Join Valley Fig Growers and America’s Test Kitchen staff on February 12 for a Twitter party full of Valentine’s Day ideas. Twitter Chat with America’s Test Kitchen at 1pm EST using #ATKCHAT. We’ll be giving away some ATK cookbooks throughout the one-hour chat. Come with questions and leave with answers, tips and maybe a new cookbook to make this Valentine’s Day the best ever. Watch our Facebook page for more details.

February is Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month

Valentine’s Day is the traditional day lovers express their love by sending Valentine cards, presenting flowers, and offering delicious chocolate (and fig) treats. Figgy Fudgy Pudding Cake delivers a decadent—and healthful—taste of chocolate and sweet, chewy figs for the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.

February also is American Heart Month and the signature month for American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Protecting your heart can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, whipping up a good fruit salad, or getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight.

Figgy-Fudgy Pudding Cake
A sweet treat for your sweetheart

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission or Calimyrna Figs
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, optional
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3⁄4 cup hottest tap water

Heat oven to 350° F. In ungreased 8 or 9-inch square pan, stir together flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. With fork, blend in milk, butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in figs, chocolate morsels and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar and remaining 1⁄4-cup cocoa evenly over top. Pour hot water evenly over top. Do not stir. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until sauce forms on bottom and cake on top is set. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over each serving. Top with ice cream or whipped cream and fresh raspberries, if desired. Makes 9 servings.

Best Diets for 2014 from US News & World Report

Best Diets 2014 profiles about 38 eating plans and ranks 32 of them based on a range of factors, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help you lose weight.

With the help of a panel of nationally recognized diet and nutrition experts, each diet profile describes how the diet works, determines if its claims hold up or fall short, assesses it for possible health risks, and looks at what it’s like to live on the diet.

To rank in the Best Diets Overall, a diet has to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) snagged the top spot.

The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, and limits calorie- and fat-laden sweets, red meat and salt. Nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber, found in the foods DASH recommends, are crucial to fending off or fighting high blood pressure.

California Dried Figs, with their high fiber content, calcium, potassium, iron and multitude of other essential nutrients, fit perfectly in the DASH diet. Because DASH emphasizes so many healthful foods, and encourages regular physical activity, it can easily support weight loss.

Reference: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/01/07/us-news-best-diets-how-we-rated-32-eating-plans

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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