Category Archives: Farm Updates

Meet the Ladies ~ Cee Lo

January 21st, 2014

Have you had the chance to visit the chicken coop at the Urban Acres Farmstead yet? Our 4 grown ladies have been busy clucking away. As the weather gets warmer, they have more and more to say. It’s a great feeling to provide these hens a home in an urban setting. Today, we’ll start a four part series to introduce you to the ladies of the Farmstead’s chicken coop.

Courtney Lorraine, a.k.a. Cee-Lo

It was a beautiful spring day when the Baileys, the founders of Urban Acres, made a visit to Gecko Hardware, which also happens to be our Lake Highlands produce pickup location. It was love at first sight when the Baileys’ young daughter spotted a chick with tiny fluffy, feathered feet –  a Black Cochin.  She hopped into their hands and was there to stay.  They named her Courtney Lorraine, a.k.a. Cee-Lo, because something about the Black Cochin‘s feathered swagger reminded them of the famous flamboyant pop artist.

Baby Cee-Lo with her new family, the Baileys

Baby Cee-Lo with her new family, the Baileys

The Baileys couldn’t stop loving on her. She settled into her new family and loved walking around the house while perched on Steven’s shoulder to get used to her new environment.

Checking out the house with Steven

Checking out the house with Steven

Fed on organic, non-GMO feed, Cee-Lo grew quickly.  She loved pecking and foraging in the Baileys’ backyard, and soon it was time to move her into her new home at the Farmstead.

She is a pullet, which means she is pre-egg-laying age. We’re expecting eggs from her any day now. Out of the four ladies, Cee-Lo is always first to investigate when fresh water is put out and loves to be the first to drink.

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Cee-Lo perching on the ramp in the coop

Make sure you say hello to Cee-Lo when you visit the Farmstead. She will definitely cluck back to you.

Gluten Free, Please!

January 15th, 2014

More and more people are visiting the Farmstead looking for answers to their health-related questions, and our staff is eager to educate about non-GMO products, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and low-pasteurized milk. Most of us don’t think about food making us sick, but sadly more and more people live with food-related allergies. We asked one of the Urban Acres staffers, Barbara Bailey, a few questions on her experience living with a gluten allergy.

Barbara, tell us how you realized that you have a gluten allergy.

Barbara Bailey

Barbara Bailey

I’ve lived my life extremely healthy, eating organic, non-GMO products, since the birth of my son. I’ve always tried to eat small portions to keep my body fit and trim. But while eating small portions, I did feel bloated and sick to my stomach at times. Two years ago I decided to go on a one-month cleanse – I was comfortable with the doctor led program. After the cleanse, the first thing I wanted to eat was the freshly toasted bagel my son was holding in his hands. Eating the bagel, I was savoring the salty taste of fresh smelling bread, but sadly my stomach didn’t agree with my taste buds. Within minutes, I knew something was going wrong. The memories of that first night after the cleanse helped me say no to bread, as I knew it, for the rest of my life.

What is celiac disease?

It is a genetic digestive disease resulting from not being able to tolerate gluten. The gluten is the name of specific types of protein in certain crops, such as wheat, barley, rye. A person’s immune system with this disease destroys the lining of the small intestine, causing poor absorption of nutrients. It is a genetic disease and can manifest itself anytime in a person’s life.

Were you diagnosed with celiac?

The actual diagnosis is done by a blood test. Since I was on a gluten-free diet due to my cleanse, the blood test was inconclusive. The only way the doctor was able to get a proper diagnosis was if I went back to eating products with gluten in them. I refused to make myself feel sick on purpose. Sadly, 1 in 133 Americans have this disease, and they do not even know it.

Can celiac be treated?

The only treatment is to eat a gluten-free diet.

What is a gluten-free diet? And do you miss eating old favorites?

A gluten-free diet is when you eliminate all sources of gluten. Eating out on a gluten-free diet can be a challenge at times, although thankfully there are more and more restaurants that try to cater to people with gluten intolerance. And if all else fails, you can always eat salad sprinkled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt. I used to miss bread but after two years of living without it, I am happier baking my own “stomach happy” version. Thankfully my baking skills improved tremendously since following Elana Amsterdam’s blog.  Here’s one of my favorite recipes…

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Barbara’s homemade bread

Elana’s Bread 2.0

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Thanks, Barbara. Check out our past blog posts under Gluten-Free Challenge for more recipes and Dallas restaurant suggestions.

 

What Is Kombucha?

December 30th, 2013

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Now on tap at the Urban Acres FarmsteadHoly Kombucha!  We’re thrilled to be able to provide our members and customers with this great health drink.  You can buy it by the cup to enjoy with your sandwich or in half-gallon glass “growlers” which are jugs that can be purchased and refilled at the Farmstead whenever you like.

{Random fact: kombucha can never be put in metal containers as it can damage the drink.}

So what is kombucha and why is it so great?  Kombucha has a uniquely tangy taste with an abundance of probiotic cultures in each bottle. Once referred to as the “elixir of life,” the health benefits of kombucha have been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries.

8 Things to Know About Kombucha:

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Ready to try some?  Come see us this weekend!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 23rd, 2013

‘Tis the season to thank our volunteers and team members for all their hard work and continuous dedication to change how Dallas thinks about food. We welcomed them all at our Urban Acres Holiday Party this weekend at the warehouse where the co-op style produce shares are prepared every Friday morning.

Volunteers and Team members share experiences

Volunteers and team members share experiences

Our volunteers learned about the things that happen behind the scenes, mingled with our team members, and everyone enjoyed delicious personal pizza by the Costanzo brothers. Steven Bailey, founder of Urban Acres, walked around with a group of food enthusiasts showing them the warehouse “where magic happens”.

Chatting while personal pizzas were prepared

Chatting while personal pizzas are prepared

Personal pizzas were prepared by

Personal pizzas being prepared in a mobile wood-fire oven

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Mingling

We’re always humbled to see how dedicated our volunteers are. It’s a great feeling to hear them share the importance of fresh, local, and organic produce with others.

We’re looking forward to getting more involved with our communities in 2014.  Wishing you a beautiful holiday season!

The Show Must Go On…

December 16th, 2013

And it surely did go on. Our members have proven to be resilient to Texas weather. The deck at the Farmstead was full of faithful customers and our local artisans this weekend at our Third Annual Urban Acres Holiday Market.

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Shopping and tasting goodies

There was plenty of pottery and art to decorate your home…

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Mugs by Mike Calvin pottery

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Amy and her pottery from Alazan Ceramics

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Amy Riley created her drawings by carving the wood, painting, and then pressing on paper

There was delicious comfort food that kept you feeling energized with gluten free ingredients…

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Daniel with Guiltless

There were beautiful flower arrangements…

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Flowers by Miriana of Flower Power Nation

There were variety of essential oils for your emotional and physical wellness…

The handcrafted gifts from recycled materials were a big hit…

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Crafts by Kitschy

Everyone was greeted with warm potato soup made by our staff in the store. Customer Mrs. Smith happily announced, “My husband and I already had a cupful. It’s delicious. Make sure you have some for yourself while it’s warm!”

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Inside of the Farmstead

If you missed this great event don’t fret, we’ll have our artisans visiting again soon!

Partnerships That Count

December 6th, 2013
We love the white flake decoration at the Farmstead

We love the white flake decoration at the Farmstead

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Snow and ice on the ground can halt life in our big city, but how does bad weather affect the farmers that we work with at Urban Acres? In short, it greatly affects them, and your partnership really matters.

Because of your commitment to local, fresh, organic food, we’ve been able to build numerous relationships with farmers in the Dallas area who count on us purchasing produce from them and even plant crops especially for us. Some of these smaller farms don’t have the opportunity to serve grocery store chains or even insure their crops. We’re extremely fortunate to know these farmers personally – we’ve met their families and been to their farms so we can see exactly where our food comes from. We have a commitment to these farmers just as much as they are committed to growing excellent produce for us.

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The Morrisons

Here’s a great example – last week, the radishes in our co-op style produce shares from Morrison Organic Farm had no leaves due to a cold front.  Thankfully, these radishes were saved from frostbite because of being underground, but younger radish plants did not survive the cold. Even though the Morrisons lost most of their crop, they kept a positive spirit and are ready for new planting possibilities.  Says Cindy Morrison, “We are excited to be able to save some of the crop for UA members.”

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So, we just wanted to thank you for your partnership, especially in times of crazy weather and changed delivery schedules. If we stick together, farmers can continue doing what they love most, and we can rest assured that we’re receiving the freshest organic produce available in Texas.