Unsure of what to get dad for Father’s Day THIS Sunday, 6/19? Get him the official title of Austin’s Greatest Dad! Tag a photo or drawing of your dad with the hashtags #AustinsGreatestDad and #ingredientsATX and a caption about why you love your pa by Friday, 6/17. Win your dad the title of Austin’s Greatest Dad and prizes for you to share (like matching t-shirts, an in.gredients growler or money to spend in.store), and make your pa proud for once.
Interested in getting your hands dirty and learning how to garden? Join us for our Garden Volunteer day this Saturday, 6/18 from 9-11:30AM! Email Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Farmer Sue White Shares History of in.gredients Garden and Tales of Farming in Austin
Almost every day, among a buzz of butterflies and bees, Farmer Sue White can be found planting, weeding and harvesting the in.gredients garden. Out in front of the store and in our produce case, you can see (and taste) what Sue has worked to build over the last four years.
Sue began gardening 40 years ago when she was living in Clarksville next to a vacant lot.
“I squatted on it – I just started to garden there,” she said. “Nobody noticed; nobody threw me out. I had a giant garden.”
When Sue moved to Cherrywood, she continued to garden – growing a wide range of produce without the use of chemical enhancers or toxic pesticides. Four years ago, Sue expanded the size and productivity of her garden with the help of Urban Patchwork, an organization working to create small farms on underutilized or abandoned spaces throughout neighborhoods in Austin with the goal of increasing local food production.
“I got involved with Urban Patchwork – we were a group in our neighborhood of people who wanted to create a patchwork farm of several backyards together. We produced kind of like a CSA,” Sue said. “We had members, and some of the members contributed their land, their backyards, and some contributed work, and some contributed money. We harvested and shared the harvest among all of us; there were about 12 members.”
Urban Patchwork initially helped build the garden in front of in.gredients to act as a community space that exemplified sustainable growing techniques and water conservation. The Urban Patchwork team chose to create a hugelkultur garden because of its ability to retain water, even during times of drought.
“You have to dig a deep trench,” Sue said. “You have to dig down quite deep and dig out the soil, and then put in logs. The logs absorb and hold onto moisture, and the roots get down into the rotting log and get the moisture that’s being held in the logs. On top of that you have to put some nitrogen source to counteract the carbon breaking down, and then you pile your soil along with your soil amendments on top of that. It should be between 18 inches and two feet deep; it won’t work if your trench is too shallow. The soil here does seems to stay moist for quite a long time, and that’s also due to heavy clay content. I have the drip irrigation set up on a timer, and during a rainy period I come and turn it off.”
Urban Patchwork helped in.gredients complete the garden in April 2012. Initially, a team of Urban Patchwork volunteers maintained the garden, but after about a year Sue took over the responsibility of caring for the space.
“Most of the members were on the other side of the neighborhood, so they didn’t have enough people willing to come by and keep it up – but I live right down the street, and in.gredients wanted it to become more of a provider for the store,” Sue said. “Since I had been part of that group, they asked me if I would take it over. That’s how I ended up doing this. I sell to them from the garden the same way I sell from my own backyard garden.”
Sue supplies in.gredients with hyper-local produce grown in our front yard and in her garden just down the street.
“I can harvest food every single day, and that’s how fresh it’s going to be,” Sue said. “There’s no transportation of the food. You can come in here and buy produce that was harvested ten minutes ago, at the most 24 hours ago, and it’s really good. It’s so fresh. Food, the fresher it is, the more nutrients it has in it. It’s not possible yet for everybody to eat locally, but the advantages are that you really cut down on the transportation of the goods, your carbon footprint. There’s always the possibility and probability that we’re going to have transportation interruptions in the future. It could happen any time, so the more we depend on things locally, the better.”
Sue helps set the price of the produce she sells to in.gredients, which has allowed in.gredients to have its own in.house supplier of affordable, chemical-free, hyper-local produce. Produce loses its nutrient content over time after being harvested, so freshly-harvested, local produce has a much higher nutrient density than produce that was picked in other states, or in other countries, weeks in advance and then shipped in, as is the case with most grocery store produce. Sue believes fresh food also just tastes better.
“If you compare my broccoli that I grow in my backyard to the broccoli you buy at most grocery stores, it’s so much greener,” Sue said. “It has long narrow stems like broccolini, and it’s so green and tender; you hardly have to cook it. And the spinach is just incredible. It’s the most delicious spinach you’ll ever eat. It’s just so fresh, and it makes a big difference. Also I know how organic it is. I can’t label my stuff as organic — it would cost way too much to get organic certification — but I know that I am way beyond organic certification.”
Sue starts most of the food she plants in the in.gredients garden from seed at her house. When planting, Sue utilizes companion planting strategies to create natural pest deterrents, and she always keeps the health of pollinators in mind.
“I rarely buy seedlings; I can’t afford that. Sometimes I’ve had some seedlings donated,” she said. “You have to plant some veggies directly from seeds. The carrots that are growing there now are from the seeds that were on the carrot flowers on the carrots growing last year. I let them go to seed because they’re really pretty flowers, and bees like them. They make giant flowers, and the seeds just fall all over the place, and they just grew.”
Volunteers have had a huge impact on the in.gredients garden since its start, helping with everything from initially building the garden boxes and beds to repairs to the never-ending contest with the weeds. When the “wicking bladder,” a structure buried deep within the garden boxes designed to retain water, collapsed, a group of volunteers helped Sue re-design and rebuild a sturdier structure.
“We decided how we were going to rebuild the box and decided we wanted rocks in the bottom. We went to my house and got old pieces of concrete I saved when my neighbor’s concrete driveway was replaced and dragged those over here, filled up the bottom, and rebuilt the box,” Sue said. “The really cool thing was that in that group of people we had one person in their twenties, one person in their thirties, one person in their forties, one person in their fifties, one person in their sixties and one person in their seventies. There was one person from every decade.”
Beyond helping supply in.gredients with affordable, delicious, local produce, Sue believes that there is a lot that volunteers can gain while working in our garden.
“I think it’s just plain interesting, and it’s fun. You can enjoy your food more when you see it growing,” she said. “Just seeing it growing, you appreciate the earth, and you may come to learn how important it is to take care of the earth. It’s hard work, which is good. Hard work is good. I mean people go to the gym for hard work, why don’t they just start a garden instead? It makes you appreciate how much creative work and gentle care go into growing vibrantly good food, and then you’re willing to pay the price that it really costs to produce good food.”
SXSW Eco Panel Picker for this Fall’s conference is live, and we’re in the running! We’ve invited two European package-free grocers – Unpackaged and GRANEL from the UK and Spain, respectively – to join us for a discussion about the future of the growing trend. This is an important conversation to have as more and more “package free” and zero waste grocers are opening up across the globe. Now we need your help! Please VOTE FOR US. Registering is quick and free. Learn more about our proposed international panel and help us win here.
There are only two days left to vote for our next Community Partner! We’re collecting votes in two ways – in-store and online – until Wednesday, April 27th. Note that in-store votes – eligible with every purchase – will be weighted more heavily than online votes, so don’t forget to come vote in person, too. Below are the mission statements of each of our four finalists. Good luck to all the participating non-profits!
Workers Defense Project (WDP) is a membership-based organization that empowers low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing and strategic partnerships.HealthStart Foundation empowers young children to build a healthier future through early health education. We teach children how their bodies work, the food and fitness habits needed for good health, and how to care for the world around them so they can create a world with healthy families and environment.PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability) is dedicated to connecting communities to the natural world with a focus on sustainable school gardening to inspire the preservation and conservation of our precious planet. We provide edible education, service learning, and teacher support to build well rounded school garden programs.Bike Austin improves quality of life for all of Austin and Central Texas by growing bicycling as a form of transportation, exercise, and recreation.
Help us decide who will be our next Community Partner – vote here before April 27th!
in.gredients wants to help prepare your pantry for Passover! We’ve added kosher dishes to our prepared foods case and have highlighted the items in.store that are Kosher for Passover – lookout for the little signs when you shop. Our incredible team member Sylvia shared her collection of her favorite recipes to prepare during Passover with us. Get Sylvia’s family recipe for an Ashkenazi-style Charoset by subscribing to our newsletter.
Recipes from Sylvia’s family:
Old Country Potato Kugel
- 3 large white or yellow potatoes
- 3 large yellow onions
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbs matzah meal*
- 1/4 cup Shmaltz
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel and shred potatoes and onions into a bowl and let them sit for a few minutes.
- Drain off excess water, then mix in a little bit of salt and pepper, as well as the matzah meal, then let the mixture sit for another couple of minutes.
- Mix in the eggs and most of the shmaltz or olive oil/bouillon substitute.
- Bake in a glass baking dish until crust forms on top of the kugel, and it starts to brown.
Serve these with an array of jams, maple syrup and/or honey. They’re great with basically anything – I like ’em with just a little squirt of serrano Yellowbird.
8 sheets of matzah
- Break the matzos into medium-sized pieces, then pour a bit of warm water over them, not enough to turn them to mush, just enough that they soften up a bit.
- While waiting for them to soften, whisk together the eggs and salt.
- Drain off any excess water from the matzos then *gently* mix the eggs in.
- Cook the matzos in a pan with a little butter or oil until they get nice and crispy.
1 apple, sliced thinly
- 3 cups Manischewitz blackberry or concord grape
- 1 cup Maine Root ginger brew or tonic water (or even Topo Chico if you want it less sweet)
- 1 orange (or 1/2 a grapefruit), juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Thinly slice apples.
- Mix wine, fruit juices and apple slices and let sit for a few minutes.
- Mix with tonic water right before serving.
- Serve over ice.
Recipes from the Web:
- 2 cups flour, wheat, white, or a mix
- 1 cup water
- Pre-heat the oven to 475°. Have ready a two baking sheets lined with parchment, a rolling pin, and a fork for pricking holes.
- When the oven has pre-heated, mix together the flour and water. Knead briefly until the dough comes together into a smooth ball, 3-5 minutes. If the dough sticks to your hands or the counter, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is no longer sticky.
- Cut the dough into egg-sized pieces and sprinkle the counter with flour. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough as thin as you can. Transfer to a baking sheet and prick it all over to prevent the dough from puffing in the oven.
- Repeat until the baking sheet is full. The breads won’t spread, so you can put the breads fairly close together. Bake until crisp, 3-4 minutes.
This easy, chilled borscht recipe highlights one of our favorite seasonal vegetables: beets!
- 1 cup (250 ml) sour cream to pass around
- 6 peeled boiled potatoes (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons sugar or to taste
- 2 lbs (1 kg) raw beets
- A little salt and pepper
- Peel the beets and dice them. Put the beets in a pan with 9 cups (2 liters) of water and salt and pepper and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
- Let the soup cool, then chill, covered, in the refrigerator. Add the lemon and sugar to taste before serving (these could be added when the soup is hot, but it is more difficult to determine the intensity of the flavoring).
- Serve, if you like, with a boiled potato, putting one in each plate. Pass around the sour cream for all to help themselves.
- 20 Medjool or other soft, dark dates
- 5 oz goat cheese
- fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and layer a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice dates open lengthwise, remove pit, and place on baking sheet.
- Sprinkle each date with a small pinch of salt.
- Stuff each date with one teaspoon of goat cheese, and sprinkle another small pinch of salt overtop.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until dates are fragrant and tender and goat cheese has softened considerably.
- Sprinkle another pinch of salt over all the dates, if desired, Serve immediately.
- 3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Baking sheet
- Silpat or parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Gather all your ingredients and equipment.
- Toast the coconut (optional). For deeper coconut flavor and extra-crispy macaroons, spread the coconut on the baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, or until just barely starting to show some color. Let cool slightly before using.
- Whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk until the whites and sugar are completely combined and the mixture is frothy.
- Combine the coconut and egg white mixture. Pour the coconut over the egg white mixture and stir until the coconut is evenly moistened.
- Shape the macaroons. Line the baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. With wet hands to prevent sticking, shape the coconut mixture into small balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Space them an inch or so apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake the macaroons for 15-20 minutes. Bake the macaroons until golden, 15-20 minutes.
- Cool the macaroons. Let the macaroons cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Macaroons can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 large eggs, separating yolks and egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Whipped cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with the rack in the center. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan. Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
It may seem intimidating, but making your own fresh cheese at home is fun and easy. Ricotta is a fantastic cheese to start with because – as you will see in this recipe – you can make it in under an hour and enjoy it immediately; instant gratification meet the Slow Food Movement.
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
- medium saucepan
- slotted spoon
- On medium heat, warm milk up to 200°F, stirring frequently to prevent the milk from curdling.
- Once milk has reached 200°F, remove from heat, and add citric acid.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Stir with slotted spoon to further separate the curds from the whey.
- Placing cheesecloth over a bowl, pour the milk into the cheesecloth, and strain the whey from the curds.
- Drain or squeeze cheesecloth until only ricotta remains, then transfer cheese to a container.
- Don’t toss your whey! Whey is valuable; find out how to reuse it here.
- Add salt to taste, and voila! You’ve made cheese at home!