Thursday, March 3, 2011

Locally grown greens and vegetables, it's what's for dinner

Dinner tonight: Sauteed green onions and winter greens, picked fresh from the farm - what else could you ask for? Well, how about sweet beets, young cilantro, curley parsley, a wide variety of lettuces and spinaches, and carrots? Those are just a few of the items ready for harvest at the Last Organic Outpost here in Houston. Oh, and did I mention that these are all grown in season, without chemical fertilizers or pesticides? Only a couple of weeks ago, we were experiencing the coldest winter Houston has had in over 20 years, but you would never know it by looking at the activity and all the green at the Last Organic Outpost farm.

The farm is a year-yound, non-profit, organization operating just East of Downtown Houston. Hosting a series of events throughout the year, the farm truly does support the local community, and we urge you to go to their website to see how you can pick up fresh greens and vegetables for dinner and how you can get involved.

As we parked at the farm, located in Houston's inner loop (map below), right smack in the middle of an older neighborhood, we were greeted by young lady and asked if we wanted a tour. And of course, we took her up on her offer. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the planting process, the varierties being grown, the people working, and the composting/soil mixing. She picked vegetables for us as she told us about the farm and all the projects going on, like beekeeping and worm composting. Towards the end of the tour, we met up with the young lady's mother and step-father, who actively run the farm, Marcella and Joe Icet.

The farm is Joe Nelson Icet's creation. Born of his love for growing food, the community and local art, the farm grew with the help of friends and support of the community. Now it provides food that sustains his family and the community, and the food is abundantly available to anyone willing to pay or get involved.

With three bags of greens and a head full of ideas, we left the farm inspired by Joe and his passion for growing natural, seasonal food. His love of the work along with his ideas for projects and expanding the farm to provide the local families with more opportunity reflects our own hopes for a better tomorrow. Joe said he was "Just so excited, even after all these years, that anyone can grow food - you just plant it and it grows and it feeds people. How amazing is that?" Well, Joe, I think that is just fantastic!

I'm always taking about buying locally grown produce and meats, supporting small local businesses, and eating food grown naturally. There are sources for food like this. There are others doing what Joe is doing; not for profit, but because it is just the best way to live, work, play, and eat. Thank you Joe!

603 N Emile St, Houston, TX 77020, USA

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