This year, I’m taking on a farm-to-table, #localmonthly challenge where I eat local, home-cooked meals for one day every month. All ingredients from these meals are from Texas. (See the first post here.)
Summer is here in Texas (temperature heating up, school’s out, sunny days) and that means summer fruit! This month, we made some spontaneous plans to pick fruit at a nearby farm, and it was the perfect introduction to my favorite fruit season. Keep reading to hear all about our experience and see what I ate for my local monthly challenge.
Picking Peaches and Strawberries
I follow Sweet Eats Fruit Farm of Georgetown, TX and saw a post announcing peaches ready for picking. I am very excited about the peach season and I like that the farm is closer than Fredericksburg’s peach bounty. (For my non-Texan readers, Fredericksburg is one of the largest peach-producing counties in Texas and a popular destination for pick-your-own farms. The farm in Georgetown is about 30 minutes away from me compared to Fredericksburg’s almost two-hour drive.) Naturally, my plans for this month’s local eating and research immediately shifted to experience my first time picking peaches and strawberries! Here’s a view of one of the peach orchards.
The strawberry season is slowing down and we got there about an hour after they opened, but we still managed to pick a pound and a half of ripe strawberries. Strawberries don’t ripen after being picked so you want to find the dark red berries. (Strawberries are $3/lb.) We got some good ones!
We then walked over to the peach orchards. Same as the strawberries, you want to look for dark red and yellow peaches. If they’re hard, they’ll soften off the tree. We picked about four pounds of peaches and Will’s height was very helpful to grab the ripe ones others couldn’t reach! (Peaches are $2.50/lb.) It was heating up quickly, and you can easily get carried away by picking too many.
The farm also grows different varieties of colorful zinnias. We didn’t get any but they are $8 for a small bucket or $15 for a large bucket. They were so beautiful!
For the cost of the strawberries and peaches we picked ($15), we had a fun morning seeing where and how these fruits grow. I have a feeling we’ll be visiting this farm again.
If you’re in Austin, another nearby pick-your-own farm (strawberries and blackberries) is Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, about an hour away from Austin.
May’s Farm-to-Table Meals
Will has a few gardening co-workers and this month, we enjoyed a sampling of their plants that are producing more than they can consume. We were given cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, a green bell pepper, a zucchini, a yellow squash, and lots of herbs.
I also tried Rosso and Flynn‘s meat delivery for the second time. The meat is sourced locally from producers that pasture raise the animals and do not use antibiotics. This time I got a 10 oz Wagyu chuck eye ribeye from Ranger Cattle in Austin, TX ($15.00) and 12 chicken wings from Cobb Creek Farm in Hillsboro, TX ($13.50). We eat animal protein weekly and I’m hoping to do more research for a post all about local meat. If you have any questions or tips, let me know!
On the way home from the fruit farm, we stopped at the Georgetown Farmers Market. It’s a bit smaller than the Texas Farmers Market at Lakeline we usually go to but we did see a handful of similar vendors. Here’s what we ended up buying at the farmers market for $20.25:
- One dozen eggs from Richardson Farms in Rockdale, TX ($6)
- Potatoes, two lettuce heads, and one bunch of beets from Johnson’s Backyard Garden of Austin, TX ($14.25)
Here are the resulting meals:
Breakfast: Egg Scramble with Green Bell Pepper, Jalapeño, and Cherry Tomatoes
Lunch: Chicken Wings, Zucchini and Yellow Squash, Strawberries
Dinner: Lettuce Salad with Beets (dressed with olive oil and balsamic), Mashed Potatoes (with local butter and oregano), Wagyu Steak
Peach Cobbler (used this recipe and the peaches we picked!)
Intentions of Eating Local
If you haven’t gathered from my last few posts, eating completely local is hard, which is why seasonings have been on the cheat list from the beginning. For example, the peach cobbler I made this month featured the peaches we picked at Sweet Eats Fruit Farm, local flour from Barton Springs Mill, and local butter from Vital Farms, but the sugar, baking powder, lemon, salt, and almond milk were not local but items we already had in our kitchen. The same goes for the seasoning (mostly salt and pepper) on everything.
I’ve been approaching this local challenge how I’ve been approaching things like doing more for the environment or accomplishing my goals – I do the best I can. I eat as local as possible while trying not to be wasteful and giving myself grace for falling short. Transitions and changing habits take time. The most important part of my local monthly challenge is learning more about local products and celebrating the local bounty and local producers. As a frequent perfectionist, I have to remind myself that done is better than perfect and a little is better than nothing.
So, if you’re curious about eating more local, dabble in it. Learn more about your local produce and figure out your why. It doesn’t mean you have to stick to it forever or go all out but maybe you’ll find purveyors you like.
The peaches this month gave me life! Living in a city like Austin where there are so many great choices of food makes eating local easy and hard. It’s hard to keep within restrictions but finding local produce is easy with a bit of effort. Seven months to go and more good eating and learning coming!
P.S. Curious about my other posts from this challenge so far? See them here.