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LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC PRODUCE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR.

BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO ROUTINE!

08/18/17 — Heydon Hatcher

We’ve endured scorching temperatures and arrive in mid-August drenched in sweat with gargantuan smiles on our faces because the prospect of Fall and cooler temperatures warrants nothing but good feelings. Something about these late summer days has us relishing in brief daydreams of winter greens, cold weather stews, and loads of family quality time (the succession of end of year holidays is impending). The nostalgia of summertime swimming will arrive soon enough, but right now we’re looking forward to regular schedule that school provides.

Photo by Casey Wiggins. Photo by Casey Wiggins.

Back to school and we are back to our more regimented fall agendas. For a lot of us, that means more home-cooked meals. Even if you don't have children, we know your body is craving the wholesome and nourishing flavors of autumn. Super greens and hearty soups will soon be a welcome replacement to the summertime habits of late night pizza and one-too-many trips to the ice cream shop (just to cool down, we get it!). Even though Texas summers are long, change is in the air... and if you've ever thought about joining the CSA, now is the prime time. By becoming a CSA member, you have no choice but to augment your existing diet with fresh, organic produce, all week long.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Plus, home-cooked meals are immensely healthy for your family inside and out. Why don't you start a new tradition this fall? How about integrating the whole family into preparing meals? Cooking with kiddos gets them interested in the ingredients, has them taking on difficult and novel tasks, and they are more likely to taste the final product in the end! Cooking with your family is also a catalyst to start a conversation about health. If you get your children in the kitchen understanding why you use certain ingredients, you can also chat about the benefits of said ingredients as well. Additionally, kids need two main things to successfully adjust to a regular school schedule: good rest and good nutritious food!

Photo by Casey Wiggins. Photo by Casey Wiggins.

If you are cooking as a family, quality time with your loved ones is inevitable for better or for worse! Back to school usually also means back to dance, soccer, music lessons, etc, meaning life can get busier quickly, making time to gather around a family meal and connect with your loved ones all the more important.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Getting back into the swing of the school year can be hectic, but with a little help from your friends at JBG, you can relax a bit! We like to think of our CSA program as a tool that ameliorates your meal planning, and simplifies life during the work week. We make planning meals easy as pie. Each week, we'll give you a list of the veggies (plus beautiful images from our staff photographer, Scott David Gordon) that you will receive. These veggies are an easy source of inspiration to plan any meal, can be incorporated to family-favorites, or can inspire new culinary adventures. Got picky eaters or food allergies? Did you know you can customize your box? If you're a member, all you need to do is login to your account the weekend before your upcoming delivery, click on "My Deliveries," and you'll see your options to swap out veggies you are less keen on for ones you prefer.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Meal prep and meal planning is essential to being able to sustain a cooking regimen. There are plenty of nutritious, seasonal, 30 minute meals that will feed a hungry crowd. Want to cook more? Or, want to cook healthier, whole meals for your family? The CSA is a great way to delve into this practice. Not the inspired chef? No worries. Each week on our blog we publish recipes catered to that week's offerings. Did we mention we deliver? That's right, we drop off veggies straight to your home or neighborhood. Skip the grocery store, and go straight to the source for your fall menus. If you join now, you can enjoy the joys of dwindling summer crops + emerging fall favorites... think: brassicas galore!

Check out our photo post for an update of the extensive menu of crops currently being planted. 'Til next time!

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

WEEK 33 IN PHOTOS

08/18/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Week 33 has us fully into planting season. We've been making beds, the transplant crew is up to 7 folks, and we have two tractors running non-stop. We are getting the early fall brassicas in the ground, think: broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, chard, and cabbage. Plus, your favorite roots (carrots, beets, potatoes, fennel), spinach, and bok choy, too! Sweet potatoes are just starting to come in while summer squash, peppers, and zucchini are starting to peter out of season. Start looking forward to more green, but enjoy the summer crops while they are still around!

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

 

CAJUN CHEESY GRITS WITH TOMATO GRAVY AND ROASTED VEGGIES

08/16/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe by Megan Winfrey

There's something to say about the warmth and ease of a perfect bowl of grits. It's one of my favorite bases for anything from roasted vegetables and grilled meat to poached eggs and smoked salmon.

Easy to throw together with kitchen staples, this is a great go-to meal for busy weeknights that will leave you feeling full and happy and ready for the next day. The tangy tomato gravy really takes this recipe to the next level. I used my jarred whole tomatoes from the summer harvest. Is there a sweeter smell than that of a just-opened jar of tomatoes? I think not.

Cajun Cheesy Grits with Tomato Gravy and Roasted Veggies

For the grits:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese


For the gravy:
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup half and half


For the veggies:
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. Tony Chachere's
  • 1 bag of JBG okra
  • 5-6 carrots, large dice
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • + other veggies of your choice!


IMG_0097

Preheat the oven to 425. On a large sheet pan, spread out the prepared vegetables. Drizzle with the olive oil and Tony's, mix thoroughly, and roast until tender but still crisp - about 15-20 minutes.

While the veggies cook, add water, milk, butter, and Tony's to a large pot and bring to a low boil. Add grits, stir, and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender. Add water if necessary to keep them creamy. When the grits are done, slowly add in the cheddar cheese, stirring as you go.

Cover to keep warm while the rest of the meal comes together.

For the gravy, start by heating the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the garlic and saute until golden. Add the spices, tomatoes, water, and cream and bring to a boil. Stir often to help break down the tomatoes, and pull off the heat when the sauce has thickened.

Time to assemble the bowls. Start with a layer of grits, you can add a layer of shredded cheddar if you like, then spoon on the gravy (don't be stingy!), then top with the freshly roasted vegetables.

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF AUG 14TH

08/15/17 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of Aug 14th CSA Box Contents Week of Aug 14th

Large Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Spinach, Malabar
Greens, Sweet Potato
Herb, Spearmint
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Anehiem
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Radish, Purple Daikon
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Yellow
Medium Box
Cucumber
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Jalapeno
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Yellow
Small Box
Beet, Red
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Yellow
Individual Box
Eggplant, Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Yukon Gold
Squash, Butternut

WEEK 32 IN PHOTOS

08/11/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Andrew McCloskey was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country and currently resides in Austin, Texas. He studied photography at St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he learned an appreciation for film. In the years since, time, memory, and consistent shooting have given him new perspectives on his work and the style that forms it. Driven by a desire to record beauty and light, the work generally focuses on contextualizing subjects and landscapes to the experience of discovery. Currently, Andrew spends his time working as a chef and delving into the deepness of what it means to “grow up”.  All of the photos below were shot on medium format film, perhaps apparent from the richness of afternoon colors that Andrew captured. Seeing as we're farmers and not photographers, we had to refresh ourselves on medium format photography.  This was a great read that we thought we should share (the more you know, right?).  Hope you enjoy this week's view into the farm as seen through some fresh eyes. To see more of Andrew's work, checkout his website or his Instagram.
62160001 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150001 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150002 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150005 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150006 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150007 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150009 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150011 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62150013 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62160003 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62160009 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
62160011 Photo by Andrew McCloskey
 

WATERMELON: A HISTORY

08/11/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

In honor of National Watermelon Day last week, we thought it about ripe time to delve into the history of this darling of the summer crops. Did you know that the watermelon, or the Citrullus lanatus, has been cultivated for around 5,000 years? This trailing and flowering vine hails from the Cucurbitaceae family. The progenitor of the modern watermelon is known as the ur-watermelon and was cultivated in Africa before spreading to the Mediterranean, Europe and beyond. Watermelon arrived in India in the 7th century and China in the 10th. Fun fact: did you know that China is currently the world’s largest watermelon producer? By the late 1500s, colonists were cultivating watermelons in the New World, and by the 17th century, these melons were ubiquitous in European gardens. Another fun fact: in ancient Greece, watermelons, or “pepon”, were thought to have healing properties, and were used as a diuretic and a treatment for heatstroke.

With regard to where in Africa the ancestor of the watermelon originated, there is no real consensus. Harry Paris, horticulturist at the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel, thinks that the true ancestor of the watermelon is from Northeastern Africa, and is known as Citrullus lanatus var. colocynthoides, otherwise known as gurum in Sudan and gurma in Egypt. These bitter melons grow wild and rampant in the deserts of Sudan and Egypt, and were small, green, and bitter compared to the modern melon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Evidence from tomb paintings suggests that Egyptians were farming and cultivating watermelons as early as 4,000 years ago. The the fruit portrayed in these paintings is more round compared to the modern day oblong watermelon, meaning that the Egyptians probably cultivated these fruits over time, changing their taste, toughness, and shape.

Despite the ancestral varieties being bitter and not very tasty, these crops were kept around because of all the water they retained and because of their storage life. During the hot and dry seasons in Northern Africa, these gourds were great sources of water when pummeled, and could last for a considerable period when stored in a shady and cool place. The Egyptians placed them in tombs so that the deceased Pharaohs would have a source of water on their long after-life journeys. Watermelons were perfect vessels for water during long nautical expeditions, as well.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Information from Hebrew tithing records shows that by the third century , watermelons had been grouped with figs, grapes, and pomegranates. Meaning that by then, they had been cultivated to be point of being considered sweet! These watermelons were described as having yellowish flesh in the earlier cultivations, but as the fruit got sweeter, it became redder in hue. Why you ask? Genes that contribute to a watermelon’s sweetness and sugar content are paired with genes that turn the flesh red.

At JBG, we grow a plethora of melon varieties with three different kinds of watermelon in the mix: Red, Yellow, and Sugar Baby. Since you know the aged and colorful past of this crop, visit us at markets this weekend and enjoy some while you still can! 'Til next time.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

HERBY ZUCCHINI AND ORZO SALAD

08/08/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe and photo by Mackenzie Smith

A fresh take on pasta salad is a great addition to any summer barbeque or potluck. This recipe is great as-is, and a serves as a firm foundation for any mix-ins you have on hand and strike your fancy: tomatoes, olives, capers, feta, pickles, marinated vegetables, toasted whole spices-- you really can’t go wrong! I like to make a big batch on Sunday and have it for lunch during the week, topping with nuts and seeds for crunch and protein. Don’t skip salting and squishing your squash to remove excess water-- this step will prevent you from a soggy summer salad that will lose its allure long before it should.

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Photo by Mackenzie Smith

Serves 8-10

  • 1 pound orzo + about a tablespoon of salt
  • 5-6 small-medium to large zucchini and/or squash
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon each of thyme and oregano, finely chopped
  • A handful of basil and mint leaves
  • S&P to taste


Shred zucchini with a cheese grater, as coarse as you can. Put it in a colander or a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt before stirring. Drain over a clean bowl while you prepare everything else, 10-15 minutes. Cook the orzo in salted water, according to the directions on the package. While the orzo is cooking, grate garlic into the olive oil and add lemon juice and zest along with the mustard seeds and maple syrup. Whisk it. Chop your parsley and thyme and stir into the dressing. Drain your pasta and let in cool in a colander. Check on your zucchini/squash, which should be sitting over a little puddle of squash water. Using a spoon, press against the colander to release more liquid, squeezing out as much water as you can. Stir the squash into the orzo and add your dressing. Add your mix-ins if you have them. Clap basil mint leaves between your hands before tearing them once or twice and sprinkling over your salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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