Category Archives: Farm Updates

What Is Kombucha?

December 30th, 2013

1476164_696877730331170_1587140984_n-2 copy

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:

kombucha1 copy

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

photo 3

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.

photo 2-1

Shopping and tasting goodies

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

photo 2-2

Mugs by Mike Calvin pottery

photo 3-1

Amy and her pottery from Alazan Ceramics

photo-63

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…

photo 1-1

Daniel with Guiltless

There were beautiful flower arrangements…

1460019_693125944039682_1991885088_n

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…

1473056_693116957373914_431967128_n

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!”

photo-65

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

IMG_5600

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Morrisons copy-600x448_0

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.”

* * *

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.

Making New Friends on Thanksgiving

December 3rd, 2013

Today, the CEO of Urban Acres, Joe Chou, shares his sentiments on a new UA tradition.  In Joe’s words…

image-7

UA’s Joe and Dehvon

At UA, we feel it’s always a great way to make or meet new friends by sharing common ground in our love for good food.

This year we were fortunate to meet Karelina and her family. In exchange for a UA-style home cooked Thanksgiving meal, Karelina offered to come to our store and teach our staff how to cook her family’s traditional tamale recipe that has been passed down by generations.

Our staff met at 5:30 on the morning of Thanksgiving ready to work.

image-9

UA’s Joe and Anita making homemade cinnamon rolls

image-10

image-11

We prepared honey glazed ham, whipped potatoes with bacon, sweet potatoes with Texas pecans, seasonal salad with homemade honey mustard, green beans, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie, and cornbread.

Karelina and her six children warmly greeted us with spicy pork tamales and brewed coffee in their living room at 9am. The children enthusiastically helped us break our language barrier by translating the conversation. They were proud to show off their medals and awards that reflected perfect attendance, their love for math and science, and ribbons for athletics.

image-6

UA team with Karelina and family

It was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends through the love of real, sustainable, healthy food.

* * *

Thank you Joe! We look forward to our staff tamale-making-class in a few weeks with Karelina.

Farm Update – Sand Creek Farms

September 16th, 2013

Ben godfreyUrban Acres has always wanted to provide its members with a connection to their food. We want you to know where your food is coming from and who is growing it. In an effort to provide more connections we are launching a series of Farm Updates, short simple interviews with the men and women growing your food. To kick things off we sat down with Ben Godfrey of Sand Creek Farms, here’s what he had to say.

So, how was your summer?
This is the time of the year that it is most challenging to be a farmer due to the heat.  This year we made a family decision to take a vacation from the heat.  We just returned from Eastern Tennessee and had a great time.  Next year we will go even further north or higher into the mountains.

That sounds amazing, any big plans for the Fall?
We are putting up new intern housing next week for our expanding internship program.  It will provide more room for the 8 interns that will be here this Fall. Pray that our well driller hits water as there is always a chance for a dry hole.

How are the aquaponics systems doing, any new developments?
The aquaponics systems are doing well and we are having great success with Asian greens despite the heat.  Tatsoi and Pak Choi love aquaponics.

How are the fields?
We are preparing the fields and starting transplants for the Fall.  We will start planting in the field after the first rain in September.  It is about to get busy around here.

Where’s the fruit?!

July 27th, 2013

1No matter how technologically advanced we become we still rely on good old mother nature when it comes to growing food, and when she refuses to cooperate it can mess with the timeline or availability of any crop. The weather in Texas is notoriously unpredictable and this summer is no exception. With unseasonably cool temps, heavy rainfall and hail storms, our local fruit have had the deck stacked against it. Texas favorites such as blueberries and peaches have struggled the most, some farms have seen as much as a 95% decrease in production this season.

Urban Acres has always been committed to buying what’s available locally first, while providing an eclectic mix of fruits and veggies for our members. While we would love to bring you the best organic fruit that Texas has to offer, our farmers just don’t have them available right now.

We certainly appreciate your patience with us, and our farmers, as we strive to bring you the best of Texas agriculture. Thank you for all of the positive feedback lately and thanks for being a part of the real food movement in Dallas.

Spring Farm Visit: Caprino Royale

May 14th, 2013

Our Urban Acres store team is on the road again today visiting some of our local farm partners.  First stop: Caprino Royale in Waco, home of the best goat cheese on the planet that we sell at UA.

caprino may 2013-6

Back row: Eric from Caprino, UA’s Andy, Hunter, and Samantha
Front row: Karen from Caprino, UA’s Amber

Eric and Karen from Caprino are currently working on a new blue cheese that we’ll be carrying soon, and they’ve also launched farm dinners that are already sold out with a wait list.  This fall, they’ll start hosting farm days so you can visit Caprino Royale and meet the playful goats.  So fun!

Currently, Caprino Royale has about 10 baby goats and one pregnant goat who may deliver today!

caprino may 2013-3

Greeting Andy

caprino may 2013-4

Piggybacking on Hunter

caprino may 2013-1

Chillin’

caprino may 2013-2

Like my ears?

* * *

About Caprino Royale

caprinoCaprino Royale is a micro-dairy and small sustainable farm in Waco, TX producing pasture based goat milk products.  The farm is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Eric Tippit and Karen Dierolf.  As James Bond fans, they created the name of their dairy from the word “Caprine,” the scientific term meaning “of or pertaining to goats” and as a spoof on the James Bond film Casino Royale. This developed into the goat herd name “Caprino Royale”.  Their herd consists of purebred registered Nubian goats, which are known for their superior quality of milk, high butterfat content, and friendly disposition (not to mention, their big floppy ears!). We think Caprino Royale’s goat-milk cheese (fromage de chevre) is simply the best.  For something sweet, try their Cajeta caramel sauce and Cajeta Pecan Cheese – yum.


Blueberry Update

May 6th, 2013
Greer Farm blueberries

Greer Farm blueberries

The freeze that unexpectedly hit Texas and other states last week hurt several of our farmers.  We reached out to Greer Farm in Daingerfield, TX, home of the amazing, juicy blueberries we all enjoy in the summer.  They replied, “We had a bad freeze  and will know in next week the extent of the crop for 2013.  There are berries, just a question of the amount and timing of the crop.”

We’re hoping and praying all of our local farmers pull through…and that we get lots of local blueberries this summer!