Fall Harvest Festival Celebrating Non-GMO Month

October 19th, 2014

Help us celebrate the fall harvest and Non-GMO month!  The Urban Acres Fall Harvest Festival will be on Sunday, October 26th from 12-6pm at our Farmstead in Oak Cliff (1605 N Beckley Ave, Dallas, 75203).  Chef David and team will be roasting a whole hog from our friends at Falster Farm, and we’ll have some yummy seasonal sides and vegetarian options for sale.  A band, kid friendly activities, and games will ensure that the whole family has a great time.

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5% of Farmstead sales for the day will be donated to The Non-GMO project, a non-profit supporting your right to choose non-GMO.

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If you don’t know what a “GMO” is, it’s time to find out!  Check out these posts:

And for a little laugh, check out this Jimmy Kimmel video where they sent a crew to a local farmers market to ask people why they avoid GMOs and, more specifically, what the letters “GMO” stand for:

HA!  But seriously…be informed.  Know why you’re making your food choices and what they mean.  You have a right to choose non-GMO and the ability to educate others.

>> RSVP on our Facebook Event page.

See you next Sunday at the Farmstead!

Real Food For Kids Facebook Group ~ Moderator Needed!

October 18th, 2014

realfoodforkids-imageWe know how challenging it can be to provide healthy meal and snack options for the little ones in your lives using local produce and other excellent quality ingredients.

Enter Real Food For Kids – a new Facebook group we’ve created so parents and caregivers can network about…

  • ways to encourage kids to eat real, unprocessed foods
  • how to connect kids with where their food comes from
  • share kid-friendly recipes
  • and more!

We are now looking for a Facebook-savvy UA member who is a parent or caregiver and can moderate this group for us on a volunteer basis.  If you’re interested in being our moderator, please email joe@uafarmstead.com.  Thanks so much!

Meet Our New Chicks ~ Thanks, Gecko Hardware!

October 14th, 2014

gecko hardwareAs if our 4 new bunnies weren’t causing enough of a stir (everyone wants to hold them! which we love!) we just added 10 new baby chicks to the Farmstead.  We have to thank our awesome friends at Gecko Hardware in Lake Highlands – Andrea and her team donated the ten chicks to the cause!

The chicks are a mix of Ameraucanas (who lay the much-admired light blue eggs), Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Partridge Rocks, and Silver and Gold-Laced Wyandottes.

Here are some photos from when we picked them up at Gecko Hardware on Saturday…

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetThis sweetie was huddled under the feather duster – there’s one in every crate which makes the chicks feel like it’s a mother hen.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis one literally flew into our box!  Of course we had to take her. ;-)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetCome see all our new babies at the Farmstead soon!

Buon Appetito!

October 9th, 2014

Get your salad spoons ready…this weekend, the Medium and Large produce shares will be getting a new item – Italian Salad Mix greens from My Father’s Farm in Seguin, TX.

Exclusively imported from a Italian seed company, this is a premium blend of lettuces, designed to give a wide range of color, shape, and texture. Great as the basis for any salad, the Italian Salad Mix has bibb lettuces, cress, cabbage greens, beet greens, and chicory/curly endive.

Did you know…Endives are ancient, originally from the Mediterranean.  They were planted by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The thick leaves also have some medical properties and contain essential amino acids, fats, starch, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and B1, B2, C, K and P vitamins.1007140837a

201010-r-big-italian-saladHere are a few recipe ideas – use your Italian Salad Mix to throw together one of these easy salads:

The Pioneer Woman’s Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad from Food and Wine

Buon Appetito!

Meet Our New Bunnies

October 8th, 2014

Meet the four newest members of the Urban Acres family – Flemish Giant mixed breed bunnies!!!   These cuties are living at our Farmstead and will eventually be around the side of the building in the “farm” area with the chickens.  They’ll be used as a teaching tool for our customers and friends interested in expanding their urban homestead. Rabbits can be used for meat, obviously, but these will only be used to teach others how to raise them if they choose.

We have 3 females and one male bunny right now…living separately so we don’t suddenly have an entire colony of baby bunnies. :)  These bunnies may be small and cute now, but once they’re full-grown, they’ll likely each be 20+ pounds.

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Snackin’ on organic apples, collards, and corn

Come see them next time you’re at the Farmstead!

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Come by for lunch and snuggle some bunnies

 

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.

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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.

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"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.

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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
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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
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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…

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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.