The State of Being!

 Missed our 2016 event?  Sign up here  and we'll let you know when the 2017 tickets are available.

Missed our 2016 event? Sign up here and we'll let you know when the 2017 tickets are available.

We add a one-time heading only because our lives have been so hectic since the previous publication that our state of being will likely reflect on the quality of this particular newsletter. It has been crazy busy at the farm and all over the planet for the Boudreaux family. It started with the October delivery weekend which is always hectic but usually followed by 2 days of rest and recuperation. Instead, we immediately went into preparation for our Outstanding In The Field event, a dinner for 200 in the pasture of the high hill of JVF (we enjoyed seeing so many of you there).  Did we then rest? No. Because our baby-boy, John Henry, was to be married in Austin 2 weeks later and we had forestalled most of our tasks needed for that event until the dinner in the field was complete. So, it was on to Austin, the headquarter hotel, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the wedding dinner. Did we then rest? Not yet, for it was our duty to care for the 4 grandchildren for 4 days while the rest of our children hosted a wedding celebration at Jolie Vue.

You may find all of this irrelevant, but maybe this is the takeaway. Glen and HoniAnn can still bring it! JVF has a long life. And this newsletter may just be the most discombobulated one ever published. Life happens.

We Are Proudly Outstanding In The Field

HoniAnn asks that you be reminded that Outstanding In The Field tickets go on sale online beginning March 20 (www.outstandinginthefield.com). The event will be held on the JVF hill Saturday, October 26th. Interestingly enough, we continue to lead the country in attendance year after year. The JVF dinner is first among the 90+ events staged across the country by OITF. Great food, wine and folks in a beautiful hilltop setting. Hard to beat.

State of the Farm

October saw some nice rain at 2.6 inches and although that was not up to the month’s 7 year average, it was enough to germinate some rye, oat and clover seed. So we are seeing the first signs of what we hope will be a bountiful winter pasture crop. What we have to avoid is prolonged periods of dryness and above average temperatures, which happens to be what we have had the last week prior to this month’s delivery. Can’t stand too much of that or the winter grasses will die young. It is comforting to remember that November of 2011 marked the start of a really nice fall/winter rain season. We’re hoping to see a repeat of that this year. We’ll let you know how it’s going in the December letter.

On the beef issue, we should be past our scarcity starting this month. It has been great to watch how quickly the steers have reacted to below-90 weather, a bit of cloudiness and a little refreshing rain. Immediately started putting on weight. Whoo-hoo! It has been tough to watch them struggle through this hot dry summer.

We were Outstanding In The Field.

We hosted our 5th consecutive OITF happening Sunday, October 28th. We know many of you recognize this event because you have attended, including this year. For those of you that have not heard of it, it is the darndest traveling food extravaganza you have ever seen. Instead of bringing the farm to your table, OITF founder Jim Denevan decided to reverse the trip, bringing the eaters to the farms where their food originates. There they eat the food with nothing between the soil and the sky except the diners and their table. In this case, the white cloth dining table is set for 200 eaters in our high hill pasture. In addition to our pork and beef, 10 other local producers brought vegetables, fruits, eggs, poultry and wine. All of it is either cooked right there on the farm or at least is finished there. Cullen’s Executive Chef Paul Lewis and his many sous chefs started roasting our 200 pound pig at 3 a.m. and were finishing it as the guests were arriving at 2 p.m. The aroma of pork cooking over pecan wood was a great way to welcome our guests.  It was a 5 course feast that finished with Chef Paul’s version of pineapple-upside down cake (except he used locally-grown Meyer lemons) as the sun set with a simultaneous rising of the full moon. We once again set the attendance record for the nation, number 1 out of some 87 such events across the United States. Texans are like that. We like our farms, ranches and the big blue sky of the Lone Star state. Yippee Yie Yoe Kieyay! 

And Now, Heeeeere’s Honi

I would like to tell you about some of the activities that Glen and I participate in when we're not hard at work caring for our animals at the farm! Glen and I serve on the board of a non-profit foundation call Recipe for Success here in Houston, www.recipeforsuccess.org. RFS is  dedicated to fighting childhood obesity with a complete seed to plate nutrition program. RFS is currently operating at 16 inner city schools and community centers. We have summer programs and after school programs in addition to the direct curriculum work in the schools.

Funded by grants, donations and fund raisers, we are a growing program ( no pun intended!). We have engaged 73 professional chefs who volunteer their time to our kids and the foundation.    They work as consultants and hands on teachers in the classrooms. We are the only city in the US with the cooperation and dedication of so many local, professional chefs. They teach a new recipe and technique each month and then the classroom chefs/cooks continue the lesson all month.

The children learn meal planning, nutrition, vegetable and fruit recipes and healthy food alternatives for their families. We work hard just to convince kids that food should not come out of a window or a package and that a Twinkie is NOT a vegetable!

Outside each of our schools and community areas we install gardens full of seasonal fresh produce and herbs, overseen by a degreed horticulturist. Most of what we grow is a new texture, taste and smell to our students. All of our gardens are organic. The students learn patience, hard work, planning, responsibility, and about weather, but most importantly: WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM!!!!!

The activities from our RFS curriculum support many academic areas. In math, measurements, division, multiplying a recipe; science: food combinations, cause and effect, heat, cold, building compost and weather. History: of the plants, seeds, genetics, recipes, and cultural differences and origins of food. English: writing recipes, keeping and noting results, journaling, reporting, food lists and food orders. Our school principals love having us and the food ideas and recipes spill into other classrooms as well! Our curriculum is being "bought" by other cities and school districts to implement there.

RFS is run by volunteers- we do have paid "baby" chefs in the classrooms, but our teachers get training and volunteer their time working with the children and the curriculum. If you'd like to join us and help out even an hour or two a month, contact alyssa@recipe4success.org, our volunteer coordinator. We can use classroom, gardening and even administrative help.

RFS also has a commercial yet cozy kitchen available for fun party cooking demonstrations by our chefs- with or without wines, and a menu of your choice. We use our seasonal produce and the chef gives a demonstration for you and your guests- book a party for the holidays!  713-520-0443.

RFS is hosting an annual Harvest Luncheon at which we will award the RFS Outstanding Teacher, Chef and Local Farmer award. Each of these three folks will be selected due to their dedication and support of not only our program but the whole healthy, obesity fighting movement in Houston. If you'd like to come on November 19, just contact the Recipes office and buy some tickets.  We'd love to see you there.

The other thing I want to share is that once again, Jolie Vue Farms is hosting Outstanding in the Field, an event where a celebrity chef comes to the farm and cooks on the spot bringing in all the produce, cheese, milk, wine from local farms nearby, and of course using Jolie Vue Farms meats! We have a wonderful time eating at the top of our hill and enjoying the sunset. Glen and I are proud to promote healthy, local organic eating this way too!  It is a fun event of about 200 folks. Our ranch staff hustles to welcome our guests from all over the country. OITF is a for profit organization and we only host and provide the meats. They are actually in charge of this event.

Outstanding in the Field

We wrapped up our 4th consecutive Outstanding In The Field Dinner on the Jolie Vue Hill at the top of Washington County on October 22nd. Two hundred diners, eating clean, fresh, locally grown food with only themselves between the soil and the sky. What a spectacle it was and always is. (See www.outstandinginthefield.com for future reference).  Chef Paul Lewis of Cullen’s Grille did the honors for the second year in a row, serving our food and the produce from three other surrounding farms, a goat dairy and a winery in Tyler.  It’s what eating terroir is all about.

OITF – It's a Wrap

Jolie Vue was privileged last month to be the living organism for OITF for the third consecutive year.  What’s it all about?

Reduced to its simplest notion, it is a celebration of food and community. Some 200 diners paid an exorbitant sum of money to bring their own dinner plate, enjoy drink and appetizer in the house yard, then tour and troop across three quarters of a mile to our hilltop for dinner at the crescent-shaped table made famous by OITF’s founder, Jim Denevan. As Jim says it, dining between nothing but the soil and the sky, where your food grows. Coming to the food, rather than the food coming to you. Brilliant.

But you have to experience the event to know just how brilliant it is - I am always impressed by the joy and conviviality on display, but I am not surprised by it. Food is survival, reaching far back into our collective memories to a time when being sated by a rewarding meal was not a given. Early humankind spent most of their day trying to achieve nutritional and gustatory satisfaction, and when it happened, it meant not only survival but celebration. Literally, a celebration of life, of communities working together, of gratitude, of generosity of the hunters, gatherers, cookers and servers. That joy is deeply embedded in our bones, genes, and souls. That is why this event rekindles and restores. It’s the simplest kind of thing, but irreplaceable. Food and community. Instinctual. Nothing more, but nothing less.  And that’s what it’s all about.

The Dining Event

Jolie Vue will be the host farm for Outstanding In The Field, the third consecutive year we have been honored as such in their visit to Texas, and the pioneer farm for the event in Texas (thanks to the recommendation of Monica Pope). Outstanding is the brainchild of Jim Denevan, a locavorian chef who first asked the question: why not take the next logical step and put the diners on the farm where their food is grown?

What a concept! Jim now spends all of his working life traveling the countryside, east to west and north to south, feeding folks on the farm between the soil and the sky. I was raised in the restaurant business and have born witness to many happy dining experiences, but nothing tops the excitement and soul-satisfying experience of the Outstanding event at Jolie Vue and other kindred farms across the fruited plains.

A Table Set on a Hill

From Alison Cook, Houston Chronicle:

"The key to grass-fed cattle is keeping them cool, shaded and comfortable," Frank told us, "not running around and nervous." He pointed out the solar-powered electric fences that divide the pasturage into long paddocks where the cattle run for three or four days, feasting on the grasses before moving on. The used paddock is dragged to spread the manure, replenish the soil and kill any larvae, keeping the pasture pest-free. At one point, the family ran their free-range chickens behind the cattle, but predation from raccoons and hawks eventually put a stop to that experiment in integrated farming.