by C. Jeanette Tyson
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.
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.
we visit the Hen House. These chickens -- fine, regal, rather zen-like
creatures -- are not at all like the hardscrabble attack birds my
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.
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.
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.
reasoning aside, I go for the award-winning 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.
our last trip we picked strawberries. And I discovered another reason why I
go to Boggy Creek.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creek Farm is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 to 2.
Lyons Road. Phone: 512.926.4650. For more info and directions,