Category Archives: Local

Fall – in Love with Food

This Word by: Emily Holden

Whenever the seasons change, I get the urge to do something different. Sometimes a change of wardrobe or scenery is enough to fill the void left by the seasonal transition. But this fall, I’m looking for a meaningful and sustainable change that will keep that warm feeling in my tummy year round by rethinking the basics of my day-to-day life, starting with, yes you guessed it…food.

If you are looking for ways to incorporate the new season into your daily activities, why not start with the basics? A change in food may be just what you need. And we at Oh My Pocket Pies are right there with you, searching for happiness from the inside out. George Eliot summed up this craving for seasonal change when she wrote “Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Except, these birds know that you don’t need to travel the globe to find love. Step out into your own city to find a new, healthier bond with your food.

Farmer’s markets across Houston offer everything you need to rekindle your passion for food and life. From local produce and fresh cheese to locally roasted coffee and grass-fed beef, these markets have what you need for fresh, flavorful fare. Visit us every other week when we join the friendly folks at the Highland Village Farmer’s Market, selling local foods every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 PM . Another great new Houston market on the scene is City Hall Farmer’s Market, open every Wednesday from 10:00 to 2:00 PM. Buying food locally ensures not only that your food will be fresh and flavorful, but also that the money you spend will go directly to local farmers.

Another important part of buying locally is knowing what kinds of fruits and vegetables are in season in your area. Winter squash, beets, broccoli, spinach, blackberries, and pumpkins for example, are in season right now in Texas, which means they will be extra tasty, and you can be sure they are locally grown. Check out this chart to get a better idea of which fruits and veggies to purchase at market. Once you learn what produce is in season, you can incorporate these fruits and veggies into daily meals and family feasts. Savor the flavor of this delicious beet and goat cheese salad, made from locally produced beets, cheese, spinach and nuts.  Make room for winter squash at the Thanksgiving table before serving a delicious pumpkin or blackberry pie.

Why not fall in love with food this season by rethinking your relationship with your groceries? Say goodbye to a tired affair with food and hello to local, seasonal produce. Connect with your environment and find the authentic flavors that your community has to offer – like here at OMPP! This fall we’re cookin’ up Thanksgiving inspired pies for a limited time only. Check out the menu (www.ohmypocketpies.com), and come by before you miss out on your taste of fall, y’all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fresh food, Houston Food, Local

Leave a comment

Filed under houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies

Gulf Seafood – A Questionable Future

As the oil-affected Gulf waters became reopened for fishing and shrimping just recently, questions over the safety of the seafood caught in the Gulf are still ringing in American’s minds. Is the Gulf seafood really safe to eat?

Here’s the rather complex, multi-faceted answer: Yes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proclaimed the shrimp and seafood safe – but, perhaps not, according to Gina Solomon, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is calling on federal officials to conduct a better test consisting of a larger sample, holding that the NOAA only recently tested 12 samples consisting of 73 individual shrimp.

While the NOAA insists that testing will be done on an on-going basis to ensure the safety of consumers, research gathered in July by the University of Southern Mississippi found droplets of oil in blue crabs that feed much larger sea life in the Gulf.  Now, the blue crabs do not pass inspection for human consumption, but the concern is, is our food supply of fish being contaminated by consuming them? Researchers at the NOAA Fisheries Mississippi labs show that the only contaminated fish samples have been found in water that is still closed for fishing. Serious questions also remain about seafood affected by the dispersant used by BP to break up the oil.

A study by the University of Minnesota found that 44% of people don’t trust seafood from the Gulf to be safe for consumption.  However, President Obama, trying hard to restore Americans’ faith in Gulf seafood, served barbequed Gulf shrimp at his birthday party in early August.

All this worry of contaminated seafood poses a strong possibility of changing the economy of many Gulf coast cities, including Houston, where fishing and shrimping are main industries. Though the prices of seafood may rise in the fishable waters, are Americans willing to pay the price for food that many are afraid to consume?

Steven Curtis, president of Austin Seafood Products, a wholesale supplier, saw a boom in shrimp sales just before oil reached the waters along the Texas coast. He actually had people calling to buy the entire inventory to stock up for desperate shrimp times. But Curtis says shrimp will be fine this year – “What people need to worry about is shrimp two years from now, three years from now,” as the spill affects plankton and larvae that the shrimp feed upon.

Many restaurant owners have braced for the worst outcome: a shortage of seafood, price hikes and a public image that Gulf seafood is dangerous. We at OMPP are still going strong with the sale of our shrimp burgers, made from all local Gulf shrimp.

How would you like to hear from a vendor right in the heart of the issue? Stay tuned for an interesting take on how the spill has affected our local shrimp vendor.

Sources from this article:

Statesman.com

Nola.com

Los Angeles Times

Leave a comment

Filed under houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies

Green Eggs and Easter

Hold on Easter Bunny – ditch those old wasteful Easter baskets! there is still time to make this Easter local, sustainable, and green…

First, act sustainably and reduce waste by re-using your Easter baskets. Choose a nice, high quality, wooden or tin basket that will last for years. Easter basket painting can also act as a great craft for kids prior to the big day. A neat idea from SuperEco.com is to consider growing your own grass in each basket, instead of using more non-biodegradable grass of the plastic variety. But, if you are going to use plastic grass,  save it and reuse it each year – it will not go bad!

To fill those baskets we suggest, as with most other holidays, buying fair trade local chocolates and candies. You can easily find a candy shop in Houston to buy fine, organic, fair trade candy, but if you are looking for some bags of bulk candy for the kiddos, a good place to find them is Whole Foods or the like. They will have a large selection of fair trade, organic candies. Also, think about hand making your Easter basket gifts. Can you knit, sew, or even braid a friendship bracelet? Let’s face it – kids will love almost anything fun, colorful, and sugar-filled in their basket, so why not act sustainably and save some money by making your own gifts?

Next, let’s focus on the main event – Coloring Easter eggs. Put down the food coloring and step away from the mixing table. Check your fridge for a few simple ingredients that can color your eggs any shade of the spectrum, naturally. Here is a list from suite101.com of some ingredients to make a few colors, but you can go wild with any natural dye combination you can think of: Purple grape juice (for lavender), Red cabbage (for blue), Spinach (for green), Carrot tops, orange peels or lemon peels (for yellow), Coffee or black walnut shells (for brown), Yellow onion skins (for orange), Beets or cranberries (for pink), Red onion skins (for red). Find more instructions on how to color your eggs naturally here.

We hope these few tips will get you thinking about sustainability this Easter. It is important, always, but especially during each holiday, to remember how to stay green while you celebrate. Now that you have all these tips for a sustainable Easter, go out there and celebrate, Easter Bunny style!

Leave a comment

Filed under Go Green, Go Local, Green, houston, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, organic, recycle, sustainable

Party for our Planet

Coming up soon, once again, Discovery Green will be hosting this year’s 2010 Earth Day Houston Festival. This free, family friendly, all-day event kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 3. Developed by Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention, and Mothers for Clean Air, the collaborative event focuses on sustainable living, and educating and encouraging Houstonians to preserve, conserve and enhance the city and the Earth.

For those of you  dedicated “runners-for-the-earth”, the 5K run begins at 8 a.m. sharp. All 5K runners receive an organic cotton Earth Day Houston shirt, and are encouraged to bring any old running shoes for recycling. Along with the run, there will be a 5K walk and a Kids Run. (http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-earth-day-5k.php)

AIA’s Gulf Coast Green Consumer Exhibition will showcase green products to the attendees at Earth Day Houston. Other planned activities include, Earth Zone featuring interactive environmental awareness activities highlighting land, air, water, and renewable energy, a Farmer’s Market in support of locally-grown produce, and The Kids Energy Zone and stage. Also, some fun activities like recycled art projects, green living seminars and demos, plus live musical entertainment will make this celebration a blast! (http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-green-expo.php)

This event will surely be the party worth throwing for our beloved planet. Come show your support for this earth! Word to your Mother Earth.

For Directions and more information visit http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-earth-day-location.php

Leave a comment

Filed under Go Green, Green, houston, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, recycle, sustainable

Forget Pink and Red: Make this Valentine’s Day GREEN!!

This year we’ve asked the environment to be our valentine!

When it comes to a holiday like Valentine’s Day, all we want to do is impress our sweetheart. Most of us aren’t thinking about the environmental impact that Valentine’s Day has. This V-Day, be creative with your cards and gifts; be green this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is the second largest card sending holiday, with around a billion valentines sent globally each year. Although we want you to think your sweethearts keep those cards, ultimately, paper cards create a lot of unnecessary waste. According to Rainforest Web, the United States has under five percent of the world’s population, yet consumes more than thirty percent of the world’s paper: that includes those valentines! So, cut back and choose to send cards made from recycled paper, or tree-free paper (details available: http://tinyurl.com/cfaw2l). It is easiest (and more heart-felt!) to make your own cards out of these special forms of paper. Or, just send an e-card…who needs paper these days anyway!

Chocolate: Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year. Imagine how much you could help to boost your city’s economy by buying that chocolate from a locally owned shop! Another suggestion is to buy fair-trade chocolates or other food products. Additionally, if you are searching for a gift certificate, make sure you are searching locally. For example, find independent spas that use all natural products. Reserve dinner plans at a local restaurant that uses organic, local, and/or sustainable products. Give an OMPP gift card (Pie is SO romantic!)

Another common V-Day gift, jewelry, will not only hurt your wallet, but comes at a cost to the environment and human life (I.E. “blood diamonds”). Gem and precious metal mining destroy thousands of acres of land a year and release harmful chemicals, needed to process the minerals, into the environment. Cyanide and mercury are among a few dangerous chemicals released in processing gold. Obviously, you can opt to not buy precious gems and metals by choosing jewelry made from nature’s other beauties like shells, glass, and wood. But if your valentine just HAS to have those jewels, find jewelers who are certified to be sourcing products that are mined with the least ecological and social harm. Or buy a unique, used, vintage piece that none of the other gals in town will have!

If you are interested in actively helping out the environment this V-day, Woodland Heights students from Hogg Middle School host a pretty fun annual event http://www.greenvalentine.org/ This 2010 Green Valentine project, they are asking for shovels, wheelbarrows, gloves, etc. and volunteers to plant trees, distribute mulch, prune, and clean up reforested areas around the White Oak Bayou. Don’t worry, you won’t have to get messy before your big Valentine’s date… this event takes place February 13 at 1 pm. Antidote Coffee and breakfast pastries by Dacapo’s will be served too! How can you go wrong?

Wishing you, and yours, a Happy Valentine’s Day! (If you don’t have a valentine this year, pish posh…the environment is your lover!)

2 Comments

Filed under Go Green, Go Local, Green, houston, Independent, Local, oh my pocket pies, organic, sustainable

Sustaina-Bowl

With the super bowl right around the corner, we’re all going crazy about who the better team will be – saints or colts?! Or we’re just excited for commercials and high calorie snack food. Staying green around this time of the year may be the last thing you want to worry about while planning your party, but its easier than you may think!

First, we have put together a collaboration of some of the best sustainable and local recipes we could find. A great way to be sustainable for your super bowl party is to “think veggies”. Of course we don’t mean you can only eat veggie trays and crackers. The super bowl deserves some heavy, cheesy snacks – Hey it only comes around once a year! Planet Green has some yummy, filling, veggie recipes for this super bowl like, Baked Potato Skins, Mini Calzones, and Upscale Nachos (these are not your average every day nachos!) Check out those recipes here: http://tinyurl.com/yc5z69u Mother Nature Network also has some delicious sustainable recipes including hearty Vegetarian Chili and flavorful Hummus: http://tinyurl.com/ykshg9m If you just can’t have your super bowl party with out the meat, check out this delicious sounding recipe for Chicken Kebabs with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce: http://tinyurl.com/ybby86b Use all organic chicken for a perfect party meal. Hungry yet?

Also, keep in mind, “local, local, local”! Make sure you know what veggies are in season in your area and try to use those as main ingredients. Some good veggies this season in Texas include, broccoli, greens, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes! Mmm sweet potato fries with ranch dressing dip – perfect for your party! Use our favorite site for finding your state’s in-season vegetables: http://tinyurl.com/ylkagau If you live in Houston, shop for your fresh vegetables at the Highland Village Farmers Market http:/hvfm.com/

Now, what kind of serving dishes are you using? If you answered styrofoam or plastic, get off our page! – Just kidding, but really…don’t use those! Opt for something more sustainable, like biodegradable or paper plates. These can be torn up and thrown right into your compost, if you have one. If you don’t have a compost, paper plates are still better than styrofoam for numerous reasons such as, styrofoam’s hazardous effects on our health and its inability to biodegrade quickly (see our previous post all about this dangerous plastic). At OMPP we use all biodegradable materials – even down to our cups. Check out http://www.greenhome.com/ where you can order large numbers of sustainable party plates and drink ware for some pretty good prices.

Lastly, anytime you’re throwing a party, consider local and/or organic beer and liquor. One of our favorite local Texas beers is Saint Arnold: Learn more about them and their brewery http://www.saintarnold.com/ We found this blog: http://tinyurl.com/8grvj3 with a great guide of a few organic liquors.

As planning any party can be stressful, we hope our tips can help you to plan the perfect super bowl party this year. Your friends will be GREEN with envy (…sorry, had to)! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, safe, sustaina-bowl 2010!


Leave a comment

Filed under biodegradable, Fresh, Fresh food, Go Green, Go Local, Green, Healthy food, houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, organic, sustainable