A tasty offering!
Today's issue features a Belton pickle and jelly company, plus a Temple coffee house and beer garden that will open this fall. Enjoy!
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2021
Proctor Victory Garden produces more than 20 varieties of pickles, salsas and pepper jellies. They just added a Bloody Mary mix.
Lauren Proctor stocks the shelves of The Pickle Wagon, Proctor Victory Garden’s mobile mercantile trailer.
‘Little Pickle’ has growing business
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
When you grow up with a nickname like Little Pickle, you just may be destined for a life filled with fresh vegetables and vinegar.
Lauren Proctor has lived up to expectations. Along with her husband Paul, she produces more than 20 varieties of pickles, salsas and pepper jellies under their Proctor Victory Garden label, and they are far from finished.
“I’m working on two new pepper jellies for the Christmas holidays,” she said. “One is a cranberry serrano jelly — the other a lemon-drop pepper jelly. Our pepper jellies go great with cream cheese and are especially popular around the holidays.”
So how did Little Pickle get her nickname?
“I loved pickles,” she said. “I always have, and I still do. I had a wonderful Aunt Rosebud who kept me in pickles growing up. Even when I was at UMHB she would send pickles from southeast Texas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the recipe from her so I’ve spent the past 10 years trying to recreate it. My classic dill is pretty close.”
Lauren, a native of Cypress, Texas, attended the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and graduated in 2005. After getting married, she and Paul decided they wanted “to move close to a VA hospital and pretty water.”
Since Paul is a disabled veteran and Lake Belton is amazing, the choice was easy.
“We love this area,” she said, “so we settled in Belton about eight years ago.”
Soon, the planting began.
“We’ve planted cucumbers, pepper, tomatoes, onions, herbs…a lot of fresh produce,” Lauren said. “What we cannot grow ourselves, we purchase from Halvorson's Hidden Harvest in Temple.”
Business is booming for the Proctors, so much that outlets were needed to sell their products.
“After my neighbors and church family had their fill of pickles and salsa, we needed somewhere new to share our products,” she said.
Enter the Pickle Wagon.
“We call it our Mobile Mercantile Trailer,” she said. “It’s an old barbecue trailer that we gutted and turned into a mobile store. It actually looks like a tiny house.”
“We take it to festivals and events. We do the Salado Stroll and the 3 Texans Winery market. We’ve been invited to Kingwood on September 18 for the In-a-Pickle Festival … I’m going to be a guest chef.”
Proctor Victory Garden products also can be found at three local stores — The Water Shack in Belton, 3 Texans Winery west of Temple, and Gooch Family Farm in Troy. The Gooch Family sells grass-fed beef, canned goods, fresh eggs and baked goods.
“We’ve made some wonderful partners,” Lauren said. “We’re proud to be part of a great network of small businesses that support each other.”
The Proctor’s latest product is a Bloody Mary mix made with pickle juice.
“We just added the Bloody Mary mix,” she said. “It’s a yummy addition to our product line.”
In addition to pickles, salsas, jellies and the Bloody Mary mix, Proctor Victory Garden also makes chili and dip mixes, and they also sell big around Christmas entertaining season.
“Paul is a true green thumb and works tirelessly to make all of my garden and pickling dreams come true,” Lauren said. “We love our doggies, cooking together, and sharing delicious goodies you love to eat or give to family and friends.”
Lauren and Paul Proctor stand in front of their mobile store. The couple visits festivals and markets with their line of pickles, jellies, salsas and dip mixes.
Proctor Victory Garden products can be found at The Water Shack in Belton, 3 Texans Winery near Temple and at Gooch Family Farm in Troy.
“We’re trying to create a hip place to hang out, but we want to make sure the house maintains its historic feel.”
Ashley Vernon sits on the porch of their Temple home, which is being renovated and will soon house FoxDog coffee cafe and beer garden. The new business, which also will feature co-working space, is expected to open this fall.
‘Not fancy, just darn good coffee’
Historic home to house coffee bar and beer garden
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
A new coffee house and beer garden will open this fall in a historic Temple house just north of downtown.
FoxDog, located at 209 North 7th at the intersection with Barton Avenue,
Is the project of Ashley and John Vernon. They purchased the early 1900s-era house in 2019, and it is going through extensive renovation.
“We’re putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the house,” John said during a Tuesday interview. “It’s a big project, and we’re doing it piece by piece. The house has good bones, but it needed some work.”
In addition to reconstructing the floor, foundation and much of the interior, the couple is building a bar and a fleet of picnic tables for a large outdoor beer garden.
According to Ashley, the FoxDog concept has been in the makings for about five years.
“We lived in San Antonio and Austin, and we were part of the coffee house scene,” she said. “I’m a teacher, and I had a teaching fellowship in Bosnia for a year, and it was an eye-opening experience.”
“In Bosnia, coffee is part of everyday life,” John said. “I mean businesses shut down for coffee breaks. I went to get a haircut one day, and I waited 15 minutes while the owner had coffee.”
While in Bosnia, the couple visited many coffee establishments and took notes.
“So many cafes,” Ashley said. “We were able to do a lot of research and get some great ideas. At FoxDog, we want to offer the community a place to relax and enjoy. It’s not going to be fancy, but we will serve a darn good cup of coffee.”
The Vernons will be serving Chaney Bros. Coffee from down the road in Crawford. The Chaney brothers — Paul, Paxton and Phillip — started roasting coffees in their dad’s garage years ago and have built a reputation of excellence. The company roasts beans from around the world.
At FoxDog, coffee will be available in several formats, including expressos, lattes and cappuccinos.
“We’re trying to create a hip place to hang out,” Ashley said. “But we want to make sure the house maintains its historic feel. It’s an old house … a place where people have lived.”
While coffee will be a big attraction at FoxDog, so will beer and wine. The location features a large outdoor area that will soon be equipped with several picnic tables.
FoxDog will feature local and Texas craft beers and wines, including some Temple and Bell County labels.
“We plan to have beers from Barrow Brewing Company in Salado and Fire Base here in Temple,” John said. “We will focus on Texas craft beers and popular regional brews.”
Ashley said that some of the wines that will be available also will be local.
“We plan on serving Dancing Bee and Moose & Goose wines, as well as others from around the area and state,” she said.
In addition to coffees, beer and wine, the business will also feature baked goods.
“We are partnering with Sweet Enough Bakery here in Temple,” Ashley said. “They make delicious cookies, and they are making a special cookie just for us to sell. We also will be announcing another partnership with a well-known bakery, and we will have space available for food trucks.”
FoxDog is likely two or three months from opening, and there has been a lot of curiosity about what to expect. People want to know when the place will open, what kind of beverages will be sold…that sort of thing. But, the No. 1 question has to do with its name.
So, exactly what is a FoxDog?
“It’s our dog, Buzi,” laughed Ashley. “We were in Uganda with the Peace Corp and decided to get a dog. We found one, and he looks like a really big fox. The name means ‘stubborn.’”
Buzi made the return trip to America with the Vernons and will play a prominent role at his new home.
The name FoxDog was inspired by the Vernon’s pet, Buzi, because “he looks like a really big fox.”
Paul and Ashley Vernon take a break from renovation work at their historic home on North 7th Street. The structure soon will house FoxDog, a coffee cafe and beer garden featuring Texas and local beers and wines.
Gov. Abbott asks Texas lawmakers to consider legislation addressing whether state or local governments could issue vaccine mandates and, if so, which exemptions should apply.
A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card sits on a table at a vaccine clinic held in partnership between the Central Texas Food Bank and University of Texas in Austin on July 21, 2021. Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune
Abbott bans vaccine mandates
By PATRICK SVITEK, The Texas Tribune
Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates regardless of a vaccine’s approval status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
He also said he was adding the issue to the agenda for the current special session of the Texas Legislature.
The order comes two days after the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine. That raised questions about the fate of a previous Abbott order that prohibited vaccine mandates, but only for those under emergency authorization.
Abbott’s latest order is simple, saying “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.” The order preserves exceptions for places like nursing homes and state-supported living centers.
At the same time, Abbott asked lawmakers to consider legislation addressing whether state or local governments could issue vaccine mandates and, if so, which exemptions should apply.
“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said in a statement.
Lawmakers are currently in their second special session, and time is limited to make progress on the 17-item agenda that Abbott previously announced. The House finally restored quorum last week after Democrats staged a nearly six-week protest of the GOP’s elections bill, and the current session is set to end Sept. 5.
Abbott’s last order regarding vaccine requirements, issued July 29, said “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” While there is a new state law that acted as a backstop for Abbott’s previous order if a vaccine received full approval, it was not as sweeping as the order and left the door open to new mandates.
There specifically appeared to be the fresh potential for cities, counties and school districts to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. San Antonio Independent School District had already announced mandatory employee vaccinations, prompting a lawsuit from Attorney General Ken Paxton.
District officials said Wednesday they will move forward with the mandate — despite Abbott's latest order.
“We strongly believe that the safest path forward as a school district is for all staff to become vaccinated against COVID-19,” the district said in a statement.
As the pandemic has surged again in Texas, Abbott has broadly resisted vaccine and masks requirements, prohibiting local officials from issuing them. That stance has been particularly controversial with school districts, several of which have defied the governor and instituted mask requirements. Paxton has vowed to fight all of them in court.
Key pandemic metrics in Texas continue to reach levels not seen since the last spike in the winter. There were 15,516 new cases Tuesday and 13,666 hospitalizations Monday. The seven-day average of the state’s positivity rate — the ratio of cases to tests — registered at 15.8 percent on Monday, declining but still above the 10 percent threshold that Abbott previously has flagged as dangerous.
The number of vaccine doses reported each day has been slowly rising, but the state is still in the back of the pack nationally, with 46.2 percent of Texans fully vaccinated as of Monday.
Abbott’s most recent order largely deals with governmental entities, though private businesses are still banned from requiring vaccination proof from customers under the new state law, Senate Bill 968. Neither Abbott’s latest order nor the law address private business employees, meaning they could still be subject to vaccine requirements. Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment on that.
MUSIC OF BELL COUNTY SERIES
Temple native was top songwriter
Steven Fromholz was born in Temple on June 8, 1945, and attended the University of North Texas where he was president of the Folk Music Club. Fromholz began performing while he was serving in the United States Navy during the 1960s.
After leaving the Navy, he teamed with Dan McCrimmon to create the group Frummox. Fromholz also played with Stephen Stills and Rick Roberts before going solo. He recorded with Willie Nelson, singing “Id Have to be Crazy” and Lyle Lovett singing “Texas Trilogy” and “Bears.”
Other artists who have recorded his songs include Hoyt Axton, John Denver, Jerry Jeff Walker and Sturgill Simpson.In addition to singing and songwriting, Fromholz dabbled in acting, playwriting, poetry, record producing, narrating, jingle-writing and whitewater river guiding.
As an actor, he known for Positive I.D. (1986), Outlaw Blues (1977) and Songwriter (1984).
In 2007, he was named Poet Laureate of the State of Texas by the state Legislature.
He died Jan. 19, 2014, in Eldorado, Texas.
Check out this vintage Steven Fromholz:
Temple PD to hold National Night Out
The Temple Police Department invites residents to participate in National Night Out on Oct. 5 from 6:30-9 p.m.
“We hope residents use this time to connect with their neighbors and interact with officers to enhance relationships and discuss ways to keep the city of Temple safe,” Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said.
National Night Out is a nationwide campaign that promotes crime prevention, drug awareness and police-community partnership.
Anyone interested in hosting a party in their neighborhood should register by Sept. 13 at templetx.gov/nno. Temple Police Officers will make an appearance at each registered block party. Each applicant will be responsible for the following:
Advertise their party to their neighbors.
Provide any food and/or activities.
Setting-up and breaking-down party supplies and decorations.
COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing available in Temple
The city of Temple will host a free COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing site for residents starting Aug. 26 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Testing will be done in a parking lot at 1909 Curtis B Elliot Drive in Temple, which is next to Wilson Park.
The testing site will be staffed by the Texas Army National Guard.
Here is what to look for if you think you might have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
A dry cough and shortness of breath
Feeling very tired
Muscle of body aches
Loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting.
What’s happening, Temple?
August 25, Wednesday - Open Mic Comedy, Corkey’s, 8 p.m.
August 27, Friday - 13th Chamber Golf Classic Powered by Amos Electric. Wildflower Country Club. 11:30 registration and lunch, 1 p.m. shotgun start.
August 27, Friday - Craig Howell with Somewhere in Texas. Bo’s Barn Dance Hall. 8 p.m.
August 27, Friday - Executive Steel Band, Ras Kitchen, 17 S. Main, Temple, 7 p.m.
August 27, Friday - Karaoke Night at Corky’s. 8 p.m.
August 27, Friday - Megan Brucker & Charles Edward Ott, O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - Totally Rad 80’s Prom Gone Bad, A murder mystery. The Venue by Inn on the Creek, Salado. 6:30 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - Comedy Showcase, Corky’s, Show starts at 8 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - People’s Choice, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall. 9 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - Caftan at Fire Street Pizza in Belton. 6 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - Full STEAM Ahead! Learn about optical illusions and how to make them. Bell County Museum. 11 a.m.
August 29, Sunday - Margarita madness. Corky’s. 1-5 p.m.
September 2, Thursday - Central Texas State Fair, Bell County Expo Center. Wade Bowen. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 3, Friday - Central Texas State Fair, Pat Green. Twisted Metal Mayhem Derby. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 4, Saturday - Central Texas State Fair, Flatland Calvary, Professional Bull Riding. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 5, Sunday - Central Texas State Fair, Aaron Watson, Professional Bull Riding. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 11, Saturday - A Sami Show Arts & Crafts Market, Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m.
September 11, Saturday - Weird Science. Explore different adaptations animals have made through presentations, fun games, and activities. Bell County Museum. 11 a.m.
September 11, Saturday - Pink Fishing’s Reeling in the Cure, 6th annual bass tournament. Proceeds benefit breast cancer patients and cancer research. Cedar Ridge Park. 6 a.m. Call (254) 681-0102 for details.
September 11, Saturday - 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb & Ceremony. Wildcat Stadium. 7-11 a.m.
September 11, Saturday - Rescue Magazine’s Pet Adoption Extravaganza. There will almost 400 Animals up for adoption and fun for the whole family. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 12, Sunday - A Sami Show Arts & Crafts Market, Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m.
September 12, Sunday - Rescue Magazine’s Pet Adoption Extravaganza. There will almost 400 Animals up for adoption and fun for the whole family. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 15, Wednesday - Tiny Thinkers, Kids 5 years old and younger are invited to the museum to experience the State Fair! Bell County Museum. 10 a.m.
September 18, Saturday - Harvest Celebration. Bring your family and friends to enjoy grape stomping, food trucks, music, and wine. This is a ticketed event. 3 Texans Winery. 6 p.m.
September 25, Saturday - Fun at the Fair! Join us at the museum to for fun at the fair! View the newest exhibit and take part in fun activities - explore symmetry by decorating a popcorn bucket, build your own mini rollercoaster, race your family in duck races, and visit our petting zoo! Bell County Museum. 11 a.m.
September 25, Saturday - Dale Watson, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 30, Thursday - TLC’s Celebration of Crazy, Sexy Cool with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Bell County Expo Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 30, Thursday - Funniest Comic in Texas semi-finals. Corky’s.
October 8, Friday - Painting with a Twist, 3 Texans Winery. 6:30 p.m.
October 9, Saturday - Shinyribs, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 6, Saturday - Chris Hillman, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Market in the Vines. Take a walk through the vines and shop with over 50 vendors! Free to the public. 3 Texans Winery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.