Thursday, December 25, 2008

Froberg Farm


I took a little trip down to Froberg Farm near Alvin before Christmas. Actually, I stopped off on the way home from a day trip to Galveston. I’ve heard about Froberg’s for years and have received gifts from there, but never been before. Partly this is because I’ve been warned it was hard to find; more on that below.

I’ve got an aunt who’s been going since the Frobergs were selling produce off of tables under the trees and pies out of their kitchen. The place has grown quite a bit, with a small warehouse-like store, shopping carts, and more. There’s a plaque on the wall dedicating the building to several Frobergs who’ve gone before.

There was a big display of gift baskets, shelves of home-baked pies, and tables of nuts, mostly probably not grown around here. The Snack Bar, fried pie central, offered an enticing array of home-made fried pies in paper pockets with hand-written labels, kept warm under heat lamps. There are also shelves of home-made pickles and jams and jellies and some other products produced elsewhere including salsas.

The produce bins are clearly marked with those items grown on the farm and I mostly stuck to those. I got a 5# bag of satsumas for $3.50. I have a satsuma tree but had not a single bud this past year so I was glad to get these. There were also ‘home-grown’ lemons which I suspected, and the cashier confirmed, were Meyer lemons. My Meyer tree likewise had no fruit this year, although it has numerous buds now. I also picked up some kumquats (my shrub produced only a handful) and some Honey Crisp apples (not from around here) for $1.39 a lb., a lot less that you usually see them in the grocery stores. I also got a few of their home-grown tangelos but passed on the grapefruit (all from the Valley I think); all they had were Rio Star and I prefer Ruby Red. I also passed on some beautiful, large bananas at $.60/lb.

Before leaving I picked up a couple of the fried pies. They had about a dozen varieties including some sugar-free and at least one breakfast fried pie (eggs, potatoes, bacon as I recall), but who wants breakfast when you can have dessert? I got a Sweet Potato and an Apricot Cream fried pie.

The sweet potato fried pie did not survive the trip home and could not make it to the photo session! It was great. I’ve never been a big fan of sweet potatoes and haven’t figured out why some people think it’s better than pumpkin in a pie, but this was excellent. The Frobergs make a very excellent, flaky pie crust. The apricot cream fried pie (not sure what the ‘cream’ denotes) was also good even at room temperature with large chunks of fruit preserves inside. The fried pies are $1.75 apiece and worth it.

The Honey Crisps were not as good as I’ve had before but the satsumas were so good I decided to get some more to share with family, friends and neighbors so I made another trip. I also picked up a Buttermilk Pecan pie and a jar of their dill pickles and a jar of their homemade fig preserves. The dill pickles are excellent; the label only lists ‘vinegar’ as one of the ingredients but I’d sure like to know what they're using; I don’t think it’s regular store bought white vinegar or rice wine vinegar, which is mostly what I’ve used in making pickles. The pie was good but not exceptional. I had to resist the temptation to buy some more fried pies, too.

I’ll be a regular at this place for the fried pies and pickles if nothing else but I’m sure on any visit it’ll be possible to find some locally grown, excellent produce. In fact, it wasn’t until after my second trip that I remembered the tangelos I had bought the first time and tried one and discovered they’re even better than the satsumas.

On leaving after the second visit I stopped in at the Greak’s Smoke House, a little shack on the end of the warehouse, and got a sliced beef sandwich and a regular sausage link.

The meats are pecan smoked and I found the brisket, a very generous amount of thick slices of beef with a deep pink smoke ring, was too acrid, I guess from the pecan smoke. I literally couldn’t eat it; it became more palatable when cooled off but ultimately I had to trim some of the exterior bark. The sausage, however, was excellent and they have several varieties. The price was kind of steep, $13 for a sandwich and less than a pound of link. There is no price list or menu posted anywhere so I was quite surprised. I doubt if I’ll get anything there again.

There are several picnic tables on the premises so you can chow down on your haul right away.

UPDATE - AS NOTED ABOVE, THERE IS NOW AN ENTRANCE DIRECTLY OFF OF HIGHWAY 6, WELL MARKED TOO, SO THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS ARE UNNECESSARY.  Now - about finding the place. It’s really quite simple contrary to what I’ve been warned. If you know where Alvin and Manvel are on Highway 6 you won’t even need a map. County Road 190 runs parallel to Highway 6 only about a city block south, on the other side of a rail line. About half way between Alvin and Manvel on 6 you should see the sign for County Road 146 and a temporary sign (plastic sheeting on a frame) for Froberg’s. There is a traffic signal at this intersection. Go south off Highway 6 for one block and just over the railroad, turn left for about 1 mile. Another way to get there is on the western outskirts of Alvin, look for County Road 149; go south over the tracks and turn right and go about 3 miles. They’re open 7 days a week except for holidays (Closed December 26th, too).

Froberg Farm


There she goes! said...

Chili Bob, thanks for your review. Went this morning to get out for a bit and knew that after the kids picked a few strawberries we'd have to make a beeline straight for the fried pies. It had been years since I'd eaten one, and I was glad to get reacquainted with such a delicacy. :)

Bruce said...

Froberg's strawberries have been in season and they are good! I may have to make another trip before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

the bar-b-que sandwiches at frobergs are $5.oo and the sausage links are 5 dollars a piece also. i have never in the 10 yrs ive been goin there gotten anything bad . i think its the greatest place on this side of memphis,tn. thanks sausage man!!

Bruce said...

To each his own. Some woods impart a taste to smoked meats that are unpleasant to some; others aren't bothered by it. I seldom am but I was in this instance.

You are telling me basically I got overcharged because I got charged $13 for a sandwich and a link.

Anonymous said...

My daughter lived in Alvin last yr and being from Dallas, it was fun. Froberg's was a treat and I made 2 trips in one week there. The BBQ was good, the strawberries were wonderful. I would like to see the price go down from $1.50 though. It was rainy and did not have enough time. I recommend wearing boots or something that will not come off in the sandy mud and have a second pair in the car to change out of. The fried pies I heard are great, but I am not a fan of sweets. Looking forward to going back in 2 wks!

Mark said...

I live close enough in the area that I make a trip to Froberg's depending on what's in season and it's always great. The trick is to get there early so there are plenty of the buckets of whatever is in season at the time. They're usually $1 or $3 and they have a ton of tomatoes, cukes, peppers, etc in each one; unbelievable for the price and freshness. I usually try to buy only what they sell, but some of their prices on other fruits are so good they're hard to pass up. Their fried pies with the cream just seem to have some sort of cream mixture added to provide more richness. Blueberry cream is my fav. I don't like Greaks. I find the prices too expensive and the food not good enough. The sausage on a stick is fine though. They're also easier to find now, and you didn't mention that they offer strawberry picking for the family, you either pay by the container or weight. It's good fun and it's hard to beat fresh strawberries you picked yourself. Their homegrown fresh beans/peas are fantastic when in season too.