GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. TEXAS FOOD, WINE, RESTAURANTS, RECIPES, GARDENING, STYLE & MORE JANUARY 2017 EDITION
BIG GAME USA:
THE BEST FOOTBALLS IN TEXAS
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE O COMMISSIONER SID MILLER
WELCOME TO THE JANUARY 2017 EDITION OF THE GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. E-ZINE. Happy New Year! 2016 was a great year at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), and I have high hopes for an even better 2017. I’m excited for what’s ahead for our GO TEXAN program and the stories we have to share with you. To start off the year, we have a wonderful story for you about the largest supplier of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college footballs in the nation — Texas’ very own Big Game USA, a GO TEXAN member from Dallas. In this issue, Big Game USA shares what makes their homegrown business thrive right here in Texas, out-competing foreign companies with high-quality, customized footballs. We hope you enjoy this article as the football playoff season heats up
on the way to the big game that’s being played on Texas soil this year at Houston’s NRG Stadium. In this issue, we’ll also take a look at another agricultural treasure in Texas — the wool and mohair industry. Our friends at the Mohair Council of America are located right here in the Lone Star State, and they’re working hard to help promote this industry. We are also highlighting one of our award-winning wineries, Becker Vineyards — their fine wines are something truly Texan. I hope you enjoy this issue. Be sure to share it with your friends, and remember: Texas Agriculture Matters!
BIG GAME USA: THE BEST FOOTBALLS IN TEXAS FOOTBALL IS A FAN FAVORITE IN TEXAS, AND MANY OF US ARE GEARING UP TO GATHER AROUND THE TV FOR THE BIG GAME NEXT MONTH. SOME SAY FOOTBALL IS LIKE A RELIGION IN TEXAS, SO IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT BIG GAME USA IN DALLAS IS THE LARGEST AMERICAN-OWNED FOOTBALL FACTORY IN THE WORLD. Like many successful businesses, Big Game USA started with a true do-it-yourself entrepreneurial spirit and the resolution to a problem. The problem was that owner Chris Calandro simply wanted to reward his local high school football coaches with a keepsake ball after their finish in the Texas state finals. All the big football factories that he approached for his small-run project turned him down. That led him to experiment with a screenprinting process that eventually
ended up granting him a patent for imaging on footballs. “Living in the box is hard for me,” Calandro said. “I’ve always been an innovative thinker, and it’s nice when the U.S. government acknowledges that this is a good idea. We still use these patents today, and there’s more on the way.” Now his company ships more footballs to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) than anyone else. 5
About half of their business makes award footballs, and the other half are competition balls used in high schools and college programs all over the country. “One of the greatest highlights for me has been the pleasant surprise that high schools have really welcomed us and adopted our game footballs,” Calandro said. “It’s been affirming for our footballs to be chosen for Friday nights here in Texas.” Big Game makes Nike and Adidas college game footballs, too, which are used by most teams on Saturdays — from Alabama to Oklahoma on down the line to University of Southern California. Like any business in the USA, one of the biggest challenges for Big Game USA is competing with overseas companies that have lower labor costs. “We combat that with things we can provide, which is outstanding quality, customization and delivery speed,” Calandro said. “Those are things they can’t really do well overseas. That’s really the pocket we’ve built for ourselves.” 6
Many steps go into making a single football. In fact, there are 20 separate stations on the Big Game USA assembly line. “We’re proud of the fact that we have a team of people who are really masters at their craft,” Calandro said. “They are true artisans. Every person at each station is a master of that specific job. In order for us to make a good football, everyone has to be on their game. Every little detail has to be done right.” Like many Texas businesses, Big Game USA is a proud GO TEXAN member. “GO TEXAN just perfectly matches our method of operation,” Calandro said. “We’re a local business, and you just really couldn’t get a better fit than GO TEXAN for what we’re all about.” The biggest reasons to remain in Texas and not outsource work is quality control, along with speed and the ability to customize. Another great reason is secrecy. “Everything we do is in-house, 7
so any cutting edge technologies we’re working on are kept in-house,” Calandro said. “It’s important to say that we’re really at the forefront of football innovations, and it’s really important that we can keep all the secrets and innovations in-house. We’re not teaching other factories how to build our footballs; we keep our little secret.”
Exotic footballs with ostrich (left) and elephant hide (right). 8
Some of the technology advances and secrets involve chips inside the balls, which right now can verify which balls are actually used in which games. The future, however, might be more exciting as these chips could be used to change the way the game is officiated, using a “smart football,” if you will.
“This chip technology can really enhance the fan’s experience as well,” Calandro said. “Imagine having access to data that could be known, such as the amount of time between the ball leaving the center’s hand to the quarterback’s hand, the release time, trajectory of the ball, how fast a player is running. That’s another data point for a football fan.”
It will be exciting to watch these changes take place in one of America’s favorite sports, and it will be no surprise if a GO TEXAN company called Big Game USA is right there in the thick of it. For more information on Big Game USA, visit their website.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS BARRIOS: THE WAY TO ANY TEXAN’S HEART Delicious Mexican food and excellent margaritas are the way to any Texan’s heart. La Hacienda de los Barrios provides the citizens of San Antonio with both of those things and so much more. In 1979, Viola B. Barrios started the Los Barrios restaurant. Six months later, the restaurant moved to another location, which is still one of the three locations today.
Trevino said. “Plus, we have access to the freshest produce, beef, poultry and seafood making our dishes some of San Antonio’s favorites!” The GO TEXAN program has allowed the Barrios family to build a community, create partnerships and help others learn about sustainability.
“We are able to meet with the producers and In the late 1990s, the Barrios family began to hear their stories, thus creating friendships see the city of San Antonio migrating north. and partnerships,” Trevino said. “We get That meant lots of their “regulars” were updated with what the local producers are moving to the suburbs, and their visits to the producing and what they can offer to us restaurant were less frequent. After talking as well. We can offer this to our guests all about opening another location, Viola’s son, the while teaching them about sustainable Louis Barrios, found the perfect property practices.” in Redland Hall, which is located on five Trevino said that she loves that her family’s acres with hundreds of beautiful oak trees. restaurant is able to source locally and offer La Hacienda de Los Barrios was built and their customers the freshest ingredients. opened on February 9, 2004. Trevino’s favorite entrée at La Hacienda Diana Barrios Trevino, Viola’s daughter, said de los Barrios is the delicious Tex-Mex that the three La Hacienda de los Barrios enchiladas. However, she wants you to be locations have thousands upon thousands of the judge of your own favorite entrée at La visitors. Hacienda de los Barrios. Click here to find “Since we have pretty great weather yearlocations, menus and more. Stop by this GO round, our guests get to dine on our TEXAN member’s restaurants next time beautiful outdoor patio and listen to live you’re in San Antonio. music under a giant canopy of oak trees,” 11
MOHAIR: THE DIAMOND FIBER
ACCORDING TO THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY, MOHAIR IS A FABRIC OR YARN MADE WHOLLY OR IN PART OF THE LONG SILKY HAIR OF THE ANGORA GOAT. PART OF THE MOHAIR COUNCIL OF AMERICA’S (MCA) MISSION IS TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE RANCHERS AND PRODUCERS OF ANGORA GOATS AND MOHAIR. Mary Hartgrove, the executive director of the Mohair Council of America (MCA), said that the GO TEXAN program provides a unique helping hand for producers in the mohair and Angora goat industry. “It’s nice to be able to work closely with an organization that is local and helps to promote local products and fibers such as mohair,” Hartgrove said. Hartgrove used to be an Angora producer herself, but she and her husband have transitioned out of the business. “The people that are still in the Angora raising industry today are die-hard Angora goat people,” Hartgrove said. “A lot of these people are still in it because their fathers, grandfathers or some other relative up the line was in it way before them.” In 2015, 765,000 pounds of mohair was grown in the USA from 150,000 angora goats, according to the Mohair Council of America. Mohair, often referred to as the “diamond fiber,” can be used for a myriad of products including carpet, socks, throws, scarves and others. Scott Mitchell, the president of MCA, said that an increase in production is restricted due to an aging grower population,
predators, labor costs and the availability of land at a good cost. However, the demand for products with the valuable mohair has increased over recent years. Mitchell is an Angora goat producer himself and has been for the past 28 years in Sanderson, Texas. “The ranching business has been in my family for generations,” Mitchell said. “I am the fifth generation to live on the ranch.” Even though Mitchell is the fifth generation to live on the ranch, he is the first generation to raise Angora goats. “I kind of created a business out of it from there,” Mitchell said. “At the time, they were inexpensive [to raise], so it was an easier business to get into than raising cattle.” Both Mitchell and Hartgrove agree that raising Angora goats is a great thing for Texas. “I don’t see a whole lot of land in the state of Texas or agricultural operations that wouldn’t be helped by a few goats,” Mitchell said. “The financial diversity it gives producers to sell other products is a great advantage.” Interested in learning more about mohair and the Angora goat? Click here. 13
BECKER VINEYARDS: FROM WEEKEND GETAWAY TO TEXAS WINE STAPLE Richard and Bunny Becker began their wine adventure when they began looking for a log cabin to renovate for a weekend getaway in the Fredericksburg area. In 1990, the family purchased a piece of land on more than two acres that would later become Becker Vineyards.
In 1992, the Beckerâ€™s decided to plant 10 acres of vines and later decided to add a winery to the vineyard. In 1996, Becker Vineyards opened to the public. This year, Becker Vineyards is celebrating 20 years as an established winery.
Nichole Bendele, the public relations and tasting room coordinator at Becker Vineyards, said that Richard Becker has always said that when they decided to purchase the property and put in a vineyard, they decided it would be a business not a hobby. “Time, investment and commitment would be going into it,” Bendele said. “They made 2,500 cases from that first harvest. Richard said he looked at the pallets of wine and said, ‘We have some wine to sell.’”
This GO TEXAN winery has had much success with their various varieties of wine and are excited to experiment in the future. “We’ll be experimenting with the Tannat grape and revisiting some Italian varietals like Dolcetto and Sangiovese,” Bendele said. “We worked with a few Italian varietals in the past but not much has been planted. Now, more people are planting Italian varietals, and we have added Sangiovese to our vineyard and will be planting additional varietals, too.”
Becker Vineyards recently added an open air pavilion so guests could have more seating and protection from the elements. Even with expansion and growth, one thing still remains the same at Becker Vineyards, just as it has for 20 years — good quality service. Over the last 20 years, the Beckers have made many friends at the winery and enjoy a wonderful team of people working with and for them. They have made long-lasting grape grower friendships, too.
This vineyard has been featured in the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Bon Appetit, and won two Double-Golds (Claret 2011 and Provencal 2013) at the San Francisco Wine Competition. Recently, Becker Vineyards celebrated the nomination of “Best Winery in America 2015” by Wine Enthusiast. Want to visit Becker Vineyards? Check out their website here.
THE HAPPY TOY MAKER: TEXAS TOYS Even though the holiday season has come to a close, the Happy Toy Maker is still working hard to help create the perfect gifts for the children in your life. Their miniature toys for kids are made completely from scratch right here in Texas. The creator of the Happy Toy Maker, Jerry Sims, hails from Happy, Texas, which is perfectly fitting.
are as rugged and durable as the kids who play with them. These toys are made of steel and are designed to last a lifetime. There are lots of toys to captivate and occupy your young ones — from semi trucks to rodeo sets to feedlots and animals. Jerry’s wife, Patrice, is very much involved in the family business, too, crafting several different kinds of farm animals from a resin material poured into molds that she makes.
This Texas toy company began when the Sims began making western toys for their sons as little kids. Ever since then, the family has Want to order a handmade Texas been making more and more toys. toy? Find out more information here. According to their website, the Happy Toy Maker’s mission is to design and build western toys that 18
RECIPE: SALAD WITH SQUASH NUTS It’s the first month of 2017, and New Year’s resolutions are still fresh on everyone’s mind. GO TEXAN has plenty of healthier recipes to help you stick to those goals. Try the following recipe with GO TEXAN-certified products and eat your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Salad Ingredients: ½ cup Pine nuts 3 cups Cooked long grain rice (try Doguet’s) 1 cup Crumbled feta cheese (even the flavored types) 1 cup English cucumber, peel left on, sliced ½ cup Red bell pepper, diced 1 Zucchini squash, grilled tender-crisp and cut into chunks 1 Yellow squash, grilled tender-crisp and cut into chunks 3 Green onions, sliced thin, including tops 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted 1 cup Grape tomatoes, halved Dressing Ingredients: 1 or 2 Cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp. Fresh rosemary, finely minced 1 tbsp. Fresh mint, finely minced 6 tbsp. Extra-virgin Texas olive oil Zest of 1 large lemon 3-4 tbsp. Lemon juice To taste Salt and pepper Salad Directions: 1. Toast the pine nuts in a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir often, and watch them carefully — they burn easily! 2. When lightly browned, transfer the nuts into a small bowl and set aside to cool. 3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice and feta. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, grilled squashes, onions, olives and tomatoes. 4. Stir gently to mix all the ingredients. Dressing Directions: 1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, mint, lemon zest and juice.
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2. Very slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously, until the mixture is emulsified. 3. Adjust seasonings. 4. Pour over rice mixture, and lightly toss all ingredients together. 5. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Make-ahead tip: This salad is delicious when made a day in advance; this allows the flavors to blend. Add cooked, diced chicken or cooked shrimp for a heartier salad. Recipe created by Molly Fowler of the Dining Diva. 21
SPOT THE GO TEXAN MARK CHALLENGE Want a fun way to share the best of Texas with the world? Itâ€™s easy! GO TEXAN uses social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post GO TEXAN events, share member news and increase awareness of the wide variety of products grown and made right here in the Lone Star State.
Challenge: If you spot the GO TEXAN mark, let us know. Send us a picture of the mark on a product, sign or printed materials, and tell us where you saw it. Be sure to use the GO TEXAN hashtag (#GOTEXAN) when you post, so we can easily share your message, or send us an email.
UPCOMING TEXAS EVENTS Jan. 13 - Feb. 4: Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Fort Worth Jan. 21: Wine Dinner and Dance, Plantersville Feb. 9-26: San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, San Antonio Feb. 18: 2 Hip Chicks Road Show, Abilene Feb. 19-26: Charro Days Fiesta, Brownsville Feb. 23-26: Whooping Crane Festival, Port Aransas March 4-5: Texas Independence Day Celebration, Washington March 7-26: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston March 8-19: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo, Mercedes March 11: Texas Ranger Day, Burton March 11-25: Rodeo Austin, Austin March 31 - April 2: Cattle Raisers Convention, San Antonio View more Texas events here. 23
About GO TEXAN
Launched in 1999 by the Texas Department of Agriculture, GO TEXAN, with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known for throughout the world. Whether it’s grown, sewn or served up on a plate, nearly 27 million Texans shop, travel and dine out in support of Texas businesses, agriculture and communities, looking for the GO TEXAN mark to light the way. To learn more about the GO TEXAN program, call (877) 99-GOTEX or visit the GO TEXAN website. Tell others about GO TEXAN! One great and easy way is to forward them this publication. All your friends have to do to is click here to subscribe, and they’ll start receiving the Go Local. GO TEXAN. free monthly e-zine.
About the Texas Department of Agriculture
TDA’s mission is to partner with all Texans to make Texas the nation’s leader in agriculture, fortify our economy, empower rural communities, promote healthy lifestyles, and cultivate winning strategies for rural, suburban and urban Texas through exceptional service and the common threads of agriculture in our daily lives. 24