My Little Victory Garden: The Urban Agrarian and One Last Walk Through Grandpa’s Treasure House

Matt Burch (center), founder of the Urban Agrarian, shown here goofing off at their stand with Ryan Conerly (left) and David Drennen (right). The casual attitude is contagious; the mission – also contagious.

I’ve been trying to visit the Urban Agrarian (UA) Sunday food market at N.W. 23rd & Hudson (located in the Cheever’s parking lot) for several weeks.  Today, I finally made it…with five minutes to spare before they closed.  Mick and I had left my grandmother’s farm about forty-five minutes earlier and we were driving our truck eastbound on N.W. 23rd Street, hitting every red light possible. I finally pulled out my cell phone and Tweeted:

@UrbanAgrarian driving back from grandma’s farm in Tuttle. Getting there with maybe 5 min to shop! Eek!”  In less than a minute, I got a notice about this reply to my message: “@RedDirtKelly no worries, we will be here.”

Here, why don’t you enjoy a short introductory video about the Urban Agrarian while I finish driving down 23rd St., okay?

“No worries” seemed to be the prevailing sentiment when I arrived.  Three smiles greeted me when we pulled up, and helped me quickly pick through their inventory to select my purchases.  Today’s list: 2 quarts of Oklahoma strawberries, one bee-ee-a-yoo-tiful hunk of Maitake mushrooms from Om Gardens, 2 dozen range fed chicken eggs from “Bishop’s Beauties” of Tecumseh, a bag of micro-sized arugula and a jar of Porter Peach Jam (made in Oklahoma, of course) by Livesay Orchards.  I said “hello” to Matt Burch and two wonderful UA staff “from Nancy at Cordero Farms,” took a few photos and we were “outta there.”  Mission accomplished.

Mick drove our truck out of the parking lot and we headed home, loaded down with our treasures from UA, and our own collection of treasures from “Grandpa Frank’s Treasure House.”  There’s a little “Victory Garden” to that story, so I think I’ll share it with you right now…

About twenty-seven years ago my grandparents, Frank and Emma Lee Bennett, built a home on some land in Tuttle that had belonged to Frank’s family.  The old Bennett farm home stood on the property and was left intact, probably for many reasons.  Over the years, both my cousins and I (as young adults) and then our children, Frank and Emma Lee’s grandchildren, would visit the house that continued to grow more and more full of “Grandpa’s treasures.”

Our children loved to visit the place, roam around and be granted Grandpa’s “go ahead – choose one thing and take it home” blessing.  The place was literally packed with junk.  Real, thrift store, five-cent junk.  But it was also packed with treasures.  Real, antique store, some-quite-valuable treasures.  And most of the time, the value point was placed depending upon the eye of the beholder.

Grandmother told us a story once of their home-town church holding a fund-raising garage sale.  She donated items (some of which came from the Treasure House), only to find that Grandpa had then visited the sale and repurchased those items.  My grandparents have a history of giving to the church for many different purposes, but I’m not sure she ever planned on getting those items back!

Two years ago, Grandpa Frank died.  My dad, mother and grandmother have basically been cleaning out, and off, the property ever since.  The lawn is now completely free of old farm equipment; gone are stacks of metal from buildings, antique farm tools, etc.  The Treasure House is much cleaner and now boasts good sized walking paths from room to room.  It’s a little easier to “see” what inventory it holds, now that about half of the contents are gone.

My husband had recently been thinking about a screen door he saw in the house for a few weeks so we called grandmother to see if we could have it.  That turned into a Sunday dinner invitation, and then the trip down there (for me) turned into “one last walk through Grandpa’s Treasure House.”  Here are a few photos of my sentimental tour.

I’ll show you why this is a Little Victory Garden topic in just a moment:

Welcome to Grandpa Frank’s House of Treasures. Please come in.

As I looked around the rooms, I found several treasures I thought perhaps needed to stay in the family.  And, in my kitchen.

I chose an old fashioned coffee grinder, an antique grain grinder and an antique cherry pitter.  I also picked up an antique corn/crop planter.  I think they still have use in them and look forward to cleaning them up and showing you how or if they work.

Here is the old coffee grinder. There is an adjustment on the side to manage the tension, hence: drip, press or espresso grinds!

However, what I think I wanted to put in the bed of the truck was really just the whole house.

The light coming through the windows on such a beautiful Oklahoma day was a special blessing from the Treasure House I won’t quickly forget.  And, if I ever figure out how to move it into our back yard, you’ll be the first to know!

To end this particular post, I wanted to share something I made from my homegrown cabbage and the Livesay Porter Peach Jam I purchased from the Urban Agrarian.  I was wracking my brain on the way home thinking, “How can I best use that cabbage…and how could I use some ingredients from local vendors?”  I came up with an idea and decided to try to create some “Peach Jalepeno Slaw.”  I’m glad I did.  Here’s the recipe and the process:

2/3rds cup olive oil; 2/3rds cup Porter Peach Jam; 6-10 finely minced pickled jalapeno peppers; about 80% of a 1/3rd cup measure filled with white wine vinegar…then fill the rest with the pickling juice from the jalepenos; and ground black pepper to taste.

Clean and prepare one head of cabbage for shredding. Food IS art!
Use whatever chopping method that creates your favorite “slaw bite” and do the whole head of cabbage (or just use what you need). Finely chop one large green onion into your mix.
Measure your dressing ingredients. I love how they look in the bowl…food is SO art!
Whisk together your dressing ingredients until they are well mixed, then pour your desired amount of dressing onto your slaw mix. Some like a lot; some like a little! What do YOU like?
Toss your ingredients well, then cover and refrigerate. I actually think this recipe is better when it sets overnight. So great! (Hint: This would be a perfect filler for grilled fish tacos…perfect!)

The rest is up to you.  I like to balance a nice chargrilled burger out with slaw.  In this dish, I garnished it with a few extremely tender new radishes.  A little sea salt and ground pepper on the radishes, and THIS is one great way to eat a summer burger.  (Rave reviews from my family members…”they ‘don’t eat slaw, but they would eat this again'”).

Next week…”California Strawberries are for Shipping, Oklahoma Strawberries are for Eating!”

Have a good week.  Love,

[kelly]

My Little Victory Garden (11): Cleaning Out..Everything / My Little Victory Garden (12): Strawberries, Chard and Al Fresco Dining

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14 thoughts on “My Little Victory Garden: The Urban Agrarian and One Last Walk Through Grandpa’s Treasure House”

  1. I love this article and the pictures of your Grandpa’s treasures! I also have to chime in and say that I have always a fantastic experience at UA. From discussing what fennel taste like to how to cook a lamb shank, it makes it hard to want to go to the grocery store and just toss a styrophone hunk of meat in your cart. It’s the best shopping experience in town, in my book. PS: I want an antique cherry pitter now.

    1. Lauren – thanks for stopping by the RDC. I recall that my parents had a cherry pitter when I was young, or perhaps they borrowed it from one of my grandparents. Is it the same one? Hmm. Hope you find one! Thanks for letting us know your experience with UA! Take care, Red Dirt Kelly

  2. OK, that’s it, I’m making some slaw. I don’t have any of Livesay’s jam, but I do have some spiced peach jam from Mom in Tuttle! Sue’s not a fan of cole slaw, so I get to keep it all to myself 😀

    Favorite use for slaw: piled on top of BBQ pulled pork in a sandwich. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Yo Shiraz,
    Dunno what was going on when you came through but I apologize for any poor customer service we’ve given! I’ll chalk it up to heat exhaustion or something. Stop by again sometime and you should have a much more positive experience.

    1. Hey you – I have now slathered enough Porter Peach Jam on these buttermilk pancakes I’m eating right now to send myself into a food coma. Those Livesay folks did that product justice, fo sho! The radishes were extremely mild and tender, and I’m moving on to my mushrooms tomorrow. Looking forward to returning very soon! Take care ~ Red Dirt Kelly

    1. Hey you! YOU are the one who should be writing my dressing recipes! I was thinking about mixing in shredded green apples and couldn’t decide. What say you? Just absolutely lovely to read your voice – take care my dear ~ RDK

      1. care is always taken these days.
        green apples might be too tart for it.
        But…one never knows~ sometimes we think it will turn out one way and lo and behold it surprises us. Kinda like life, as well as with things old and new, as your pictures show us. A new way of looking at things that have been with us for awhile can be healthy instead of scary.

  4. I LOVE Urban Agrarian! They have the best picks from the local farms! Their food is beautiful, tasty, and oh-so-fresh! Matt and his gang have always been extremely friendly and helpful when I’ve visited. I am especially looking forward to the Friday markets this summer.

  5. I love shopping local but Urban Agrarian has never been a very pleasant experience for me. It’s nice you were able to get some smiles out of them because I’ve never seen a single one. I’ve never seen them greet a customer and they always made me feel as if I were somehow taking up their time even when I greeted them first and asked questions about the food. I’m not a whiner, nor am I much of a talker when I’m shopping anywhere. But it’s nice, especially in an environment where we are all supposed to be in this locavore thing together, if one were made to feel a little more welcome.

    1. Hey, Shiraz – well, as you can tell that wasn’t my experience at all. Shopping should be fun so I hope you give them another try. Keep your smile in your pocket and pull it out if you get the chance…hope it goes well. And, if you’ll reply back on the day you try, I’ll see if I can meet you down there together. Fun times should be shared! Good luck! 😉

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