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        by C. Jeanette Tyson

     Boggy Creek Farm, owned and operated by Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle, is located on the east side of Austin. Itís not far and itís not difficult to find; you just have to know where to turn left after the wooden fence into the narrow dirt driveway and you have to be courteous and creative with your car if someone else is trying to leave.

     If you like to know where your salad comes from (that field out back) and whatís been put on it (nothing synthetic), this is place to go. I try to visit once a week with my two and a half-year-old twins, Jackson and Madeleine.
     First we visit the Hen House. These chickens -- fine, regal, rather zen-like creatures -- are not at all like the hardscrabble attack birds my grandmother kept. If organic greens do that for you, load me up. I tell the children this is where we get eggs. They dutifully yip "eggs!" but Jackson is far more interested in climbing on the tractor or jumping off the tree stump. I take this as a sign I donít need to go into where his chicken comes from just yet.

     The Greek Revival farmhouse is thought to be one of the three oldest homes in Austin. Gloves hang on the back porch to dry, a tableau of the working life. The produce is set up on tables in the barn and under the magnificent live oak. You can sip a cup of organic coffee while you stand in the back corner and read a handwritten tip on what you can actually do with that French sorrel.

     Itís a peaceful, lovely scene, but really, why make the trek when I can park the car once and get a movie, the dry cleaning and a haircut with that bag of spinach (not to mention toilet paper and cat food)? Maybe itís because I wish life were simpler, which is not the same thing as convenient. I want real food from local growers, food that tastes like something. I donít want to get cancer. I want to be kinder to the earth. I like to watch a group of people who may never get together for a meal nonetheless come together over food.
     Philosophical reasoning aside, I go for the award-winnin
g goat cheese, imported from Pure Luck Dairy in Dripping Springs; with its smooth texture and mild sweetness, itís perfect against the bitter dandelions I add to the salad. The small golden beets, roasted with a little olive oil and rosemary, make it nearly unnecessary to eat chocolate ever again, you feel that indulgent. The greens, whether pre-mixed for salads or on their own, taste like the sun.
     On our last trip we picked strawberries. And I discovered another reason why I go to Boggy Creek.
It was raining but warm. Jackson had on his high purple rain boots which come just to his banged-up knees. Maddyís pigtails, which usually point straight to the heavens like some cartoon version of herself, lay flat against her head.
     Carol Ann gave me a basket and said "now pick only the reddest ones and leave the others to grow." Little did she know my feathers were ruffled like one of grandmaís scrappiest hens.
     Heeeeeey lady, who do you think youíre talking to, some city slick who doesnít know her fava beans from a hole in the ground? Youíre talking to a farm girl. And weíre talking crops here, not gardens. Corn and soy beans, wheat and rye, King Cotton! I spent Saturday night scrubbing my hands and cleaning my nails so I could go to church on Sunday. Lady, I know how to pick a strawberry!
     But hereís the thing: I am twenty-five years removed from my fatherís farm. My nails donít get dirty sitting at a computer or going to yoga or driving to the mall, or for that matter, the grocery store. My shoes remain clean walking around a carpeted office or dashing through the airport to catch a plane to Dallas or San Francisco or New York.
     The truth is, my farm life is far behind me. And my children, even in this lush patch of world that is Austin, will never have one. Aha. Could it be I suddenly want just a little bit of it back?
Jackson, Maddy and I went to the far end of the patch, careful to stay between the rows. The berries were thick, deep red, perfectly formed, ripe for the pickiní. Jackson carried the basket. At first Maddy buried her tiny fingers deep into the heart of the fruit but she quickly learned the proper way to pop it off. In a few minutes, we were wet, sticky, gloriously muddy and in possession of some fine-looking strawberries.
At two and a half, my children know where eggs and strawberries come from. Even better, they know, a little bit, where I come from. See you at Boggy Creek.
After twenty years in the advertising business, Jeanette Tyson has gone freelance so she has more time for life, writing and strawberries.  AustinMama.com is thrilled to welcome her as our new FoodieMama.
Got a tip, suggestion, idea or feedback for A Little More on Your Plate? Send it to Jeanette at: foodie@austinmama.com

Boggy Creek Farm is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 to 2.
3414 Lyons Road. Phone: 512.926.4650.  For more info and directions, visit: 


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