In the past 15 years we’ve lived in Rockwall, we’ve discovered Texas has some mighty fine surprises in some mighty unexpected places.

Such a thing happened last week when my wife and I visited 290 acres of lush, hilly, wooded farmland right in the middle of Heath. Wallace Farms, located just across from Pullen Elementary school, has existed since 1881 and this slice of heaven is now being nurtured by Pop Wallace.

Pop Wallace contacted me after reading my previous column in the Herald-Banner and I was feeling pretty proud that he had noticed my writing.

He told me he was wrapping some vegetables in the paper when something made him look at the article before he made that sheet the new home for some cucumbers.

We met him at 7 a.m. as he was picking baskets of organic vegetables on that magnificent property. At his age he looks great, has a mind like a whip, and a real passion for the foods he is growing. While the gardens only occupy a fraction of the property, they provide a substantial bounty of riches – much more than Pop and his wife can eat, so he sells the rest.

There is a lot of left-over. Simply call Pop, he’ll meet you at the property, and you can either pick your own produce or shop from a selection he has just picked.

Organic? Yes, it’s 100 percent organic. We picked some beautiful okra right off the stalk and ate it raw – a fantastic crunchy, sweet, juicy taste.

The blackland soil feels different under my feet than any soils I have walked on in Rockwall. It is rich, soft, light and airy. You can just look at it and know it was made for growing. Pop told us a substantial portion of his property is “virgin pastureland, just the way God made,” and has never been farmed. Rolling hills, thick woods, acres of lush wild grasses, and a nice lake (Wallace Lake) complemented by the sounds of his beautiful Red Angus cattle made it a truly beautiful morning.

Pop showed us the tomatoes, okra, greens, turnips, peppers, squash, kale (he gave us some “spicy kale” that set my tongue on fire!), canteloupes, and freshly-pulled garlic.

Give Pop Wallace a call at 214-502-3808. I’m glad we met him, and if you truly want fresh, homegrown vegetables, the property is quickly and easily accessible from just about anywhere in Rockwall County.

Dana Johnson and his wife, Terri, have lived in Rockwall for almost 15 years. They love to cook, eat and enjoy the outdoors. Dana can be reached via email at: gr8danaJ@msn.com.

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