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Archive for October, 2009

Gate view of olive orchard, Texas Olive Ranch.

Just got back from the Fredericksburg Wine Festival where some amazing local foods were available to sample. The best were “Don’t Panic Hispanic Salsa” (deep, smokey, tomato flavor) and perfectly good olive oil from Jim Henry’s Texas Olive Ranch in Carrizo Springs.  They use arbequina variety olives which are especially suitable for growing in the soil of the Middle Rio Grande Valley. They also grow two other varieties: arbosana, also Spanish in origin; and a Greek variety, koroneiki. The growing season in Texas is hot and the olives are ready to be harvested the first week in September. They offer tours and a comfy inn nearby for visits.  Stop by!

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From AgriLife News:

COASTAL BEND: Light, scattered showers came to the southernmost part of the region with some relatively heavy rains in the north. Producers were harvesting sunflowers and sesame. Forages responded to the rain, and pasture conditions were improving.

SOUTH: Rain accompanied by a cold front improved conditions throughout the region. AgriLife Extension agents in all counties reported adequate soil moisture. Rangeland and pastures, especially buffel grass pastures, continued to improve, but the cooler temperatures slowed forage production. In the northern parts of the region, planting of wheat and oats was completed. Three quarters of earlier planted crops were emerged. Peanut harvesting was expected to begin within a week if weather permits. Some late-season hay was being harvested. Fieldwork in preparation for the 2010 crop season was ongoing in the eastern parts of the region. All winter wheat and oat planting in the western parts of the region was expected to be completed within a week. Pecan harvesting in the western counties was expected to begin soon. However, pecan yields may be limited due to lack of water received during earlier development stages. Growers were actively planting spinach, and cabbage progressed well with cooler temperatures. In the southern counties, fall crops were progressing well. Livestock improved with foraging on new-growth grasses and forbes. Stock tank levels rose, and some ranchers were able to stop supplemental feeding.

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Food Desert

Image from the Springfield Institute

Image from the Springfield Institute

I am starting to realize that South Texas is somewhat of a food desert with limited access to fresh vegetables and local meat–sold commercially that is. Now if you have a ranch and/or a boat (which means time and $$), you can get wonderful game and fish. Vegetables and fruit are still a problem, but things are improving with the growth of farmers markets (Rockport-Fulton, Beeville, Victoria..). But sheesh. When you look at the foodie resources of San Antonio and the Hill Country upwards, it leaves one salivating and parched for good local non-fast food bites. Must keep searching…

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South Texas Tequila

El Grado Tequilas brought home several honors at two recent competitions.

El Grado’s Blanco, Reposado and Añejo last month received the gold medal at the 7th annual Spirits of Mexico tasting competition in San Diego, Calif. El Grado Blanco received the gold medal at the 2009 Beverage Testing Institute’s International Review of Spirits.

El Grado Tequila’s three grades are Tequila Blanco (clear in color with hints of fruit and black pepper), Tequila Reposado ( light amber in color with lingering vanilla sweetness and spicy notes) and Tequila Añejo (amber-gold in color with amooth, complex maple flavor and hints of fruit and spice)

Here’s a great article from the Corpus Christi Caller Times about this tasty tequila.

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