Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Spring is here and so are the #strawberries! This strawberry shortcake recipe from b. marie bakery features FRESH, handpicked, straight-from-the-farm STRAWBERRIES, grown by Colby & Amanda Hatchett of Denton Valley Farms.
I believe in real ingredients, real moments, and real food, so everything I make at b. marie bakery is made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients straight from the FARM whenever possible. Regardless if you prefer biscuits or cake, my recipe is the perfect combination of SWEET, TART, & DELICIOUS. Did I mention it's topped with homemade whipped cream? This dessert is light, refreshing, and worthy of any Easter Sunday meal.
Recently, my daughter, (Hadley) and I had the opportunity to visit Denton Valley Farms to pick our own strawberries. Visiting the farm allowed for a hands on learning opportunity for my daughter and a much needed break from our current reality of uncertainty and panic buying causing limited availability at grocery stores. We are fortunate to have farmers, like Colby & Amanda Hatchett, in the Abilene community offering FRESH farm produce for a true Farm to Baked experience.
"We farm to provide a service to our community in not only fresh produce, but also to have a way to teach kids about the farming industry and where their food comes from."~Amanda
Colby and Amanda have a passion not only for farming but also for education. I can attest to this and have personally taken several of my classes for an industry tour at Denton Valley Farms. As an Agriculture Professor myself, I rely on industry professionals to enhance the educational experience of my students and provide them with real examples of success in this industry. Colby and Amanda are extremely gracious and are always willing to share their knowledge with future industry leaders.
Check out what they had to say on the Farm:
WHY DO YOU FARM?
Amanda was raised in a farming family and has been involved in agriculture her entire life. Colby and Amanda furthered their knowledge by attending Texas A&M University. #WHOOP! During college, Colby worked for the Texas A&M Horticulture Department which sparked his interest in pursuing farming as a career.
In 2007, Denton Valley Farms officially opened its gates. Denton Valley Farms is extremely unique in that they provide FRESH produce to the public and are one of the few orchards and vineyards in the area. However, farming isn't without its challenges.
"The biggest challenge in farming is Mother Nature. It’s always too wet, too dry, too hot, or too cold. ~Colby
Even with all of the challenges they face, operating a working farm can be extremely rewarding.
"The biggest reward has been seeing how much the community wants and needs us. They love the farm and they support us in every season." ~Amanda
From an outside perspective, farming may seem glamorous and easy. Many have an idealistic view of what farming entails. What you don't see are the long hours, sweat, and hard work required to run an operation like Denton Valley Farms.
"This is our 13th year, but we were both learning and experimenting years before that to be able to have the knowledge to grow the produce we do and raise the animals we butcher. It’s not something you can just wake up one day and decide to go do." ~ Amanda
DENTON VALLEY FARMS
The farm provides seasonal produce to the public. Currently, they are harvesting all cool-weather spring crops such as pick your own strawberries and fresh farm-grown vegetables. The list of weekly 'pick-your-own' and 'fresh produce' can be found here and is updated every Thursday for the coming weekend.
Several NEW activities have been added for the 2020 season such as a real train for rides and pony rides during the spring and summer. They have also upgraded the petting zoo. In addition, they will be offering food from their own kitchen instead of food trucks.
"We have several really cool things coming up for fall, but I don’t want to give that away yet. Plus, yet another expansion on the Christmas hayride tour of lights that will be a big surprise to anyone who has come to Christmas at the Farm in the past..... it’s all custom built displays." ~ Amanda
According to the U.S Department of Homeland Security, agriculture is an ESSENTIAL BUSINESS. Unfortunately, the new activities available at the farm are not and will have to wait until a later date.
The farm store will be open to the public on April 10th, 2020, for customers to purchase fresh produce and essentials such as flour, milk, and eggs.
FARMING DURING A PANDEMIC
"The current COVID-19 situation is not currently affecting the farming or ranching operation itself. All the plants and animals still have to be taken care of each day, no matter what is going on in the world." ~Amanda
Denton Valley Farms asks that everyone is respectful of personal space while visiting the farm. They offer customers an opportunity to get fresh produce straight from the farm with plenty of fresh air and space to maintain social distance guidelines. They are limiting the number of customers inside the store to ensure all customers can shop comfortably. In addition, small group sessions are available during the week for those who want to pick their own berries. Times and availability can be found here.
Due to limitations on social gatherings, event planning amid pandemic has caused problems for the 2020 wedding season.
"Our brides have had to move all the events we had booked at the venue for April to later in the year. From their photographers to caterers, to DJ’s, and us as their venue, we have all had to re-arrange as best as we can and it is difficult on everyone involved." ~Amanda
THANK A FARMER
During times of uncertainty take comfort knowing it's everyday people in RURAL AMERICA working around the clock who provide the most affordable and safest food supply. They are the unsung HEROES who we often take for granted. Now more than ever, be grateful and thank the hardworking farmers, ranchers, and everyone in-between for ALWAYS providing. They have ALWAYS been there...and they ALWAYS will.
As you enjoy your Easter Sunday dinner from the comfort of your home, take time to reflect on how that food made it to your plate. Or how it made its way from from FARM to BAKED. #farmtotable #strawberryshortcake #stillfarming #thankafarmer
Until next time, check out the recipe for Strawberry Shortcake below. Enjoy!
RECIPE COURTESY OF B. MARIE BAKERY
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 large egg, room temp
4 tbsp salted butter, room temp
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
4 cups of fresh strawberries sliced
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie dish with butter. Place the sliced strawberries in a medium sized bowl. Toss with 2 tbsp of sugar (to taste), cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. *TIP: Start with FRESH ripe strawberries which won't need a lot of sugar because they're already deliciously sweet. Adjust sugar as needed to taste.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 min or until creamy. Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just incorporated. In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet on a low speed until just incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Add the mix to the pie dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add cold heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk on medium to high speed until medium to stiff peaks form.
Remove cake from oven and let cool completely (~ 1 to 2 hours). Top with strawberries and homemade whipped cream.