It’s no surprise that the “eat local” movement has taken hold in Texas. Eating local is about having pride in your home, believing in self-reliance, and supporting the local economy - so it’s natural that Texas has become a haven for people looking to not only know where their food comes from but also to support local businesses. Yet, after decades making a commitment to eat local is still revolutionary.
Why You Should Eat Local in Texas
- Food from nearby simply tastes better. Because locally grown food is fresh and in season, it has more flavor.
- Locally grown food is more nutritious. When the time between you eating something and the time it was harvested is small, the nutrient value doesn’t have time to decrease. When food that’s grown half-way around the world is imported, it stales sitting in countless trucks and distribution centers before getting to you.
- Eating local is better for the environment. Eating local supports the existence of farmland and green spaces near you, and since it doesn’t require far shipping it cuts out carbon emissions and waste from packaging.
- Local food is safer. The more steps between you and where your food comes from, the more chances for contamination along the way.
- Eating local empowers you to be informed. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, it allows you to know more about what you’re putting in your body. Shopping at a farmer’s market or directly from a producer allows you to ask the growers about their practices. You can follow Texas farmers and makers directly on social media and feel safe knowing you know how your food was made.
How to Eat Local in Texas
You don’t have to shell out a lot of money at a fancy farm-to-table restaurant to make a commitment to eating locally - you can start at home!
Next time you’re in the grocery store, pay attention to where the things you’re buying come from. We’re lucky to have a lot of farms in Texas, and plenty of businesses that are committed to supporting them, so it’s easy to shop for ingredients grown right here in the Lone Star State. The goal isn’t to be perfect, it’s to grow our awareness and make better decisions when we can.
Besides regular grocery stores, you also have the opportunity to shop at farmer’s markets or even directly from farmers. Local farmer’s Check out the schedule of a farmer’s market near you online, and keep up to date with what’s in season. You can find a listing of farms in Texas here.
In honor of Texas Independence Day, we’ve come up with a chili recipe that proudly uses mostly local Texas ingredients (with the exception of the dried spices).
For the beef, It’s best to go to a local butcher, but large grocery stores such as Central Market also carry Texas beef. The best part about making Texas Chili in the summer : garlic, spring onions, oregano, green onions, and hot house tomatoes are all in season in Texas right now!
Summer Chili Recipe
- 5 pounds coarse ground Texas beef, or chuck
- 3 pounds spring onions, chopped (whites only)
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 5 pounds hot house tomatoes (Marfa Village Farms)
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle of your favorite local Texan beer
- ¼ cup Texas Everyday Use Olive Oil as needed
- 5 stalks green onions, minced
From your pantry:
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by browning the beef over medium-to-high heat in a 6-quart saucepan. Add the beef in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan, removing the browned meat to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season the beef with enough salt to help it cook.
- Remove everything but the fat to the plate and add ¼ cup Texas Everyday Use Olive Oil.
- Add the onions and cook on medium while stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and browned.
- Next, stir in the minced garlic, the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes so that the spices don’t burn.
- Add the tablespoon of tomato paste and cook out until the mixture is deep red in color and the pan is dry.
- Pour in half the beer and boil out the alcohol while stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, bay leaves, tomatoes, remaining beer, and ⅓ of a cup of water. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove about ⅓ of the total product, place in a blender and pulse until smooth, then add back to the pan. Cook for 10 more minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add the browned beef back to the pot and cook for 15 more minutes. If the chili is too thick, add more water.
- Add any remaining salt and pepper to taste and serve with a garnish of fresh, local green onions. Enjoy!
Celebrate Texas Independence Day With Local Food
In honor of the state holiday, we are running an extra special promotion at Texas Olive Ranch! For the first time, we’re offering free shipping everywhere within the state of Texas for the entire day of March 2nd. Just enter the code TEXASFREESHIP at checkout.
It’s the perfect time to stock up your pantry with a local, high-quality product, as well as to treat your friends and family in the state. Celebrate this Texas Independence Day by spreading local, Texan pride!