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Pick your own everything!

Happy holidays, friends!

Just wanted to share that starting in April of 2018, we are opening up the farm to you-pickers 5 days a week! What's ready to pick will change with the season - expect greens, radishes, beets, and carrots in April, moving into squash, peppers, and tomatoes, then the berries and melons as the summer rolls along (and more)! I'll post lots more about it when it gets closer, right now we're building some infrastructure and planning the gardens to make it easy for everyone to access the crops. 

Thanks for all the support in 2017 and making it our best year ever! We'll see you out in the field soon. Stay warm!

Pick-Your-Own Blackberries!

The next open day to pick your own blackberries is Thursday, June 8th! We will all one open either Saturday or Sunday, one or the other, depending on how picked out they are Thursday - I will let you know which day it will be on the Facebook page after picking Thursday. 

Our thornless organic blackberry plants are loaded up and ripening. Here are the all the details about coming to the farm to pick your own! 

This is our first year, so please bear with us as we figure it out. There are plenty of berries so we hope everyone has a chance to pick some, but we'll let you know when it's picked out and when we expect more to be ripe through our Facebook page. 

We will be open 9am to 12pm (noon). We're keeping hours limited to mornings because you may have noticed, it's getting pretty hot! Please bring your own hats, water, and bug spray.

The entrance fee is $3 per person, which we will ring up with your berries when you check out at the end. When you arrive, we'll give you a basket and teach you how to recognize a ripe berry (look for very dark, plump berries with a dull finish). You may sample a few as you pick, but please remember we're a small family business, and paying for what you eat keeps our doors open! Please only pick blackberries, our other crops aren't ready yet.

When you've picked what you'd like to buy, we'll weigh and package the berries for you to take home. You-pick berries will cost $6/lb, and if you pick it, you bought it, so don't pick more than you can use!

Please do not bring pets and and no smoking. We have a port-a-potty on site, but that is it for amenities except a few picnic tables! 

We are really looking forward to sharing this wonderful experience with you and your families! See you soon!! 

 

Ready... Get set... Spring!

You (yes, you!) are cordially invited out to the farm to pick your own blackberries this year. Yeeeeeee! 

They're shaping up just beautifully this year (pleasenohailpleasenohailpleasenohail). We'll keep you posted on the details, but the berries are in season for about 3 weeks starting early June. So mark your calendars! 

In the mean time... I have some carrots to weed.

Hey! Are you looking for a summer job?

Edited: We're thrilled to say the positions have been filled! Summer camp, here we come!

Do you like kids, organic vegetables, and sweet sweet Texas heat?! Have I got an opportunity for you! 

We're looking for a couple of enthusiastic movers and shakers to tackle a Summer Camp program with us. Check out the details here and send us an email if you're interested. 

That's not all we have going on this summer - this is the first year our blackberries will be established enough to support a you-pick operation. For about 3 weeks in June, you can bring your family to the farm and pick your own blackberries! They're giant, juicy, and thornless. We'll keep you posted! 

How to meal plan

When you practice Good Meal Planning, you will have interesting, healthful, seasonal meals at your fingertips. There are myriad reasons why it's important, but most significant for me is knowing there's something healthy at home just waiting to be assembled. How easy or difficult that is depends entirely on the recipes you choose. You'll save money by cooking at home and buying what's in season and therefore everything will taste better, in addition to not being tempted by unhealthy takeout. A few notes before we begin:

  • I like a balanced dinner: protein, vegetable, carbohydrate. Teriyaki chicken thighs, broccoli, sweet potato. Lime buttered salmon, avocado and tomato salad, quinoa. Steak, rice pilaf, garlicky spinach. Easy peasy. Get familiar with the formula.
  • I run a lean fridge; my husband has occasionally voiced concerns that we're starving/poor after looking in there, but I just can't stand food waste; only buying what you have actual plans for ensures you never have a slimy eggplant at the back of the crisper (wasteful AND gross). It's better this way. You can clearly see what you have, and of equal importance for meal planning, what you don't have.
  • A well stocked pantry is thing of beauty and also a must-have. Mine has shrunk considerably over the past year, as soon as the small mountain goat that lives in my house discovered it and I was forced to sacrifice proper function of the bottom two shelves or spend every day of the rest of my life packing the items back onto them many, many times... I look forward to being able to use them again one day. 
  • I like to buy proteins in bulk and freeze them. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer as well as two-person portions of salmon. You can even find organic chicken breasts in little vacuumed 2-packs now, easily plucked out and thawed when you need them. Do it yourself or pay someone else for the convenience, but having these basic elements on hand will make your life much easier.
  • Most importantly, you're going to need to learn to cook and to like it. There's just no way around that for the way I do this. But you don't need to slave for hours; you can control exactly how onerous it is with the menus you select. You're the boss of you. But don't force yourself to make some new complicated recipe every night; that's not what it's about. When I'm trying a new recipe or making something I know is more time-consuming, I make sure the other components are simple or familiar.

Here's how I do it. It's going to seem pretty involved, but after doing it a couple of times, it'll flow naturally and really minimize your work during the week AND your food waste. You may find doing the steps in a different order works better for you; it's best to jump around between them a bit.

1. Divide a sheet of paper into three columns. Forgotten what paper is? Just write three headers in your iPhone notes. Produce, meat/dairy, and grocery. I generally do about 4 or 5 days at a time to minimize potential waste and accommodate "I just don't feel like eating that" nights. Half way down the page, write "To use", and below that, write "Meals". Like this.

2. Start with what you know you want to make. What Facebook video post did you come across and want to try this week? What old favorites have been requested? Write all the ingredients you need in the appropriate column, and write the meals (or components) at the bottom of the page. Let's say I want to make a pot roast in the crock pot because I know I have a busy day on Monday (and this will make leftovers for my husband to take to work for lunch, something I always plan for and encourage you to do as well), and I want to try that stuffed pepper recipe my cousin's mother-in-law's dog posted. Write these under Meals.

3. What is currently in the fridge, especially what is most perishable or nearing expiration? Write these under To Use. Now, how can you use them? Let's say I have bell peppers, a bunch of green beans, a few ripe tomatoes on the counter, and half a tub of feta in the fridge. Ok, green beans can go with the pot roast. The peppers will be stuffed. I'll throw a tomato in with the pot roast, but I'll still have a few to use. I'll make my favorite chickpea salad with the feta. Do I have everything I need for that? The salad needs a cucumber. Check the others, and add anything missing to the appropriate column on the list. Cross out everything you've successfully "used" up.

4. What's in season? This is best started Saturday morning at the farmers market; with your recipes from step 1 in mind, buy everything you can find for those recipes as well as whatever else looks good to you that week. Don't go nuts; if you overbuy, it'll end up in the garbage. Talk to your farmer (me!) about what will still be producing next week and what's on the way out, so you can choose wisely what you should get this week. Add these under To Use. Let's say I picked up a few monster zucchinis from my neighbor Highway 19 produce at the McKinney Farmers Market as well as a pain au levain from Village Baking Co. Then plan how to use them; I'm on a spiralizing kick, so I'll zoodle up the zucchini and I dunno, probably have tomato and mayo toast with most of the pain au levain and garlic bread up the rest. That'll actually go nicely with the zoodles.

5. Round out any meals missing a component with proteins, carbs, and veggies that make sense. Pot roast gets rice, and I forgot to write the green beans in there. What proteins do you have around? Combine proteins with the sides, writing the ones you don't have on your list. Shrimp sounds good with the chickpea salad, which doubles as carb and veg. Also I like to put spinach in my stuffed peppers but forgot to write it down until the last photo. I like a chicken sausage sauce for the zoodles and my freezer stash has been depleted, so I better grab some. Thoroughly check all your recipes and fully populate your grocery list. Be clever; the stuffed pepper recipe calls for half a cup of tomato sauce. Why would I buy that when I can use a couple of the tomatoes on my counter instead? To me, the goal is not accuracy, but tastiness. No one is grading you on adherence to the recipe. 

6. Check your staples and add any to the list. I fear my wee goat will mutiny if we ever run out of bananas, strawberries, or Mill-King whole milk, and everyone else will probably die without coffee. Rice, pasta, quinoa, beans, marinara, and oats are among my pantry frequent flyers. I consider shelf-stable vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, and winter squash staples as well, so they rarely appear on my lists because I buy (or in the case of onion and garlic, grow) them in bulk.

Grocery list is done, dudes. Go forth and eat well.

Field Trips at the Farm

Due to overwhelming demand, we are excited to introduce Field Trips at the farm! We're prepared to host students of any grade and provide fun, age-appropriate, TEKS-aligned educational activities. We've also curated programs specifically for Girl Scouts! Please check out the links at the top of the page for more information and call Megan to book your trip! (469) 795-8585 or megan@purelandorganic.com.

You asked, we answered

As many of you know, we've been eager to jump into the Party Business for quite some time. Pulling up to the farm elicits the same response from nearly every visitor: this place is so beautiful, you should host events here! Well... sure!

After being forced to at least temporarily abandon our building plans or risk being sued by our fair city, we've decided to market our lovely event venue as what it is; a beautiful, working organic fruit and vegetable farm at which you can throw a party. We're still working on finishing touches (in between getting the spring transplants in the ground), but I'll be ready to share pictures soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this adorable graphic.

As it will be an all-outdoor venue, we're going to be getting creative, and I plan to offer my services to help coordinate. We have the necessities: power, water, and a gorgeous landscape. We can bring in any manner of props, tents (under 400 square feet), fancy restroom trailers, string lights, dance floors and stages, long harvest tables... For a unique wedding, I can imagine food trucks (how much fun would a taco truck and a cupcake truck be?!), converting our grain silo into a bar, a long harvest table, the possibilities (and Pinterest inspirations) are endless.

If you'd like to take a peek, give me a ring at (469) 795-8585 and I'd love to show you around. Stay tuned for pictures of the completed site soon!

Sun seekers

I blinked. Fall and winter passed quietly while we chipped away at projects, and my girl somehow blossomed into a sweet little mountain goat. Distractions abound, but it is almost spring, and that means only one thing: stop! Farmer Time.

Garlic and onions are already in (the garlic since October, actually) and looking lovely. More cool weather greens are nearly ready to transplant. Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are stretching their leafy li'l arms up to the grow lights. We'll wait on starting squash, melon, and cucumber transplants another week or two. They get big fast. As much as I've savored every minute (ok, not the poop-filled minutes) of time with my little, I've missed being out on the dirt. Got a good feeling about this year... please don't start raining. I mean, rain a little. Sometimes. At regular intervals, would be nice. Definitely asking too much, I'll shut up.

It's been a very mild winter. We'll sow beets and carrots this week, prune peach trees next, then turn our attention to rehabbing our old tin barn and landscaping. Unfortunately, our building plans have been put on hold due to some good ol' fashioned American bureaucratic baloney, but we've decided to proceed without it. We've gotten by this long without a building, and have been to enough of them by now to know you can throw one hell of a party right out on the grass. I can't lie, we're disappointed. But wallowing is fruitless. It's a lesson gleaned right from the field; when the sun moves, you turn your leaves towards it.