Hackberry Gardens, named after the abundance of hackberry trees on the land, is an unassuming 15 acre family-owned farm located near Thrall, Texas, a remote suburb on the outskirts of Austin. Lisa and Perry Silvas, along with their 3 kids James, Garrett and Noella, began working their land in 2014 with a vision to raise animals in a healthful, holistic way for their community. Striving to ensure their food was of the highest quality they worked the land for 2 years before selling to the public a year ago, in 2016. The Silvas’ felt it vital to try everything they planned to provide for their own family before selling to others.
At first, when I pulled up to the farm last March, I was not impressed; it seemed small and not at all what you visualize when you think "farm". Once I walked the property however, my mind was completely changed. Lisa and Perry have done their research and they treat their animals and their land with sincere respect. They practice true sustainability. Some holistic practices include:
- Free ranging animals
- Pasture rotated weekly
- Local GMO free, soy free feed as needed
- Supplemental feed is fermented
- Recycled rain water is used for plants
- Minimal off site inputs are used
Perry believes that what the animals eat is just as important as what his family and his community eat. He has taken utmost care to source and prepare feed for his hens and pigs. You can tell by their behavior when they see him coming. These are happy animals! The Silvas’ are an open book. They want others to know exactly where their food comes from, what feed they are given, and who they are as farmers. Their goal is to provide great, healthy, GMO and soy free products at an affordable price with no interference from big agriculture.
A farmer’s methods are really put to the test in the kitchen. And, Hackberry Gardens passes with flying colors. Eggs are rich and creamy with dark yellow/orange yolks, no 2 look alike. The chickens really surprised me though. The flesh is quite pink, indicative of a well fed, free ranged animal. Prior to these birds I had only experienced nearly white flesh, even with the “organic” chickens from the grocers. Once cooked the chickens are moist and flavourful. Pork and Cornish hens are no different.
Today purchasing food is difficult. Navigating issues like genetic modification, heavy chemical spraying, eroding standards for both “natural” and “organic” labels, and confined animal feeding operations, is often confusing. The best remedy is to buy local and know your farmer. For this I highly recommend you check out Hackberry Gardens if you are a resident of North Austin.
Hackberry Garden Products:
- Pastured Duck Eggs
- Pastured Chicken Eggs
- Pastured Pork
- Pastured Chicken
- Cornish Game Hens
Purchase Hackberry products at:
Or order through the Hearts for Health Natural Food Source Co-op:
The Silvas’ also run La Mia Bella Pet Salon in Round Rock, Texas
Authentic sustainable farmers aren't always easy to find. What is your biggest concern when sourcing meat? Let us know in the comments.