Grilled Okra

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Don’t know what to do with all that okra you just bought from the Microfarm? Grilling okra is an easy and unique way to prepare it. I love okra, but sometimes its slimy texture can be unappetizing. Grilling at a high heat eliminates much of this sliminess and leaves the outside skin crunchy. Your options on seasoning it are endless, from simple salt and pepper to chili powder to Szechuan spice. If you’re at a loss for what to try, message me and I can help you with some more specific suggestions. Here, I’ve opted for a Greek seasoning that can be bought at any grocery store. This gives the okra a nice salty kick, but does not completely mask its natural flavor.

Try pairing these with other farmer’s market finds and have yourself a farmer’s market-themed grill fest with your friends. Grilling really enhances the flavors of whatever you are making, especially with fruits. Grilled herbed eggplant, grilled stuffed jalapeños, grilled bell peppers, grilled peaches, and grilled cantaloupe are just a few suggestions to get you started. Check out our Farm to Table page for more ideas.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 carton fresh okra
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs Greek seasoning
  • Nonstick grilling or cooking spray

How To

  1. Thread the okra on 2 skewers, one going through the top end and the other going through the tail end. This helps to flip the okra on the grill with ease. Fit as many okra as the skewers will allow, leaving a small space between each, about .25″.
  2. Brush both sides lightly the the olive oil. You do not need to use all of the olive oil. Then moderately sprinkle the seasoning on both sides.
  3. Light up the grill to med-hi heat and spray with the nonstick spray. Lay the skewers on the heat and let sit 5-7 minutes per side, checking every few minutes. The okra are done when both sides show nice brown grill marks. Serve immediately.
  • Pro-tip: Okra do not re-heat well, so try to eat all that you made.

Farm Update

Hello Austinites

How are you dealing with this heat? I for real would like to know, because I’ve hardly left my couch. If I could, I would cry about the heat index and the fact that my skin burns even with sun screen, but I’ve sweated out every drop of water in my body and have none left for tears. I would like to bring back those handheld fans we all had when we were 10 and make them trendy again (if they ever were).

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(Left to right) Kat Sanders, Shannon Howe, Stephanie Cornejo

I would like to give a shout out to Kat, Shannon, and Stephanie for volunteering their time at the microfarm this past week. They are a part of Americorps NCCC, a service organization based out of Mississippi, and they travel across the states providing help where needed. These ladies came ready to work hard and were master weed pullers. Their help really sped up our clearing of the front plant beds to make room for new herbs and plants. It was a pleasure hearing their story, and I encourage you to check out Americorps!

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Remember, if you’re interested in purchasing our produce, we are currently selling at Hope farmer’s market on E 5th and Comal, open 11-3 on Sundays. The farm’s okra, eggplant, and butternut squash are looking particularly mouthwatering these days. But I have some *very exciting* news for those of you who might have a hard time making your way to East Austin.  The Microfarm will be opening a farm stand on the UT campus! Now healthy, organic produce will be even more accessible to students and faculty. I will make an announcement soon with the where and when details as they get solidified. Nothing would make us happier than to get to chat with you, so please stop by.

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Malabar spinach pyramid

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This could be you

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Looks like a painting, no?

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This could also be you

This may look like a weed, but it's actually edible and tasty on salads!

This may look like a weed, but it’s actually edible and tasty on salads!

Applications to become an intern with us will remain open until September 18, and interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. Available positions and their duties can be found here. Also, the Micofarm’s work days will remain the same throughout the upcoming semester: Wednesday 5-8AM and Sundays 9-12PM. See you there.

Quick Summer Frittata

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Basil

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 cup small tomatoes*, halved
  • Large handful of basil*, about 10 leaves, sliced
  • Mozzarella

*Get this from the farm!

How To

  1. Whisk the eggs, pepper, and water in a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir the tomatoes around for about 3 minutes to soften them.
  3. Add the basil and eggs to the skillet, cover, and let sit until the eggs have cooked through, 5-7 min.
  4. Top with a handful of mozzarella.
  • Pro-tip: With eggs, the higher the heat they are cooked on, the tougher this makes the eggs.
  • Pro-tip: If the center of the frittata is not setting, place in the broiler for a few minutes.

Long Overdue Farm Update

Hey hey hey, hoping everyone had a fun, safe, and patriotic Fourth of July yesterday!

A lot has happened in the past month and a half at the micro farm. For one, Bill came and it rained a lot, which means weeds were growing like crazy and quite a few work days were cancelled, which means these weeds hit like the plague and totally took over everything. It was a crazy jungle. Sadly, Bill’s arrival also hindered some, but thankfully not all, of our harvesting progress. So at this point the micro farm is working on recovering and bringing itself back to model status. In just the past week it’s been almost entirely fixed up, thanks to a huge group of volunteers from Vivint, Inc. I couldn’t believe the transformation when I walked into the farm this morning, so a big shout out goes to Vivint. See for yourself below. It’s looks pretty great, no?

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Another development that’s super exciting is that the guineas had babies! This is great for us not only because they are cute, but also because they are really helping keep the bugs under control around the farm. They’ve been more elusive than usual, so it’s hard to say how many babies there are. Here’s one below-the small, gray one.

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A babe exploring

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Little bebe with his mothers

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Guinea Crossing


Hey so you should consider becoming a team leader because we have several positions open now. The available teams are Compost, Design and Build, Fertilizing, Pest Control, and Resource Recovery. If any of these interest you please let us know! It’s a wonderful way to get outside, get your body moving, give back to the community and earth, get some volunteer experience, and meet interesting new people. Plus, you get to hang out with the coolest people at UT *cough, cough* But seriously, it’s great. So do it.

The micro farm is a colorful place to be!

The micro farm is a colorful place to be!

And here is a list of everything being harvested at the micro farm now:

  • Eggplant
  • Armenian Cucumbers
  • Red Malibar Spinach
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chocolate Bell Peppers
  • Jalepeño Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Butternut Squash
  • Purple Hull Peas
  • Baby Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Mint
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Eggplant

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Okra

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Okra

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Purple Hull Peas

Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers

Figs

Figs

Soon we’ll be adding a new component to the website: a photo blog. It will have photos of everything we’re currently harvesting and information about that plant, vegetable, or fruit. It will be a nice resource to stay up to date with what we have. Stay tuned!

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And as always, we hope to see you soon at work days [Wed. 5-8, Sun 9-12]. Have a lovely week!

Strawberry Ice Cream!

The blog has risen back from the dead. Or from the bed on vacation. Either way, the blog is back for summer lovin’ and has a ton of fun ideas to share with you! To kick off the summer (technically started at the solstice, though we been feeling it a while) I thought something refreshing and stereotypically summer was in order. What first comes to your mind when you think of summer? For me, it’s my childhood pool days, arts and crafts and, most of all, ICE CREAM. The thought of ice cream just gives you the feels. There are no bad memories associated with it. Walks on the beach, late night snacks with grandma, laughing with friends, sharing with the S.O., pool parties. It’s all of those feelings and memories rolled into a single, edible, magnificent form. But enough of me being sentimental, let’s move on to the good stuff.

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It’s best when it’s all melty like this, no?

I find this recipe extra-amazing because it needs only 4 ingredients! The fewer ingredients you need for something, the better. Your wallet benefits, your body benefits, and your free time (less cleanup) benefits; win, win, win. So ever since I read about banana based ice creams it’s about all I eat. Unfortunately for those of us who were not blessed by the dairy gods, we cannot always fully enjoy ice cream in its purest form (obviously I cheated anyway). But I am here to tell you bananas are the perfect substitute for all that cream and sugar. The flavor is pretty easy to cover up (unlike coconut bases), you don’t really even need to cover it up because banana goes with every flavor, it adds natural sweetness, and when frozen it gives a beautifully smooth and creamy texture. So you’re taking out some bad and putting in some nutritional good. Plus you can eat all you want without feeling gross! Physically or emotionally.

Here I’ve provided a strawberry flavor, but really you can add in whatever frozen fruit or other goodies you can imagine. Like the ice cream flavor, there are endless possibilities of toppings too. Coconut, granola, basil, chopped cashews, chocolate chips, and fruit are a few ideas to get your brain rolling. Get crafty with it.

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Ingredients

Makes 1 cup

  • 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped and frozen*
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla or agave

*Get this at the farm!

How To

1. To freeze the fruit, chop and lay flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours.

2. Add the frozen fruit to a food processor and pulse until mostly combined.

3. Then add the cream and vanilla, pulse until fully combined and creamy.

4. Add a few extra frozen strawberries for fruit chunks in your ice cream. [Optional]

  • Pro-tip: If you don’t have a food processor (or if it conveniently breaks on you), you can use a blender, you will just need some patience. Mix the ingredients in the same order as above, but do it in small batches. Spoon out the first batch into a bowl and freeze while you continue on the next. Repeat.
  • If the 2 Tbs. of heavy cream is too much for your body to handle, or if you’re vegan, I hear you can use coconut cream in place of this. Alternatively, you can use a milk of your preference and add extra banana pieces until desired texture.
  • Adjust the amount of strawberries to taste.

Mint Limeade

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This mint-infused limeade hits the spot on a hot day! After much searching for the perfect limeade recipe, I ended up with nothing. Every recipe calls for way too much sugar and too few limes, leaving you only with sugar water and questions like “did I forget to add the lime juice?“. Here I’ve made a limeade that is strong in the lime department and is not too sweet. Plus the mint adds a really nice depth to the drink.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lime juice (~15 limes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 cups H2O, plus 1/2 cup
  • Mint*

*Available at the farm today!

How To

1. Dissolve the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat to make a simple syrup, then let cool.

2. Mix the simple syrup with the lime juice and remaining water.

3. Massage a large handle of mint to release its flavors and add to the limeade. Allow the mint’s flavor to mingle with the limeade for 15-30 minutes before serving.

4. Serve over ice.

  • Pro-tip: I like to use Truvia baking blend as a sugar substitute, but that is just a personal preference.
  • Pro-tip: You may find you need to adjust the ratio of sugar and limes based on your preferences. If you would prefer a sweet limeade over sour, reduce lime juice to 1/2 cup.
  • Pro-tip: I like to store my homemade drinks in mason jars to keep them fresher for longer.