Good Eats From The Farmstead Kitchen

September 18th, 2014

Have you dined with us yet at the Farmstead?  Our Farmstead Kitchen specializes in local and organic ingredients, providing a place to enjoy great food and support local Texas agriculture. Bring your friends, family, and kids, and dine on our patio at one of our communal farm tables!

UA_patio10654891_823899200964562_396501500_nNEW HOURS

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8am-2pm
  • Friday: 8am-8pm
  • Saturday: 8am-6pm
  • Sunday: 9am-5pm

While you’re there, give a high-five to our new head chef, David Rodriguez. David brings his creativity and passion for farm-to-table cuisine to the UA family and has taken our weekly-revolving menu to the next level.  We’ve been wowed by David’s dishes and are excited to see what he’s going to come up with each week using the local, seasonal produce at his fingertips.

David cookingOur Farmstead Kitchen is committed to using…

  • 100% Organic Produce
  • Grass-Fed Dairy
  • Fair-Trade Spices
  • Pastured Meats
  • Products that do not contain Pesticides or Hormones, Artificial Flavoring, Hydrogenated Oils, MSG, or GMOs.

Here are some of the staple items you’ll see…

“The Perfect Granola”

This is our Urban Acres original, well, perfect granola recipe. We’re proud to say it’s also made with the very best 100% organic ingredients: rolled oats, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, cane sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, coconut oil, & maple syrup.

perfect granola 1
Organic Pizza

We combine a secret pizza dough recipe, local grass-fed dairy, and the best Texas produce to create pizzas that are delicious, local, and ethical.

IMG_8534

"Pizza Dough Joe" mixing the dough for the weekend

“Pizza Dough Joe” mixing the dough for the weekend

Breakfast

Our breakfast menu is constantly changing based on what’s in season, but you can expect handmade organic cinnamon rolls and homemade farm tacos, quiche, and croissants, to name a few.   And don’t forget the locally roasted coffee!

cinnamon_rollQuiche
Lunch

Just like our breakfast menu, the lunch menu is built around the very best seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. From our famous “Pig and Fig Sandwich” to Kale Salads, we strive to have something for all diets (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian), while showcasing the best ingredients around.

Sandwich
Baked Goods

Our talented baker Ali is always conjuring up something drool-worthy: scones, breads, pies, and cookies celebrating quality ingredients and the best local and seasonal produce.

Ali_Bakingsquash_bread10644079_822683097762369_1033426474_nWe hope to see you at the Farmstead soon!  Come hungry… :)

Every Drop Of Water Counts

September 11th, 2014

Can you imagine being utterly dependent upon every rain drop?   For lifetime farmers like our good friends Jacky and Cindy Morrison of Morrison Organic Farm, every drop of water counts.  Last summer, they moved from Cleburne, TX to their new 157-acre farm in Comanche, TX.

“Life on our new plot of land has been great,” says Cindy.   “We’ve been spending the last year adding nutrients back into the soil, as some would say ‘healing the land.’  We’re finally at the point where we’re growing food on many acres of the farm…lots of it for Urban Acres produce shares!”

Planting fields

Planting fields

As of this week, The Morrisons are “crazy busy” planting and cultivating fields. Although they do have good irrigation systems set up, they were still desperate for rain for their okra crop, which is not on irrigation.  Thankfully, they received 2.3 inches of rain a few weeks back!  In addition to okra, they’re planting pie pumpkins, winter squash, and white cucumbers.

White cucumbers

White cucumbers

Pie pumpkins

Pie pumpkins

Winter squash

Winter squash

Jacky and Cindy are currently living in the upstairs quarters of their barn, but they haven’t had time to completely finish the buildings (too busy farming!). They still need to install their kitchen and are hoping to do so this winter.

Through our relationship to farmers like The Morrisons, we’re all connected to something that’s really old, really simple, and really important: the food we eat comes from real places and real people.  

Urban Acres members and friends, thank you for using your dollars and voices to support local farmers like Jacky and Cindy who sacrifice so much to bring delicious organic food to our tables. 

Meet Our Friends At Garden Harvests

September 8th, 2014

Because of your support, our friends at Garden Harvests in Waxahachie, TX are fulfilling their dreams.  In fact, one main reason for the recent change in produce shares is to support farmers like this, to be able to take smaller farmers under our wings and not make it mandatory to grow huge numbers to sell to us.

garden harvests 1 copyGarden Harvests is a family partnership of Jessica Longoria and her mother-in-law, Fina, who started the farm almost a decade ago.  Together, they’re cultivating 5 acres in Waxahachie, TX.  Jessica got involved 7 years ago and started doing most of the labor, while Fina joins her in the early morning before it gets too hot.   Between the two of them, they’re able to harvest everything they grow, usually about an acre per person.  Pretty amazing!

Garden Harvests FinaWhen we talked with Jessica recently, she could barely hear us over the weed-eating she was doing and welcomed a break from the heat to talk…

“We were so thankful for the rain we got on August 18th,” she said.  “We were really struggling, because the rain kept passing over us.”   Jessica said they’re currently growing a crop of green beans which are planted with 50 x 100 ft rows on one acre and 30 x 100 ft rows on another half acre. They’ll all be harvested by hand by Jessica and her mother-in-law.

Jessica and Fina are looking forward to planting some delicious greens, like spinach and kale, this fall.  They’ll also be growing zucchini and potted kale when the soil cools in late September.

Garden Harvests Jess zucch rowsWe can’t wait to have some fresh goodies from Garden Harvests in our produce shares this fall.  Thank you for all of your hard work, Jessica and Fina.  We appreciate you so much!

“Best Ever” Apples & Pears From Austin Family Farm

September 4th, 2014
1361935164_359510298a7f

Apples on the tree at Austin Family Farm

September is here.  That means back-to-school and the best apples ever from Austin Family Farm in Paonia, Colorado!

austin family farmsThis year we’ll also be getting Bartlett pears from Austin Family Farm, in addition to the unbelievable gala apples that are – hands down – the best apples we’ve ever tasted.  The produce shares for the next few weeks will have these treasured fruits from the Austin family.

Glenn Austin is no ordinary farmer – over the past 70 years, this fifth-generation farmer has elevated food cultivation to an art form.  That’s right. He’s 70-years-old. And when it comes to agriculture, Glenn’s seen (and done) just about everything… {read the whole story}

Harvest at Austin Family Farm

Harvest at Austin Family Farm

Here are some apple and pear recipes to inspire you…

Chicken-Apple Bake With Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

054-600x400Vanilla Roasted Pears
4167594475_22fda33267

What are you going to do with your apples and pears?  Make applesauce?  Add them to a recipe?  Or just eat them raw?

Let us know in the comments below!

A Visit To Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms

September 1st, 2014

If you’ve been to the Farmstead lately, you’ve likely met our friendly Retail Manager, Jackie Parr.  Jackie and her husband, Will, are passionate about local, organic farming and are on the path to having their own farm in the very near future.  Here’s a memorable experience Jackie had recently that she wanted to share with you…

* * *

Basketball has Michael Jordan. Golf has Tiger Woods. Filmmakers have Steven Spielberg. Every profession has icons, a person that you look up to and associate with being the absolute best in their field. Even physicians and holistic care practitioners have people like Dr. Oz and Andrew Weil.  For those who have chosen to take the path to become sustainable farmers, Joel Salatin is that name.

Joel-4-200x300Joel Salatin is truly an icon for sustainable farming and one of our Urban Acres heroes.   His 550-acre family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Polyface, is featured prominently in Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and the documentary films, Food, Inc. and Fresh.  In the last few years through our Steward’s Dinners, we’ve been able to build a wonderful relationship with Joel.  He was even present at our Farmstead ribbon cutting ceremony in January.  Sought-after author, public speaker, locavore, and full time farmer, Joel has been an inspiration to many, from the beginning farmer to the everyday American wanting to become more intimate with their food sources.

Joel cutting the ribbon

Joel cutting the ribbon

So, you can imagine how excited we were when my husband, Will, was selected to spend the summer at Polyface for their summer internship program.  Earlier this month, I got the opportunity to visit Will and see the farm. What an incredible experience!  Aside from the tranquility that’s found outside the hustle and bustle of the city, there was a certain positive energy I felt there. Things just felt right at Polyface. Everything appeared balanced and synergized.

Polyface Sign

Jackie and her husband Will representing Oak Cliff and UA at Polyface :)

We parked by the farm store on the property and started our personalized tour of the farm. We started near the greenhouse, at the rabbits.  Hannah, a Polyface apprentice, is currently managing the rabbits. Just like the meat and laying chickens, the rabbits had a portable pin that gets moved every so often to keep them with fresh pasture to graze and a new area to fertilize. Daniel Salatin, Joel’s son, has been breeding their rabbits to meet their needs for about 25 years.

RabbitsFrom there, it was a short walk to the meat chickens which are moved each day to a new piece of land to de-bug and fertilize.

Meat Chickens

Meat chickens

We also saw the chicken and turkey processing area. The meat chickens are processed at 9 weeks. They are caught by hand, cut, defeathered, and processed right there on the farm. They are then bagged and iced. Will told me sometimes they don’t even make it to the ice because the customer is standing right there to take their chicken home. Talk about farm to table!

Chicken & turkey processing area

Chicken & turkey processing area

Then, down to the barn where the smaller pigs are kept before they’re old enough to be on pasture. Since this is the only animal Will and I have ever raised, this was probably my favorite area.  The pigs in this picture are only a couple weeks away from being on the pasture.

PigsWe met a few of the other interns and were on our way to the egg mobiles. The laying hens were beautiful!

Hens and Egg MobileAs we were approaching the fencing around their pasture area, we noticed that one of those ladies had gotten onto the outside of the fence.  Will and I worked together to corner her and Will effortlessly snatched her leg and got her back in the fence. As she squawked with displeasure, the guarding goose came running over to see what we had done to his hen! The Salatins use a single goose with each group of hens to protect the hens and alert the Salatins, and their dog Michael, if there is trouble amongst their ladies.

The laying hens are in what is called a “featherpin.” A special netting goes around the coop to keep the chickens in their designated area. Much like the rabbits, the featherpins are moved every other day to allow the ladies to get fresh bugs to eat and a new area to fertilize. Inside of the coop, the laying hens sleep and, of course, lay their eggs in the nesting boxes on the inside.

Overall, the day was great! Seeing the Salatins’ property and all of their livestock made me so excited for our future.  What they’ve built together as a family fills me with hope…hope that we can feed the world locally, hope that we can change the way people view food production, and hope that the small family farmer is making its comeback.   The peaceful feeling on the property, the beauty of each of the animals, and the breathtaking scenery have left me with something to meditate on while I wait for our dream farm to come.

With the help of people like you – our Urban Acres members and friends – the future of these farms is brighter every day.

Welcome Our New Chef, David Rodriguez

August 28th, 2014

Urban Acres Chef David Rodriguez taking a photo op in front of the #UAtractor

We’re pleased to welcome our new head chef, David Rodriguez!   David brings his creativity and passion for farm-to-table cuisine to our Urban Acres family, further advancing our mission to change our community through real food that supports Texas agriculture.  Please give David a friendly hello or high-five when you see him hustling behind the counter in our open kitchen at the Farmstead!  David was most recently the Executive Chef at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts and previously spent several years in Denton working under Chef Sheena Croft at Hannah’s Off The Square. He was born and raised in Dallas and began cooking with his father at age 13.

With David’s addition to the team, we’ve also expanded our Farmstead breakfast and lunch menu, as well as our hours…now open Tuesday through Thursday!

NEW HOURS

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8am-2pm
  • Friday: 8am-8pm
  • Saturday: 8am-6pm
  • Sunday: 9am-5pm

If you dined under the misters on our patio last weekend, then you’ve already tried some of David’s new weekly-revolving menu items that showcase what the seasons and our Texas farmers and artisans have to offer: the “Pig and Fig” sandwich, pastured chicken salad, squash quiche, and organic artisan pizza with garden sorrel pesto, to name a few.  Coming soon: housemade chorizo tacos with pastured pork.  Yum.

New quiche on the Farmstead menu

New squash quiche on the Farmstead menu

David says the menu was also inspired by recent trips to Portland, San Francisco, and Berkeley.

“We’ve spent some time traveling and researching what the best chefs are doing on the West Coast, where they set the standard for cutting-edge local and organic cuisine – pizza at The Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley, quiche at Tartine in San Fran’s Mission District, sandwiches at Lardo in Portland. My hope is to take this little urban farm in Dallas and use the eggs from our chickens, the honey from our bees, the veggies from our greenhouse, and other honest ingredients to put our unique spin on Dallas’ food scene.”

Our Farmstead is committed to using 100% organic produce and dairy, fair-trade spices, pastured meats, and products that do not contain pesticides or hormones, artificial flavoring, hydrogenated oils, MSG, or GMOs.  Bring your friends, family, and kids, and dine on our patio at communal farm tables and tour the on-site chicken coop, herb garden, flower garden, and aquaponics greenhouse, as well as sign up for one of our Farmstead classes including knife skills, cooking, canning, and gardening.

See ya this weekend, friends!