GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. TEXAS FOOD, WINE, RESTAURANTS, RECIPES, GARDENING, STYLE & MORE MAY 2017 EDITION
REBECCA CREEK DISTILLERY: PROUDLY WEARING TEXAS ON ITS SLEEVE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE O COMMISSIONER SID MILLER
WELCOME TO THE MAY 2017 EDITION OF THE GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. E-ZINE. Having a program like GO TEXAN makes me even more proud to call Texas home. For more than 18 years, GO TEXAN has done an outstanding job of promoting Texas businesses. We need to capitalize on the huge potential we have for increasing awareness of all of our state’s agricultural products and producers. We have some great articles for you this issue, including a story on the award-winning Rebecca Creek Distillery in San Antonio. It is one of North America’s largest craft distilleries, and it was one of the first legal distilleries built in South Texas after Prohibition. These proud GO TEXAN members make Rebecca Creek Whiskey and Enchanted Rock Vodka, which have won Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at prestigious spirits competitions around the nation. If whiskey and vodka are your drinks
of choice, be sure to try the Peach Smash recipe that Rebecca Creek shared with us later in this issue. Inside this issue, you’ll find an article on delicious Texas honey from the Lazy Bee Honey Company. We also share the story of the high school sweethearts who founded the Humble House Foods Company, as well as the story of the fresh produce from B&G Garden, an award-winning woman-owned company by the name of Susie’s South Forty and so much more. Once again, we’re happy to show off the wide diversity among our GO TEXAN members. We hope you enjoy this issue. Be sure to share it with your friends and remember, Texas Agriculture Matters!
REBECCA CREEK DISTILLERY: PROUDLY WEARING TEXAS ON ITS SLEEVE THEY SAY THAT OPPORTUNITY AND ENTREPRENEURISM GO HAND-IN-HAND. ITâ€™S NO SURPRISE, THEN, THAT REBECCA CREEK DISTILLERY IS SO SUCCESSFUL TODAY. THEY HAVE BRAGGING RIGHTS AS BEING ONE OF THE FIRST LEGAL DISTILLERIES IN SOUTH TEXAS SINCE PROHIBITION. SINCE THEN, THIS TEXAS DISTILLERY HAS GROWN TO BECOME ONE OF THE LARGEST CRAFT DISTILLERIES IN NORTH AMERICA, WITH NEARLY 85,000 CASES SOLD ANNUALLY.
Its product lineup includes Rebecca Creek Whiskey, Texas Ranger Whiskey, Enchanted Rock Vodka and Enchanted Rock Peach Vodka. All their spirits are designed with sustainability in mind. Certain green initiatives that the
company has taken on include incorporating water that is naturally filtered using native limestone from the Edwards Aquifer and donating leftover barley grains to local farmers to use as livestock feed. 5
Rebecca Creek Distillery is a proud GO TEXAN member, which means it has been officially certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture with its GO TEXAN mark, a program that recognizes Texas-based agribusinesses that positively support and promote the state of Texas. “We share many of the same values with the GO TEXAN program, including Texas grit, 8
dedication and sustainability,” CEO Steve Ison said. “The Distillery has been a member since its founding in 2009, and Rebecca Creek Fine Texas Spirit Whiskey was the first whiskey to qualify for the GO TEXAN program. GO TEXAN promotes the products, culture and communities that call Texas home, and it’s the best way for us to tell the world that we are Texas proud!”
that the distillery is invested in the success of Texas agribusinesses and supporting other GO TEXAN members in their endeavors. Having the GO TEXAN mark has done amazing things for our “All Rebecca Creek Distillery relationships with our retail and restaurant clients, not to spirits have the GO TEXAN stamp on their labels, displaying mention our loyal customers the distillery’s support and who enjoy supporting Texaspromotion of the state of made products. The GO TEXAN program also offers a Texas,” Ison said. “It’s such an great opportunity to network easy way to show consumers This GO TEXAN member points to the GO TEXAN mark — that distinctive brand in the shape of the state of Texas — as playing a big role in its product branding.
with other Texas agribusinesses and raise awareness of different industries in Texas.â€? As the craft distillery movement continues to grow, specifically in Texas, Rebecca Creek Distillery is working to increase the number of bottles produced annually, to stay on top of the latest distillery technology and trends, and introduce their spirits to new states like California. They also plan to break ground on a new distillery later this year to increase production and give 10
them room to grow. The Distillery also offers free tours Thursday through Sunday, and its tasting room and gift shop are open-tothe-public for group tastings and private events for up to 500 people. Rebecca Creek Distillery products can be found on shelves in more than a dozen states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Colorado, and can be delivered to any state in the continental U.S. For more information, visit their website.
LAZY BEE HON
WHEN SELLING OU
FOR THE OWNERS OF LAZY WAS JUST A HOBBY AT FIR SAW THAT THEY WERE SEL EVERY WEEKEND IN A LITT THEY WERE ON TO SOMET
UT IS A GOOD THING
Y BEE HONEY CO.™, BEEKEEPING RST. HOWEVER, WHEN THE TWO LLING OUT OF THEIR PURE HONEY TLE COUNTRY TOWN, THEY KNEW THING PRETTY SWEET. “We work many more hours than when we were in the corporate world, but we do it as a family,” Christi Wade, coowner of Lazy Bee Honey Co., said. “The freedom we have as a family from this business is amazing, and we definitely see the rewards.”
Lazy Bee Honey Co. is able to capture bees in Texas, raise the bees in Texas, pollinate Texas flowers and trees, and therefore, are able to produce truly Texan honey. “We purchase ‘Made in USA’ products predominately for 13
our personal use and gravitate even more to those made in Texas,” Wade said. “The GO TEXAN logo is the easiest identifier of those products. We purchase GO TEXAN products and proudly share our business affiliation with consumers.”
“The bees do not fly if it is too windy, too cloudy, too cold or too rainy,” Wade said. “If they cannot fly and go forage, then they eat the honey that we hope to harvest. We pray for rain … but not too much rain!”
Lazy Bee Honey Co. does more than just make Texas honey, however. They also produce other honey-based products such as honey jams. Wade said that all jams are original recipes created by Lazy Bee Honey Co. and contain fresh whole fruit and raw Texas honey.
Wade said that Lazy Bee Honey Co. has great things in store for the future. Aside from growing their apiary, Wade hopes to expand their already growing retail relationships.
“We stay far away from high fructose corn syrup, food colorings and preservatives, and are naturally gluten-free,” Wade said. “We also produce and sell other fine honey spreads such as Cinnamon Pecan Honey Butter, various creamed honeys, Honey Peanut Butter and Pecans & Honey to name a few.” What’s the hardest thing about being a beekeeper? According to Wade, it’s the weather. 14
“We hope to grow our brand and expand our retail footprint,” she said. Interested in purchasing some Lazy Bee Honey Co. honey or jam? Click here.
HUMBLE HOUSE FOODS:
: A DYNAMIC TEXAS DUO The creators of Humble House Foods began as cheese makers in San Antonio. Marsha Morales, co-developer of Humble House Foods, along with her husband Luis Morales, said that the duo wanted to create value for themselves and their community. “Humble House Foods came from humble beginnings,” Marsha said. “Our company began producing cheese in a small 10x10 room that we rented from a family friend.” Luis and Marsha are high school sweethearts and began their business together in 2008. Marsha’s favorite thing about being a business owner in Texas? Her answer is simple:
the sun and the people. “The sun allows us to grow almost anything we need,” Marsha said. “Access to this variety of fresh foods is a privilege that not many cities or states can claim. The fun and friendly people who we work with make our efforts for sustainability worthwhile and are also one of the main things we enjoy about our business.” The Morales decided to join the GO TEXAN program because of the mutual respect for Texas culture. “We wanted to be a part of a philosophy that is actively promoting local businesses that share in this culinary ecosystem,” Marsha said. “The
friendly staff and network of likeminded individuals is also a great plus!”
Institute culinary schools.
“We also have a Farm Work Program for our team to really Humble House Foods offers understand where their food community outreach programs, comes from,” Marsha said. including free cooking demos and culinary internships for As for Humble House Foods both the Culinary Institute future, Marsha hopes to focus of America (CIA) and Art on their new product line, which 18
includes vegan hot sauces. “Our vegan hot sauce is now a ‘Primo Pick’ product in more than 180 H-E-B stores across the state,” Marsha said. “They are a magical blend of fresh and dried chilies for a deep and rich flavor with just a hint of spice. Focusing on growing our customer base through H-E-B is our main goal
for the foreseeable future.” Check out Humble House Foods at the Pearl Farmers Market every Saturday in San Antonio. For more information on where to purchase Humble House Foods products, click here.
B&G GARDEN: DELIVERING THE GOOD STUFF The Lone Star State produces tons of mouth-watering fruits and vegetables, and B&G’s Garden specializes in delivering many of these fine goods fresh from their garden in Poolville. Ben Walker and Greg Johnson, the B and the G of B&G Garden, established their fresh picked garden in 1996. They grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on seven acres, located about 40 miles from Fort Worth.
produce in its hometown of Parker County. With a degree in forestry and biology, Walker has always enjoyed gardening and is a retired member of the Tarrant County Master Gardeners Association.
“I have always enjoyed being involved with agriculture and watching things grow,” Walker said. “It gives me great satisfaction to produce quality fruits and vegetables, knowing that my B&G Garden grows two varieties of produce will be on someone’s table asparagus, Kiowa blackberries, nine for dinner tonight.” varieties of peaches and several Unlike some other businesses, B&G varieties of tomatoes, including operates on a seasonal basis. Their heirlooms. Some of the other produce they grow includes squash, season starts in March and usually runs through November, so plan peas, beans, beets and sweet ahead if you’re in the Fort Worth potatoes. Most of the vegetables area and want to get some fresh are sold at the nearby Cowtown produce. For more information on Farmers Market. They also sell to H-E-B (Central Market) and several B&G Garden, visit their website. local restaurants. This variety of [The picture at left is of Ben Walker with peaches product, freshness and quality and the processing shed for asparagus.] has garnered the company a fine reputation for offering high quality 21
SUSIE’S SOUTH FORTY: FROM THE KITCHEN TO 40 ACRES THEY SAY IT’S EASIER TO ASK FORGIVENESS THAN PERMISSION, WHICH IS KIND OF HOW OWNER SUSIE HITCHCOCK-HALL GOT STARTED WITH HER HOMEMADE PECAN CONFECTIONARY BUSINESS, SUSIE’S SOUTH FORTY, WHERE EVERY BATCH IS MADE FROM SCRATCH. “We started in my house, which was illegal at the time,” HitchcockHall said. “I did my homework, though, so I stayed under the radar with my advertising. I have found out that if you tell it like it is, it ends up better that way.” Now there are cottage laws, which allow people to cook and sell products out of their homes.
Like many new businesses, Susie’s South Forty started out of discontent. Hitchcock-Hall wanted to be in business for herself, but the things she had tried were not as exciting as she wanted them to be. A friend of hers knew all this and approached her about her knack for cooking and his pecan grove.
“He had the pecans, and he didn’t want to just sell ‘em,” Hitchcock“But you don’t just jump out and Hall said. “Since I like to cook, I buy or build a great big building created recipes. The first ones were baked goods and candy. As you until you know that you’ve got something to work with,” Hall know, baked goods have a short said. “That’s why it’s important to shelf life — that’s why there are be able to start out small like that.” day-old bread stores. This led us to start making candies.” 23
Once they began making candies, she started creating a mailing list of friends and students of hers from teaching dance for several years. She taught an average of 700 kids a month, which turned out to be a nice start to a customer base.
“That’s pretty high cotton for this gal,” Hitchcock-Hall said. “I was floored when I got there. The ceremony was even bigger than I thought it was. I have to say that my life is blessed, because God has let me do wonderful things.”
“They always tell you to keep your day job,” Hitchcock-Hall said. “I kept my night job. I taught dance at night and made candy during the day.”
One of the things she has done is large and extravagant like the Lone Star State — a giant piece of candy.
“Outsiders refer to Texans as blowhards or braggarts, and they She started in her house and sold say everything’s bigger in Texas a grand total of $452 after her first and I say, ‘Yes it is!’,” Hitchcockseason in November 1991. Since Hall said. “We decided to grab then, they built a confectionary some bragging rights, so we made factory on 40 acres of land outside a one-and-a-half ton pecan toffee.” of Midland. She eventually bought her partner out and has continued This 2,940-pound confection to grow and gain attention. with a retail value of $57,000 (and more than 2 million calories!) She earned the title of Master placed Susie’s South Forty in Confectioner Emeritus status with the GuinnessTM Book of World Retail Confectioners International. Records for World’s Largest Texas She has also been honored as a Pecan Toffee. The toffee was woman-owned business and even donated to local soup kitchens and got a call from the Governor’s other non-profit organizations. Office, announcing that she was inducted into the Texas Women’s With all the accomplishments Hall of Fame. come more challenges, though. 24
Hitchcock-Hall cites finances as being the biggest ongoing challenge to her business. “The bigger you get, the more it takes,” she said. With the challenges come lots of rewards. One could say that this Texas lady is living the dream.
I love Texas. I get the support that I need simply for being a Texas business. When you have a business in Texas, you don’t have to tell ‘em where you are. They know. Texas speaks for itself. It opens doors like crazy.” She found out about the GO TEXAN program during a meeting and joined as soon as she could.
“What is rewarding about all this “GO TEXAN promotes Texas-based is to be able to create jobs and business like no other group that talk about Texas,” she said. “I love running a business in Texas, because I’m familiar with,” she said. “It’s just 26
always been that. We put the GO TEXAN logo on all our boxes.” She has trademarked all of her candies, but her favorite box is the Fudge Richey.
“We sold 23 tons last year,” Hitchcock-Hall said. “We’re serious about making candy. It’s my 26th year, and I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Recently Susie’s South Forty has “That one has special packaging,” rolled out a new product called Texas she said. “When they’re making Trash, which includes cereals, nuts fudge in the kitchen, you can smell and pretzels. It’s hand-dipped and it cooking throughout the factory, tossed in a creamy white confection and I’m either in there in the kitchen with powdered sugar on it. begging for some chocolate or they bring me a bowl and a spoon to my She has new recipes that she’s desk, and that’s how I eat it.” working on, along with a premium line of products and packaging. She is living the dream indeed — For more information, visit their the chocolate-lovers dream! website. 27
RECIPE: REBECCA CREEK PEACH SMASH
s like e p i c re ther ex an. org o d n Fi t got th is a
Here’s a tasty drink from our cover story GO TEXAN member, Rebecca Creek Distillery, which is a delicious way to celebrate the Texas peach season. It’s the perfect time of year, as peach season started in April and runs through August.
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz. Rebecca Creek Whiskey ½ oz. Enchanted Rock Vodka 4 Mint leaves ¼ Lemon, sliced ½ oz. Simple syrup (sold in liquor stores or made with boiling water and sugar) 1 Texas peach Directions: 1. Mix ingredients in a shaker. Shake. 2. Strain into glass over ice. 3. Garnish w/ mint or peach wedge and 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 May 19: 5-Hole Group Disc Golf, Marble Falls May 20: A Summertime Square Affair & Wellness Festival, Fairfield May 26: Wine Club Crawfish Boil, Brenham May 26-28: Crawfish Festival, Fredericksburg May 26-28: National Polka Festival, Ennis May 27: Red, White & BBQ, Fredericksburg June 10: Strawberry Moon Dinner, Bryan June 10-11: Brien Lebelâ€™s Old West Events Show & Auction, Fort Worth June 16: 56th Annual Stonewall Peach JAMboree & Rodeo, Stonewall View more Texas events here. 31
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. 32