Country Sweets Bakery: A hidden gem in Bandera

Eclairs, croissants, long johns, oh my! Trying to choose the pastry I wanted was a difficult decision. Fortunately, with four of us buying, we all picked out something different and I could try a bite of everyone’s!

Pastries made fresh in-house.
Great selection of cookies!
For the gluten free customers, they have peanut butter cookies available every day that are gluten free.

As we wandered through Bandera, TX, we came across an amazing little bakery. This veteran owned bakery had so many choices of freshly baked Artisan pastries and cookies. And the prices were super reasonable (for our 1 long john, 1 Ă©clair, 1 apple pie-pocket, 1 blackberry fan and 2 extra large cranberry/white chocolate chip cookies, we spent right around $14.00). Baked goods are not the only things served though. Salads, wraps, and sandwiches are a part of the daily lunch menu. In addition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, lunch specials of comfort foods, such as meatloaf sandwiches, are available. In the winter, soup is available Monday-Friday.

Since it was close to closing time, we had an opportunity to chat with the owners, Rhonda and April. These sisters opened the bakery about 4 years ago. Country Sweets Bakery is the only bakery in Bandera, and only one of 3 located on Highway 16 between Bandera and Kerrville. They are open Monday-Friday from 7am-3pm and on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. Occasionally, they are closed on Saturdays for weddings.

April and Rhonda, owners of Country Sweets Bakery.
Their mission: “Two sisters who want to bring a little sweetness to your life.”

Speaking of weddings, the cakes they make for weddings look AMAZING and based on the pastries we had, have to taste awesome! Wedding cakes range from $175-$525 (that was for an all gluten free cake).

This particular wedding cake was $385. We actually ordered Grace’s graduation cake from here that was based on this cake.

This family owned shop (they have one employee) does many special orders. Of course wedding cakes keep them busy. In addition to wedding cakes, you can special order cookies and other cakes. For specialty order iced cookies, you can expect to pay $2.50 a cookie (great price for special orders!). Gluten free cakes are available for special order as well. While we were there, we ordered Grace’s graduation cake. The drive to Bandera is worth it for this cake.

Rhonda and April are dedicated to the local community. In fact, they consider the community a part of their family. The sisters enjoy chatting with their customers and getting to know them. In addition, they help with many events in the area by donating cookies, pastries, and cakes. One of the organizations they support is Wounded Warriors. They donate baked goods and other items to them.

Bandera is a neat little town that I enjoy spending time walking through (the post on the whole trip will be coming soon). Finding Country Sweets Bakery is just icing on the cake (pun intended) and we will definitely visit this bakery again!

Strawberry Picking: a new family adventure

Today we took a drive out to Poteet, TX. After getting past the construction and city driving, we had a relaxing drive looking at the farmland and colorful fields of wildflowers (post on that to come later). We had plans to head to K H Farm to pick strawberries during their season opener. Unfortunately, by noon they had been picked out. I’m glad I checked their Facebook page before we actually arrived. So I began the search of finding another farm to go to. I was set on picking strawberries, dang it!

Wildflowers blooming all along HWY 16 on the way to Poteet, TX

I found the number for Poteet, Texas Strawberryville Farm ( https://www.facebook.com/StrawberryvilleFarmDominguez/ ). Gave them a call, but no one answered. Frustration level began to rise. So I began the search again, but within minutes I had a call from a San Antonio number that I did not recognize. Now, normally I do not answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, but for some reason, I did. Boy am I glad I answered. Jose from Strawberryville Farm called back. I was sad to hear, though, that they were closed for the day because he was working and his wife was running errands. I mention them and their Facebook page here because Jose was extremely helpful in finding another farm to go to. He gave me the names of 3 different places we could go to that still had strawberries to pick from. He even took the time to give directions to the one we were closest to at that moment. So while we never visited Strawberryville Farm, I can imagine that they are a great place to visit due to how helpful Jose was.

The first place Jose referred us to was Anachey Strawberry Farm ( https://www.facebook.com/anacheystrawberries/). So after listening to GPS tell us where to go and NOT finding this farm, Chuck finally said to type the address in to GPS– 189 Schuettig Rd, Poteet, TX– and see if that helped and what do you know, it did (DON’T use the map link on their Facebook page, type the actual address in otherwise you will find yourself in the heart of Poteet). So we backtracked a bit to head to the farm. Glad the views were beautiful to look at, otherwise my frustration level would probably have risen more. This was supposed to be a fun, relaxing trip. Not one that was making me crazy.

We finally found the farm. You could see the bright red strawberries from the road. I could not wait to get out and start picking them.

Strawberry plant with several ready to pick strawberries.

Chuck, the kids, and I got the containers to put our strawberries in from Sheila at the checkout table, headed to the rows of strawberries, and began our picking! There were some other families there as well, but the field was plenty large enough that we were all spread out.

Of course, being me, we had to get lots of pictures 🙂 I don’t think we go anywhere without me snapping pictures.

There are three prices for these super yummy strawberries (yes, I tried one there to be sure). For one clam shell the price is $5.00. You fill them up till you can’t close the lid. They hold a little more than a pound. The price for a flat (which is what we purchased and holds 5 clam shells) is $20. The price for 2 flats is $40. Homemade strawberry jam is $10. Let me tell you, these strawberries are juicy, sweet, and perfect. Mouthwatering strawberries!! Much better tasting than the ones I have purchased in H-E-B (No disrespect to H-E-B).

We spent a little time chatting with the owners, Michael and Sheila Vela. They were so friendly and provided some great information to us. This is their first year in operation. They plan on opening up the farm for strawberry picking every year. They have 10,000 plants on the farm. They do not use pesticides and they use seaweed fertilizer. So they are as close to organic as you can get without having the label. Anachey Farm is open every day, but when the strawberries are all picked out, they will close up. So be sure to get there early! They will be closed the week of March 30-April 10 in preparation for the Poteet Strawberry Festival and to give the crop time to replenish.

Sheila was wonderful in answering all our questions. We even learned a little about strawberry growing. Strawberries need a lot of sun and the humidity can kill them. When you see the green strawberries, they will be ready to pick in about 10 days.

Mike even gave Chuck information on some of their family that own restaurants that he might be able to play at (don’t forget to visit his page at http://www.chuckwimermusic.com). Sheila and Mike were super friendly and very welcoming. When I run out of strawberries, I plan on making the trip out to Anachey’s Strawberry Farm again to purchase more. Worth the drive!

Boerne, TX: less than we expected

This past weekend, Chuck and I visited Boerne, TX. We had heard about what a great, small town Boerne is and how we would find some cool shops and such. We thought we could kill two birds with one stone: spend time together moseying through the town and get some pictures of Chuck for his music page (www.chuckwimermusic.com). So we ventured out. Of course the trip out we had traffic, lots of traffic, due to the never-ending construction on I-10. However, we were not in any hurry so we just jumped on the frontage road and enjoyed the ride (btw: MUCH faster than actually staying on the interstate).

Anyways, back to Boerne. We arrive in Boerne and find this cute Episcopalian church, St. Helena’s Episcopal Church. Chuck’s attention was caught by the part that looked like a tower of a castle. It was a cool little area to take some pictures. Definitely recommend the little courtyard across the street from the church office to take pictures. Great setting and neat little fountain.

From there we parked on Main Street and began our walk. One thing we noticed right away was that there are LOTS (and I mean LOTS) of antique stores. If you love to hunt down antiques then this is the place for you. Us, not so much. We enjoyed the shops that were not quite to so cluttered or had a more specific motif. The Christmas Shoppe ( https://thechristmasshoppetx.com) was one of my favorites. No matter what time of year it is, Christmas stores are always fun to look through. Flashback Funtiques (https://www.facebook.com/flashbackfuntiquesboerne/) is a cool antique shop with jukeboxes, gas pumps, pinball machines, and more. Definitely out of our price range, but there were some neat old time things in that store. For the music lovers (which of course Chuck is) we found the Hillje Music Center (https://hilljemusic.com/). A small selection of acoustic guitars, stringed instruments, and amplifiers can be found at a reasonable price. My favorite store that we found (and actually spent money at) was Casa DĂ©cor (https://www.facebook.com/casadecortx). This was a huge store of handmade furniture that comes from Mexico. Great selections and awesome quality. We purchased a new wooden entertainment cabinet. They had a sale of 50% off furniture (hence the purchase). The customer service was amazing. We had to drive home to get the van since the piece didn’t fit in the car. When we got back to the store, they had the piece shrink wrapped and loaded it into the van. I will definitely go back to purchase additional items later.

We found what we thought was a park, but was actually this cool little “Veterans Plaza”. We spent some time reading the names on the bricks and reading the pillars.

Now the not so good. Like I said earlier, there were LOTS of antique stores. Too much in one shop at most of the stores. I wasn’t even sure where to look. I was expecting the same small town feel we had when we went to Bandera the week before (that entry will come later, when we revisit the town). That was not the case with Boerne. Don’t get me wrong, the Main St. shopping is definitely small town, just not the same.

We stopped at Bear Moon Bakery and CafĂ© for lunch and coffee. This was at the suggestion of some random guy on the street. We were disappointed with the bakery selection. The word “bakery” was misleading. There were some cookies, croissants, and donuts. A few cakes to choose from. But overall, not the selection of bakery items one would expect from a place that has the word “bakery” in it. So we decided to order lunch instead. Ummmm, their menu selection was about as limited as their bakery selection. Prices were decent, and portion sizes were pretty good based on what we saw going out to other customers. But the lunch choices were not our cup of tea. I enjoyed a cup of coffee while Chuck had a coke and then we went on our way.

I am glad we ventured to Boerne because I got my new furniture piece, but it is definitely not a place we would visit again, unless Chuck has a show at one of the places. Again, I am not saying it’s not a place to check out. You will probably find something you enjoy. You will check out something new. Take the adventure and enjoy the ride!