Kafta Kabobs with Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki, and Pita (photo courtesy racheldurrent.com)
Friends, our Farm to Table article in the current issue of EASTside Magazine received a nice and unexpected honor. This article was featured as a top summer recipe on ISSUU!
ISSUU is an online gallery of tens of thousands of magazines. Each month, more than a hundred million visitors from around the world click on ISSUU for content.
ISSUU featured our article in “5 Tasty Recipes to Finish Off Summer”. We don’t know how this article got on their radar, but how nice to get shared around the world! We had a huge spike in our website traffic a few days ago and thought it was a glitch—but this explains things.
Thank you Will and Ashley Bowling for including us in EASTside Magazine! What a nice way to get started!
Thank you so much Will and Ashley Bowling and Ashley Haguewood of EASTside Magazine for believing in our work! It has been such a joy working with you guys. We are so excited to be part of your team!
Of course, we owe this wonderful opportunity to our friends Jordan and Kaley Regas, publishers of THE BEND Magazine. Jordan and Kaley brought us into THE BEND family from the beginning. With their help and guidance, we now have a body of work that includes more than a hundred of Kayla’s well-crafted recipes with Rachel’s beautiful photography to match them. Jordan and Kaley, you guys are the best—thank you.
Austin friends, look for EASTside Magazine on-line and in venues across the city. EASTside Magazine is a creative and clever view of Austin with some compelling stories and gorgeous photography, you will love it.
Friends, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Steven and Cathy Koenig of Groundswell Farm in Cuero, TX, to bring you lamb! We are so proud to partner with these wonderful people!
Going forward, look for cuts of grass-fed lamb in your Farm Share: lamb chops, lamb roast, spare ribs, ground lamb, and liver. This lamb of is of the highest quality.
Steven Koenig, DVM, and his wife Cathy own 125 beautiful acres along the Guadalupe River just outside of Cuero. Steven is a retired veterinarian who helps out at the animal rescue center in Cuero. Cathy is an active master naturalist.
Groundswell Farm is located on an historic property in Cuero. Years of conventional farming–from commercial cotton production to overgrazing with cattle–had worn out the land.
When Steven and Cathy took over the property five years ago, they introduced lambs (plus cattle and goats) not for the meat, but to replenish the landscape. They wanted to restore the native grasses and natural beauty to the place. You can see from the video of Steven what an amazing job they have done with the land, and there is still much more they want to do.
Steven pastures his lambs, cattle, and goats in a management-intensive rotational grazing operation. He intensively grazes the livestock, then moves them to a new paddock and lets the area rest. The animals enjoy a rich diet of grass and forage while the landscape flowers and grows more lush.
All these species (including the guard dogs and pet turkeys) live in perfect harmony, even sleeping on top of each other! This is not easy to accomplish–you have to treat the animals very well for this to happen.
This rich diet has led to a wonderful increase in lambs, and that is where we come in! We are proud to offer Groundswell Lamb in the Farm Share!
Please enjoy this good food and know that it is grown with love by wonderful people!
Steven Koenig with Lamb Chute Inspired by Temple Grandin
Groundswell Farm in Cuero: Lambs, Goats, Cattle, Dogs, and Turkeys Living in Harmony! Just Incredible!
It’s not every day that a celebrated artist stops by and asks to paint your garden. But that’s just what happened, almost a year ago to the day, when plein-air painter Carol Koutnik visited our farm with a vision for her next project.
Carol has been our wonderful friend and faithful Farm Share customer for many years. She told us she was initially inspired by the food she received each week, “food worthy of painting”. She said the freshly-picked vegetables began to stir memories of her uncle’s beautiful garden from her childhood in Chicago, that she visited often as a child.
But she grew up as a military kid, then as a married woman, moving all over the world but never in one place long enough to plant a garden. That garden from her childhood grew in memory until she needed to capture it in paint. We showed Koutnik around our gardens, and she used it as a springboard for something extraordinary.
Now, this weekend, at the Rockport Center for the Arts, Carol Koutnik will unveil her latest exhibit, “The Fantastic Garden”. This collection features forty diverse works of art: oil paintings, fortune-tellers, graphite sketches, and clay images. The art is simply breathtaking. The work focuses on many vegetables from the garden, but best of all, Koutnik features cabbages.
I knew these cabbages, or at least thought I did. I planted them painstakingly from seed, coaxed them to maturity for ninety long days, and watched their tender hearts form in the center.
These forms are what attracted Koutnik to the garden, and what she captures so brilliantly in her work: the unfolding heart, with all its secrets, with all of its creative power.
Her colors are surreal; the light and shadow a revelation—it’s not the plant, but the spirit of the plant she sees. I looked at those cabbages a hundred times from my hands and knees, as I scanned the plants daily for cabbage loopers and cutworms, but I never got even a glimpse of what Koutnik saw.
David Hill, Adjunct Instructor of Art at Texas A&M—Corpus Christi, offered a glowing review of the exhibit. Hill explains that the cabbages are not artistic symbols, but instead they are “living things that remind [the artist] of nurturing, mystery, maturity, and fecundity.” Hill says the work is an “experience of cabbages, the experience of curiosity and marvel.”
Those humble cabbages are now five feet wide up on the canvas. Koutnik has transformed them into something entirely new, something timeless. They are now the process of creation itself, the energy of the earth blooming in the paint on her canvas, the secrets in the heart of the cabbage, in the heart of the artist, unfolding, opening in ever-expanding leaves of color.
Now, this garden belongs to everyone. Now it belongs to you.
You can see “The Fantastic Garden” of Carol Koutnik this Saturday, April 8, at the Rockport Center for the Arts, the same day and starting place as the Rockport Tour of Homes. Koutnik will give a gallery talk at 4:30pm on Sat, April 8th. The exhibit runs through May 13th.
Friends, Kayla and I are excited to host a tomato gardening class at Four String Farm this Saturday, March 18, from 9:00am to noon.
This interactive hands-on workshop will teach you everything you need to know to grow delicious, healthy, prolific tomatoes. On our farm, we grow thousands of pounds of tomatoes each season. We will show you the techniques we have developed over the years to get the most sweet and flavorful tomatoes with the least amount of work.
Everything You Need to Know to Grow Wonderful Tomatoes!
We will cover soil health, how and when to plant, tomato varieties, companion planting, how to trellis, irrigation, fertilizing, mulching, pest control, tomatoes in pots, and more. This will be a hands-on class. You will actually plant tomatoes in bare dirt to demonstrate the techniques, and we will answer all your questions in the process.
The average tomato plant yields about five to 20 pounds of tomatoes during the season and often gets ravaged by pests and then shuts down in June. We will show you how to get 50 lbs or more from the tomato plants in your garden throughout the summer!
We Will Have Some Helpful Materials on Site, if You Need Them
Some materials, such as a sturdy trellises, can be difficult for a backyard gardener to find in small quantities. We will have these materials available for you. If you like, we can cut small sections of trellis for you, so you can take home only as much as you need at very little cost.
We will have our favorite varieties of tomato six-packs and 4” plants (along with appropriate companion plants) on hand if you would like them. We will also recommend the stores and other resources in our area where you can find these items.
The cost of this workshop is $20 per person. You must register and pay in advance for this class.
Friends, our Farm Share is coming to Eleanor’s Coffee Bar + Market in Corpus Christi!
Beginning in March, Eleanor’s Coffee Bar + Market will be a pick-up location for the Farm Share. We will deliver the Farm Share to Eleanor’s on Fridays for you to pick up between noon and 3:00pm. (To reserve your Farm Share at Eleanor’s, please stay tuned to this site. We will announce openings for March in the next few days, thank you!)
Kayla and I are thrilled to partner with Jessica Gignac, the owner and creative force behind Eleanor’s. Kayla has followed Jessica for years and loves everything she does. Eleanor’s Coffee Bar + Market is elegant and classy and tasteful with a great vibe.
Here is a sample of what you will find at Eleanor’s: seriously good coffee; high-quality teas; fresh juices made from wholesome ingredients; avocado toast with poached egg and micro-greens (definitely try that one); smoothie bowls; the baked goods of Fed by Bread; cookies; granola; kombucha; and much more. The market features high-quality roasted coffee beans, teas, honey, home goods, and other tasteful items.
When you come to pick up your Farm Share from Eleanor’s on Fridays, feel free to stay for a minute to enjoy a coffee or tea, or a healthy snack, or a nice lunch. There is a wonderful atmosphere at Eleanor’s—bring a book to read or bring a friend for a nice visit. It is a special place.
Eleanor’s: Jessica Preparing Breakfast
We are so blessed to partner with wonderful people like Jessica Gignac. You will love stopping at Eleanor’s to pick up your Farm Share!
The Farm Share at Kimmi’s Fine Foods on Tuesdays
Of course, we will continue to deliver the Farm Share through Kimmi’s Fine Foods on Tuesdays. Kimmi has been our partner, supporter, leader, encourager, advisor, and loyal friend for five years now with many more to come.
Kimmi has shown us the profound value of local partnerships based on integrity, trust, and the passionate commitment to serving others. We don’t know what we would do without our Kimmi.
The Farm Share at Downtown Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays
We also look forward to resuming the Farm Share at the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays in March. The GROW Local folks are totally dedicated to bringing local food to Corpus Christi, and they know how to host a beautiful market. We can’t wait to see everyone there!
March Farm Share Openings, Coming Soon!
Please stay tuned for Farm Share openings in March, coming in the next few days. Thank you friends for you partnership with our farm, we are so honored to serve you!
Jessica Gignac, Owner of Eleanor’s (photo courtesy thebendmag.com and racheldurrent.com)
Beginning in March, our Farm Share will include the produce, pork, beef, chicken, eggs, and other products of these beautiful farms. They grow their plants and animals without chemicals using heritage techniques similar to ours. The produce is chemical-free, the beef is grass-fed, and the pork, chicken, and eggs are raised on pasture.
We can’t wait for you to experience the freshness, flavor, and wholesome goodness of this food. We are honored to offer the harvest of these farms in our Farm Share.
We will tell you more about the farmers and their products in the coming weeks. For now, please know that Tyson Thornton of Spirit Pioneering Farms, Ryan Keller of Turkey Hollow Farm, and Tim Fitch of Palo Verde Cattle Co., are smart and experienced growers. They pioneered their farms themselves. They are full-time farmers with families to support. They know what they are doing.
These partnerships will reduce gaps or low points in our Farm Share supply, as we balance our offerings among several strong farm programs. The diversity and geographic spread of our farms will ensure a more steady and reliable supply of high-quality products.
Finally, Tyson, Ryan, and Tim are great people. We are so thankful to partner with such wonderful people to strengthen our business and bless our family. We will work to make sure the Farm Share also strengthens and empowers their families as well.
We will of course continue to offer our own products in the Farm Share. On top of that, we will continue to supplement with organic produce from Kimmi’s Fine Foods. We are so excited about the expansion of our Farm Share, we hope you are ready for some epic meals in the coming months!
We will announce openings in the March Farm Share in the next few days. Thank you, friends, for your continued partnership with our farm. Our farm family just got a little bigger, and we are so glad to have you in it!
If you want some healthy eating tips for the holidays and a good laugh, see this video from Kayla. Dietitian how-to videos are not usually this hilarious.
Don’t worry, our baby did not really eat a bag of cat food. Kayla made that story up ad lib; pretty good comedic timing! All dance scenes (plus all other scenes) are unrehearsed. Thank you Hollie Mims for the best facial expressions ever. Please enjoy!
Friends, Kayla and I were featured on the front page of the Caller-Times this week in a wonderful article by reporter Natalia Contreras. That article was picked up by the Associated Press and is now appearing in newspapers across the country.
Thanks to that article, we are excited to welcome new friends from all over to our site! This article is now showing in every major newspaper in Texas and in papers across America from Seattle to San Francisco and back again.
We love to share our heritage farming techniques to help you grow your own healthy and delicious food without the use of chemicals. Four String Farm will be featured in a Smithsonian Exhibit coming soon, click here for details. This exhibit may come to your city, we hope you can see it!
Friends, bring your children to Four String Farm for a combined gardening/cooking class on Saturday, November 12, from 9:00am to Noon! Children of all ages are welcome!
Your kids will learn how to plant a small starter garden and how to cook something delicious out of it! We want your little ones to go home with the skills to prepare their own meal from produce they grow themselves.
Kid’s Gardening/Cooking Class Agenda
The kids will begin the class by tending to the pigs and interacting with our goats and cows along the way. They will feed the laying hens and learn about egg production. These activities are designed to show kids where food really comes from.
Next, the children will plant their own starter garden. They will get their hands in the dirt, dig, plant seeds, and water their garden.
Then they will prepare a meal from their freshly-picked harvest. They will make their own homemade pizza from scratch and dress the pizza with ingredients from the garden.
Parent or Guardian is Required
Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Your job as an adult in this class will be to keep your little ones safe and make sure they behave. There will be some walking and standing for you while the little ones plant their garden. For the safety of the children and our animals, farm rules must be obeyed at all times!
During the cooking portion of the class you can cook with your child or relax in a lawn chair in the shade and enjoy complementary water or a delightful refreshment from Groovie Smoothie (available for purchase).
How to Sign up for the Class
This will be a small class to make sure each participant gets the most out of this experience. You must register and pay for this class in advance. Registration closes November 11 or when the class is full.