Inside the Urban Acres Co-Op
By Minnie Payne
DFW residents seeking to eat good-tasting food without seemingly ever-present processed ingredients now have that opportunity through the Urban Acres co-op - a Dallas green business serving as home to organic fruits and vegetables.
Urban Acres owner Steven Bailey got the idea of starting Urban Acres when he and four other families who liked organic food travelled to local Dallas farms, bought their fare and brought it back to a parking lot to divide up.
The co-op, started in 2009, has grown to 10 farm stand pickup locations throughout DFW with a store front in Oak Cliff. Bailey explains that Urban Acres takes elements of a co-op, CSA and grocery store.
“Our farm stands are specifically tied to a community facility and community people. Produce, fruit and eggs can be purchased at farm stands, while the store front stocks a variety of organic foods,” says Bailey. “Some of the items you’ll find are mostly local organic produce/fruit, local pastured meats – chicken, pork, grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, low pasteurized, non-homogenized milk, farmstead artisan cheeses, wild-caught fish – salmon and halibut from Alaska – when in season, local organic pastured eggs, locally-roasted fair wage coffee, local raw honey, a wide selection of other grocery items, including coconut oil, raw nuts, locally-brewed kombucha, gluten-free goodies, and much more.” Bailey says that currently Urban Acres has relationships with over 40 local farmers and artisans.
“We try to buy locally as much as possible, so that food won’t travel a long distance, but because we live in North Texas, it’s very difficult to get organic produce and also have variety in what we receive,” he says. “In order to get things like broccoli, avocados and Pink Lady apples, we have to reach out to other states like California, Florida, and Colorado.”
Amber Barnett, Director of Administration of Urban Acres, says that presently there are 1,200 members in their produce/fruit pickup style co-op and that the members pick up every other week at their respective farm stand locations across the DFW metroplex. She explains that everything is automated and members pay with a credit card and purchase a 1/2 share for a $30 pickup or a whole share for a $50 pickup.
“We have 12 to 15 types of fruit and vegetables, and a full share is roughly 30 pounds of produce/fruit,” Barnett comments. “Many members share with friends.
“Members are not only buying fresh organic produce/fruit, but are given the opportunity to buy things that they can’t buy in grocery stores, not to mention that they get free advice and recipes as to how to prepare their food.”
All poultry is pasture raised and beef is 100 percent grass-fed. Cattle are not only pastured, but never touch grains.
Every effort is made to ensure that all produce is always organic and that all meats and dairy come from sustainable farms where pastured animals are treated humanely. Strictest standards of no pesticides or hormones, non-genetically modified, no artificial flavoring, no hydrogenated oils and no MSG are met.
You can visit Urban Acres at 1301 West Davis Street in Dallas, Texas or follow their activities on their wordpress blog - urbanacres.wordpress.com.
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Minnie Payne is the food reporter for Green Source DFW, focusing on DFW stories that include agriculture, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, sustainable wines, green grocers, community gardens, green restaurants, etc. She’s open to all food story suggestions from readers. She was a writer for Pegasus News and presently freelances for Living Magazine and Frisco Style Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org