CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Jim & Dodie’s big adventure
You know that full-tilt author-artist-guitarist-cook-famer-talker Jim LaBove and his equally engaging wife, Dodie?
Hopefully you’ve read his books, including “Cotton’s Seafood” about his family living off the land and from the waters of Sabine Pass.
They’re organically growing English cucumbers, string beans and cherry tomatoes in such stunning fashion that you’ll probably want to take a selfie with them. That’s a “thing” at Jim & Dodie’s Big Adventure. After that, you have fresh veggies, a great memory and a desire to tell everyone you know to call them up and visit their Beaumont spread just off the Eastex Freeway.
I finally got to visit the pair and went back to show my husband. A neighbor followed us to get in on the action. Current crops are cucumbers, “Purple” heirloom string beans, mustard and turnip greens, turnips, cherry tomatoes and sweet banana peppers. Corn is on the way.
I got to see lacy asparagus sprouting from its bed and get a whiff of chocolate mint. A pot of ruffled, hairy Cuban oregano came home with me, too. Jim can even give interesting lessons on his various piles of compost, a sure sign of a smooth talker.
I love that beans in my favorite color, purple, are ready to eat right off the vine with a pleasant crunch. If you stir fry them in olive oil, they’ll get green.
Here is what the LaBoves say about their goods: “All of our produce is organically grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers and especially NO chemical pesticides ever. The only things that you will get from eating Jim & Dodie’s famous English cucumbers is a full complement of vitamins, minerals and flavor that nature intended for you to have. … Often, both my wife and I will eat cucumbers right off of the vine as we are harvesting them — without being concerned about Nature’s coating or anything else.”
Lagniappe is also a “thing” with these two, so you may go home with printed papers on how to enjoy your purchase, like this: “We recommend lightly rubbing each cucumber under cool tap water and then chopping into sticks or slices or any other way you might decide. Mainly, don’t forget to always eat the skin on Jim & Dodie’s famous English cucumbers. This variety is bred especially for a good tasting skin — it’s never bitter so you don’t ever have to peel them. Try dipping cucumber sticks in your favorite dressing for a healthy treat. Our favorite way to eat them is sliced with extra virgin olive oil and organic vinegar (like Bragg’s). I like to add freshly chopped
dill to mine and Dodie likes freshly chopped basil leaves to hers.”
Jim has illustrated his books with drawings of the crab, birds, shrimp and wildlife of our area. He’s created a line of Cajun-themed cards and gift tags that will make you feel warm all over.
Jim & Dodie’s Big Adventure has a Facebook page. When you drive up, you see a big
gray business building, not the garden, which is around back. Don’t be fooled. The one-eyed cat, Fauntleroy, is another clue you’ve got the right place. Call 409-284-4411 and you’ll get more info and then you’ll make a couple of new friends at 7415 Eastex Plaza Drive (online: JimandDodie.com).
P.S.: For a talking point, bring up New Orleans, because Dodie is a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader! You’ll love these guys.
Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who loves every aspect of farm to table. Got tips? Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.