Tag Archives: local produce

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!

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!

Meet Our Friends At Highway 19 Farms

August 14th, 2014

Supporting local farmers is one of our greatest passions at Urban Acres.  The more small-scale family farmers we get to know, the more we understand the many risks associated with going into farming as a career.

For example, one of the realities facing a local farmer is that they may grow an entire field of produce and then not be able to sell it to anyone. Frequently, local farmers take their produce to a local buyer, only to have it rejected due to size and appearance stipulations.  As we continue to grow, we’d like to pay it forward and continue to help young farmers remove some of those risks, making it easier for them to successfully pursue their passion and be able to provide for themselves and their families.

Thanks to your support, we’re able to “incubate” young farmers like Bobby Bevers from Highway 19 Farms in Athens, TX. When we incubate a new farmer, we give them the peace of mind that they have a partner to “go to market” with, freeing them up to focus on what they do best – growing delicious, organic food.

Bobby from Hwy 19 Farms

Bobby from Highway 19 Farms

Bobby and his crew are currently cultivating 8 acres of land near Athens.  If you tasted the juicy watermelon we had at the Farmstead this summer, you enjoyed some of the fruit of Bobby’s labor.

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Watermelon in the fields at Highway 19

Tomato plants at Hwy 19 Farms

Tomato plants at Highway 19 Farms

Charleston Grey watermelons from Hwy 19 Farms

Highway 19 Farms’ Charleston Grey watermelons at the Farmstead

The mild summer has been treating our friends at Highway 19 very well, but the dry and hot weather the past few weeks has been challenging for them and their crops.  They just planted another round of summer produce such as yellow squash, pickling cucumbers, and slicing tomatoes and are also gearing up for the fall.  Their greenhouse is filled with trays of broccoli and cabbage seeds.  They’ve been doing constant ground prep and just planted pumpkins in hopes of having them ready by Halloween.  We can’t wait!

This is hard to believe, but the team is also already planting fruit for next summer! They’re about to plant strawberries in hopes of harvesting the first crop as early as March, depending on when it gets warm.  We look forward to tasting those beautiful berries next spring.

With your dollars and your voice, you can continue to do your part to support start-up local farmers like Bobby at Highway 19 Farms.  Thank you so much for being on this journey with us!

Fig Frenzy

August 7th, 2014

fig basketWhoa!  Local figs from Gundermann Acres are back (both in the produce shares and for sale at the Farmstead), and our Facebook and Instagram are blowin’ up with ideas on how you’re enjoying your local, organic figs.  We thought we’d share them all here so you can get some great ideas and inspiration…

From our Facebook page

  • Ellen G: Ate them fresh over the weekend. I made the fig tart on the Urban acres website today! Tomorrow in a salad. We got two baskets!
  • Karrie S: I’m raw vegan.. just gonna eat them plain.. I love them!
  • Dena J: They are incredible and we are just eating them plain.  What a treat!
  • Carol K: Love figs, we just ate them.  Like them just the way they are.
  • Chris C: Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Fresh Figs Recipe | Epicurious.com
  • Sherlie B: Wrapped with prosciutto, fresh basil, and goat cheese inside, drizzle with balsamic glaze and EVOO.
  • Animal Rights & Rescue of North Texas: Gone the first day.
  • Sherri M: Planning on grilling ours to serve with steak at my daughter’s suggestion (a dish she had at Uchi in Austin)
  • Kathy T: Loved them in our share.  Just ate them fresh & they didn’t last long!  Hope we get more!
  • Laura D: Fig Frangipane Tart
  • Mary M: I was lucky enough to get some in my share last week and we loved them!!
  • Parigi Restaurant: We did them like this…y.u.m.

parigi figs
From our Instagram

  • christinaisblue: I made jam with them! Can’t wait to put it in my coconut yogurt.  I found an easy recipe here.
  • bmkphotog: Fig Swirl Ice Cream.
  • tracy1314: Roast pork with fig sauce!
  • mamasimpson: I made a fig tart with honey yogurt sauce.
  • bananarama427: Goat cheese, fig and pancetta pizza!
  • raquel81: i was wondering what to do with mine. i cannot wait to eat them!

* * *

>> Get more fig recipes here on our site.
The figs are gonna go fast at the Farmstead this weekend – get them before they’re gone. :)  And please chime in below and let us know how you’re enjoying your fresh figs!

Summer At The Farmstead

July 29th, 2014

Have you been by the Farmstead lately?  On one side of the building, the edible cactus and container gardens are flourishing.  While you’re there, take a photo op on the tractor donated by Farmer Dan.

farmstead tractor summer 2014-2

On the other side, “the girls of the coop” are enjoying their summer too, especially when they get organic food scraps from our kitchen.  We swear those chickens eat better than us sometimes!

farmstead chickens july 2014

The patio is constantly evolving, surrounded by reclaimed wood planters full of native plants and herbs.

farmstead flowers

farmstead chocolate mint

Feel free to touch and smell them…they’re for you to learn!    We also use these fresh herbs in our Farmstead kitchen.

farmstead rosemary

And don’t worry about the heat – our new mister fans will keep you cool while you enjoy some good eats…

farmstead misters

…like our new homemade quiche made with local and organic ingredients.

farmstead quiche

And Artisan Pizza & Ice Cream on Fridays & Sundays…

farmstead pizza

We also have locally-brewed kombucha, Crazy Water, refreshing salads, plentiful local produce, and more to help you beat the heat.

Follow us on Instagram @urbanacres for more photos and current happenings.  Hope to see you this weekend!

Local Figs Are Back!

July 24th, 2014

Figs from Gundermann Acres

Exciting announcement: for the first time in two years, all the co-op style produce shares this weekend will have local figs from Gundermann Acres in Wharton County, TX!  We’ll also have extra figs for sale at the Farmstead.  If you’ve never had these local, sweet delectable figs from the Gundermanns, you’re in for a treat, friends.

Here are some photos we just received from the Gundermanns showing your figs in the field… gundermann figs july 2014-1

gundermann figs july 2014-2

gundermann figs july 2014-3

gundermann figs july 2014-5

Can’t wait to get our hands on these!

Bonus: figs are super nutritious too.  Figs are high in natural simple sugars, minerals, and fiber. Figs are fairly rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Figs are often recommended to nourish and tone the intestines because they are a very good source of fiber. They are also a good source of potassium, an important consideration in helping to control blood pressure. Figs are among the most highly alkaline foods, making them useful in supporting the proper pH of the body.

You’re probably just going to want to pop these in your mouth and eat them whole…but if you want a recipe, here are a few ideas…

4th of July BBQ, Plant Sale, & Raffle Supporting our Veterans

July 4th, 2014

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Finish off your Independence Day weekend celebrating the men and women who helped make it possible, our veterans! This Sunday, July 6th, we’ll be hosting an event at the Farmstead benefiting two organizations that empower our warriors back into society through sustainable agriculture – Eat the Yard and Warriors that Farm. This event will allow you to fill your stomach with some delicious eats and go home with some treats, while celebrating and supporting our brave countrymen and local farmers.

What to expect (besides a good time!):

Explore Your Green Thumb

  • Organic transplants and seedlings provided by Eat the Yard and Urban Acres
  • Victory Seeds offers rare, open-pollinated, non-GMO, non-hybrid, heirloom organic seeds to home gardeners. All seeds are harvested locally by Eat the Yard.

Raffle

  • 1st prize: chicken coop installed in your backyard (Urban Chicken Ranching)
  • 2nd prize: raised garden bed installed in your back yard (Eat the Yard)
  • 3rd prize: Compost Tumbler (Eat the Yard)

Good Eatin’

  • Beef Brisket Sandwiches from Falster Farms, a nonprofit “Healing the Man by Healing the Land.” Find out more about this incredible organization empowering our veterans and future farmers.
  • Homemade BBQ Sauce from UA chef Kent using local tomatoes.
  • We’ll also have our Homemade Artisan Pizza & Ice Cream that we have every Sunday.  Special chefs Steven (UA founder) and Joe (our CEO) will be jumping in the kitchen to help out!

1495532_244750075710118_163715541_nProceeds from seeds, plants, and raffle tickets will benefit Eat the Yard, a veteran owned and operated urban farming business right here in Oak Cliff!  Find out more about them on their Facebook page or website.

Introducing Artisan Pizza & Ice Cream Sundays at the Farmstead

June 27th, 2014

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What do a secret pizza dough recipe, local grass-fed dairy, and the best Texas summer produce have in common?  Our new Artisan Pizza & Ice Cream Sundays at the UA Farmstead!  Come out for lunch on Sundays starting June 29th at 11am for the most unique and delicious organic pizza and ice cream you can get in Dallas, made fresh in the Farmstead kitchen.  And bring the whole family -  if your kids are gonna eat pizza and ice cream, at least it’s made with the best ingredients possible.  :)

We’ve been working ’round the clock on our pizza and ice cream recipes to make sure they’re the very best for ‘ya.  Here’s UA founder Steven Bailey tasting our demo of pizza with local cheese and local sorrel pesto…

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VEGETARIANS:  We do love our meat at Urban Acres, that’s for sure.  But we love our vegetarian friends too, and you’re going to be really happy with our pizza options!

VEGANS: We still have a delicious vegan lunch option on the menu each week.  And we’re cooking up something else special for you soon…stay tuned. :)