Farm to Table Dinner – March 14

We are going to have our first 2021 farm to table dinner on Sunday afternoon, March 14. We will enjoy vegetables and meats from our farm, served outdoors, in our pavilion. The meal will begin at 3:00pm. It will consist of soup, breads, salad, meat, vegetables and desert. Due to the freeze we will be sourcing some of the vegetables from friend’s farms.
The dinner is BYOB as we will serve only really good well water. We will also be more thankful than usual to have water. We will tour the farm and talk about our growing methods, animals, freezes and farm issues after the dinner.
We will limit the attendees to one group per table and have 6 tables.
All sales are final, however a full refund is available if canceled due to weather.

The cost is $55 per person Register

Permaculture farming and gardening

SOLD OUT

We are again offering a class on planning and planting your permaculture gardens for the spring. The class will be on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 28 from 1:00 until 5:00. The class will be taught by Andrew Cobb and Glen Miracle, certified permaculture designers.

We have experience raising crops for culinary purposes in this area and want to share the successes and help you avoid some of the failures we have had. The class will include soil preparation, plant selection, irrigation, seed starting and saving, site planning, use of livestock, beneficial insects, pollinator attraction and all the stuff it takes to make gardening flow and turn the environmental problems into assets.

The class will include presentatons about permaculture and organic principles, soil health, and use of natural assets. This is not just a idea and theory class, but a hands on experience. We will make beds with swales and berms, plant fruit trees, move sheep, plant and transplant vegetables, discuss interplanting and plant rotations, make compost tea. We will talk about fertilizers and insect control.

The class will be limited to a small number both for health concerns and for our ability to answer questions. Masks are required. If weather makes cancellation necessary a full refund will be available. Sign up

Tomato Plants for sale

We have tomato plants for sale:

These plants are grown by organic standards from certified organic seeds. They sell In 4″ pots for $4.00 per plant.You can get them at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings or here at the farm by appointment. If you would like to order plants for Saturday email me a list through the contacts page and I will bring them. There is a limited supply and a limit of 18 of any one type.

Also Amdrew Cobb will be selling them in Houston this weekend, along with other plants, and you can check out his website

Better Boy
Big Beef
Black Cherry
Black Krim
Celebrity
Chef’s Choice
Cherokee Purple
Green Zebra
Indigo Rose
Juliet
San Marazano
Striped German
Sweet 100s

Tomatillo

Wild rice and cornbread dressing

Dressing

I made a wild rice and cornbread dressing for our early Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit. Here is the recipe for enough to feed 20 to 30 people.

Ingrediants

7 or 8 cups chicken stock
6 cups water for cooking the rice
3 cups wild rice
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup parsley leaves
3 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
12 cups crumbled cornbread
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease two 9×13 baking dishes.
Cook the rice in water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Drain the rice.
Saute the onion and celery in a skillet and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and thyme and cook another minute.

Mix rice, cornbread, pecans and vegetables in a large bowl or two. Add butter and just enough stock to get the right moisture level.
Pour everything into the baking dishes. Bake until cornbread is golden and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Fresh, never frozen, Thanksgiving turkeys

This year we are going to offer our turkeys as fresh and never frozen. The turkeys will be processed on Monday, Nov 23 and I will get them Tuesday Nov 24 and drive them to Houston where you can pick them up, late afternoon, at a drop point on West Gray. You can also pick them up at the farm in Hempstead.

Free Range on pasture

These turkey are raised on pasture hanging out with our broiler chickens.

They are large and will probably weigh 15 to 25 pounds. The price is $5.00 per pound and a $50 deposit will reserve one, with the remainder due on pickup.

To reserve one go to our online store or see me at the market on Saturday. We only have 14 available

Farmers, family and quarantine

monue and poppyMy grandparents, James and Myrtle Miracle (we knew them as Poppy and Monue) would have survived this lockdown in stride. They were farmers who produced their own meat, milk and vegetables. He drove her to town one Saturday a month. Town was five miles away. On that shopping day she would buy the flour, sugar, corn flakes and maybe some fabric if it caught her eye and the budget allowed.
One time she was telling Kenan a story about a person she had known, and Kenan asked “Did they live here?” She replied “Oh, no honey, they lived in Berea.” Berea, the town that was five miles away.
She put up jars of beans, pickles and jams and froze bags of creamed corn, and my mother continued to do the same.  There was never a shortage of meat in the freezer.
The last time I saw Monue at her home, she had tablecloth sized piece of cheesecloth hanging, hammock style, from a broomstick that was placed horizontal on the backs to two ladderback chairs and she was squeezing the warmed juice out of grapes, dripping through the cheesecloth into a washtub.  Jelly was about to be made.
She was 95 years old.
So today, as I am canning and pickling products that grew here on our farm, I feel good about it being a family thing.

CSA

 

A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.  It gives us small farms an idea of how much to plant and how to plan for the next few weeks.

Most large farms only grow one or two things and market that to a specific wholesaler, but we grow 40 to 50 different items and then have to market it to the public.  When someone signs up for a produce box, they are committing to 10 weeks of trying some new things and eating what will grow during that season.  Freezes, drought, insects and luck all will affect your diet.

The CSA is paid, online or at the market, in advance. You are paying for 10 weeks of 8 to 10 vegetables and a few herbs for $250. You simply pickup your box at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market at the corner of Buffalo Speedway and Westheimer, on Saturday morning.  We also offer a half share for $140.

We grow for high nutrients, follow all of the organic growing rules and have never used synthetic fertilizers,  pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds.

Online store

A full CSA

Chicken Bone Broth

bone brothNow is the time to strengthen your immune system and bone broth is one of the ways we do that.  Basically bone broth is bones (in this case chicken), acid to help break down the bones like vinegar or tomato paste, and lots of veggies.  One of the great things to add is chicken feet which adds protein, calcium, trace minerals and collagen. 

This is a recipe I keep on hand and never follow completely:

Bones from one chicken
1 pound chicken feet
One tablespoon of tomato paste
Two tablespoons of vinegar
Two large onions
Two to four carrots
Two to four stalks of celery
one bay leaf
5 – 10 peppercorns
Handful of parsley and/or cilantro
Any other vegetables you want to get out of the fridge

put in enough water to cover everything, about two gallons

 

Pull the bones apart, brush the bones with tomato paste, add vinegar and vegetables and cover them with the water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 24 hours on low.  Keep the water level where the vegetables and bones can be submerged periodically.  You will need to add some water, but not much.
Strain the bones and vegetables out and use the broth for a very healthy soup.

Should make about three quarts.  I usually make about 10-12 quarts at a time and freeze it and that is about 4 times this recipe.

Enjoy

Spit Bath

spit bathLast week’s 20+ hours of not having water due to a well repair reminded me of one of  my mother’s stories.  She called washing in the sink, or in a bowl of water while camping, a spit bath.

About ten years ago she told me a story about spit baths.  As a child she was staying with someone that did not have running water.  That was not unusual in Appalachia in the 30’s.  This person told her she would have to take a spit bath.  She said that did not know how to take a spit bath, so the person gave her specific instructions.

First, while the bowl of water is clean, wash your face.  Then wash your hands, your arms, your chest, and your belly down to there.   Then wash your feet and legs up to there.  Then wash there.  All clean.

Being here

Back in the dark ages of 1974 I was designing the set for a movie that would never be seen and a set for the University of Texas drama department. Both payed some bills. I had put the last touches on the movie set and needed to get back to designing the set for Bertolt Brecht’s “A Man’s A Man”. The recurring theme for this show was the railroad, so I urgently needed to get to the library to look for images that would inspire me. It was about a mile from the film shoot to the library and I was on foot. About a quarter of the way there, just by the river in Austin, I was stopped by a train. I waited impatiently feeling pressured to get to the library—to see pictures of trains—while being held up by a train. It did finally dawn on me and I found that the experience of a train was not a camera image, but it was repetitive, almost violent thumping, immense power, and unstoppability.
I love the library and I love the internet, but that thumping, and power is what I live in. Glad that train derailed me.

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Now to get the tractor out of the mud.