Category Archives: 3. NEWS & EVENTS

Moving On Up!

Please update your RSS settings and bookmarks– our blog has fancy new digs! We’ve moved the Local Box blog and content to The RSS for the new blog is:

We’re still posting weekly Local Box meal plans, plus original recipes, cooking tips, and other cool stuff. Thanks for making the big move with us!

Greenling is Expanding!

We'll be sourcing local items from DFW-area farms, like The Farm at Paul Quinn College.

After growing the local food system in Austin for 6 years, Greenling is going to help our friends up north, too!

We’re setting up shop in DFW and couldn’t be more excited. We’re making friends with all the North Texas local and sustainable producers we can find, and later this month will start delivering their local goodness all over the DFW Metroplex.

We need your help spreading the word to your family and friends in DFW- and we’ll make it worth your while! We’re giving away an iPad2 with a foodie spin – it’s pre-loaded with all kinds of fun food and sustainability apps.

It’s super easy  to enter- everyone who likes our Greenling DFW page on Facebook is entered, plus anyone who enters their zip code and joins our DFW email list gets an extra entry. Finally, you get yet another entry for everyone who joins our email list from your referral! How cool is that?

Lettuce Wrap Up 2011

In light of our exciting news that Greenling is expanding to Dallas, we thought we’d do some veggie math and evaluate how the past year in Central Texas looked for local food.

Despite a devastating historical drought, our hard-working local farmers thankfully persevered and still managed to dish out thousands of pounds of local goodness for all of us to enjoy. Can we get a woop woop for this amazing group of farmers?

Without further ado, ‘lettuce’ wrap-up 2011:

  • 20,369 Local Boxes were delivered- that’s about 142,583 lbs of local produce on Central Texas tables this year.
  • In addition, we delivered about 20,000 lbs of local produce in addition to what was in the Local Box
  • 54 different local farms provided the local goodness we delivered this year

Animal Farm in Central Texas

  • We estimate that because all of our local growers use sustainable methods, they saved over 150,000 pounds of pesticides NOT used on our food this year!
  • Since you ‘lettuce’ deliver your groceries in our fuel-efficient & sustainably routed trucks, 9,735 gallons of gas were saved on trips to the store.
  • Hundreds of thousands of ladybugs fed through organic pest control methods.
  • 13,800 meals made ridiculously easy and with all local and organic ingredients from our recipe kits.

Our awesome Prep Kitchen Team!

  • Countless food puns brainstormed at Greenling headquarters (only the best ones make it public, you know)

It was a great year and we know 2012 will be even better for local food. Thanks from the bottom of our artichoke hearts for all of your support!

Happy Hollandaise from Greenling!

Image courtesy Heifer International

It’s holiday thyme here at Greenling, and we’re celebrating by giving back in Central Texas, and around the world. Thanks to your generosity, our Buy One Give One organic turkey promotion was a tremendous success.

This week, we delivered a truckload of organic turkeys, stuffing, green beans, corn, and cranberry sauce to Brown Santa of Travis County. The warehouse elves at Brown Santa eagerly accepted our delivery, and gave us a tour of the gifts, clothes, and other items they have been collecting for families in need. Brown Santa will be delivering holiday dinners, toys, and other assistance to thousands of families in Central Texas today.

Families across the world, too, will benefit from the generosity of Greenling customers. By adding a small donation to their regular grocery orders, Greenling customers donated over $500 to Heifer International this year. Heifer International is one of our favorite charities, because it breaks the cycle of poverty by teaching poor families how to obtain sustainable sources of food and income.

Heifer International will use Greenling’s donation to send a heifer to a family in an impoverished area of the world. A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein helps transform sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

Thank you for making local and organic food part of your family’s celebrations this holiday season. We treasure all the holiday cards, photos, recipes and stories about local goodness you’ve shared with us this year.

With your support, our mission to fix the food system, support local sustainable producers and make real food available to everyone gets closer and closer to becoming a reality.

Vegetarian Chili

You may have noticed a flyer for this year’s Vegetarian Chili Cook-off in your Greenling bin this week. The Vegetarian Chili Cook-off started in 1989 when four vegetarian societies from across the state of Texas joined to form the Lone Star Vegetarian Network. In the years since, the cook-off has been held in multiple locations all across the state, including West Columbia, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, South Padre Island, and Fort Wort.

This year nearly 1000 people are expected to visit Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock for the 23rd annual cook-off.  The fun begins at 11:30 AM on Sunday, November 13th, and all are welcome.

To drum up excitement for Sunday, the Chili Cook-off organizers offered to share a winning recipe for us to publish! This vegetarian chili recipe comes from Stevie Duda, editor of Austin Vegetarian Living, the newsletter of the Vegetarian Network of Austin. With assistance from other VNA members, Stevie’s chili won First Place at the 2007 Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off, out of about 20 entries.

Stevie Duda’s Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili

2 medium zucchini, seeded and diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable broth
4 15-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, diced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/4 cup julienned carrot
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (but don’t remove ribs) and diced
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
3 tbsp no-salt-added chili powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a large pot, saute zucchini, onion, bell peppers, and garlic in the oil or broth, until tender. Stir in all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

GMO Series cont. – The Dangers of GMO’s in Food

I started to write about the dangers of GMOs in food and quickly got overwhelmed. There is so much happening in the world about which we have no idea. I broke the dangers down to 3 major victims – Environment, Humans, and Economies and one philosophical.

Environment – First, the primary GMO foods were created to withstand herbicide and pesticide applications. Naturally, or rather, completely unnaturally, this has led to the application of 318 million additional pounds of toxic chemicals onto our land than would have been even possible before GMOs. Most of these chemicals are known carcinogens, known persistent environmental pollutants, and known to wreak havoc on ecosystems. These GMO plants are showing up in the wild, eaten by animals, and work their way up the food chain with no idea their effect. Well, some idea of their effect because studies prove them to create ulcers in pigs and hair on hamster tongues. Also, over-application of pesticides has led to super-weeds and super-pests. They have to put down stronger and more toxic chemicals (creating new GMOs to resist them) and some don’t die at all. Last major point is GMOs and the associated chemical applications reduce bio-diversity in all eco-systems.

Humans – The obvious danger is the increased exposure to herbicides/pesticides – both the workers with acute exposure, and to everyone else who eats the foods. It’s indisputable that these herbicides/pesticides end up in the food. Environmental Working Group tests produce every year and publishes how many/which pesticides/herbicides show up in our food. Beyond that, studies are piling up showing that our bodies don’t recognize these GMOs as food and try to reject them. Evidence is mounting that this plays some role in the explosion of food allergies. There are also studies showing direct damage to organs (including studies done by Monsanto, the maker of the GMOs).

Economies – Monsanto won’t let you save seeds from GMO crops. You have to buy them every year. For rural farmers this is a huge burden. But that’s just the beginning. They can’t stop GMOs from spreading naturally in the wild. But if they find it on your land they sue you. The Future of Food is a great movie about this and how it has decimated farming communities.

Lastly, Humanity – The ultimate victim. Monsanto was the first company to OWN LIFE. They can’t control it or stop it from evolving on its own, but they OWN it. If life is not sacred, the implications are quite profound. How long before they own you? Next week I will address the false propaganda about the benefits of GMOs in food. We have received negative feedback to these articles citing supposed world-saving benefits, but nobody has responded to my challenge to produce evidence of the benefits. We’ll also chat about how to avoid GMOs.

By Mason Arnold, founder and Cookie Monster

Meet Jim & Kay Richardson, Farmer Hero and Local Turkey Extraordinaires

Jim and Kay Richardson of Richardson Farms know how to treat turkeys right (and cows, pigs, and chickens, and even a few ducks). The animals pursue happiness on the range, in mobile pens, and in as happy a circumstance as nature can provide on their 200-acre farm near Rockdale. That’s western Milam County about four miles west of the Williamson County line.

Richardson provides all of Greenling’s local turkeys for the holidays – and they are a hot item: they sell out by early November, and the difference between serving a happy, local, free-range bird opposed to a processed, shipped, frozen gobbler cannot be described until you have tasted the difference.

But Jim, a veterinarian that practiced in Bowie, Texas for 25 years, says the real difference is the quality of life the turkey enjoys. They’re raised in mobile pens, moved just about every day, fed alfalfa and other homegrown grasses, and they’re a perky bunch.

“These can fly about six feet off the ground and then they come back,” Jim says of the broad-breasted white turkeys that gather at the edge of one of their mobile pens, curious about a new visitor. Jim described the challenges of keeping the poultry safe in a free-range environment – challenges including skunks, hawks, coyotes, and the weather.

Richardson Farms also has free range chickens, many very large, what Jim calls “a big chicken.” In quality and size and taste, the chickens rival his turkeys.

“We grow the feed and grind it here,” Jim says as his grandson Logan shows off the eggmobile and his chicken coop. Logan has a serious dislike for the skunks and particularly likes the blue eggs from the Americana chickens.

“Blue is my favorite color,” Logan adds.

The turkeys live together in pens with both females and males. The males have distinctive markings, including snoods angling over their beaks and a mottled skin over their face and neck that changes color according to their mood.

The mobile turkey pens are arranged all across the farm, which is ringed by a line of trees – one of the elements that led Jim and Kay to buy the property in 2001. They planted row upon row of Live Oak, Red Oak, and Mexican White Oak back then, and he says he hasn’t lost a tree, despite the longest Texas drought on record. And it’s a straight-up, dry land farm – no irrigation. Richardson raises wheat for flour, zucchini, popcorn, corn, and other vegetables, but his main focus is the quality of life of his livestock.

As Jim peeled off some his own homegrown hay for his baby pigs to keep warm despite a coming cold front, he explained his philosophy about raising animals.

“They really want to be friends with you. They’re kind of like the turkey. The turkey wants to be your friend, too,” he says. “The dang chickens don’t have enough sense to be friends… You know, we never are ugly to them, and we try to just make them have the best day of their life every day.”

That kind of loving care is what makes Richardson Farms turkeys the best of the best.

by Cody Garrett, Ham Hustler