02/14/17 — Heydon Hatcher

unnamed-1By Hector Gonzalez

Beet Ketchup

  • 4 cups cooked red or golden beets, diced
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-6 coriander seeds
  • 2-4 cloves
  • (Optional) 1-4 piquín peppers

Heat pan to medium high with beets, vinegar and brown sugar. Let it simmer.

Grind salt and spices. Add to pan and mix. Simmer for 5 more minutes, then let it cool.

Blend until smooth.

Enjoy with sweet potato oven fries.


02/14/17 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of Feb 13th CSA Box Contents Week of Feb 13th

Large Box
Beet, Red
Brussels Greens
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Green
Potato, Sweet
Radish, Black Spanish
Turnip, Purple Top
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Cabbage, Green
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Arugula
Greens, Chard, Rainbow
Greens, Spinach
Herb, Parsley, Flat
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Onion, Green
Radish, Purple Daikon
Turnip, Purple Top
Small Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Mustard
Greens, Salad Mix
Greens, Spinach
Potato, Sweet
Turnip, White Japanese
Individual Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Red Mustard
Greens, Spinach
Lettuce, Mixed head bag
Radish, Watermelon


02/12/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Spring is around the corner, and boy, do we have quite the line-up of events for you and your loved ones to enjoy! We can't wait!

February 28th, Maggie Perkins CSA Cooking Class "The Seasonal Plate" - Join farmers market chef, Maggie Perkins, as she introduces The Seasonal Plate, the local farm to table best. Maggie will demonstrate and prepare vegetable-centric dishes, sharing tips, tricks, and techniques for making the most of your local farmers' offerings. You will share an intimate meal with fellow classmates, and take away a full CSA share from Johnson's Backyard Garden to duplicate your own fresh, healthy meals at home. Tickets here.

CSA Recipes. Photo by Mackenzie Smith. CSA inspired recipe. Photo and food stylings by Mackenzie Smith.

February 22nd, Meet the Farmer(s) Happy Hour at Black Star Coop - 6-8pm, drink specials, appetizers featuring JBG produce, and more at Black Star Co-op, a brew-tastic North Austin haunt. A great chance to mingle with your farmers and farm crew, and see what they're all about.

Farmers! Wanna meet 'em? Photo by Scott David Gordon. Farmers! Wanna meet 'em? Photo by Scott David Gordon.

March 4, 11, 18 - March Spring Transplant Sale - Our most epic transplant sale, yet! Taking place out at our Garfield farm from 9-2 the first three Saturdays of March, we will be offering over 50 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, massive amounts of fruit transplants, 20 different kind of herbs, and tons more. You won't want to miss this event!
  • Weekend 1 is CSA weekend... All CSA members will get 50% off a fruit tree with the purchase of other transplants. Sweet deal, eh?
  • Each weekend we're also having a market stand set up, so you can get your veggies + transplants, all in one. Are you a CSA member and want to pick up your share at the transplant sale one weekend instead of your regular pickup? Email us and we can make that happen!
  • We hope to also have a food truck on site, so you can snag lunch or a snack while you're at it.
  • Trampoline, sand pile, and acres of farmland for kids to play on! Yeehaw!
Transplants! Photo by Scott David Gordon. Transplants! Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Saturday March 11th, Gardening Workshop - We're having a gardening workshop taught by greenhouse manager, Brandon and head honcho, Brenton. These gardeners-turned-farmers have some serious pro-tips on how to turn your backyard (or side yard, or community garden plot) into a productive spring garden to feed you and your family. They'll be offering wisdom on everything from site selection to fertility, variety choices and more. Gain the confidence you need to start growing some serious backyard veggies with hands-on demos from our own backyard gardeners gone wild. Participants will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions as well - so you can finally find out why your tomatoes just won't set fruit and what those darn black spots on your basil mean!

Gardening workshop '16. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Gardening workshop '16. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Saturday April 1, Spring Picnic and Garden Gallop 5K - Live music, family picnic, games for kids + the most unique 5k in all of Austin, great for walkers and runners, alike. With the help of our friends at Rogue Running, we've created an exciting fun run to give you a tour of our 186 organic acres of farmland! Run, walk, skip or hop around the field and enjoy seeing your veggies growing all around you.

5K! Photo by Scott David Gordon. 5K! Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Following the run, we've scheduled some swingin' local groups to liven up the day with their music. Bring a chair or blanket, and a cooler of food and drinks from home so you can sit back and enjoy the tunes and weather while your kiddos play on our famous sand pile. If you don't want to bring your own food, we're planning on having a food truck or two, so don't fret! We've got you covered.

Sunday April 2nd, Pickling Workshop with Kate Payne - Details and ticket page coming soon!

Kate Payne Pickling Workshop of yore. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Kate Payne Pickling Workshop of yore. Photo by Scott David Gordon.


02/10/17 — Heydon Hatcher

A very happy Friday to all of you! It’s an especially happy Friday because... we’re back with another CSA Member Spotlight! It’s been quite awhile since we’ve taken a closer look at the amazing community that we've cultivated around our CSA. We hope that this series will highlight the diverse nature and composition of this community, and how each member integrates the CSA into their varied and oftentimes bustling lifestyles. This week, we caught Cameron Allen, the immensely passionate and engaging founder of The SEED, a democracy-based ESL program based in Southeast Austin.

On a dreary Monday afternoon, Cameron welcomed us into his bright and lively Eastside home after a morning of teaching. We caught him in the midst of a quiet moment, feeding his sprightly 16-month old daughter, Truett, her afternoon snack. Peppered with art, family photographs, toys, and trinkets, the Allen’s home is an undeniably welcoming one, reflecting these amazingly kind and warm people. Read the interview below:

170206_SDG310921 Cameron and Truett enjoying oranges from their orange tree. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

How long have you been a CSA member? We started back in 2011. We took a break when I went to grad school, then came back. So maybe 4 or 5 years total.

How did you hear about the CSA? The concept of Community Supported Agriculture is something I had heard of before, just through having friends who are interested in food and farming, and had been involved in Portland and other parts of the US before I really started to pay much attention to CSAs.

I found out about Johnson’s Backyard Garden at farmers markets, and from there did a little research on different CSAs available in Austin. Y’all’s just seemed like the best… offering tons of weeks and such a diverse spread of veggies was a super attractive thing for us.

When you get your CSA box, what’s your standard plan of action? Truett and I walk to pick our share up right down here at SkyCandy (just right down the street). Then, we just take a walk and snack on things, try stuff… so, that’s actually the first thing. Then we get home and I spearhead getting stuff in and out of the fridge.

One of my goals is to figure out what to do with everything that’s already in the fridge before I unload anything new. So, getting in and digging out stuff that is already in there and incorporating it into something edible, whether it’s for Truett or us.

Cameron Allen. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Cameron Allen. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

What makes the CSA worth it for you? For me, it’s a fun challenge to get produce that I’m not familiar with… I’ve tried to garden for a long time, not so much at this house and with Truett (it’s kind of tough), but I’ve always grown stuff. I was always kind of weird about eating it though because it’s either not big enough, or just an odd quantity… like 3 pieces of okra. The cool thing about the CSA is that it’s enough quantity that the veggies can actually be the foundation of the food that we are eating. Rather than us just eating something normal, like pizza, and I’m just adding extra something to the salad. I like that because it’s a challenge. I like the idea of pushing ourselves to think more about seasonality, too. It seems like an interesting thing to keep thinking about…

What is your favorite veggie? I really like the black radishes, those are really nice. I like the radishes, in general, a lot. Watermelon radishes are a lot of fun. I also like regular green cabbage because there’s a lot of fun stuff to do with that. Man, that’s really tough though… then, of course, the greens are fun… I love collard greens and kale.

What’s your favorite recipe? So, we do a lot of big approximations of Asian soups. Not a specific cuisine, but just Asian inspired in the ingredients that we include in the meals… you know, radish, daikon, miso, and udon noodles. That’s nice because it can be whatever you want. It can be as brothy as you want, and you can add tons of fresh stuff like herbs, green onions, and you can just toss in radishes raw. That’s one that we go to a lot with our CSA because it can be really well rounded and we can toss in tofu protein, too!

unnamed-1 An Allen Asian soup concoction.

What is the vegetable that stumps you the most? Well the funny thing is that we have Truett, so whatever we aren’t using we can incorporate into what she’s consuming (not in a sneaky way). Dandelion greens are really tricky for us. I usually just saute the crap out of them with a lot of garlic. Sometimes the herbs don’t feel right, like, I just don’t want to eat a bunch of dill. I can always eat basil and cilantro, though. Fennel is a rough one for us, because we try to eat the whole thing. I’m not always creative enough for that, though. We’re getting there though, having been a part of the CSA for a while, now we’re recognizing the patterns of what we’re getting. It’s not like you just have 3 bulbs of fennel and then you are done with it, you know it’s coming back! So you might as well figure out what to do with those tough ingredients because it’ll be gracing the CSA again next year. It’s hard to find a partner food for fennel, that veggie interacts so strangely with other foods. It just doesn’t seem to go with the right stuff… kind of throws everything else off. We juice it sometimes, though! We drink our fennel.

Do you and your family adhere to a special diet? I’m vegan. I eat goldfish now though, especially the ones that Truett leaves trailing behind her on the floor. I’ve been vegan for about 8 years. My wife is pescatarian, she’s from Louisiana, so, she eats fish from time to time. We don’t cook fish here at the house just because I’m the one who cooks and I don’t want to do that!

As for our daughter, she comes to school with me every morning. I teach at an adult education program that we started (more on that later!). The people that I work with are mainly from Mexico and Central America, so they’ll bring chicharones and all manner of wild stuff to eat. She’s has a lot of secrets… I teach on one side and she’s other the other side of the building with all the kiddos. She’s in there walking around and grabbing stuff off of people’s plates. But when we are at home, she’s pretty much vegan.

Cookin' time. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Cookin' time. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Where did you learn to cook? I became vegetarian when I was 17, and my parents were not at all interested in that. I was doing a lot of cooking for myself back then, and since then have just kept it up. I watch a lot of youtube to learn about foods, and not necessarily just vegan foods, that seems so limiting. I just practice a lot! The nice thing about getting a big load of vegetables that you aren’t super familiar with is that you have to figure out something to do with them. I enjoy making comparisons of things like turnip, radish, rutabaga, kohlrabi, so that you can substitute and not totally ruin the recipe. I do a lot of youtubing and improvisation.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? The juicer! We also have a Blendtec blender that I use all the time for sauces, soups, salsas, and cashew cheeses! Those are fun. I just found a sauerkraut crock, so that’s exciting! I don’t know if anyone else is, but I am certainly psyched about it. If I can get my fermentation game on point, then I could ferment all types of stuff. My wife has no sense of smell, so if there was some big sauerkraut stink in the house, she would be none the wiser.

Family tintype. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Family tintype. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

What are you cooking now? I’ve been cooking a lot of fun stuff for Truett. We have these little squeezy packs that you can prepare by blending something up and squeezing soft food into it, then we can just put a little lid on it for her. So we were combining sweet potatoes, pears, and apples… and tons of things. She’s all of the sudden not very interested in it! It’s baby food, and she doesn’t think that she’s a baby anymore. Now she wants to grab onto stuff and hold things. I’ve been doing a lot of mac and cheese where the sauce is made with carrots and potatoes. It’s super simple and she loves it. There’s a kale salad that we make with sweet potatoes that is really nice… Recently, with the cold weather, a lot of soups. Tons of huge soups. I really love Vietnamese food, a lot of fresh herbs and a lot of spice.

My favorite recipe by far is scallion noodles. When you make a scallion oil, you cook a whole handful of scallions in vegetable oil for like half an hour until they are brown and crispy. Mix dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, and a little bit of sugar, and that makes this really thick, black mixture. Put the the scallion oil in it, and then pour the combined sauces on top of some udon noodles or whatever noodles you prefer. It’s so insanely good... I could eat that forever. We’ll throw beet greens, beets, or cabbage in there, too. When I’m running around with her, it only takes a little while to make, and then I’m set.

Kitchen chalkboard. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Kitchen chalkboard. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Do you have any advice for new CSA members? Eat everything! Like carrot tops and beet greens… that’s probably the most important thing. Don’t assume that you aren’t going to like something… just eat all of it. You’ll find out what works and what doesn’t. Also, recognize that if there isn’t a deep tradition of eating certain vegetables here, there is probably somewhere else in the world that utilizes certain vegetables often in their cuisine. For example, radishes are utilized beautifully in Japanese food… so if you can figure out how Japanese folks eat radishes, maybe there’s a recipe there that you can tap into. Basically, just building from the ingredients. There’s a millenia of cooking that has preceded us that is available for us to use.

When you aren’t gushing over your CSA share, what do you do? I’m a full-time dad, and I spend a lot of time on my program, The SEED, the one that we built. I’m the only member of our small community that is a native English speaker, so all my partners come to me to learn English. The SEED is about democracy and building leadership within the program as opposed to me telling them what to do. I spend a lot of time trying to figure that out - planning events and curriculum. I’m also trying to read as much as I can. Our goal at the program is read a million words this year in English, which is everyone’s second or third language. That’s our main focus. I’m trying to show them that I’m not just telling them to do something that I myself am not willing to do. So I’ve been more focused on reading than ever before. That’s been a lot of fun.

The SEED reads. Photo courtesy of The SEED website. The SEED reads. Photo courtesy of The SEED website.

Can you tell us about your program, The SEED? Sure! I worked at Youthworks, which is an organization in Southeast Austin, off of Woodward and 35. I was the adult head coordinator for around four years. I taught ESL to adults, and after being there for a few years, we built a really strong community there. It was a very powerful family group of about 60 or 70 people. However, I was not finding the critical dialogues that I was interested in having especially about adult education, trainings, and professional development around Texas. So I thought to myself that I needed to go to grad school because that’s where these things that I sought were happening. Also, I needed to figure out if there are people out there doing critical research on the things that I care about in adult education. So, I went to grad school and was there for nine months, finished my Masters and came back with the expressed goal of coming back stealing the program and my people from Youthworks.

As it turns out, when I returned, YW helped us out the door, which worked out really nicely. Except that we were this group of really excited, passionate people with no money, no reputation, no organizational identity, and no structures or policies… Just a group of really amazing folks, the majority of whom were English language learners with some volunteers and a teachers that I know. That was in 2014. We found a space through a partnership with Mendez Middle School, and we were there for a couple days a week for a little while. The year after, which was last school year, we moved to Houston Elementary.

The SEED Community cooking for Thanksgiving last year. The SEED Community cooking for Thanksgiving last year.

Long story short, we are essentially a foundational ESL program for adults. The people that we work with are moms, dads, cousins, brothers, sisters, they are attached people. Specifically as parents, grandparents, and caretakers of young children, that’s why the kids come to our program as well. One side of the portal you have the kids, and the other side you have their parents, along with other community members who don’t have kids below the age of 5. So, mom and dad can focus on English language learning and literacy, while the kids are in the children’s space romping around with each other, learning songs, and working on other educational activities.

The difference between us and most other communities is that our focus is bringing democracy into every step of the process. So, everywhere from logo design to fundraising to location to partnerships to schedules… everything is on the table. My goal is not only to facilitate a dialogue between these wonderful people and the world in which they live and the worlds that they create, but also through language… to benefit them in their language study, but also empower them as active leaders within the program which will in turn empower them outside of the program. Our program can be challenging when it needs to be challenging, it can be safe when it needs to be safe, but we can mediate their world outside with our world inside at The SEED. Through language study, we are coming to terms with ourselves in the context of others, we’re coming to terms with ourselves as the shapers of our realities, and trying to figure out the ways that those realities can and cannot coexist. When they find conflict, trying to figure out how to address it. The SEED is deeply rooted in social justice, not by just talking about MLK, white supremacy, or xenophobic Islamophobes… though, we definitely DO talk about those things, but the way in which we facilitate that conversation is with social justice pedagogy. It’s not just me coming in and dictating to the community, it’s more of an inquiry based approach. It’s about us thinking about what’s important, the state of the world in which we are living, and how something ought to be different in certain ways. I’m trying to decentralize myself as the sole person with power in terms of curriculum, content, schedule, and the whole thing. It’s fun and tiring, but we are an awesome place to be! People just keep coming, which is really nice. That’s the SEED in a nutshell!

The SEED Community. Photo from The SEED Facebook. The SEED Community. Photo from The SEED Facebook.

Finally, if you were on a stranded island, what three things would you bring?
  • My family unit
  • All of the books (a couple thousand)
  • A camera
The Allen family. Photo by Scott David Gordon. The Allen family. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

A huge thanks to Cameron and his family for their continued support of the farm, allowing us to feature them, and for being such strong forces of good in our community! ‘Til next time!


02/10/17 — Heydon Hatcher


Week 6 has us reveling in a string of beautiful and sunny days. We are planting onions, carrots, beets, arugula, mustard greens, radishes, lettuce, bok choy, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower. Visit us at the markets this weekend for your veggie bounty, and keep your eyes out for a huge update on upcoming farm events!

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Montana workin' the seeds. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Montana at the helm. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Lettuce head. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

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

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Green beauty. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Dandelion green harvest. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Dandelion greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Vast sky views. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Sup? Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Catchin' a ride. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

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

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Rows and rows. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. CILANTRO! Photo by Scott David Gordon.

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

Photo by Scott David Gordon. RAD! Photo by Scott David Gordon.

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

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

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


02/08/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Photo by Mackenzie Smith

By Mackenzie Smith

Roasting whole carrots, skin-on with their tops still in tact captures the sweet, earthy personality of the most ubiquitous root vegetable in my refrigerator. Smoked paprika is the perfect partner for the caramelization you get from cooking vegetables in a hot pan at 450 degrees until they are nicely browned. Leaving a bit of the green tops on while they roast makes for a spicy, crunchy treat at the end of every carrot.

It will be hard to resist eating these right off the pan, but you’ll be glad to pull these out of the refrigerator if you make enough to enjoy over the next few days. Serve as a side dish with lentils and greek yogurt, and consider a roasted carrot sandwich with spinach, sharp cheddar, carrot top pesto and sriracha for lunch this week.

Make sure your carrots are well-dried before you dress them for the oven-- extra water will delay the caramelization that makes this recipe so good.

Hot Paprika Roasted Carrots
  • 2 bunches of carrots, scrubbed, with about 2 inches of their tops attached
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Course-ground kosher salt and pepper
Photo by Mackenzie Smith Photo by Mackenzie Smith

Heat oven to 450

Place a large baking sheet in the oven as you prepare the carrots so that once they are ready to go in, you are putting them on a hot surface and they can begin caramelizing right away.

Mix olive oil and spices. Toss the carrots in the spiced oil, then season with salt and pepper. Spread the carrots evenly on the hot pan before placing back in the oven. Cook at 450 for 10-12 minutes, then rotate the pan and turn the carrots. Reduce heat to 425 and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots give way when you poke them with a fork, and the tops are crispy.


02/08/17 — Heydon Hatcher

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

By Hector Gonzalez

One-Ingredient Orange Sorbet
  • 3 cups of orange juice, no pulp or seeds

Pour 1.5 cups of juice in a 1 quart bag, then put in the freezer for 2 hour or until frozen.

Break the frozen juice into pieces and blend until smooth. Put back in the freezer for 1 hour.

Scoop and serve.

OPTIONS: add other juices, herbs or syrups for new flavor combinations.

Music: "Everything is Orange Now" by Amitron_7, found here.