Thursday, June 15, 2017

Enjoying the sweet life, with From My Kitchen To Yours

You may think there is nothing new about jam and jellies, but you probably have not met Daynna Torres of From My Kitchen To Yours. Some of the favorites from this sweet lady are Carrot Cake jam, Christmas jam, Peach Mimosa jelly, and even some delicious sugar free jams. Daynna, her girls, and even her mom, have been a part of the Midland Downtown Farmers Market since 2010, but year after year she finds a way to bring some new surprising tastes to the market on Saturday mornings. The latest is an Irish mustard, she also has a nice assortment of dried soup mixes (which is especially nice when the weather starts getting cooler!) Look for her white tent with orange polka dots if you want to sample some of the sweet life too!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tancho Ray Urban Farm - Big things come in small packages!

If you have ever had the chance to try TanchoRay Urban Farms micro greens you know that it is true, big things really do come in small packages!  Not only big taste, but big nutrition fills every small plastic container of those delicious micro greens and locally grown mushrooms.  There is a story behind Sonny Aguilar's TanchoRay urban farm, and it's just as amazing as those delicious microgreens!

As you get older to tend to go back to your roots, so to speak. Becoming a recent grandfather of 2 great boys has made me miss the times when I was young and hung out with my Dad in the garden.  Having lost him at a young age I didn't realize what amazing qualities he had and what a green thumb he was gifted with until recently.  I came across urban microgreen farming and became instantly connected to my past, my Dad.  The idea of year-round gardening indoors appealed to me.  The idea of urban gardening bloomed from there.  I knew I needed a large structure to grow and also knew downtown Midland has plenty of buildings not being used to their capacity.  I acquired the lease on an otherwise abandoned building that had been used for storage since the early 90's.
The name TanchoRay Urban Farm, is an homage to my father Ray.  With the support of the local community my goal is to grow seasonal vegetables and greens year-round as we can control the climate indoors.  The building has room to grown and the next phase will be to grow with aquaponics using Koi fish hence Tancho which is a type of Koi.
Growing micros has been an adventure.  I am blessed to have landed some great clients in the local restaurant industry. With their feedback and support my urban farming project has grown into being able to grow and harvest enough to sell at the Midland Farmers Marker for the first time last weekend. I'm so pleased that our local community was welcoming of nutrition and flavor packed microgreens!  The nutritional benefits from these tiny veggies are significant.  The herbs such as basil are full of flavor, not to mention, they dress up any dish.  They are grown using organic practices, so you can feel good about what you put on your food!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Flying Y Farms, keeping the family in family farms!

Those who visit the Midland Downtown Farmers Market regularly have no doubt visited with DeeAnn Yates and Samantha Borgstedt, owners of Flying Y Farms.  This mother and daughter team are a power house, supplying not only the Midland Downtown Farmers Market with seasonal vegetables, but also bringing several Midland restaurants their farm fresh produce.

Sharing her knack for gardening with her grandchildren, Flying Y is ensuring the future of their family farm, and the patronage of customers who visit her at Midland Downtown Farmers Market help pay for that future.  Flying Y Farms, keeping it family, keeping it local, keeping it delicious!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

14 Weeks of “Real Food” Mini-Pledges
The second week challenge is to limit beverages to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).

What is it about human nature that makes us always want to do what we are told not to do? 
One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to eat healthy, and the first thing I did was throw out most beverages except for water and tea - gone were my daily rendezvous with bubbly lemon-lime sodas, gone were ordering soda and peach flavored teas when we went out to eat.  I had no problems with it, in fact I had gone for months without any sugary drink besides my morning coffee - it was the proverbial 'piece of cake' for this weeks challenge. 
So why do humans feel the need to grab that last soda before we are not supposed to have them, when we have gone for months avoiding them with no problems at all.  And why do they never taste as good as we think they should when we do give in to temptation?  I like a bit of lime and mint in a tall frosty glass of water 100 times better, but there I was ordering up something I probably really didn't even want...  Humans are a strange lot, that is for sure.

Just out of curiosity - did anyone out there give up diet drinks for the week?  If you did, were you able to get through the week without giving in to temptation and breaking out the diet soda?  I only ask because as a former diet soda junkie - breaking that habit was not as easy as some would think (and I had the 'taste' for a tall glass of iced diet Coke for months after!)  How did you do on the one week challenge, and do you think you would be able to give them up for good (and will you?)  

I will say this - after that first day of the challenge soda didn't cross my mind again.  In fact I made it all the way through without a slip...  Next week's challenge is to take meat out of the lime light and make it the flavoring in meals (not an easy task for this steak lovin' carnivore!)  If nothing else, the whole act of simply thinking about limiting things that might not be good for us and going local is well worth the effort of these mini pledges - well, it is for me anyway!  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

14 Weeks of real food mini pledges begins.

14 Weeks of “Real Food” Mini-Pledges
The first week challenge is to eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
So who would have thought that adding two vegetables or fruits to each meal would be so hard...
Like at least half of the population, I've jumped in to something without preparing for it and now I find myself scrambling to think of what I am going to have for breakfast.  Not so much what I'm going to have for breakfast as much as how to add the two fruits or vegetables to it! 
Somehow I don't think that the 3 year old box of strawberry oatmeal on the shelf qualifies as a fruit, I'm not sure what those little bits of pink in the mix are, but they don't resemble anything like a strawberry.  For me, breakfast is often a piece of toast with peanut butter smeared on it.  Sometimes if I am feeling a little rebellious I'll have a bowl of sugar coated puffed wheat.  Most days I have to admit that breakfast begins and ends with a cup of coffee, you would think that adding a fruit or vegetable to that would be a walk in the park - which may be true, if you are prepared for it!
My first day out it looks like I am adding a banana and a little watery packet of diced pears to my cup of coffee.  Much more than I would normally eat, but better than the toast or cereal that I might munch if I were not trying to add the fruits or vegetables.
From a normal persons point of view, I can see how this type of challenge can help raise awareness of the things that should be in each and every diet.  I'm not a big fast food eater, we don't eat a lot of processed foods so I thought this would be a slam dunk - but the simple act of trying to add something that is out of my normal range turns out to be a bigger challenge than I thought it would.  I may do fine the rest of the day, our dinners always include at least one and most times two vegetables, I may have to take a little more care with lunch, but it too is something that I could easily add fruits or vegetables to.  I feel sorry for those who might normally eat lunch on the go, driving through a fast food line - how hard is it going to be to find a fruit or vegetable to add to that?  Are you going to count the lettuce on the burger as the vegetable?  Or the slice of tomato?  And if you do count it, is it cheating?  Or will you go out of your way to make a better choice so you can get that fruit or vegetable added?

I think I am defiantly going to be adding more fruit and fresh vegetables to my shopping list today because if nothing else, there will be a pineapple, banana, and kale yogurt smoothie for breakfast tomorrow!  It may take a little extra thought, and a little extra effort - but I can do this.  How about you?

Enjoying the sweet life, with From My Kitchen To Yours

You may think there is nothing new about jam and jellies, but you probably have not met Daynna Torres of From My Kitchen To Yours. Some of t...