Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Visit to Home Sweet Farm

Home Sweet Farm is one of two CSAs in the area. Located about an hour's drive south, in Brenham TX (also home to Blue Bell Ice Cream - Mmmm, ice cream), Home Sweet Farm offers 30 weeks of fresh produce for CSA members both in the Houston area as well as all the way up here in Bryan. Every member I've spoken to praise the family of farmers for their dedication to what they call "righteous food." 

Although it's temping to join a CSA, at the moment, we're getting all we need from our farmers market and, eventually, from our backyard. But you don't have to be a member to enjoy the very literal fruits of Home Sweet Farm's labor. Every month, they host a "Market Day" where they invite local sellers from around the state to join them in their own version of a farmers market. I had never had an opportunity to be out that way, so when my friend Tammy called and asked if I wanted to join her for a road trip, I eagerly said yes!

She was ready with her cooler (she'd be getting her Thanksgiving turkey from one of the vendors) and I had my produce bags (I was on the lookout for lots of local fruits). Thankfully Tammy loves to drive (me, not so much), so I was more than happy to let her take the steering wheel for the hour-long drive. 

When we arrived, there were a few people still setting up. As you can see from the photo above, there weren't as many vendors as we usually see at our local farmers market, but it was certainly made up for in selection. Tammy knew quite a few of the vendors (one was our very own Alysha Godfrey of Sand Creek Farm where both Tammy and I buy our milk). As you can see from the photo here, and I mentioned in yesterday's post, I picked up a large produce bag of wonderful oranges (we got a taste test before we bought them - yum!), a jar of olives for my dad, and a large pizza crust. Tammy got her Thanksgiving turkey (I took a picture but it didn't come out - bummer), some granola, two pizza crusts, some oranges, and some persimmons (that's two of her persimmons and some granola in the picture that she shared with  me).

The farm was offering a tour at 3:00, but with the turkey in the car, we decided to head out. But of course, that wasn't the end of the trip. On the way back, we made a quick detour to see DiIorio Farm and Roadside Market where my dad brings me lots of goodies. If you're local, I can best describe it by saying it's a larger version of the Farm Patch. There are lots of local goodies there, but many things are non-local too. You just have to ask.

Our last stop was for a older gentleman who was selling sweet potatoes out of the back of his pickup truck. I've never seen so many sweet potatoes - the entire bed of his truck was full! The man was so nice and he could barely talk. He said he was from Louisiana and he came here to sell his potatoes. Seems like a long way, but hopefully he was visiting with family or something while he was in town with all those potatoes. I should have taken a picture of that truck, but I didn't think about it until I got home. Sorry. Anyway, at $0.75 a pound, we couldn't pass up some road-side sweet potatoes and we each picked out what we needed (me for my regularly scheduled fried sweet potato meal, and Tammy for her upcoming Thanksgiving family dinner).

We continued to visit on the drive home. It was a cool, but gorgeous day outside and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time with Tammy and getting to know her better. We both stocked up on some wonderful local goodies, enjoyed visiting, and have made plans to hit the local berry farms when they open in the Spring. I suppose we could have picked up many of these items at the big-box store just down the street, but I can't help but think of all the things we'd have compromised. Visiting Home Sweet Farm meant time spent with a friend, the support of local farmers, and healthy-organic-local foods in our families' tummies. Sorry Kroger, there's just no competition. Go local!

For more information about Home Sweet Farm's CSA, Market Day, or to read their farm blog, check out their website.

Happy Tuesday and, as always... Happy (and  mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

The veggie pizza won, just as I said before with homemade tomato sauce, squash, broccoli, onion, pepper, tomato and cheddar cheese(not local, but certainly mindfully crafted by Heini's)...it was amazing. My hubby took a few pieces for breakfast this morning. I just sauteed the veggies for a few minutes with olive oil, added some Tuscan herbs and organic seasoning, covered the crust in sauce, spread the veggies,and sliced some cheese on top and then browned it up in the oven. The kids are going to make their own pizza tonight...I think they want a pepperoni and cheese kind of thing.
I had a lot of fun going to Brad and Jenny's with you. There was never a lull... we never even turned on the radio in the few hours we were out (I know-I talk too much). The thing I love about the markets is that these people are so diverse and yet they come together to share the things that they raise, grow or craft themselves. It is like an art festival of the bounty of the harvest. Picking fruit is a different experience entirely but I am forewarning you that I have an addiction to picking fruits and veggies... going is easy but leaving some for the other pickers can be hard at times... okay, perhaps I am exaggerating, but I do usually want at least some of everything.
Next year if all goes well, there are potential strawberries, then blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, all sorts of veggies(even in town-Gendron tomatoes), figs, and did I say, tomatoes? Last year, I wrote approximate picking times on my calendar so I would be able to plot trips and then visit websites regularly when the seasons get close. Actually, there is more than I list here, but these are my usual pick list. I make it out to Plantersville(for berries) once early season if possible and then I go to Plantersville (for berries)and Hempstead for peaches. Last year, I timed it a bit late in order to get freestone peaches(and nectarines) because they are easier to can. E&B's in Hempstead also boasts some amazing peach and blackberry ice creams. We take a cooler and get a bit whenever we manage to get out there...not perfect raw milk ice cream but this stuff is so good, she makes it there.

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - I know just what you mean about the fruit picking addiction. Sharli and I were picking fruit together last May and we couldn't stop. We kept saying "it's time to meet up with the others," and then we'd see all these berries that were just screaming to be picked. It'll be fun though. Maybe we can another group together again this spring. It was fun. There were 5 adults, 2 kids, and then we had a nice picnic lunch.

Your veggie pizza sounds fabulous! I could hardly believe how amazing that crust was. I LOVED it! Does she sell anywhere else?

ttammylynn said...

Nicol lived in Kurten and I met her through Alysha years ago. I bought bread from her after Alysha moved, she used to come to town for errands every Friday, but she moved to Victoria so sadly, no, there is no reasonable way other than Market Days...but if she ever does come to town, sometimes she will call so I can order. If it ever happens, I will let you know. She is pretty great...but you know, you can make pizza crusts. I made a wheat pizza crust once, there are lots of recipes. If I can do it, I know you can too(your baking skills far exceed mine).
Yes, I am looking forward to berries and picking seasons. Hopefully next year I will be ready to can by the time the fruit starts coming.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - Definitely let me know if she swings back into town. Yeah, I suppose I could make my own one of these days. It just looked so good sitting there, I couldn't resist :)