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Archive for July, 2009

Fishing Yesterday’s Coast

Reading a great book called “Fishing Yesterday’s Coast” by Legendary Guide Barney Farley. Wonderful insight on the need for conservation.

From Amazon:

Renowned fishing guide Barney Fariey worked the Texas coastal waters out of Port Aransas for more than half a century. In these stories and reflections, Farley imparts a lifetime of knowledge about fish_silver trout, sand trout, speckled trout, redfish, ling, catfish, jack, kingfish, you name it_and gives advice about how to fish, where to fish, and when to fish. Perhaps no one could chronicle the changes in sport and commercial fishing along the Central Texas Coast more ably and more passionately than Farley. When he came to Texas in 1910, he reported that he could get in a rowboat and using only a push pole, make his way “to the fishing grounds and catch a hundred pounds or more of trout and redfish” in a few hours. A couple of years later, the shrimp trawlers arrived. As they plied the Gulf in increasing numbers, they depleted the shrimp populations in the bays, and Farley watched the fish move farther and farther offshore, following their ever more elusive food source. From his perspective in the mid-1960s, Farley was not satisfied simply to lament the disappearance of once-abundant species. He also strongly voiced his views on the need for conservation. Many of the problems he identified are still with us, and some of the solutions he prescribed have since been adopted. This book is both an appealing reminiscence and a cautionary tale. Anyone who cares about fishing and the health of the Gulf’s waters will find an authoritative and completely engaging voice in Barney Farley.

Here’s a cool pic with him and FDR

President Roosevelt catching a tarpon in Port Aransas, 1937. Barney Farley is holding the tarpon.

President Roosevelt catching a tarpon in Port Aransas, 1937. Barney Farley is holding the tarpon

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Thanks to Paris Permenter and John Bigley (http://www.texastripper.com) for this well-written and entertaining overview of the annual Onion Fest in Weslaco, TX.

Lovin Onions in Weslaco, TX

Lovin' Onions in Weslaco, TX

 

Where: Weslaco City Park at 300 North Airport Drive in Weslaco, Texas.

When: late March, early April (check website for updates)

Why: An annual, one-day ode to the 1015 sweet onion makes for a sweet treat for the 26,935 residents of this Hidalgo County town.

 Entertainment: As mariachi music plays, crowds will clap for the rhythmic clip-clop of The Andalusian and Azteca dancing horses. Honoring a proud Hispanic heritage, charro riders in traditional “trajes” take the purebred Spanish horses through their paces, while Escaramuzas perform sidesaddle, demonstrating the elegance of the equine sport.

From country crooners to lively mariachi melodies, soul-stirring gospel to pulsating Latin beats, musical notes will mingle in the air with the spicy aroma of onion blossoms as live musical acts perform on two stages throughout the day.

Events: Wii generation gamers can jam like Jimi Hendrix as they simulate playing a six-string during Guitar Hero III or pretend to be Pikachu, Mario, Link or another Nintendo character during a combative round of Super Smash Brothers, two of the tournaments being held at the Internet Cafe.

The Escaramuza troupe (all female riders,) perform at Onion Fest. The legend of the Escaramuzas began during the Mexican Revolution when women on horseback would follow soldiers, carrying supplies.

The Escaramuza troupe (all female riders,) perform at Onion Fest. The legend of the Escaramuzas began during the Mexican Revolution when women on horseback would follow soldiers, carrying supplies.

Win or lose, participants will have tears streaming down their faces at the conclusion of the onion-eating contest. Four categories– youth, adult, senior and celebrity, will compete for prizes in this event.

If the sight of award-winning appetizers and main courses inspire you to concoct your own culinary creations, stock up on supplies at the Farmer’s Market, where vendors sell vegetables and fruit along with jellies and jams. If have a hankering for tried and true festival food, head over to the food vendors for a corn dog, taco, and of course, an awesome blossom.

The sparkle of a silver necklace or the sight of a bluebonnet painting draws visitors into the Arts & Crafts tent, where the array of books, CDs, artwork and ornaments on sale make a lasting souvenir of your day at the festival.

Children’s Activities: The imaginations of little sprouts can blossom with the array of activities offered at the Knapp Medical Family Area, while energetic imps can shoot down an inflatable slide or ride a Ferris wheel just their size, or tackle a rock climbing wall.

For more information: www.weslaco.com
Photos courtesy Weslaco Chamber of Commerce

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Edinburg Farmer’s Market

Mercado Delta Farmers Market (near Edinburg, TX)

Mercado Delta Farmer's Market (near Edinburg, TX)

Mercado Delta is a unique, multi-purpose, outdoor, open-air public and farmers market where entrepreneurs, farmers, artisans, and craftsman sell their goods, arts and crafts, and services. The farmers market is where locally-grown produce and organic produce is sold and consists of an open air pavilion covering a large parking lot adjacent to the east of the plaza.

E-mail questions regarding the Mercado Delta project to: info@mercadodelta.com

Dr. Gilbert Cardenas
Executive Director
Delta Region Revitalization Corporation
P.O. Box 247
Edcouch, Texas 78538
(956) 262-0255
drgcardenas@aol.com

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History of South Texas Citrus

Thanks to Lori Grossman for this great overview of the history of South Texas Citrus:

Rio Star Grapefruit

Rio Star Grapefruit

The southernmost tip of Texas, known as the Rio Grande Valley, is home to the World Birding Center, thousands of sun-starved “Winter Texans,” and a thriving citrus industry. The next time you savor a sweet Rio Star grapefruit or a delicious TexaSweet orange, thank John Shary. He’s the man who started it all.

Once a pharmacist from Omaha, Nebraska, Shary relocated to Corpus Christi, and first visited the Valley in 1912. Excited by the potential for growing citrus, he bought acreage near the town of Mission. Shary started with grapefruit, which was irrigated with water from the Rio Grande. In 1922, the first railroad car filled with fruit from his Sharyland orchards was shipped to market.

Scientists called the land along the Lower Rio Grande the most fertile in the world, next to land along the Nile in Africa. It comprised about one million acres of prime agricultural land. Shary organized the United Canal Company to provide irrigation. As more citrus trees were being planted, the cost of transporting the fruit by rail was increasing. Shary pushed for the extension of the Intracoastal Canal to the Valley. By the time the extension was completed, Texas citrus was being shipped around the world.

In 1917, the man known today as the Father of the Texas Citrus Industry built a mansion in Mission, Texas. It includes a two-lane bowling alley and a ballroom where the Shary’s daughter, Marialice, married future Texas governor Allan Shivers. After their deaths, the Shary-Shivers Estate was given to the University of Texas Pan-American.

A tradition for over 75 years, Mission hosts the Texas Citrus Fiesta at the end of January. This popular event includes the coronation of Queen Citrianna and King Citrus, plus the colorful Parade of Oranges. So, let’s all hail the King, Queen, and John Shary!

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Citrus & Onions

Springsweet Onions

Springsweet Onions

 

South Tex Organics is a citrus and vegetable farm located in the sub-tropical Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. They began in 1984 with 60 acres and sent their first shipment of organic citrus to Whole Foods in Austin in the back of a horse trailer. 

South Tex Organics currently harvest from over 500 certified organic acres and distribute throughout the US and Canada, making them the largest organic citrus growers in Texas. They specialize in growing Rio Star grapefruit, several oranges varties along with Meyer lemons, Texas SpringSweet onions and watermelons.

 

You can order South Tex Organics citrus and onion products at www.stxorganics.com

South Tex Organics
5 1/3 Miles N. Doffing Road (FM492)
Mission, TX 78572
Contact: Dennis Holbrook, (956) 585-1040

P.S. Here’s a little Texas onion history from Texas A&M.  Read it and weep.

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Cuero, TX :: 1908

In 1908 Cuero’s first turkey dressing house was opened and turkey raising began on a large scale on DeWitt County farms. Early in November the growers would herd their turkeys down country roads and through the city streets to the packing house.

Visitors in town would marvel at the sight. They enthusiastically expressed their interest to local citizens and year by year the number of visitors who came to Cuero to watch the turkey drives grew.

In 1912 a group of businessmen in the Chamber of Commerce, sensing the interest of these visitors and wishing to encourage turkey raising and to advertise South Texas turkeys, decided to start a celebration with a turkey drive down the city’s main streets as the main feature. A popular dance at that time was the “Turkey Trot” and this name was adopted for the event.

The original “Turkey Trot” and all future “Trots” proved highly successful. Newsmen, cameramen, magazine writers and thousands of spectators flocked to Cuero each time the celebration was staged. As many as 20,000 live strutting turkeys has appeared in the line of march.

In 1973 a group of Cuero citizens decided to add to the Cuero Turkey Trot. A full South Texas spectra of turkey based foods recipes, carnivals, gala parades, free mall areas in the downtown streets, continuous live entertainment, home tours, street dances, arts and crafts, in additions to a “herd” of wild turkeys parading down the streets all climaxed with the “Great Gobbler Gallop”.
This final event is an annual turkey race between the cities of Worthington, Minnesota and Cuero. A two-heat race – one heat in each town each year – the best time of the two races determines the winner. The prize being a four foot trophy, “The Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph” and the title of the “World’s Fastest Turkey.”

The event is most successful bringing thousands of people into Cuero for the annual three day event which is now called Cuero Turkeyfest. The event is held each year on the second weekend in October.

38th Annual Cuero Turkeyfest will be held on October 8-10!

CUERO TURKEYFEST ASSOCIATION
124 E. Church Street
Cuero, Texas 77954
(361) 275-2112
http://www.turkeyfest.org/

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Fishin’ at Reef

I am trying to build up my fish knowledge and so I headed to Houston last weekend to ‘stage’ at Reef, an amazing restaurant run by Bryan Caswell. My high school friend is married to Bryan, hence my foot in the door. Reef uses Gulf seafood and incorporates the local cooking styles of Houston, which include Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. I cleaned a few different types of fish including Grouper, Tripletail (caught in Rockport!) and Snapper. They also let me hang behind the line once service started and the restaurant was packed like sardines at 530pm. Incredible.

Heartfelt thanks to Brandy, Heather, Lance, Josh, Morgan and especially Juan for putting up with me. I hope to be back soon!

Reef
2600 Travis @ McGowen
Houston, Texas 77006
Tel: 713 526 8282
http://www.reefhouston.com/

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