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Springdale Farm: Farming Outside the Fence

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It is no secret that I have a farmer crush, not on one specific farmer, but on farmers in general.  I admire their open-heartedness, generosity, hard work and joy.  This weekend I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at Springdale Farm  and was reminded of the first time I met Paula and Glenn Foore and how they charmed my socks off with their contagious happiness and passion for farming and helping others.

The ironic thing is that the Foores became farmers quite by accident.  They originally bought the almost four acre property in a sleepy East Austin neighborhood twenty years ago to house the inventory for their landscaping business. When the business slowed during the recent recession, they worried about keeping their devoted crew, many of whom had been with the company more than 15 years, busy over the winter.  Paula explains, “We were just trying to come up with a morale boosting thing to do and decided to plant a garden.  We could at least feed us and our crew.”

Farm stand

Paula, who previously served as bookkeeper and primarily shuttle service for their busy teenage daughters, was surprised when she started to fall in love with gardening, nurturing seeds to fruition.  Glenn grew up on a farm and was a horticulture major in college, but Paula finally caught the bug when they started growing crops instead of landscape plants.

“Glenn and I laughed as we were sitting around the other night having a glass of wine and realized that we were just talking a mile a minute about what we wanted to do next, plant next and what seeds we wanted to order next,” Paula muses. “We just have this passion that grew from that first little front plot.”

The Foores have generously shared that passion with the local food community, often hosting special dinners and events at the farm.  Seldom a week goes by without a celebration of one sort or the other with picnic tables set up under the pecan trees, live music playing in the corner and guests sharing in the joy of the farm and its bounty.  By hosting these events they have introduced many new people to Austin’s urban farms and local food.

Springdale Farm

And they are still plotting and planning about ways to grow the farm and give back.  Most recently, they’ve toyed with the idea of planting crops outside of the fence so that anyone in need can pick fresh produce. “We meet so many people and, of course, farmers are never at the top of the big donor list, so we have to figure out what we can do to give back in the best way that we can,” Paula explains. “That’s why Glenn and I had fun planning the project outside of the fence. What can we do outside the fence?”

It’s rare to find a couple so focused on others as they grow their young farm.  We are truly blessed to have the Foores, Springdale Farm and their outside the fence thinking.

You can join the Foores and supporters from the local food community at an upcoming benefit for Colleen Sommers of Pie Fixes Everything on Thursday, June 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

You can also visit Springdale Farm at their farm stand, Wednesdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, at 755 Springdale Rd.

 

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Edible Austin 2011 Eat Drink Local Week Kicks Off

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The fist day of Edible Austin’s 2011 Eat Drink Local Week included a tour of Austin’s urban farms and a lovely pig roast at Springdale Farm.  Here’s a few photos to whet your appetite.

I hope to see you at some events this week

Springdale farm farm stand
Farm stand at Springdale Farm
Goat at HausBar farm
Goat in the hen house at HausBar farm
HausBar farm on Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week farm tour
Donkey in time out at HausBar farm – apparently he’d gotten a little feisty with visitors
Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week pig roast.
Pig roast at Springdale Farm – Whole Foods did a great job!
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Visiting Boggy Creek on Two Wheels

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I was delighted when I was invited to join and write about the Austin on Two Wheels Urban Living ride to Boggy Creek Farm.  I always enjoy visiting Boggy Creek and have been saying for years that I wanted to commute to the farms and farmers market by bike, but have been hesitant to venture out on my own.  You can read all about my lovely day with the folks from Austin Two Wheels and my new found confidence with riding in town on their blog:  My Boggy Creek Farm Picnic.

I highly recommend their rides for anyone who wants to do more cycling in town, but is nervous about traffic and riding rules (and not just because they are paying me to do so.)  I will definitely be participating in more Urban Living rides this Spring.

This post was sponsored by Austin on Two Wheels.

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Celebrating Bounty on the East Austin Urban Farm Tour

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Years ago, farms stretched along the Colorado River in East Austin and grew all the things Austinites needed to fill their tables and their bellies.  The farms slowly went away and were replaced by houses and businesses.
Today, dedicated farmers are rebuilding the farm belt in Austin just a few miles from our bustling downtown.  Boggy Creek Farm, the grande dame of the East Austin urban farms, is almost 20 years old and now it’s been joined by relative newcomers Rain Lily, Springdale and Haus Bar Farms.  These East Austin urban farms, all within walking distance of each other, recently organized a tour as a benefit for the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
Each farm offered educational tours of their fields and tasty morsels from some of Austin’s best restaurants who work with local farms.  Olivia, East Side Showroom, Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, Dai Due Supper Club, Texas French Bread, Jeffrey’s, Cooking by Design and Eastside Cafe created delicious dishes with the produce from the farms.
It was a delightful day, one of those days you don’t want to end.  I had my niece and nephew in tow and they were charmed by every farm.  I’ve never seen two children be so intrigued by chickens.  We put chairs in front of the coop and the kids would become entranced.  Who needs TV when  you have chickens?
Chicken coop at Haus Bar Farm
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Cooking by Design’s Strawberry Lemonade
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All of the Broccoli salad from Jeffrey’s
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Boggy Creek Farm
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Turkey at Rain Lily Farm
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Texas French Bread Beet Crostini
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Rain Lily Farm
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The next time you need a near perfect day, go visit one of the East Austin farms.  Boggy Creek Farm hosts farm stands on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm and Springdale Farm hosts a stand on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.  Rain Lily and Haus Bar offer special events throughout the year where you can join in.
And, say “Hi” to the chickens for me.

View the full slide show:

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