GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. TEXAS FOOD, WINE, RESTAURANTS, RECIPES, GARDENING, STYLE & MORE MARCH 2017 EDITION
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE O COMMISSIONER SID MILLER
WELCOME TO THE MARCH EDITION OF THE GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. E-ZINE. It’s rodeo season in Texas, and I hope you and your family have a chance to attend a Texas rodeo this month and witness the greatest show on dirt! GO TEXAN is proud to be participating in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Rodeo Austin — all taking place this month. When you come on out, be sure to stop by our Texas Department of Agriculture and GO TEXAN booth, say hi to our field staff and pick up some information on the GO TEXAN program. We are delighted to shine a spotlight on Nice Winery in Houston this month. They were selected as the Reserve Grand
Champion, Best of Show at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s annual Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. We couldn’t be more proud of this GO TEXAN member for making world-class wine right here in the Lone Star State. There are also articles on soap, pizza, candy and wind chimes. In other words, this issue is a great cross-section that highlights the tremendous diversity amongst our GO TEXAN members. We hope you’ll enjoy this issue. Be sure to share it with your friends, and remember, Texas Agriculture Matters!
NICE WINERY: HAND-C ENJOYING FINE WINE AND THE FOOD PAIRINGS THAT GO WITH IT IS A JOY SHARED BY WINE LOVERS ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE. WINEMAKERS, SOMMELIERS AND CHEFS RYAN LEVY AND IAN EASTVELD HAVE TAKEN THEIR TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE TO STAND BEHIND THIS JOY AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS. 4
CRAFTED EXCELLENCE “We
love being winemakers, but our true passion is sharing our love and knowledge of wine and food with others,” Levy said. “Since we both trained
in France as chefs and then in California as sommeliers, the art and science behind wine and food pairings is something of a specialty for us.”
The pair exercises its expertise each and every week by teaching wine classes at their Houston-based winery. The classes range from sensory analysis of wine to how to match the perfect wine and food. This is one of those educational experiences that 6
brings a smile to both the students and the teachers. “It is a joy to connect with people over the art of wine and cuisine.” Levy and Eastveld are the coowners of Nice Winery — a proud GO TEXAN member that joined specifically to
promote one of its varietals.
proud of our Texas roots.”
“We thought it was important to highlight that our Nice Texas Blanc was made from 100 percent Texas-grown grapes and made in Houston at our winery by Texans,” Levy said. “The GO TEXAN program helped us get the word out that we are very
When asked to choose a favorite from its wines, Levy gushed about their American hybrid grape, Blanc du Bois. “We think it should be named the State Grape of Texas, because it is so versatile and has the potential to make 7
wines to rival vitis vinifera from the most sought after growing regions in the world,” Levy said. “It is a grape varietal that we can herald as truly coming of age in Texas, thanks to growers like Jerry Watson who popularized the varietal.” The winery has a lot to 8
be proud of, as it was just selected as the Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show for its 2013 Notorious Mt. Veeder Malbec at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s annual Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. This was especially rewarding for Levy, as he is a former Houston
Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship recipient.
many challenges, but there is nothing that a little bit of Texas ingenuity can’t overcome.”
The Texas wine industry continues to grow and increase This ingenuity is on display its reputation around the world. when Levy offers his practical advice to the typical wine “We are so proud of the quality consumer in Texas on how to of fruit and wine that we are help expand their knowledge producing in the Lone Star of wine. What is that advice, State,” Levy said. “We have you might ask. According to
Levy, you just need to drink more of it!
each time you are shopping for wine, or better yet, take weekend trips to local wineries “The best way to appreciate to sample several different and experience the great wines varietals.” Texas has to offer is to drink more Texas wines,” Levy said. For more information on “Conveniently, that is also Nice Winery, visit their the best way to support the website here. For a map of Texas wine industry. Have GO TEXAN wineries, visit fun trying something new gotexan.org. 10
A PIZZA MY TEXAN HEART JAMIE BOWERS BEGAN MAKING PIZZA AT HOME WHEN SHE WAS 19 AND HOSTED PIZZA PARTIES FOR HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY. AROUND THE SAME TIME, JAMIE GOT HER FIRST DOG FROM A LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER. HIS NAME WAS BOLA. IN OCTOBER 2010, BOLA PIZZA WAS BORN. 12
amie began her business all for the love of pizza and sharing that love with others. Her husband, Christian Bowers, was the one who began developing different types of dough recipes and decided it was time to take their pizza parties to the next level. “Our public debut was at the Green Corn Project Fall Festival in October 2010,” Jamie said. “While we were catering and making pizzas at the downtown farmers market, we were getting a persistent request to try a frozen pizza. After trial and error, we launched our frozen pizzas at smaller stores around town.” Farmhouse Delivery and Royal Blue Grocery were the first to
pick Bola Pizza up. Today, you can find Bola Pizza at more than 16 different retail chains in Texas. Jamie said that her GO TEXAN roots go all the way back to grocery shopping with her mom at H-E-B. “I’m from Austin, and I remember grocery shopping with my mom at H-E-B when we first spied the GO TEXAN logo,” Jamie said. “Our first GO TEXAN purchase was a jar of salsa, and once we learned about the program, it was something we looked for when perusing the shelf. It seemed only natural to become a member when Bola Pizza started our frozen pizza line.” Everyone knows Texas is a diverse state, but Jamie is often 13
surprised to learn what folks from Austin want on their pizza as opposed to Houston or San Antonio. But one thing Texans all share is Lone Star pride. “I love how much Texans support Texas products,” Jamie said. “There’s also great support of entrepreneurs in our state’s culture. Getting a ‘You go, girl!’ from others is always a boost.” Jamie knows that Bola Pizza wouldn’t be where it is today without the support and cheers 14
from her very first customers. “Our first customers gave us the strength to keep going and to keep perfecting our frozen pizza until we got it to where it is today,” Jamie said. “I owe them many, many thanks. Over the course of taking on and growing our business, I have learned this is what I was meant to do. This is my passion and my purpose.” For more information on Bola Pizza, visit their website.
ATKINSON CANDY: A SWEET TEXAS TREAT I
n 1932, at the height of the Depression, Mabel Atkinson began selling wholesale candy to her neighbors. Four generations later, Atkinson Candy Company is still a sweet treat for Texans. Headquartered in Lufkin, Texas, with a secondary factory in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Atkinson Candy is the home of more than 220 employees and countless delicious treats. Atkinson Candy can be found at local retailers such as Walmart, Walgreen’s and Dollar Tree. You can even order online. Sarah Atkinson, marketing manager for Atkinson Candy Company, said that carrying on the legacy of the four generations before her is extremely rewarding. “We take immense pride in the quality
of our product, but we’re also committed to making sure our employees are a part of the family too,” Atkinson said. “It takes a strong team and strong products to keep the company going, and we’re focused on both.” Being a proud Texas enterprise, Atkinson said that the GO TEXAN program allows her family’s company to share their story. “The GO TEXAN program offers a platform to share our story and products with the people in our own backyard,” Atkinson said. “It’s a great way to get the word out on products made in the great state of Texas!” Want to try Sarah’s favorite products like the Chick-O-Stick or the Butter Bars? Click here to find out more about this sweet company. 17
WORLD PEACE: ONE BACKYARD AT A TIME NOT EVERY COMPANY HAS A LOFTY GOAL, LIKE CREATING WORLD PEACE WITH ITS PRODUCTS, BUT MUSIC OF THE SPHERES IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE COMPANY. THIS AUSTIN-BASED GO TEXAN MEMBER CARRIES ON THE LEGACY OF A MUSICALLY-TRAINED CRAFTSMAN WHO TOOK HIS TRAINING AND APPLIED IT TO CREATING TRULY SPECIAL INSTRUMENTS FOR THE WIND. This pioneering craftsman was named Larry Roark. He met Sara Neal Eskew at a craft show in Austin back in 1989 and was struck by her large wooden windchime made by another local craftsperson. When he realized that the maker of Eskewâ€™s chime was no longer in the area, he decided to make his own. Armed with only a few hand tools, an electric guitar tuner and some electrical conduit, he went into his garage to create a world-
class windchime that he could fine tune to symphonic-quality tonal accuracy. The hand-crafted results were stunning, and in just a couple years, the small company was not only selling chimes at craft shows but wholesaling as well. Over the years, Roark took his concepts to new levels, perfecting a wide array of pitch ranges and even musical scales.
Roark’s life was tragically cut short by a drunk driver in 2001, but Eskew carries on his legacy as the president and CEO. The company chimes not only sound wonderful, but they look beautiful as well, combining a minimalist visual aesthetic with hardy materials. “We really feel like Larry’s designs cannot be improved upon,” Eskew said. “We have added one musical scale, the Nashville®, based on the pedal steel guitar, which has been very well received.” For Eskew, the Basso Profundo© chime is her personal favorite. “It has a spectacularly large, deep and sonorous sound,” she said. “It is without parallel, at least to our knowledge.” With years of success under their belt, Music of the Spheres challenges itself to continue to create planet-healing sounds that are soothing to the listener and affordable to all.
“In my opinion, the reason musically accurate windchimes create such a peaceful mood for those who listen are that they are literally bio-feedback tools,” Eskew said. “When one hears the harmonious sounds, shoulders relax and forehead wrinkles relax.” One of the rewards the company enjoys is hearing reports from satisfied customers. Many customers offer unsolicited testimonials about the effect their chimes have on folks, particularly the bereaved, the injured, new babies and kids. “One of my favorite letters came written in a very shaky hand from a social security recipient,” Eskew said. “It said something like, ‘I have been saving a little out of my social security check every month for a whole year to buy your soprano (smallest) chime, and I just got it and hung it. It is already the best money I have spent all year.’” For more information on Music of the Spheres, visit their website.
SERENITY SOAPWORKS: AN EXCITING NEW CHAPTER Gary and Melanie Brown just wanted to build a home in the country for their family and continue their passion for teaching. However, life had other plans for them. Soon after starting work on their house, Melanie developed whooping cough and was confined to bed for months. To get through the long summer, Melanie had a long reading list. One book about making soap fascinated her. As soon as she was able, Melanie began to look for “tallow” that she 22
could “render” for use in her soap as described in the book. Tallow is grass fed beef fat, and rendering it smelled so badly that her son and husband begged her to stop. In response, Melanie began working with different soap recipes that she found from books and online resources — and started developing other, more natural and vegan products. Her family was much happier with the results. Soon, she began formulating her own personalized recipes.
“Melanie thought this would be a great thing for her retirement after teaching,” said Brown. “She thought she’d just make about six or eight different soaps to sell, but after a couple years of making just soaps, her two older daughters urged her to add soy wax candles, lotion bars, liquid lotions, bath salts and lip balms to her repertoire.”
Thus Serenity Soapworks was born. Soon, wholesale and individual orders started to roll in. Melanie had to stay up into the wee hours to keep up with the business, so in 2010, she left behind 28 years of teaching to start a new chapter in her life. This growth continued, with wholesale orders shipping out internationally. What
began in their kitchen quickly overran their home, so they built a small building on their property in 2011. They have since moved the business into a building with 2,300 square feet of space located in the sleepy little town of Buffalo Gap. It serves as their manufacturing facility and storefront. Appropriately called Gap
Gifts, they sell to walk-in customers, as well as make the products and ship private label candles to far-away locales like New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and surf shops along the California coast. For more information on Serenity Soapworks, visit their website.
RECIPE: GRILLED TEXAS ONION DIP Try this delicious onion dip that celebrates our own Texas sweet onions, which just became in season here in the Lone Star State.
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Ingredients: 2 tbsp. Texas olive oil To taste Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 Large Texas sweet onions 1½ cup Sour cream ½ cup Mayonnaise ½ tsp. Garlic powder 1 tbsp. Fresh chives, snipped ½ tsp. Kosher salt Directions: 1. Peel and slice one onion into ½ -inch thick slices; set slices onto a plate and drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. 2. The second onion is used as a bowl for the dip and will be prepared later. 3. Prepare gas or charcoal grill for medium heat, and then grill onions until tender, or about 10 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool, and then coarsely chop the onions. 4. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, chives and salt. Stir in the chopped onions;
cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. 5. When ready to serve, trim and peel the second onion. Using a melon baller, or a sharp-edged spoon, carefully remove the center of the onion, leaving only the outer layers as a shell. Use the center of the onion for another purpose. 6. Spoon the prepared dip into the ‘onion bowl,’ and serve with fresh veggies for dipping. Enjoy!
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 March 7-26: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston March 8-19: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo, Mercedes March 11-25: Rodeo Austin, Austin March 31 - April 1: American Chuck Wagon Association National Championship Cookoff, Fredericksburg March 31 - April 2: Cattle Raisers Convention, San Antonio March 31 - April 16: Wine & Wildflower Trail, Texas Hill Country wineries April 8: Bluebonnet Tractor Ride, roads in Gillespie County April 28-29: Granbury Wine Walk, Granbury View more Texas events here.
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. 30