Tag Archives: organic

Roasting Whole Pastured Chickens: Everything You Need To Know

July 31st, 2014

In case you haven’t heard, the Urban Acres Meat Share is here!  If you’re already receiving a produce share, you can now add on a meat share of 100% Pasture-Raised Chicken and/or Grass-Fed/Grass-Finished Beef.

Andy trying a Gundermann fig

Andy trying a fresh fig at a local farm

In honor of the new meat shares, we thought that everyone should know how to perfectly roast a whole pastured chicken.  Here’s a tutorial straight from our UA staffer and food connoisseur, Andy Minton.

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Whole Roast Chickens

roast chicken

Mike and Connie Hale and family

Mike and Connie Hale and family

The chicken we sell at Urban Acres is 100% pasture-raised from Mike and Connie Hale’s Windy Meadows Family Farm in Northeast Texas.  Their chickens are hatched on site, ensuring a stress-free start. They are not only cage-free and free-range, but pastured, meaning that the chickens live out their days in fresh air and sunlight. They receive organic feed free-choice to supplement the nutrition they receive from their natural diet, which includes insects and their pasture grasses, which have been pesticide and herbicide free for nearly thirty years.

Most of Windy Meadows’ whole chickens are called “fryers.” This means they’re between 2.5 and 4 pounds total. They are sold without gizzards/innards for ease of roasting (they use these components in-house to reduce waste). If you’re looking for gravy, they are all sold neck-on. Keep the neck for gravy. Seriously.

Roast these whole chickens. This is the recipe to use.  Know this concept. It is the best way to cook a whole chicken. End of story.

Don’t bother trussing the old way with butcher’s twine. Do this. It’s easy.

If you’re not cooking for a family/new girlfriend, let it rest for 15 minutes under an aluminum foil tent. Then eat it with the fingers. Don’t forget the “oyster.” It’s the best part. If you don’t roast chickens, you’ve never eaten one. The cooks eat them before plating.

Or carve them this wayCarving will look ugly your first 5-10 times, but then it magically becomes showroom pretty.

Keep the bones/carcass to make your own chicken stock.  Here’s a great tutorial.

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

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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. :)

Welcome, New Farmstand Hosts!

June 26th, 2014

It’s officially summatime, and the beautiful Texas produce is flowing in.  We’ve added several new Farmstand locations where you can join and pick up your bi-monthly co-op style produce share.

We’d like to especially thank our new partners who are hosting the new locations…

Midtown Dallas @ Half Price Books Flagship Store (Map)

001-1The Half Price Books Flagship store just off Northwest Highway and 75 is a mecca for the Dallas bibliophile.  We love their involvement in the community and knew they’d be a great host for our friends in the Midtown Dallas area.

Produce pickup: Every other Saturday, 8:30am-10:30am

> Sign up now

Colleyville @ Total Body Wellness (Map)

total body wellnessWe’re proud to partner with Dr. Jessica Lynn Stangenwald and her team at Total Body Wellness in Colleyville.  She and her staff have been providing family wellness care since 2005, including chiropractic, pediatrics, pregnancy, woman’s wellness, weight loss and nutrition.

Produce pickup: Every other Saturday from 9:00am-11:00am

> Sign up now

Plano – Northwest @ Title Boxing (Map)

titleboxingIf you’re in the Northwest Plano area and are looking for a total body workout that is both fun and rewarding, head to Title Boxing Club.  They offer innovative boxing and kickboxing power hour fitness classes. Their trainer will have you punching and kicking bags in an energizing routine designed to help you lose inches and burn fat.

Produce pickup: Every other Saturday from 12noon-2:00pm

> Sign up now

TD Ameritrade Corporate Farmstand

imagesWe’ve also added a new corporate farmstand at the TD Ameritrade corporate office – welcome TD Ameritrade employees!

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Coming soon: pickup locations in East Dallas, Rockwall, and South Dallas – stay tuned…

Natural vs. Organic

June 24th, 2014

organic-vs-natural

As you walk through the grocery store aisles, food boxes, bags, and labels are bombarding you with their claims…natural, all-natural, 74% organic, certified organic.  What does it all mean?  Is it necessary to put the organic product in your basket, or is grabbing the “all-natural” product good enough?

“Natural” really means natural, right?

We thought we’d help you unpack the difference in natural vs. organic products, so you can be fully educated when buying food for yourself and your family.

In short, natural and organic are definitely not the same.

Here’s an NBC News article on Natural vs. Organic: How Food Labels Deceive.

What does NATURAL mean?

Unfortunately, it means very little.  In the U.S., neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled “natural.”

It can be confusing, because foods containing natural flavors, sweeteners, or other plant-derived substances can be labeled “natural.” In addition, foods containing highly processed high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can also be labeled “natural”, since the synthetic materials used to generate HFCS are not incorporated into the final product.  Shockingly, foods containing genetically engineered or modified ingredients can also be labeled “natural,” something California’s recently defeated Proposition 37 tried to prevent.  ~ Source: Nutrition.org

Because they can, food manufacturers often place a “natural” label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients.  For example, a prepackaged fruit bar made with a majority of fruit and nut ingredients could be called “natural” while still containing a large amount of added refined sugars, preservatives and chemical components. ~ Source: FitDay.com

That’s why we at Urban Acres never use the term “all-natural” because it’s just too low of a standard.

What does ORGANIC mean?

“Organic” is the most heavily regulated food system. The “organic” label guarantees the product contains no toxic synthetic pesticides, no herbicides, no chemical fertilizers are used in production, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are given to animals. Organic producers and processors also are subject to rigorous announced – and unannounced – certification inspections by third-party inspectors to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust.

Check out the USDA website for the specifics on USDA Organic standards.

Even the “organic” label has some variations, though,…no wonder it’s so hard to keep it all straight!

Products labeled “100% Organic” contain 100% organic ingredients.

Products labeled “Organic” contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients, and the remaining 5% are produced using no GMOs, sewage sludge or irradiation.z

Products labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients” contain a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, and the remaining 30% are produced using no GMOs, sewage sludge or irradiation.

Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organic ingredients on the package’s side panel, but may not make any organic claim on the front of the package.

~ Source: Stonyfield.com

The bottom line?  As a consumer, you should know what you’re buying!  Don’t just trust the front packaging of a food that shows glowing berries and wheat fields in the sun.  Read the ingredients.  Be educated on what you’re putting in your body.

Our Standards at Urban Acres

always organic

In our Farmstead kitchen,

  • We bake with organic flours, butters, and sugars
  • We use only organic produce
  • We never use GMOs, artificial junk, or MSG

Be assured that all produce you get from Urban Acres will always be organic.  It’s a commitment we made from the beginning and one we intend to keep.