“Every day the average Texas consumer becomes a little more mindful about the food they buy, cook and put into their body. They’re asking questions about the use of pesticides, or whether their meat comes from animals that are grassed, or pasture raised. And, while buying from your local grocery store generally gives you access to locally-grown meat, Texans are increasingly looking to buy directly from farms and ranches for a fresher product. But apart from the meat available at local farmers markets, those connections with local producers can be hard to find for suburban and urban consumers.”
"That’s where John and Molly Pantalone, the owners of Amber Oaks Ranch, come in. John and Molly currently run a 70-acre “direct to consumer” ranch just south of Thorndale, where they raise beef cattle, broilers and laying hens, hogs, turkeys and sheep."
It’s been a long time coming! There is always something to do out here, and my list keeps getting longer and the priorities are always changing. I promised Molly a flower bed in front of the house when we were designing things back in 2015. About 3 years later I finally got around to pouring the concrete. It took about another year before I filled it full of soil. So, with family coming over for Easter, she was aching to get some spring planting done. We still have to cover it with mulch, and I have plans for a lovely water feature to be added, but until then, enjoy the spring garden!
Over the almost 30 years we've been married I have learned one true thing - patience has its rewards! Yes, it took four years to complete, but the front bed was worth the wait. I was fortunate enough to find enough annuals to fill it's 75' length on clearance at Lowes last week - don't you love it when things fall into place like that? I planted many dianthus, some geraniums (hope the chickens don't eat them like they did last year), sweet alyssum, and creeping phlox, and a few mounding Mandevilla, Asparagus fern, and some lilies for Easter. The potted pansies were also on the sale rack. Of course, the perennials weren't on sale, but are worth the cost. I went with Boxleaf Euonymus at the base of each column and Sky Pencil Japanese Holly on each end.
We filled the bed with compost from the ranch, litter from the brooders, and black land prairie soil from my dad's ranch near Taylor. As John mentioned, I still need to put in mulch and I plan to add stepping stones in the middle of each section to allow free access to the porch from the yard. Hopefully it won't take John another 4 years to put in the water feature he designed to connect the flower bed to the pond in the front yard. Fingers crossed! :)
This Week's Markets
The Pflugerville Pfarmers Market is tentatively scheduled to reopen May 4th in a new location in a green space on Pecan Street (see below). We'll keep you updated as more information is available. Watch for social media announcements from the city as we get closer to the opening date.
We will continue to deliver pre-orders to the Pflugerville Rec. Center parking lot until the market reopens.
The Elgin Farmers Market is a year-round market that will remain open every Thursday. Pre-orders are encouraged.
The Taylor Farmers Market is a year-round market that will is open every Saturday. Pre-orders are encouraged.