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Sunday, January 24, 2021

A taste of Texas” GO TEXAN program puts focus on local products

GO TEXAN

Through GO TEXAN, the Texas Department of Agriculture promotes Texas-grown and Texas-made goods to consumers around the world.

www.gotexan.org

The program’s website offers a link to help diners locate its restaurant members, listed by both city and cuisine type.

http://search.gotexan.org

Farm-to-table. Buy local. Fresh from local farmers. The call for fresh locally-grown produce and meats is constantly before us. Many of us select where we will dine based upon these key words.

Restaurants offering truly fresh ingredients have caught the attention of diners throughout what I enjoy calling the Fort Worth-O-Plex — the Greater Fort Worth area. There’s just something special about the taste of Texas – the flair we enjoy from tame to spicy, and smooth to tart, and the adventurous spirit of chefs to concoct unique combinations that are unheard of in other states.

Here are a few of our local tastes of Texas right here around the Fort Worth area.

With its emphasis on local Texas farmers and ranchers as providers, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine is one example of a restaurant that was locally-sourced farm-to-table before the term even existed. Texas-raised wild boar, venison, quail, plus the veggies. Check out the Wagyu Ribeye sourced from the A Bar N Ranch in Celina.

Far more local restaurants are now focusing on Texas ingredients. A trip down the hot Magnolia Avenue scene reveals Heim Barbecue (I’m eagerly awaiting my first taste of the bacon burnt ends), Ellerbe’s (love their creative salads) and Lili’s, where I visited on a recent Saturday.

Local ingredients are driving these popular food spots, many of which feature innovative salads and entrees.

Farmers as near as Grandview and Alvarado are growing much of your meal, and local farmer’s markets are offering Texas-grown produce that provides outstanding flavor.

Downtown’s Little Red Wasp focuses on Texas-sourced ingredients such as its Windy Meadows Chicken grown in Campbell, Texas. Meanwhile, the Love Shack (in the Stockyards and now at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport) popularized the craze for placing a quail egg atop your burger. Texas quail, I’m sure. Love Shack also features the Heated Hot Dog with what it calls Texas Red Chili, another taste of our great state.

Clay Pigeon on White Settlement Road also features Texas-grown as it strives to make everything in-house from breads and ice cream to butchering their own meats.

Old-school BBQ purveyors Riscky’s (with those massive beef ribs), Angelo’s (I love the lean beef brisket) and Cousins (Texas pork ribs and jalapeno cheddar link) are all members of the GO TEXAN program from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

This designation confirms they are sourcing some (and in many cases, all) Texas-raised and grown products, from meats to coleslaw. GO TEXAN began over 20 years ago to create a higher awareness of Texas agribusiness, and it involves growers and manufacturers as well as restaurants.

Fort Worth companies such as Renfro Foods, which buys much of its ingredients from the local farmer’s market to create its over 200 flavors; Dalton’s Best Maid Pickles, which grows its pickles in West Texas; and Frontier Meats, which processes Texas-grown cattle, bison and wild boar, are all GO TEXAN members.

One of my favorite Texas flavors occurs in July and August, when Curly’s Frozen Custard creates its most popular flavor of the year: Parker County Peach, made with actual chunks of peach from the farmer’s market. Yum!

Today’s restaurants are working diligently to stand out in an extremely crowded field. It’s not always the strong that survive; it’s the smartest.

To differentiate themselves from major chains, restaurants focused on Texas flair and flavor are joining the GO TEXAN program because of the power of its brand.

Manufacturers seeking an advantage as a Texas company using Texas-sourced ingredients also benefit from GO TEXAN membership. To many, the brand helps validate them as authentic Texan.

Diners are actively seeking new food experiences. We are becoming foodies because we seek new tastes that give us new sense of adventure right here at home. Texas-grown products are enriching our dining experiences. Go Fort Worth. GO TEXAN!

John Fletcher is owner of Fletcher Consulting Public Relations in Hurst, where he has managed grants through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program to benefit 10 Texas companies.

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