Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

No Grocery Store Challenge, With the Help of Friends and Strangers July 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 7:20 am
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Friends just make life better all around.  One of the amazing things about my self-imposed No Grocery Store Challenge, is the assistance I’ve gotten from friends.  Knowing that I miss avocados, one will show up at my house after an evening with company, its provenance unknown to me, usually.  Or my friend Kristi will share from her CSA box.  Kristi’s Austin Farm to Table blog takes her to farmer’s markets all over the country, and she is thoughtful enough to bring me things I can’t get.  Yesterday, she brought me 3 pounds of popcorn from a farmer’s market in New York.

Home Grown Popcorn

It isn’t local to me, but it isn’t from a grocery store, and was grown by a farmer and I’m delighted to have it.  I popped some of the red corn in an Antonelli’s Cheese paper bag in the microwave, with no oil, and had it for dinner.


The picture looks a little odd, perhaps the lighting in my kitchen was off.  This popcorn was the whitest popcorn I’ve ever seen and tasted great!

I’ve had readers of this blog experiment on bread recipes using 100% Whole Wheat just to help me figure that dilemma out.  I finally gave up, because although the bread worked, it was pretty hard to digest.  I have missed baking, with the lack of white flour to cut the whole wheat density.

After the paella party we had at my house a few weeks ago, my friend Adam Holzband, upon hearing of this flour difficulty, took it as a personal challenge to find me some local flour.  He enlisted his friend Vance Ely, a chef at a local grocery store (here’s the irony) to help in this quest.  Both  seemed to relish this challenge, and it took a number of phone calls and a lot of legwork to track some locally grown and milled flour down.   Saturday I got an email from Adam “It’s here!”  Yesterday I went and picked up a 5 pound bag of Homestead Gristmill Stone-Ground Grains, Sifted White Wheat Flour from his house.  It is from Waco, and is not available in the grocery store.

Local White Wheat Flour!

I am completely excited to have this local flour, for bread, pasta, pizza dough, tortillas and everything else that I’ve not been able to make.  More so, I’m extremely touched at the lengths Adam and Vance went to in tracking this down and getting it for me.  Sometimes people surprise me in the best way possible.

The second 6 months of my no grocery store challenge, will hardly be a challenge at all.

UPDATE:  has an online catalog from which you can order popcorn, cornmeal, their flours and baking mixes.  Sweet!


12 Responses to “No Grocery Store Challenge, With the Help of Friends and Strangers”

  1. That’s so cool! Can’t wait to see what you bake up first.

  2. Cecilia Says:

    That is fantastic! I should have thought of them. The flour comes from the Homestead Heritage School of Homesteading–the same folks that make Brazos Valley Cheese. I took a cheesemaking class there, and also toured their grist mill.

    • They also have popcorn and cornmeal! I’m stoked.

      • Chef Vance Ely Says: is this guy down in Alamo Texas, he will ship you avocados, onions, oranges and more, from the RGV. two day shipping is part of the pricing. I lived next to him (five miles down the road but he was our neighbor many years ago as a child). Enjoy the flour and hope to go see the mill soon. If so I’ll bring back a larger sack for you. I have 10lbs at my house if you runout send me an e-mail and I’ll get some over to you ASAP. Best of luck.


      • Thank you so much Vance. I’m going to check into the avocados. I do fine with garden onions, and citrus, but the good avocados just don’t grow here, as far as I know. Thank you for the flour! I’ve been buying cheese from those folks for a couple of years, and had no idea they milled flour. I’m excited about the corn meal too! You rock!

  3. Jodi Says:

    Too cool! I used some of the flour (they sent a bag for us as well) and made a peach cobbler topping. I’m looking forward to making tortillas from scratch. Never done that before 🙂

    • Cecilia Says:

      Corn or wheat tortillas? When I first started making wheat tortillas they came out shaped like the continents. Round now after half a lifetime of making them. And if you make corn tortillas–I recommend that you invest in a press, and always keep ’em moving on their way to the griddle–they are tender (not much gluten) and can fall apart between press and pan.

      • I’ve been making flour tortillas with my electric press for years – no pan necessary, but I’ve never made corn. Once I procure some cornmeal, I’ll try those since they are healthier.

    • Hey Jodi, flour tortillas are fun. I have an electric tortilla press which feels like cheating, but I don’t care!

  4. Adam Says:

    So glad I could help out Carla. Vance was a very diligent Sherlock Holmes to find and get that flour. Enjoy!

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