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A Peachy Peachy Weekend

When I lived in Austin, I thought that the best peaches in Texas came from the Hill Country. Then I moved to Houston and tasted Cooper’s Farm peaches and peaches from other parts of East Texas.

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Fish Camp Gazpacho

It was a long way to a grocery store and I had a lot of homegrown tomatoes and cukes. That’s when I discovered that Bloody Mary mix makes a pretty decent gazpacho base.

When we vacation at Greer’s Ferry Lake in Arkansas, we get boxes of homegrown Arkansas tomatoes along with cucumbers, okra, peppers, and squash delivered to us courtesy of Bill and Rosie McBroome. The retired couple live just outside of Conway, Arkansas, and they maintain a quarter acre garden that Bill plows by tractor. Bill told me he had harvested around 400 pounds of tomatoes so far this year and his vines would be producing through the summer. Rosie makes tomato juice, canned tomatoes and salsa out of some of the overflow. Bill gave us a box with around 35 pounds of tomatoes in it, neatly stacked with layers of newspaper in between.

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Purple Pico

When Chef Alan Lazarus loaded me up with his homegrown tomatoes, he gave me a couple of purple Brandywine heirlooms. I used one of them along with some purple onions to make pico de gallo. It looked a little purple at first, but after a couple hours in the fridge the purple onions started bleeding into the lime juice and the whole thing got wonderfully weird-looking. If you have a purple tomato, try it yourself. Add some purple peppers or purple Thai basil if you have any. Here’s a recipe:

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Tomatoes Coming Out of Our Ears

Alan Lazarus in his garden

Alan Lazarus, the executive chef and co-owner of Vespaio and Enoteca Vespaio on South Congress Avenue in Austin, had 20-some pounds of tomatoes sitting on his kitchen table when I stopped by his house for breakfast. There were still more stacked on all the window sills. We had […]

Only Two Things Money Can't Buy…

3 lbs of cherry tomatos and 1 okra pod

Today I picked three pounds of tomatoes and one okra pod out of the thicket that my garden has become. And all day I have been singing the old Guy Clark song.

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Mayhaw Time in the Thicket

Mayhaw season is here and if you want to buy some, go visit Bill Jackson. He has a bunch in the freezer. The Jackson fruit farm is on the edge of the Big Thicket in Livingston. Bill Jackson grew up on this farm raising cotton and the food his family lived on. It was a hand to mouth existence. He tried growing peaches here, but a virus killed the trees. So he needed to find something else to grow.

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Houston Restaurant Community Gardens?

Leaders of the Houston restaurant community are exploring the idea of buying vacant lots in the Fifth Ward and turning them into organic gardens. At a recent meeting, the group looked at several lots adjoining the Emile Street Garden. Pictured (from left) David Kim and Stephan Fairfield of Covenant Capital, chef Randy Evans […]

If I Only Had A Brain

After I pulled out the snow pea bush, there was a little more room in the organic garden in my backyard. I planted some tiny okra and melon seedlings, but it will take a long time for them to mature. The tomato plants all have lots of little tomatoes on them and they […]

Garden Geeks

Instead of going to the farmer’s market this weekend, why not volunteer at a community garden? You get to pitch in, pull weeds, and get your hand’s dirty–and then you get paid in lettuce and beets. If you need any planting advice, you’ll find lots of garden geeks hanging around who can answer […]

90A Dewberry Stand

Oyster season ends when the dewberries are ripe, or at least that’s the way the native Karankawa tribe figured it. After eating oysters and fish all winter, they moved their camps inland from Galveston and Bolivar when the dewberries were ripe.

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