Winfield Farm outside of Bastrop is a thriving family business, sustainable in a very real and practical way. The four members of the Hough family prove that it does not take very much land to grow an abundance of food using ecologically harmonious methods. The key to their success is doing a little bit of everything, and tying it all together with their licensed, certified commercial kitchen.
At Winfield, you’ll find one of Central Texas’s only certified sprout-growing operations. Growing sprouts is a delicate business, one in which care must be taken at all steps of the process to reduce the risk of cultivating harmful bacteria. Beans and seeds require warm, humid conditions in order to sprout. Unfortunately, these conditions are also ideal for the growth of E. Coli and Salmonella. That’s why it’s important to always buy sprouts from certified growers who utilize FDA-recommended practices to minimize bacterial contamination.
Winfield Farm goes a few steps beyond the FDA recommendations to make sure their organic sprouts are as safe and nutritious as they can be. For starters, rather than growing sprouts in the same packages they’re sold in, the Houghs grow their sprouts in trays which are light and airy. This minimizes the risk of bacterial growth. The sprouts are transferred to their packaging just before going to a market, so they are incredibly fresh and have a longer shelf life in customers’ refrigerators.
Vegetables grow in three separate gardens at Winfield, strategically placed to make use of the rich Houston black dirt that runs like an artery through the property, breaking up the sandy loam. The Houghs sell their vegetables at the Barton Creek Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and at the Triangle Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays, and they also provide wholesale produce to Farmhouse Delivery. There’s always a steady stream of beets, kale, and other greens, and Winfield is famous for its flavorful cilantro and its edible flowers.
Govinda Hough is a book collector, and among her favorites are antique recipe books. Skimming old pages, she finds recipes for all the vegetables grown on the farm, using old-fashioned cooking methods from before the days of things like canola oil and enriched flour. In the certified commercial kitchen, she creates seasonal prepared dishes to sell at farmer’s markets alongside the vegetables and sprouts. She also does plenty of canning, pickling, and jam-making throughout the year.
Free-range chickens roam the grounds, pecking at pests and fertilizing the soil. Their eggs are always for sale at Winfield’s stands at the farmer’s markets. A herd of miniature goats mows the grass, sustaining the farm’s ecological balance. Winfield farm is a small operation maintained by four family members, but by making good use of their resources, they harvest a bounty.