Tag Archives: organic

It’s Mint to Be!

March 28th, 2014

Urban Acres has a great surprise for its members this weekend. The produce bins will be full with the fragrant smelling mint. Urban Acres provides new recipes in its produce finder on a weekly basis, but for today’s blog Barbara Bailey, our marketing coordinator, will share her thoughts. Barbara begged for days to be able to write this blog and we are curious to hear her information.

As soon as I saw the produce list for this weekend, I immediately volunteered my recipes for the Urban Roost. Of course, I was inspired by the lovely herb ~ mint. I started to write my prize winning recipe for the best Mojito on the planet when I realized, that …(ahem) I do work for a health conscious company. And since I haven’t found any organic rum, I had to slightly alter my Mojito recipe to be acceptable by the standards of Urban Acres.

The best way to create the fizzy taste of a virgin Mojito is to use the ~ oh so delicious ~ kombucha. Kombucha not only will make this drink refreshing but also will calm your gut.

Kombucha Mojito (serving size for one)

- 11 mint leaves
- 1/4 lime, halved
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- 2 oz HOLY green apple ginger kombucha *
- 1 cup ice, crushed
- mint leaves, for decoration

* You can buy this and many other flavors by the growler at the Farmstead.

Muddle the mint leaves, lime, and sugar until the mint flavor releases. Add the ice and pour the kombucha over it. Stir with your muddler, decorate, and enjoy.

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Barbara’s virgin Mojito

After drinking a glass of this tasty drink, you might start to think what else you could use the rest of your mint leaves for. Well, if you like to pamper yourself after a long day of work, you have to try my homemade body scrub. I love the smell of mint and coconut, so I came up with a recipe to keep the fragrance lingering with me all night.

Coconut Mint Body Scrub

- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and keep it in an air-tight container for up to a month.

Barbara's natural body scrub

Barbara’s natural body scrub

Use in the shower by gently rubbing the sugar scrub over your body. You will love the smoothness and smell of your skin after using this natural body scrub.

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Well friends, we promised Barbara that if she gets enough requests on our blog, she can share with you her prize winning Mojito recipe.

 

Container Gardening

March 15th, 2014

Finally the good weather is here and we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the first seedlings at the Farmstead. Anita Mills, the Urban Acres master gardener, has been busy planting bulbs and seeds in all the containers around the Farmstead. And even though bad weather conditions tried to delay the planting process,  Anita has been unstoppable. The UA containers don’t look alive at this time but they will be a colorful addition to the urban landscape by the middle of April.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

UA container gardens along Beckley Avenue.

Pallets cut down and reformed into planter. Potatoes were planted on Wednesday.

Pallets cut down and reformed into a planter. Potatoes were planted for early July harvest.

Container plants lend instant color, provide a focal point in the garden, or tie in the architecture of the house to the garden. Place them on the ground or on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Follow this easy Step by Step Guide and your containers will be full of happy plants come Spring and Summer

Choosing the right Container for Planting

Size: When choosing a container, keep in mind that it’s easier to grow plants in large containers than small ones. That’s because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and is less subject to rapid temperature fluctuations.

Drainage: Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential. Without drainage, soil will become waterlogged and plants may die.

Materials: Each type of container has its pros and cons.

  • Clay or terra-cotta containers are attractive but breakable and are easily damaged by freezing and thawing.
  • Cast concrete pots are long-lasting but very heavy, so they are difficult to move and not suitable for using on decks or balconies.
  • Plastic and fiberglass pots and planters are lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and available in many sizes and shapes.
  • Wood is natural looking and protects roots from rapid temperature swings. You can build wooden planters yourself.
  • Metals are strong, but they conduct heat, exposing roots to rapid temperature fluctuations. Metal must be lined with plastic for growing edibles.

Preparing Your Containers

Since containers are heavy once they are filled with soil, decide where they will be located and move them into position before filling and planting. If keeping them watered during the day is a problem, look for sites that receive morning sun and are shaded during the hottest part of the day, even if you are growing plants for full sun. Afternoon shade will reduce the amount of moisture plants need.

Selecting Plants

Almost any vegetable, flower, herb, shrub, or small tree can grow successfully in a container. Dwarf and compact cultivars are best, especially for smaller pots. Select plants to suit the climate and the amount of sun or shade the container will receive.

Vegetables and herbs: You can grow vegetables in individual containers, like a single tomato plant or put several smaller vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in one pot.

Annuals: For containers that remain attractive all summer long, look for warm-weather annuals that bloom all summer or have foliage that remains attractive. Geraniums, marigolds, wax begonias, scarlet sage are all good choices.

Perennials and shrubs: Containers planted with hardy perennials and shrubs can be grown and enjoyed from year to year. Hostas and daylilies are great container plants, but many other perennials work as well.

Caring for Container Plants

Water container plants thoroughly. How often depends on many factors such as weather, plant size, and pot size. Don’t let soil in containers dry out completely, as it is hard to re-wet. To keep large containers attractive, spread a layer of mulch as you would in the garden. This will also help retain moisture. Be sure to keep mulch an inch or so away from plant stems.

Container plants need regular feeding. Fertilize them by watering with compost tea (Worm Shine is available at the Farmstead).

Courtesy of Barbara B.

Courtesy of Barbara B.

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Anita will be offering gardening classes at the Farmstead in the next couple of weeks. Make sure you check our class schedule often.

Courtesy of Organic Gardening

Rapini isn’t for the Faint of Heart

February 20th, 2014

Urban Acres yet again challenges the culinary taste of its members. The co-op style shares will be full of the bitter tasting Rapini Greens. The exciting part of being a member of a co-op style share program is learning about produce we usually wouldn’t purchase. And even though these lovely greens are sharp while crisp, they are deliciously sweet when blanched.

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My Father’s Farm

Rapini Greens are descendants of wild mustard plants and have been a favorite of Italian cooks for centuries. But why are people so fascinated with this “biting” green? First of, it’s full of vitamins and cancer fighting compounds; secondly, when prepared right, it will be a taste you’ll want to re-visit over and over again.

The Basics ~ blanching

As mentioned earlier, you need to blanch this green to achieve its sweet tasting flavor.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
2. Add enough salt so it tastes as salty as the ocean.
3. Meanwhile rinse the Rapini.
4. Put the Rapini in the boiling water for about 2-minutes.
5. Lift out and rinse under cold running water.
6. Drain and squeeze the water out of the Rapini.

The Recipe ~ by Viola Buitoni

I learned about Viola while living in Washington, DC in the 1990s. I was looking for dishes that resembled my mother’s cooking, from my partially Italian ancestry, when I stumbled upon Viola’s small, Italian fine foods shop on Madison Ave. in New York City. Her dishes were mouth watering, and I’m thrilled to share Viola’s recipe with you. ~ Barbara Bailey

Sautéed Rapini With Potatoes (Rapi e Patate)

Ingredients

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 bunch rapini, about 1½ pounds
1 tablespoon sea salt
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 large cloves garlic, left whole

Directions

1. In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. They should be fully tender but not falling apart when cooked. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin from the potatoes, cut them lengthwise into quarters, and then cut crosswise into medium-thin slices. Set aside and let them cool.

2. Detach the stems from the tops of the vegetable. Using a small, sharp knife, peel the skin from the thicker lower stalks of the rapini (most of the bottom portion of the stalk) and cut them crosswise into approximate 2-inch lengths.

3. Blanch the greens – see above. Reserve a little of the cooking liquid and set it aside separately.

4. In a nonstick skillet large enough to accommodate the potatoes and the greens, warm the olive oil over low heat and add the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until the garlic is nicely softened but not colored, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a side dish. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the cooked potatoes. Sauté until they are golden and crispy all over, about 12 minutes, then transfer to another side dish. Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat, return the rapini and the garlic cloves to the pan. Sauté until the greens are nicely coated with the olive oil and the garlic and heated through, about 3 minutes; if they appear a little dry, add a little of the reserved cooking water as needed. Return the potatoes to the skillet and toss all together. Adjust for seasoning and serve immediately.

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Viola Buotini

This mouth watering dish will definitely bring a new appreciation for this vegetable. Enjoy!

Roses are Red and Your Dinner is Too

February 14th, 2014

The past few weeks people have been thinking about the big day – V day – the flowers, the chocolate, the expectations. Well, the day is here and what could be a better way than to celebrate it in true Urban Acres fashion, by cooking up some vegetables. So don’t let anybody fool you to think that the only way to enjoy this day is by buying flowers and eating chocolate. Those things can definitely brighten up someone’s life but how about using some of the produce from the Urban Acres co-op style bins to make this day memorable. Enjoy the enclosed recipe and celebrate your love of healthy living.

V-Day Mix 

Serving size depends on the amount of produce you use. Five handfuls of spinach is pictured.

 Step 1. Gather the ingredients.

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Step 2. Chop all your veggies.

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Step 3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of grape seed oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

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Step 4. Throw in the chopped up potato, kohlrabi, and beets. Stir for about 5 minutes and salt, salt, salt.

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Step 5. Throw in the celery and apples. Salt and stir for about 3 minutes.

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Step 6. Throw in the pine seeds. Keep stirring, you don’t want your seeds to burn.

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Step 7. Add the spinach and stir. .

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Step 8. The spinach will be wilted in a couple of minutes. 

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Step 9. Serve and enjoy.

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This dish will satisfy all of your senses: the glowing red color, the taste of sweet apples, the smell of roasted pine nuts, the warmth of the spinach, and the sound of humming agreement. The perfect celebration.

 

 

Welcome to the Group, Beka Santoh!

February 6th, 2014

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the Urban Acres produce family, Beka Santoh. Beka, a type of Chinese Cabbage, is very popular in Japan and we hope it will also be popular with the residents of the DFW area. It is exciting to introduce a never before talked about vegetable.

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Urban Acres

The Urban Acres shares will be full with this soft textured, light green vegetable. Beka Santoh has a very mild and delicate flavor and therefore it is often used in salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

It is always recommended to prepare produce without cooking to save all of its nutritional value. Try these fresh salad ideas as side dishes or entrees for your cooking needs.

salad

Brigitt

Chinese Cabbage Salad

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Food.com

Chinese Cabbage and Parsley Salad

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Trans-planted.com

 Chinese Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

For other recipe inspirations, please follow us on Pinterest.