I just got an email this morning from Paul Ragsdale--Ragsdale Farms. I met Paul and his son Zach last summer at the Garland Marketplace on the downtown square. In fact, in August of last year I posted an article about them and the Marketplace Garland. I'm happy to see they are not only still in business, but are thriving. I'm also happy to see that Marketplace Garland is returning too--beginning in April of this year.
Zach Ragsdale above with Oleifera trees.
Zach Ragsdale is the one who introduced me to the Moringa Oleifera as well as the fact that one can make flour and thus bread from mesquite beans.
I fear the Oleifera I purchased last summer from Zach went South from my lack of attention and water, but I plan to purchase a new one from him in April. However, the bottom of its stem (trunk) is still green so I watered it this morning in hopes and will keep you posted.
The Moringa Oleifera is a small, shrub or tree that can reach 12m (36 ft) in height at maturity and can live for up to 20 years.
Every part of the Moringa Oleifera tree–from the roots to the leaves has beneficial properties that can serve humanity. In many countries Morgina Oleifera is used as a micronutrient powder to treat diseases. According to the literature, the Moringa is a shrub or tree that can reach 36 feet in height at maturity and can live for up to 20 years. Like bamboo and hemp, Moringa is among the fast-growing trees as it can reach 9 feet in just 10 months. The Moringa has deep roots and can survive drought conditions well.
Moringa is an important food source in some parts of the world. Because it can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves retain lots of vitamins and minerals when dried, moringa is used in India and Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition. The immature green pods are prepared similarly to green beans, while the seeds are removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach, and they are also dried and powdered for use as a condiment.
The Ragsdales must have been busy over the winter! I see they are providing all-natural aquaponic produce and also constructing aquaponic systems from 35 or 55 gallon barrels that can easily fit in your home so you may conveniently grow your own produce. No doubt they will be demonstrating some of their models at Marketplace Garland.
And don't forget their eggs! They offer both chicken and duck eggs. Of course their birds are free-range critters. In fact they are treated by the Ragsdales as pets. If you want to know anything about chickens, just ask Paul Ragsdale and he will tell you. What's the difference between eggs purchased in a chain store and eggs purchased locally? It's a world of difference. Store bought chicken eggs are 30 days old on average when purchased. That should be enough information right there.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS
The Marketplace is coming again to Garland in 2014~ Every 3rd Saturday
April 19th - May 17th - June 21st - July 19th - August 16th - September 20th
If you care to try, here is my recipe for mesquite bean bread. By the way, the Ragsdales sell mesquite beans at their booth. Be sure to stop by their booth on April 19 in Garland and meet them. You won't regret it, I promise. I'm hoping to get out to their farm some time in the next month.
MESQUITE BEAN BREAD
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup mesquite flour
½ tsp yeast
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups of water
Step 1: Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
Step 2: Add water and mix.
Step 3: Stir with fork (mix will be sticky).
Step 4: Cover in a bowl, let sit overnight.
Step 5: Place bread dough on cutting board covered with towel for 2 hours.
Step 6: Put in bowl and bake @ 350 for 1 hour.