Category Archives: Oak Cliff

Member Highlight: Bre Taylor

June 10th, 2014

It’s time to get to know more of your fellow Urban Acres members!

Bre Taylor

Bre Taylor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bre Taylor, one of our longest-running members and one of our first employees.  In fact, if you remember our very first store location at Delafuente’s produce stand, Bre probably rung up your total on a calculator (before we even had a cash register!).

Bre is a wife and mother of two who runs the website Nourishing the Home. She’s also a representative for doTerra essential oils. For more info and upcoming live and online classes, contact Bre via her website or follow her on Facebook or Instagram for ongoing oil tips.

We’re so thankful to Bre and her family for their loyalty and partnership through the years.  Now without further ado…

Bre teaching at the Farmstead

Bre teaching at the Farmstead

Bre, what inspired you to become a part of Urban Acres?

My husband, Jon, and I were going through a kind of personal nutrition revolution when we were pregnant with our first child in 2010. Jon read Nourishing Traditions from cover-to-cover (which is no easy feat), and it really inspired us to find locally pastured meats, organic fresh-from-the-*local*-farm produce and even raw milk. We met the owners (Steven and Christine Bailey) when picking up some meat, a friendship formed, and the rest is history. I was also the second ever employee at Urban Acres which was a lot of fun to be a part of it at the beginning. Now, I’m fortunate to be one of the teachers at the Farmstead teaching monthly classes about the benefits and versatility of essential oils.

What is your favorite part about the co-op style produce?

I love knowing that we’re helping support our local farmers. With modern day grocery stores, there is such a disconnect now about where our food comes from. It’s just provided for us with no real thought of how it got there and who did all the work planting, growing, watering and just overall caring for our food. I am trying to plan our family’s meals based on seasonal produce and the co-op style helps me do that too because a majority of the basket is what’s in season.

Do you grow any food at home? If so, what’s growing in your garden right now?

Yes, still a beginner for sure but trying to grow more every season. Right now I have some tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers growing bigger every day and a collection of everyday herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil.

What is your favorite fruit, veggie? Why?

Probably zucchini. There are just so many things you can do with it and so many different kinds of dishes – breakfast muffins, zucchini noodles in spaghetti (love my Spiralizer!) or zucchini brownies for dessert.

What is your favorite site to get recipes from?

Pinterest, Plan To Eat (where I meal plan too) and Urban Acres. I love the Produce Finder on the UA site because it gives me storage tips as well as recipes – especially for that random “what is THIS?” item that can turn up in the produce share sometimes. I used to be the communicator of what was in the share every week in the beginning and wish we’d had this amazing tool then, so definitely take advantage of it if you’re not already!

Do you have any produce tips for other members?

Clean, divide and conquer. As soon as I get home (OK, not every time but I try to) I make my veggie wash with water and Lemon essential oil and soak the fruits and veggies that would benefit from a soak. Then I divvy up what may be needed for a certain recipe or maybe my smoothie/juicing drawer and do the proper drying/wrapping in paper towel/etc to keep it fresh. When we put it off, our produce definitely doesn’t last as long, so taking that extra hour or so after share pickup saves us time in the long run (and our produce!).

Please share one of your favorite “real food recipes” with us.

Nothing fancy but I love a good omelette. I’m not good in the kitchen like my husband is so I like dishes that come together quickly and that are still nutritious. All you need is some great farm fresh eggs (with that delicious dark yolk), some healthy oils/fats and lots of veggies from the bin. Boom.

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Bre’s class this month at the Farmstead…

Summertime Essential Oils with Bre Taylor of Nourishing The Home

Monday, June 16th @ 7:00pm

The sun is high in the sky and Summer is here!  Join Bre Taylor to learn about the amazing versatility of essential oils and how you can use them for summer.  Learn recipes for natural sunscreen, bug spray and even a yummy lemonade mix!

Hands-on class, limited to 10 students.

- Organic ingredients
- Take-home gift
- $30 per person

Reserve seats by clicking HERE.

Summer Squash From The Morrisons

June 4th, 2014
The Morrisons' incredible squash

The Morrisons’ incredible squash

Summer squash season is about to be in full swing!   Soon, the produce shares will be seeing a bounty of beautiful zucchini and yellow squash, all Texas-grown by our farmers, Jacky and Cindy Morrison of Morrison Organic Farm in Comanche.

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Look for a postcard from The Morrisons in the bin of your latest produce share.  Here’s an excerpt from the letter they wrote…

The Morrisons

“You have no idea how much the partners at Urban Acres help & inspire us!  As a member, when you get your produce from Urban Acres, like us, you become ‘stewards of the land’…We are so grateful for being able to continue to do what we love and promise to strive to grow an abundant supply of fresh organic vegetables for you.”

 

 

They’ll also be supplying us with local radishes and okra.  We hope you enjoy this produce that was grown for you with love!

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To help you anticipate all the fresh summer squash coming your way, we’ve put together some easy recipe ideas.  In case you’re wondering, here are some tips on how to cook summer squash, and yes, they can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Image source: prouditaliancook.com

Image source: prouditaliancook.com

Italian Style Zucchini Boats

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Image source: prouditaliancook.com

Baked Yellow Squash with Mushrooms

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Image source: myvegancookbook.com

>> Get more squash recipes on our site here <<

Community Day – Celebrating Oak Cliff, Real Food, and Texas Farmers

May 23rd, 2014
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Photo: Travis Lilley

Last Saturday was our first annual Urban Acres Community Day – what a blast!  Thanks to everyone who came out to the Farmstead on the perfect warm, breezy spring day to celebrate Oak Cliff, real food, and Texas farmers.

There was fun for all ages…

Kids hopped over a ring of hay bales and adorned our parking lot with names and pictures written in chalk.  They played with pinwheels and chased after bubbles without a care in the world.

Photo: Travis Lilley

Photo: Travis Lilley

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Photo: Travis Lilley

The petting zoo was a hit, filled with potbellied pigs, goats, ducks, chickens, and bunnies. 

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Photo: Travis Lilley

Photo: Travis Lilley

Photo: Travis Lilley

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Photo: Travis Lilley

Adults kicked back on the patio, mingling with friends old and new.  We were serenaded by an awesome local band while enjoying locally-inspired food from the Farmstead kitchen: grass-fed beef hot dogs with homemade kraut and pickled turnips, homemade strawberry and blueberry hand pies, Maine Root soda and Holy Kombucha on tap.

Photo: Travis Lilley

Photo: Travis Lilley

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Photo: Travis Lilley

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Photo: Travis Lilley

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Photo: Travis Lilley

Even some of our local Texas farmers were able to slip away from their daily tasks to be a part of Community Day – Hudspeth Farm from Forestburg gave out samples of their delicious raw milk.  My Father’s Farm from Seguin showcased their microgreens. Garden Harvests from Waxahachie shared their chard and beets.  And Texas Honeybee Guild came with a fascinating display of live bees.

Hudspeth Farm giving out raw milk samples // Photo: Travis Lilley

Hudspeth Farm // Photo: Travis Lilley

My Father's Farm from Seguin, TX showcases their microgreens // Photo: Travis Lilley

My Father’s Farm // Photo: Travis Lilley

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Texas Honeybee Guild // Photo: Travis Lilley

Some of our other local friends were there for the fun, like OakFit (Oak Cliff’s new community-driven gym), Scott Calvin Pottery, Gecko Hardware, and Dallas Fire-Rescue.

OakFit // Photo: Travis Lilley

OakFit // Photo: Travis Lilley

Scott Calvin Pottery // Photo: Travis Lilley

Scott Calvin Pottery // Photo: Travis Lilley

Photo: Travis Lilley

Dallas Firefighters // Photo: Travis Lilley

Gecko Hardware’s superstar rooster mascot, George, was toted around like a puppy all over the Farmstead and even participated in yoga on the lawn by our local studio, Sync.

George with folks from Gecko Hardware // Photo: Travis Lilley

George with folks from Gecko Hardware // Photo: Travis Lilley

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George watches Sync Yoga on the lawn // Photo: Travis Lilley

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Sync Yoga on the lawn // Photo: Travis Lilley

As our special thanks, all Community Day attendees went home with a free sapling of a Bur Oak tree to plant in the neighborhood.

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Photo: Travis Lilley

At the end of the event, we overheard a little girl say to her parents, “I wanna go back to the petting zoo!  I want to spend the rest of my time there with the animals.”  And we were reminded that this is exactly what our Urban Acres community is about – connecting people with their food, the land, and each other.

From all our staff and volunteers, THANK YOU for letting us be a part of this amazing community!  See you again soon.

UA volunteer with Marketing Coordinator Barbara Bailey // Photo: Travis Lilley

UA volunteer Courtney with Marketing Coordinator Barbara Bailey // Photo: Travis Lilley

UA staffer Jackie // Photo: Travis Lilley

UA staffer Jackie // Photo: Travis Lilley

>> SEE ALL COMMUNITY DAY PHOTOS HERE.

It’s Mint to Be!

March 28th, 2014

Urban Acres has a great surprise for its members this weekend. The produce bins will be full with the fragrant smelling mint. Urban Acres provides new recipes in its produce finder on a weekly basis, but for today’s blog Barbara Bailey, our marketing coordinator, will share her thoughts. Barbara begged for days to be able to write this blog and we are curious to hear her information.

As soon as I saw the produce list for this weekend, I immediately volunteered my recipes for the Urban Roost. Of course, I was inspired by the lovely herb ~ mint. I started to write my prize winning recipe for the best Mojito on the planet when I realized, that …(ahem) I do work for a health conscious company. And since I haven’t found any organic rum, I had to slightly alter my Mojito recipe to be acceptable by the standards of Urban Acres.

The best way to create the fizzy taste of a virgin Mojito is to use the ~ oh so delicious ~ kombucha. Kombucha not only will make this drink refreshing but also will calm your gut.

Kombucha Mojito (serving size for one)

- 11 mint leaves
- 1/4 lime, halved
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- 2 oz HOLY green apple ginger kombucha *
- 1 cup ice, crushed
- mint leaves, for decoration

* You can buy this and many other flavors by the growler at the Farmstead.

Muddle the mint leaves, lime, and sugar until the mint flavor releases. Add the ice and pour the kombucha over it. Stir with your muddler, decorate, and enjoy.

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Barbara’s virgin Mojito

After drinking a glass of this tasty drink, you might start to think what else you could use the rest of your mint leaves for. Well, if you like to pamper yourself after a long day of work, you have to try my homemade body scrub. I love the smell of mint and coconut, so I came up with a recipe to keep the fragrance lingering with me all night.

Coconut Mint Body Scrub

- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and keep it in an air-tight container for up to a month.

Barbara's natural body scrub

Barbara’s natural body scrub

Use in the shower by gently rubbing the sugar scrub over your body. You will love the smoothness and smell of your skin after using this natural body scrub.

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Well friends, we promised Barbara that if she gets enough requests on our blog, she can share with you her prize winning Mojito recipe.

 

Container Gardening

March 15th, 2014

Finally the good weather is here and we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the first seedlings at the Farmstead. Anita Mills, the Urban Acres master gardener, has been busy planting bulbs and seeds in all the containers around the Farmstead. And even though bad weather conditions tried to delay the planting process,  Anita has been unstoppable. The UA containers don’t look alive at this time but they will be a colorful addition to the urban landscape by the middle of April.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

Pallets cut down and reformed into planter. Potatoes were planted on Wednesday.

Pallets cut down and reformed into a planter. Potatoes were planted for early July harvest.

Container plants lend instant color, provide a focal point in the garden, or tie in the architecture of the house to the garden. Place them on the ground or on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Follow this easy Step by Step Guide and your containers will be full of happy plants come Spring and Summer

Choosing the right Container for Planting

Size: When choosing a container, keep in mind that it’s easier to grow plants in large containers than small ones. That’s because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and is less subject to rapid temperature fluctuations.

Drainage: Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential. Without drainage, soil will become waterlogged and plants may die.

Materials: Each type of container has its pros and cons.

  • Clay or terra-cotta containers are attractive but breakable and are easily damaged by freezing and thawing.
  • Cast concrete pots are long-lasting but very heavy, so they are difficult to move and not suitable for using on decks or balconies.
  • Plastic and fiberglass pots and planters are lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and available in many sizes and shapes.
  • Wood is natural looking and protects roots from rapid temperature swings. You can build wooden planters yourself.
  • Metals are strong, but they conduct heat, exposing roots to rapid temperature fluctuations. Metal must be lined with plastic for growing edibles.

Preparing Your Containers

Since containers are heavy once they are filled with soil, decide where they will be located and move them into position before filling and planting. If keeping them watered during the day is a problem, look for sites that receive morning sun and are shaded during the hottest part of the day, even if you are growing plants for full sun. Afternoon shade will reduce the amount of moisture plants need.

Selecting Plants

Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container. Dwarf and compact cultivars are best, especially for smaller pots. Select plants to suit the climate and the amount of sun or shade the container will receive.

Vegetables and herbs: You can grow vegetables in individual containers, like a single tomato plant or put several smaller vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in one pot.

Annuals: For containers that remain attractive all summer long, look for warm-weather annuals that bloom all summer or have foliage that remains attractive. Geraniums, marigolds, wax begonias, scarlet sage are all good choices.

Perennials and shrubs: Containers planted with hardy perennials and shrubs can be grown and enjoyed from year to year. Hostas and daylilies are great container plants, but many other perennials work as well.

Caring for Container Plants

Water container plants thoroughly. How often depends on many factors such as weather, plant size, and pot size. Don’t let soil in containers dry out completely, as it is hard to re-wet. To keep large containers attractive, spread a layer of mulch as you would in the garden. This will also help retain moisture. Be sure to keep mulch an inch or so away from plant stems.

Container plants need regular feeding. Fertilize them by watering with compost tea (Worm Shine is available at the Farmstead).

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

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Anita will be offering gardening classes at the Farmstead in the next couple of weeks. Make sure you check our class schedule often.

Courtesy of Organic Gardening

Meet the Ladies ~ Dolly

February 10th, 2014

Our ladies have been quite a troopers these past few days. They kept close to each other to keep warm. We saw them all bundled up together in the Farmstead coop through these cold winter nights.

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The ladies in the coop

You have been reading about our ladies the last few weeks and today, you will learn to love the last lady of the coop, Dolly…

Dolly

Dolly is a Barred Rock, and is the oldest of our coop flock. Her coloring is a speckled black and white. She is our grand dame, the alpha hen, who loves to push the others around. Dolly is the first to emerge at feeding time from the safety of the coop. She always comes out clucking to find what goodies have been spread out in the run for sampling and is always the first to claim a piece of pear.

Dolly

Dolly

Dolly has been very vocal since arriving to the Baileys many years ago. After many days of listening her clucking away, she got named after the most popular country singer of our time, Dolly Parton. She didn’t disappoint the crowed visiting the coop the other day. She delighted both young and old with her “music”.

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Visitors at the coop

It’s always a joy to see young children connect to these lovely ladies. The purpose of the coop and its residents to educate the community about the lives of farm animals. Come visit and say hello to Dolly and her sisters next time you visit the Farmstead in Oak Cliff.