Tag Archives: local produce

Pig Pickin’ & Popsicles – Join Us This Sunday, June 22nd

June 17th, 2014

A roasted pig, live music, and popsicles…does summer get much better?  Hope to see you this Sunday at the Farmstead!

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My Father’s Farm – “Our Veggies Don’t Do Drugs”

June 17th, 2014
Dayana and Pedro from My Father's Farm from Seguin, TX showcases their microgreens at UA Community Day // Photo: Travis Lilley

Dayana and Pedro from My Father’s Farm showcasing their microgreens at UA Community Day // Photo: Travis Lilley

Today we’d like you to meet another one of our farmers – Pedro Schambon of My Father’s Farm in Seguin, TX.  My Father’s Farm provides our produce shares with vibrant, organically grown microgreens.  Here’s a little Q&A we did with Pedro so you can get to know him and his wife better…we think you’ll love them as much as we do.

Pedro, why did you decide to grow produce organically and sustainably?

At first, we did it out of necessity.  When we started building orphanages in Colombia, we realized that the kids were not looking to have good quality clothes.  They only needed two basic necessities – love and food.  And that is how it started…

For us, sustainable farming means living within our means.  When we sit at our table, we know that we grew most of what we are eating.   If something is not in season, we wait until the season comes.  Then we enjoy those organic heirloom tomatoes or broccoli even more.

We feel we must be good stewards of our God-given land by treating it with respect and returning to it what we took out of it by composting, using organic, natural fertilizer, crop rotation, and resting the land.  We do not have “dirt,” we have “soil,” which is full of life.  My Father’s Farm veggies don’t do drugs!

My Father's Farm microgreens // Photo: Travis Lilley

Dayana and Pedro of My Father’s Farm with UA staffer James // Photo: Travis Lilley

What does Urban Acres mean to your farm and your family?

My wife Dayana and I could go on and on, but just to name a few ways…

We bring in homeless friends from a ministry in San Antonio to do some of the work on our farm.  Before Urban Acres, we could only afford to bring them in maybe once or twice a month.  Now, we can bring them in regularly on a weekly basis and sometimes even twice a week.  More than 10 beautiful homeless guys come to work, and believe me, they do work their hearts out.  They pull weeds, incorporate compost into the fields, set up new beds inside the greenhouse, set irrigation systems, clean after we harvest, and more.  I really doubt we could bring our produce to Urban Acres without their help.  We’re able to give them a second chance, pay them, feed them, and then send them back with organic fresh veggies and money in their pockets.  It’s great.

Also since partnering with Urban Acres, we’ve been able to buy a new harvester for the salad mix, sealers for the bags, a label machine, new tools, and hopefully soon a refrigerated truck that we’ve needed for over five years.   I was also able to take my wife on a most deserved vacation after so many years of hard work.  THANK YOU to Urban Acres and your members for blessing us so much.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our members?

We believe that our veggies and herbs really come from God’s hands.  Without His intervention and provision we couldn’t bring anything to your table.

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Thank you Pedro and Dayana for your stewardship in bringing such wonderful organic produce to us and our members.  We appreciate you!

What’s Green Garlic?

June 5th, 2014
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Green garlic

Looking through your produce share, you might mistake green garlic for the spring onions you’ve been receiving the last few weeks. Green garlic is a rarity in grocery stores but a great addition to farm-to-table cooking.  Green garlic is simply young garlic which is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. What results is a vegetable with a deep green stalk and a pale white bulb.  The flavor is that of mild garlic.

How to cook green garlic?

Chop or slice the white, light green, and the first few inches of the dark green leaves (as long as they are tender).  Sauté as you would regular garlic.  When cooked, your green garlic will sweeten a bit.

You’ll also love the health benefits of green garlic…

“Garlic is notable for its immune-boosting qualities, is a natural antibiotic and can help the body block infections. If you suffer from anemia or low iron levels, garlic also helps to keep iron levels high. Most people know that vitamin C helps increase iron metabolism, but garlic contains the protein ferroportin that carries stored iron from inside a cell to outside of the cell, assisting the body as needed.

Due to its richness in polysulfides, garlic also helps protect against heart disease. And if that’s not enough, garlic is rich in manganese, a mineral linked to HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. When manganese levels are high, HDL is high, and vice versa.” ~ FitSugar.com

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Try these easy green garlic recipes…

Spring Garlic Fried Eggs

Courtesy of Sylvie

Image source: thecrepesofwrath.com

Green Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

Photo by inpatskitchen

Photo by inpatskitchen

Grilled Green Garlic

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Photo credit: 8ateateight.com

>> Get more green garlic recipes on our site <<

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 <<

You Don’t Want “Perfect” Produce

May 29th, 2014
pigtato

Meet “Pigtato”

A potato that resembles a pig, a peach with a nose, and holey greens…these are a few of the “imperfect” items you might see in your organic produce share.  We’re here to reassure you that it’s completely normal and even a good thing!

Why does organic produce have blemishes?

Although it can be an adjustment to get used to produce in your share that’s shaped oddly or has some holes in it, you don’t necessarily want “perfect” produce.  A few holes and imperfections in your produce are a very telltale sign that it’s organic – it means the produce is not sprayed with any chemicals to repel the pests.   If you have your own garden at home, you know that all produce looks different and that a dent or hole in a tomato doesn’t take away any of its amazing, sweet taste.

For more info, read What’s With These Holes In My Kale?

Why does produce look “perfect” at other grocery stores?

Most big grocery store chains – even those that sell a lot of organic produce – are concerned with a perfect “look” to the produce…because customers demand it!  Several of our local organic farmers say they are unable to sell produce that isn’t perfect-looking to many of their big chain accounts.  Sadly, this often leads to unnecessary waste and continues to fuel the expectation that produce should all be waxy, perfectly shaped and unblemished.

According to Beth Mitcham, a post-harvest researcher at the University of California at Davis’ School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, our preference for uniform, camera-ready produce is shaped partly by marketing and partly by USDA regulations that stipulate all commercially grown fruits and vegetables must be at least 90 percent blemish-free.

She places most of the blame squarely on us, the consumers. Mitcham contends that we are ignoring our innate food-selecting instincts and “buying with our eyes” rather than with our noses or our taste buds.

~ Daphne Miller, Daily Herald  – read the rest of the article here

You can be a part of the change by celebrating your imperfect, organic produce and educating others. 

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Member Becky shows her peach with a nose

We love the imperfect look of organic produce straight from our local farmers, and we’d choose delicious over perfect-looking any day.  And we hope you do, too.

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.