Every September 17th, my thoughts drift back to 2012 . . . the first day of filming for a new Food Network show. It happened to be in Texas . . . and happened to be in my house.
Just a few months before, we heard that Bobby Flay was scouting for the “Best Home” cooks. He was filming a new Food Network show in Dallas, LA, NYC, Philadelphia and Chicago. We figured the chances of getting on the show were somewhere in the same odds as winning the lottery.
At the last minute, we sent in a few photos and wrote an essay on how we loved cooking for our families. We mentioned entering the State Fair of Texas cooking contests. Much to our surprise, one of Bobby’s scouts called to set up an interview. Long story made short, we were invited to compete in “Bobby’s Dinner Battle.” Sounds great! Just one problem, public speaking is my worst nightmare. How could I possibly cook and talk while the cameras were rolling? Lucky for me, my teammate Grace-anne was witty and fearless!
So . . . we decided to forge ahead. After all, how could we resist such a fun opportunity?!
These giant trucks backed down our family’s driveway. It was exciting but scary. Was it too late to change our mind?!!
The doorbell rang, we greeted Bobby’s team. Within hours, the trucks were unloaded and our house had been transformed into a Food Network studio. It was magical. No doubt I still felt butterflies, but this new project was turning into a great adventure!
An egg-cellent french Omelette is tasty, elegant, and the perfect introduction to French cuisine. Julia Child details two techniques for making french omelettes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. With a little practice, it’s easy to whip up french omelettes.
While vacationing in Nantucket, touring Bartlett’s Farm was one of my favorite activities. A 7th-generation family farm, Bartlett’s Farm is the oldest and largest farm in Nantucket. It is famous for its vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes and fresh-picked corn. Most Nantucket restaurants feature Bartlett’s Farm heirloom tomatoes on their menus.
In the early 1800’s when William Bartlett moved to Nantucket, he tilled the land with hand tools and a horse-drawn plow and grew vegetables for his family. He raised cows and started a dairy business. For several generations, Bartlett’s Farms raised cows and sheep.
When he was 13 years old, fifth generation Phil Bartlett started growing tomatoes in his grandmother’s yard. Along with his father John “June” Bartlett and brothers, they began to grow more vegetables. They started selling the homegrown tomatoes and vegetables from a truck parked on Main Street. When Phil went away to college and joined the Marines, “June” continued selling vegetables from the truck on Main Street.
A monument in honor of John “June” Bartlett’s was placed near the intersection of Federal Street and Main Street, where he parked the Bartlett’s Farm truck every day, for over two decades.
In 1959, Phil returned to Cornell. He met Dorothy. They were married and had two children. Dorothy taught 1st grade at Nantucket Elementary School. With her 3rd pregnancy and finding out she would have twins, Dorothy retired form teaching. While raising her children, she acquired a greenhouse and started gardening. She managed the greenhouses for 20 years, while raising her four children. In addition to having a green thumb, Dorothy baked and grew a bakery business.
In 1994, Bartlett’s Farm Cookbook was printed. With its success, the Bartletts opened a commercial kitchen.
With Phil and Dorothy’s hard work, Bartlett’s Farm turned into a lucrative enterprise. Today, Phil and Dorothy’s four children, Cynthia, John, David, and Daniel continue to operate the family farm.
Dorothy and Phil enjoy winters in Florida. Upon their return to Bartlett’s Farm, Phil may be found riding his tractor and keeping up with everything on Bartlett’s Farm. Dorothy enjoys giving tours of Bartlett’s Farm.
Bartlett’s Farm continues to sell produce and flowers from the truck on Main Street.
Bartlett’s Farm is a beloved community treasure of Nantucket!
The best Blueberries in Texas are grown at Winona Orchards, nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of east Texas. If you like the peaches, you are going to love their blueberries.
Winona Orchards grows five varieties of blueberries:
Winona Orchards blueberry bushes are planted in alternating rows so the bumble bees and honey bees can pollinate them. The bees work together to pollinate the blueberry bushes allowing the blueberries to grow. In the spring, beautiful white clusters of flowers pop up over the bushes. First the bumble bees crack open the tiny flowers. Next, the honey bees gather the pollen and transfer it between the male and female parts. Each blossom eventually becomes a blueberry.
The blueberries ripen at different times so harvesting takes up to seven passes per bush. First the blueberries are hard green, then reddish-purple, and finally blue. Sweet, ready to be picked. Winona Orchards’ blueberries are all hand picked!
They say everything’s bigger in Texas — and this holds true for a new partnership, Texas Monthly + Randa Duncan Williams. With footprints on the moon, the sky is not the limit for Randa’s plans for Texas Monthly. As the owner and chair of the new company she is committed to the print magazine, while expanding into other types of storytelling, such as podcasts and live events.
Reading Texas Monthly since I was a teenager, I can hardly wait to see how this Texas story unfolds!