Thanks to my wonderful colleague I recently discovered a Texas culinary gem – Homestead Heritage. This community is located just outside of Waco – about 5 minutes off of I-35. Their mission and description from the website sum it up perfectly:
“Homestead Heritage is an agrarian- and craft-based intentional Christian community. Its literature stresses simplicity, sustainability, self-sufficiency, cooperation, service and quality craftmanship.”
To read more about this fascinating culture, please visit their website. However, I must post a disclaimer that as far as the grounds and facilities go, the images on the website do not do it justice. You really have to go in person to have the true experience.
I first got a “taste” of this beautiful farm about a month ago when my colleague and I were driving through Waco for an appointment. She had asked me if we could leave a little early to stop at a local farm to pick up some flour and other homemade goods… and of course I welcomed the opportunity. Little did I know just how special it would be. That morning we only had about 30 minutes so I just got a small glimpse of what the HH community had to offer.
Eager to go back, I planned a trip for Good Friday with my mom, sister and good friend Ashley and it did not disappoint. First and foremost the terrain itself on this property is breathtaking and walking around you are immersed in beautiful trails and nature. This coupled with the facts that HH is impeccably clean, well organized, and run by delightful friendly people. Also, every structure from the buildings, down to each individual piece of furniture is truly of piece of art and raw craftsmanship. They have everything from a general store, a full service cafe, a functioning gristmill, a cheese shop, a woodworking shop, a basketweaving shop, to a blacksmith shop and more. An hour and a half outside of Fort Worth, and you feel like you are on a vacation far away. Homestead Heritage offers a realistic glimpse into farms and craftsmanship of the past while offering all of the technological conveniences (yes, they take credit cards) of modern society.
My main purpose for going back was simple: THE FOOD. We started our day with a great lunch at Cafe Homestead where everything is prepared with local and fresh ingredients. All of the breads are baked fresh from their bakery with flours made from their gristmill on site. The items they do not grow or raise themselves, they source from local and organic vendors. A few tips:
- They stay pretty busy most days and do not take reservations, but they do have a day-of call ahead list. You can call up to an hour prior to your arrival to put your name on the list and minimize wait time.
- My sister is gluten free and they were very accommodating. Any of their sandwiches or burgers could be served on gluten free bread.
After a delightful lunch, we set out to explore the many different shops. My main purpose was to purchase ingredients. The Gristmill itself is fascinating. It is a restored 18th century gristmill that is powered by water. Here, I purchased a variety of flours : Sifted White Wheat Flour, Sifted Pastry Flour, Kamut Flour (an ancient grain) and a 2pound bag of fresh rolled oats.
At “The Barn”, I purchased all kinds of goodies as well: Sorgum Maple Pecan Granola (which I highly recommend), apple butter, jalapeño jelly and last but not least, local honey. Next stop was the Brazos Valley Cheese Shop – also made onsite. You may recognize this label as their cheeses are featured at many restaurants throughout the state and on their website they list the local farmers markets they exhibit at in Texas. Their offerings depend on the day and what they have recently made. Today the Black Garlic Havarti was calling my name, but they had many options to choose from.
I have lived in the DFW area the majority of my life and had never heard of Homestead Heritage before last month. I highly encourage you to stop in next time you are driving down I-35. However, in the event that you are not able to make the trip in person they do sell some of their goods HERE online.
Be on the look out for recipes from me in the next few weeks using my new local ingredients! Until then, enjoy this baby goat that was jumping for joy on this beautiful day at the farm. 🙂