Category Archives: Irving

Member Highlight: Stephanie Suire Shares Two Real Food Recipes

September 22nd, 2011

Switching to organic vegetables made me realize how much better they taste when you are eating them fresh and in season. -Stephanie Suire

It’s time to get to know some of your fellow Urban Acres members! (see how to become a member here)

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Suire who picks up her co-op style produce at our Irving farm stand.  Stephanie is a full-time career mom of two young kids and a part-time healthy living blogger.  She joined Urban Acres at the beginning of 2011 and has called the farm store several times to figure out what new foods were in her bin.  She is still scared to cook beets.  After joining Urban Acres, her daughter decided that her new favorite snack food is kale chips. :)

Stephanie Suire and family

Stephanie, tell us what inspired you to become a part of Urban Acres.
I noticed the Urban Acres flyer at Irving Bible Church (IBC) one Sunday. A few weeks later, my husband and I visited the Urban Acres farm stand location to find out more about the produce co-op. My main goal was to include a wider variety of fruits and vegetables in our family’s diet. Eating more local and seasonal foods also sounded good, but since I am not a native Texan, I was not familiar with what foods are in season. Becoming a part of Urban Acres encourages our family us to try new vegetables, teaches us about what foods are in season and allows us to us support local Texas farmers.

When and why did you decide to start eating real, wholesome food?
About a year ago, I got fed up with feeding my family fast food or ordering take-out for dinner all the time. As a family with two working parents, it can be easy to fall into these habits out of convenience. My husband and I decided that with two young children, it was our responsibility to start teaching them about nutrition and healthy food choices. Now we eat organic meat and produce, cook healthy meals at home and pack our own food on road trips so we do not have to stop for fast food. Several months ago, I started a blog called Food and Fitness 4 Real where I write about our journey towards healthy living. On my blog you will my food philosophy, fitness tips, and healthy recipes (using Urban Acres produce of course!)

What is your favorite part about the “co-op style” produce?
My daughter and I both look forward to discovering what is in the produce bin each week. We have been introduced many new (to us) vegetables like kale, collards, swiss chard, turnips and beets. My second favorite part is coming up with new recipes for the produce, especially kid-friendly recipes that both my 5 yr. old daughter and 2 yr. old son will eat.

What is your favorite fruit? Favorite veggie? Why?
Blueberries have become one of my favorite fruits since we joined Urban Acres. Not only is it high in antioxidants, but it is very versatile too! I put blueberries in my warm oatmeal for breakfast, layer them with Greek yogurt and granola for parfaits, bake them into muffins and bread, stir them into pancake batter, or just eat them plain as a sweet treat.

Since I can’t pick one, I am going to call it a tie between sweet potatoes and carrots. Switching to organic vegetables made me realize how much better they taste when you are eating them fresh and in season. Now my husband and daughter both enjoy broccoli, squash and zucchini where in the past they would pass on these vegetables at dinner.

Do you have any produce tips for our other members?

  1. Don’t be afraid to start with a half-bin or share a full bin with another family or friends. Yes, there will be vegetables that you don’t recognize in your bin so don’t be scared to contact Urban Acres and ask questions.
  2. Prepare new vegetables several different ways to experience different flavors (did you know that roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness?)
  3. Keep your membership for an entire year so you can learn to eat real, wholesome food every season.

Please share your current favorite “real food recipe” with us.
Two of my favorite and most requested recipes are featured on Food and Fitness 4 Real.  The first one is Vegetable Lasagna with a rich tomato sauce loaded with fresh vegetables.  Although this version is vegetarian, you could add ground turkey or low-fat ground beef to the sauce before you assemble the lasagna.  My husband and kids loved these hearty, cheesy dish and the leftovers were gone in a flash!

photo: Stephanie Suire | foodandfitness4real.com

Blueberry Banana Muffins features my favorite fruit and is an easy recipe to make with kids.  Cooking and baking with children is a great way to encourage them to try new foods.  Kids will almost always try any food that they help make!  These muffins were extra moist from the mashed bananas in the batter and full of fresh blueberries.

photo: Stephanie Suire | foodandfitness4real.com

Contact us if you’d like to be featured in a future “Member Highlight”!


Local Shiitake Mushrooms – Slow & Quick Recipes

September 8th, 2011

This weekend, we’re getting some wonderful organic shiitake mushrooms from Texas Organic Mushrooms in Denison, TX.  Here are several recipe ideas, depending on how much time you have!

Slow Recipe: Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

Photo: SimplyRecipes.com

Get the recipe.

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Quick Recipe: Urban Acres Shiitake Mushroom Bruschetta

Get the recipe.

Other Recipe Ideas…

Storage Tips…

  • Fresh shiitake mushrooms will keep up to 14 days when they are stored in the refrigerator.
  • The best way to clean them is to simply wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth. The mushrooms are very porous and if they are exposed to too much water they will absorb it and become soggy. Don’t clean mushrooms until you are ready to use them.
  • The stems of Shiitake mushrooms are often tough and should be discarded or used to add flavor to sauces and stocks for other recipes.
  • Uncooked fresh mushrooms do not freeze well, but once they are cooked, they can be frozen. Clean, trim and slice the mushrooms; sauté them in oil or butter and cool to room temperature. Package in airtight ½ cup or 1 cup containers and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator before use.

Member Highlight: Carrie Solberg | Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

August 18th, 2011

It’s time to get to know some of your fellow Urban Acres members!  (see how to become a member here)

Carrie Solberg

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Solberg who also graciously hosts our co-op style produce farm stand in Southlake.  Carrie is a registered nurse and works for the Denton County Health Department. She grew up on her family’s farm in South Dakota where she was forever spoiled by farm fresh produce.

Carrie, tell us what inspired you to become a part of Urban Acres.
I’ve had several friends who have participated in produce co-op’s, and I was intrigued by their experiences. I’m always looking for ways to encourage myself to eat healthy and to consume more vegetables. Then one day I noticed a blurb about Urban Acres on a friend’s Facebook page and decided to sign up.

When and why did you decide to start eating real, wholesome food?
I was given a foundation for eating real, wholesome food during my childhood. I grew on on a farm in South Dakota. My father grew corn and soybeans and raised pigs as cash crops but my parents always had a large vegetable garden, strawberry beds, a melon patch, and a sweet corn patch. Unfortunately I had very little appreciation for this as a child. Now I just wish I could time my visits home to coincide with sweet corn season.

As an adult my initial motivation to eat healthy was to maintain a healthy weight, something I’ve always struggled with. I’ve also become more interested in how nutrition can affect a person’s overall health.

What is your favorite part about the “co-op style” produce?
I like the surprise of the produce bin. It feels like Christmas to me each time we have a produce pick-up day. I’ve discovered fruits and vegetables I didn’t even know existed and certainly have consumed types of produce I would never buy on my own at the supermarket. I also like playing a role in supporting our local farmers.

What is your favorite fruit? Favorite veggie? Why?
Fruit – there are several that I really like but one in particular was a new discovery to me last year, Asian Pears. I especially like them paired with blue cheese on a green salad. I also like the Texas grown blueberries we’ve had. I didn’t know blueberries could be so sweet ’til I discovered those last year. I try to buy extra and freeze them for out of season consumption. Veggie – broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini would probably be a three-way tie. Zucchini bread is one of my favorite breads to make.

Please share your current favorite “real food recipe” with us.
I don’t think you can ever go wrong with roasted garlic. I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

Ina Garten’s Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of garlic
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
41/2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I would recommend decreasing to about 1 Tablespoon)

To toast pine nuts – place in dry saute pan and saute for 10 minutes over low heat.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel, and cut large cloves in half lengthwise.

On a sheet pan, toss cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes. Toss twice. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and garlic is lightly browned.

Scrape cauliflower mixture into a large bowl. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Local In This Weekend’s Shares: Okra, Yukon Golds, Sweet Potatoes

August 11th, 2011

Some of the featured local items we’ve planned* for this weekend’s co-op style produce shares are:

  • Okra
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes

…all from Austin, TX!

*When working with fresh produce, availability can sometimes change last-minute.  We do our best to let you know what’s coming ahead of time, but sometimes things do change, especially when working with local farmers.  Thanks for your understanding!

Recipe ideas…

Leave a comment and let us know what recipes you make with your produce…

Asian Pears from Blooming Grove, TX

July 28th, 2011

Correction: We had previously said the Asian Pears were coming from Austin, TX – our mistake!  They are from our farmers in Blooming Grove, TX.

This weekend, the co-op style produce shares will include Asian Pears from Blooming Grove, TX.  Ever had one?  Asian pears taste like a cross between an apple and a pear but have a very distinct flavor and texture.

Asian pears are usually round, firm to touch when ripe, and are ready to eat after harvest.   They are crisp, juicy, and slightly sweet with some tartness, especially near the core.  And a huge bonus?  They’re known for keeping well!  Store Asian pears for a week at room temperature or up to three months (yes, months!) in the refrigerator.

Asian Pear Slaw with Chilies

from fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

6 celery ribs
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger root
6 Asian Pears, sliced ¼-inch thick
3 scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal
¼ cup cilantro leaves
½ tsp Fresno chili or Jalapeno chili, finely chopped

Whisk together juice, vinegar, and ginger and stir in celery and remaining ingredients with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

* * *

More Asian Pear recipes…

* In all of these recipes, we recommend using pure cane sugar or sucanat instead of processed sugar, and farm-fresh milk or cream, where it calls for those ingredients.

Post a comment and let us know how you like them!

This Weekend’s Shares: Local Blueberries! Eggplant! Melons! Leeks!

July 14th, 2011

Once again, there will be a plethora of local produce in the co-op style produce shares this weekend.  Some of the local items planned* to be in your share are:

  • Red potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers from Cleburne, TX
  • Plump blueberries from LaRue, TX
  • Eggplant, melons, and leeks from Austin, TX

Please keep our farmers in your thoughts as they battle the intense heat and lack of rains right now.  Thanks to your support, we can help keep them going!

*When working with fresh produce, availability can sometimes change last-minute.  We do our best to let you know what’s coming ahead of time, but sometimes things do change, especially when working with local farmers.  Thanks for your understanding!

Photo: smittenkitchen.com

Recipe ideas…

Leave a comment and let us know what recipes you make with your produce…