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Texas Green: A “Green” GO TEXAN Member

Turn on the news or flip through the newspaper, and chances are, you'll come across a story about a "green" company or "green" initiatives. 

 

In the rural community of Littlefield, Texas (pop. 6507), exists a "green" business that's also dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture. Jerry and Jeffrey Bigham, owners of Texas Green Bio-Diesel Manufacturing, operate Lamb County's only renewable energy company. They produce the highest quality bio-diesel using beef tallow. Tallow is nothing more than rendered animal fat, which is solid at room temperature. Most of us associate solid animal fat with Crestor or Lipitor (and possibly a trip to the cardiologist), but Texas Green is using the tallow to produce a cleaner burning fuel.

 

Each week, Texas Green receives about 6,700 gallons of beef tallow. Using a simple catalyst, the tallow is converted into 6,700 gallons of B-100 or pure bio-fuel. The Bigham's sell the B-100 to major diesel distributors to be blended into regular diesel.

 

"The blend results in a diesel that burns cleaner and cuts down on carbon dioxide emissions or greenhouse gasses," said Jerry Bigham, co-owner of Texas Green.

 

Ultimately, Texas Green is interested in selling their bio-diesel blend locally to help producers and surrounding communities reduce fuel costs. Yes, the blended fuel is actually cheaper per gallon than regular diesel. The Littlefield Economic Development Corporation believes so strongly in Texas Green's concept that they provided an initial investment in the business. 

 

The Bighams are now pursuing marketing opportunities. They recently met with TDA Marketing and Rural Economic Development staff to sign up for the GO TEXAN program. For more information about Texas Green Bio-Diesel Manufacturing, visit www.texasgreen.biz.  

 

Texas Choice Wins 2010 Scovie Award for the Fourth Year in a Row!

Lewisville-based GO TEXAN member Texas Choice, which manufactures award winning chili seasoning and a full line of dry rubs, received the 2010 Scovie Award for their chili last November for the fourth year in a row.

 

More than 600 products from around the world competed for top honors. Dave Dewitt, the nation's leading author on fiery cuisine and founder of the National Fiery Food and Barbecue Show, created the Scovie Awards. The awards are named after Wilbur Scoville, who pioneered a rating scale for spicy foods. The Scovie Awards have become the industry standard for excellence in more than 60 categories of fiery foods.

 

Many of the Scovie award-winning products, as well as thousands of other products, will be available to both trade buyers and consumers at the 22nd Annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, March 5-7 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

For more information about Texas Choice, visit www.txchoice.com.

2009 Ten-Year GO TEXAN Member Spotlight:

 

December

Painted Pony, San Antonio and Willow Grove Ranch

 Painted Pony

Have you ever combed through your closet, bored with choosing from the same separates every zebra jacketmorning, and wished there was an easy and fun way to create your own pieces? Ten-year GO TEXAN member Painted Pony has been giving consumers the opportunity to pick out their own fabrics and styles for more than 20 years.

 

"We offer ladies novelty jackets made from unusual fabrics and buttons," owner Kathy Hoermann said. "Each market, we add new jacket bodies and fabrics so customers have a large number of choices. By manufacturing here, we have been able to better change direction and try new ideas."

 

Painted Pony produces cotton blanket, velvet/tapestry, fleece and boiled wool jackets, as well as a line of sportswear. The jacket themes vary from ethnic to western, traditional, floral, fruit, outdoors, nautical and holiday.

 

"We like to think our product is unique partly because we are in Texas," Hoermann said. "GO TEXAN helps give Painted Pony the identity of not only being from Texas, but actually manufacturers of fabrics made from cotton grown here."

 

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Willow Grove Ranch

 

Willow Grove Ranch, located between Austin and Waco, is more than just your average exotic emu oil botlesmenagerie. This 10-year GO TEXAN member got into the emu business because they saw, and believed in, the quality of the animal's oil. In addition to raising emus, Willow Grove Ranch is the largest supplier of emu oil in Central Texas and raises Boer goats, chickens and turkeys.

"We pride ourselves on the fact that our business has grown through face-to-face contact and friends telling friends," said Kay and Dave Shriner, co-owners. "As small as we may be, the goods and services we purchase are Texas products, and the people we employ are Texans. We like to think we are the ones who start the snowball down the hill."

Emu oil may be used to treat arthritis pain, burns, muscle pain, dry skin, scars and insect bites, among other ailments. The Shriners believe in the healthy red meat of the emu and sell it in a processed snack stick form. The protein content is higher than chicken, turkey, beef, pork, buffalo, or ostrich, and remains lower in fat and saturated fat. It is also the lowest in calories and the highest in iron.

"Having the GO TEXAN mark behind us for 10 years has given us a big boost up," said Kay. "We firmly believe that given the choice of two products, people will GO TEXAN every time. We're a small company that cares; that strives to give you the best product at the best price."


November

Member Spotlight: Elgin Christmas Tree Farms


At Elgin Christmas Tree Farms, ‘tis always the season to celebrate the holidays - and the christmas treeswonders of GO TEXAN!

With the largest selection of Christmas trees in central Texas, including Virginia pines, Loblolly pines, and Leyland Cypress, pre-cut Fraser firs and potted Leyland Cypress trees, 10-year GO TEXAN member Elgin Christmas Tree Farms has been in business since 1984 and continues to provide holiday fun for the whole family.

"We've grown in recent years, have added many activities and we've kept our prices reasonable," Twyla Nash, co-owner, said. "We offer a quality product with our activities and award-winning trees. Customer service is key here at Elgin Christmas Tree Farms."

With the help of a mechanical planter, the farm plants 6,000 to 7,000 seedlings each year and their trees have been placed at the Texas Capitol, the Governor's mansion and the State Fair of Texas. 

According to Nash, buying Texas products keeps money in Texas, cuts down on emissions by shipping fewer products and provides jobs for Texans, as well as a fresher, higher-quality product.

"GO TEXAN benefits all of Texas agriculture in many ways," Nash said. "The events they put on provide opportunities for cross promotion. They provide their members things like banners to put up at their businesses to promote Texas-grown products."
October

Member Spotlight: Pleasant Hill Winery 

According to Jeanne Cottle, Pleasant Hill Winery in Brenham began with a dream and some Jeanne and Bob Cottlegrapes more than 30 years ago. Cottle, along with her husband, Bob, are today in their 13th year of commercial vineyard operation and the recipients of more than 90 wine awards.

Members of the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail and hosts of a Wine Club, Pleasant Hill Winery exemplifies the recognition and celebration honoring Texas wineries and winemakers during Texas Wine Month this October.

From dry, sweet, red, white and port-style wines to stainless steel and oak-aged wines, Pleasant Hill Winery has something for everyone. Through maximizing GO TEXAN marketing opportunities and applying for GO TEXAN Partner Program matching funds, they have proudly grown their business and increased the awareness of Texas wines.

"Supporting local businesses is always a good thing," Jeanne said. "There is a familiarity when you participate in activities and events in your own backyard. There is a common bond of Texas pride that we share with GO TEXAN."

For more information on Pleasant Hill Winery, go here.
September 

Member Spotlight: 
Obie-Cue's Texas Spice 

As they say at Obie-Cue's Texas Spice in Grand Prairie - "first we survived, then we thrived box of seasoningecause of our dedication to quality."

With the company's total customer satisfaction guarantee now going on 25 years, it's no surprise this 10-year GO TEXAN member gets its fair share of second- and third-generation customers.

Obie-Cue's Texas Spice creates, manufactures and sells barbecue rubs and specialty seasonings. In the past five years, sales at Obie-Cue's retail store grew, and Internet sales on the company's Web site are currently up 20 percent from last year.

"Being a GO TEXAN member has given us the opportunity to grow our business by networking with other GO TEXAN members," Obie Obermark, owner, said. "It has opened new markets for us and saved us money in the process." For many years, Obie-Cue's has been a participant in TDA's Food and Fiber Pavilion at the State Fair of Texas. 

Known for being the secret weapon of many successful barbecue teams and accounting for hundreds of national barbecue titles, the company's blends are often included in barbecue seminars taught by nationally renowned chefs. 

"We have this success because I develop products with only one goal in mind," Obermark said. "It has to be the best in the world, or I don't put it on the shelf with my name on it."

For more information about Obie-Cue's Texas Spice, go here.
August

Member Spotlight: 
Hausman Foods

As GOHausman Foods logo TEXAN celebrates its own decade of excellence, 2009 also marks the 70th anniversary forthis month's GO TEXAN 10-year Member of the Month, Hausman Foods

According to Hausman's CEO, Steve McClure, this is a time to look forward while also looking back at the company's history to remember the time-honored traditions of growth and local partnerships that made Hausman Foods the successful business it is today.

steaks on grillHausman Foods produces and ships fully cooked and ready-to-cook products such as hamburger patties, smoked brisket and breaded chicken fried steaks. They also offer a Hispanic line featuring beef and chicken fajitas, barbacoa, carne guisada and menudo.

Within the last 10 years, Hausman has grown to two facilities and updated its patty production process. Hausman employs more than 120 full-time employees and provides an annual $8 million economic impact to Corpus Christi.

"The GO TEXAN program is widely recognized throughout every industry, not just food. Our boxes proudly display the GO TEXAN logo," McClure said. "Being part of GO TEXAN shows that we not only want to grow Hausman Foods, but our industry counterparts and customers know that we are dedicated towards the growth of Texas; and they appreciate that."  
July 

Member Spotlight: Ruddock Manufacturing Co.

It can be spotted from a mile away, and if you have lived in Texas for more than a year, you have most likely seen at least one version of this chameleon-like line of apparel. Long sleeve, short sleeve, cotton, fleece or twill, Texas flag and Texas cotton apparel by Ruddock Shirts can take ruddock  mfg shirtmany forms.

Ruddock Shirts of Ruddock Manufacturing Co. in El Paso has been producing apparel in Texas since Les and Margaret Ruddock founded the company in 1955. Today, the Ruddocks' two sons, John and Leon Ruddock, continue the tradition of combining quality Texas materials with skilled sewing equipment to give consumers a true feeling of Texas pride.

This third generation GO TEXAN 10-year member offers a Texas collection of shirts, aprons, hats, purses and also different types of apparel for the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Customs and Border patrol and other government agencies.

According to John, Ruddock Shirts is unique because even with the advantage of low labor costs and cheaper production costs overseas, the company is proud to manufacture most of their materials here in the United States to provide jobs and support the local economy.

For more information about Ruddock Manufacturing Co., go here.
June

Member Spotlight: Larry's Bag of Smoke

The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention. And in the case of GO TEXAN 10-year member, Larry's Bag of Smoke, it's the smokin' hot truth.

Gathered around the pool one day, founder Larry Sylvester and a few friends decided they wanted tolarry's bag of smoke wood chips grill steaks but didn't want to wait an hour to soak the wood chips.

"I knew there had to be an easier way to get the same flavor," Sylvester said. "So I chopped some mesquite chunks into small pieces and wrapped them in a cotton T-shirt."

In the past decade, Larry's Bag of Smoke has gone from appearing in one store to being carried in more than 45 Houston-area locations, and approximately 75 stores in the United States. 

The finely-chopped wood chips contain no fillers or additives and come in a variety of flavors. The Texas six-pack contains one bag each of mesquite, pecan, oak, hickory, apple and peach. Other flavors include cherry, alder, maple and grape. 

Larry's Bag Of Smoke is also a reusable product. "It's not just a one-time burn," Sylvester said. "Once you're finished cooking, take your food off, and it's ready to use again. One bag will last up to five hours."  

Sylvester considers his GO TEXAN membership a definite company benefit. Every bag sold to consumers carries the logo imprint. "Folks like to see that and it really stands out. I believe GO TEXAN helps us get into stores. Business owners recognize it, and they like to see it."

For more information, visit Larry's Bag of Smoke.
May

Member Spotlight: Bailey's Berry Patch

Looking to enjoy a Texas agritourism star? We've got the place for you! Nestled comfortably between Gainesville and Sherman, 12 miles south of the Red River, 10-year GO TEXAN member, Bailey's Berry Patch, shares the fruits of its labor with berry pickers of all ages.berries

"We're a family-friendly place and people come back year after year," co-owner Ann Bailey said. The Baileys bought their property in 1996, and with its close proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Bailey's Berry Farm provides a fun rural getaway for families in the region.

Bailey's has a lot to be proud of - with as many as 2,000 people visiting on a Saturday during berry season, the farm's crop consists of six acres of blueberries and three acres of blackberries, with four different varieties of each type of berry.

Pearce Bailey said the GO TEXAN program's website and promotional items have helped the company grow over the past 10 years. "The Web site and the printed materials have given us a tremendous amount of visibility," Bailey said.

What is the most important benefit of buying locally in Texas? Locally grown fruits and vegetables are always the freshest choice, according to Bailey, and when people come to a place like Bailey's Berry Patch, they can pick the best of the best with their own two hands.

Explore the diversity of Texas crops and dig into the world of Texas agriculture!

For more information about Bailey's Berry Patch, go here.  
 April  

Member Spotlight: Panhandle Popcorn

Before the Internet, cell phones or even the end of World War II, this 10-year GO TEXAN Member of the Month was navigating its way into the flavored popcorn market. Panhandle Popcorn began selling "hybrid" or flavor combination popcorn more than 60 years ago in 1942 just outside basket of popcornPlainview.

"The hybrids create a higher volume pop, which in turn produces a tender popcorn," owner Jim Mock said. "We combine these hybrids with unique old-fashioned recipes to create a taste sensation enjoyed by people of all ages."

Over the past 67 years, Mock has watched his business change and adapt to newer technology, niche markets and promotional programs like GO TEXAN. Along with creating an Internet mail-order business and selling his products in supermarkets, Mock and Panhandle Popcorn have gained statewide recognition by participating in GO TEXAN events for the past 10 years.

"Being a GO TEXAN member gives you instant credibility in the marketplace and with Texas buyers," Mock said. "Small companies like ours get our products shown at GO TEXAN events, which can help us compete with bigger companies in a cost-effective manner."

Panhandle Popcorn makes popcorns in a variety of flavors: buttery, cheddar cheese, caramel, vanilla and vanilla with pecans and almonds available in an assortment of decorative tins. The company also sells concession equipment for popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, shaved ice, kettle corn and more.

For more information about Panhandle Popcorn, visit www.panhandlepopcorn.com.
March

Member Spotlight: Heritage Family Specialty Foods Inc.

It seems the first, second and third times were all charms for Daniel Brackeen, creator of the highly successful TCBY, owner of Arthur's Ice Cream Specialties Inc. in Dallas and founder of this month's GO TEXAN 10-year member of the month, Heritage Family Specialty Foods Inc.food group

Brackeen founded Heritage Family Specialty Foods in 1991 in Grand Prairie and soon opened an operations plant in a former sandwich commissary. What began with one customer ordering 10 pallets of salsa has turned into a production of more than 1,000 SKUs sent to more than 3,000 customer groups around the world.

Heritage produces specialty foods including pre-cooked meats, soups and ice cream mixes, and distributes to retailers, restaurants and private labels. And, it doesn't stop there. With the help of the GO TEXAN International Marketing Program, Heritage Family expanded and entered the Canadian market last year.

"As a GO TEXAN member we have maximized our membership benefits through participating in export training and trade shows," Michael Moss, vice president of marketing for Heritage, said. "The GO TEXAN staff has been extremely helpful in securing new business, navigating complicated exporting deals and marketing our products to international clients."

For more information, visit www.hfsfoods.com
February

Member Spotlight: Klepac Greenhouses

In this busy world of specialty shops and mega-malls, it's nice to know there's still a "one-stop shopping" destination for Texas potted plants. lillies

Since 1953, Klepac Greenhouses has sold wholesale plants statewide to supermarkets, retail florists, garden centers and interiorscapers. With an inventory ranging from hydrangeas and African violets to Easter lilies, kalanchoes, azaleas and cyclamen, this 10-year GO TEXAN member sells more than 2 million plants a year, and buying local is one of the company's biggest selling points.

"Many times our items are displayed next to a competitor's product that is grown and shipped from out of state, and the GO TEXAN label helps differentiate our products," Jimmy Klepac, owner of Klepac Greenhouses, said. "The majority go out with care tags that have the GO TEXAN logo, and all of our plants are shipped to market in boxes with the GO TEXAN logo."

With its wide variety of consumers, Klepac grows and packages for each individual customer. Often that includes customer-specific varieties and plant size specs, customer-exclusive pot wraps, hand-painted pottery or custom-imported baskets. For more information about Klepac Greenhouses, go here 
January

Member Spotlight: Rio Queen Citrus Inc.

After a fire destroyed Rio Queen Citrus' packing house and offices last June, the leading shippers of citrus and produce in South Texas used the opportunity to make their family-owned, third-generation business even better.

This 10-year GO TEXAN member immediately began to rebuild after the fire and redesigned thegrapefruit original facility layout to improve efficiency, quality and productivity. These improvements will streamline Rio Queen's production and packing of not only Texas citrus and honeydew, but onions and tomatoes as well.

"Being a family-owned business, we think buying locally is the best method," Gretchen Kreidler, marketing and public relations specialist for Rio Queen Citrus, said. "GO TEXAN has wonderful programs to educate the consumer on Texas products. We can proudly label our products with the GO TEXAN logo and know that there will be recognition in the market."

For more information about Rio Queen Citrus, go here.

 

Leslie Luscombe, proprietor of Luscombe Farm Specialty Foods in Anna

"For many years, Luscombe Farm Specialty Foods has been using the freshest Texas-grown ingredients to produce our best Jalapeno Jelly.

 

The Jalapeno Jelly is a hit with those traveling long distances just to bring home a jar from community festivals, local farmers' markets and the Dallas Gourmet Market. Demand has increased so quickly that the Jalapeno Jelly is now being sold at specialty food stores throughout the United States.

 

I began my odyssey into the world of jelly while cooking in my home kitchen. With tireless dedication to the product, Luscombe Farm Specialty Foods opened a commercial kitchen/retail shop in Anna in October 2007. There you can find the Jalapeno Jelly and our new Jalapeno Peach Jelly on display alongside unique gourmet gift baskets.

 

Luscombe Farm Specialty jellies have also been getting rave reviews by the media.  Food writers at local papers have described our Jalapeno Jelly as being ‘to die for.'"

 

For more information on Luscombe Farm Specialty Foods, please visit www.luscombefarm.com or call (214) 212-0814.

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