A Gathering Place

From farm to table …

Our Fall 2019 CSA Season

COMMENCES TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29th AND RUNS THROUGH WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18th!

2019 Winter Dinner

Saturday, December 9th, 2019 from 5 to 9 p.m.
In partnership with Chef Cade Conlon of Longspoon Catering

Blackwood Living

Our passion is bringing people together.

On 33 acres near Hempstead, Texas, is the headquarters for our farm—Blackwood Educational Land Institute, the beautiful, natural facilities of Blackwood Living, the spectacular commercial kitchen for Longspoon Catering, and the gardens for the Blackwood Bounty CSA.

At Blackwood Living, our goal is to provide an experience of gathering as a reflection of our customer’s values. We balance an aesthetic of natural and manicured and pride ourselves in creating events with purpose. Blackwood Living offers a venue for private events, corporate retreats, weddings, and a number of other celebrations.

"We held our company retreat at Blackwood and the entire experience was impeccable. Their team worked closely with us to make sure we were properly accommodated across many areas...We would strongly recommend Cath and the Blackwood Team to anyone looking to refresh their company retreat experience because it was truly one-of-a-kind!"

Next Seed

Corporate Retreats

5.0
2019-05-09T18:16:59-06:00

Next Seed

Corporate Retreats

"We held our company retreat at Blackwood and the entire experience was impeccable. Their team worked closely with us to make sure we were properly accommodated across many areas...We would strongly recommend Cath and the Blackwood Team to anyone looking to refresh their company retreat experience because it was truly one-of-a-kind!"
"Our son’s Bar Mitzvah at Blackwood was so memorable and perfect in every way. Our family and friends had no idea what they were going to experience when they drove out from Houston for the service and celebrations. Afterwards, so many people (from all the different generations) told us it was ‘the way all Bar Mitzvahs should be’. Blackwood provided not only a beautiful setting but also a spiritual one that allowed us to truly come together and celebrate this important Jewish milestone."

Jennifer Touchet

Private Parties

5.0
2019-05-09T18:17:06-06:00

Jennifer Touchet

Private Parties

"Our son’s Bar Mitzvah at Blackwood was so memorable and perfect in every way. Our family and friends had no idea what they were going to experience when they drove out from Houston for the service and celebrations. Afterwards, so many people (from all the different generations) told us it was ‘the way all Bar Mitzvahs should be’. Blackwood provided not only a beautiful setting but also a spiritual one that allowed us to truly come together and celebrate this important Jewish milestone."
"As someone who cares deeply about where my food comes from, Blackwood has taught me to ask how, nurturing the quest for finding examples of sustainable food production using restorative agricultural techniques. I have grown so much from my relationship with Blackwood."

Karen Man

Professional Baker, Artist, Restauranteur

5.0
2019-05-08T17:38:04-06:00

Karen Man

Professional Baker, Artist, Restauranteur

"As someone who cares deeply about where my food comes from, Blackwood has taught me to ask how, nurturing the quest for finding examples of sustainable food production using restorative agricultural techniques. I have grown so much from my relationship with Blackwood."
“Blackwood is my yoga retreat home. I have taught several yoga retreats here, and all my experiences here have been stellar. Some highlights include the amazing farm-to-table meals made by Chef Cade, clean and comfortable accommodations, the gorgeous landscape, and prompt and professional service from the staff. Cath is the most gracious host and does everything possible to make our stay nothing less than wonderful each time. I can’t wait to come back!”

Catherine Allen

Yoga Instructor, Yoga Retreat

5.0
2019-05-08T17:36:51-06:00

Catherine Allen

Yoga Instructor, Yoga Retreat

“Blackwood is my yoga retreat home. I have taught several yoga retreats here, and all my experiences here have been stellar. Some highlights include the amazing farm-to-table meals made by Chef Cade, clean and comfortable accommodations, the gorgeous landscape, and prompt and professional service from the staff. Cath is the most gracious host and does everything possible to make our stay nothing less than wonderful each time. I can’t wait to come back!”
"What we eat and how we grow it affects every aspect of our lives – our health, our brains, our hearts, our bodies – and our connection to one another. The work at Blackwood is a visionary template for food and food systems for Houston and for every community that prioritizes the fundamental well being of its citizens."

Chris Knapp

CEO at Collaboration Capital

5.0
2019-05-08T17:37:28-06:00

Chris Knapp

CEO at Collaboration Capital

"What we eat and how we grow it affects every aspect of our lives – our health, our brains, our hearts, our bodies – and our connection to one another. The work at Blackwood is a visionary template for food and food systems for Houston and for every community that prioritizes the fundamental well being of its citizens."
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Our Story

Serving Houston, Austin, Brenham, Chappell Hill, College Station, and Bryan, Texas for three decades!

Blackwood Living is about people and community, and a life based on the essentials. Less about minimalism, more about celebrating who and what we value most. Food, water and shelter may be the tenets of survival, but our need to connect and to belong to a community is just as significant. Blackwood reconnects adults and children to nature through food grown right, the value of community and collaboration, and the pleasure of being outdoors.

Everything we do reflects the importance Blackwood places on nutrient-dense food, regenerative farming, and a vibrant, sustainable environment as the foundation for a healthy life.

Blackwood’s indoor-outdoor event spaces provide unique event venues for school programs, workshops, retreats, and seminars to experience our interdependence on the land. When Blackwood Land is not hosting a Texas farm education event or experience on site for kids and families, Blackwood Living and Longspoon Catering are creating luxurious experiences, including:

• Texas weddings
• Private outdoor parties
• Cooking classes and high end catering
• Texas farm-to-table dinners
• Corporate retreats near Houston
And anything else you can imagine!

Our Space

Whether you are having a rustic Texas wedding, an outdoor farm-to-table family dinner, or a weekend family reunion, our facility ideally accommodates your unique event.

A long gravel road lined with trees passes the hopscotch garden and high tunnels, the 10,000 square foot gathering hall, and a commercial kitchen. Further along, the road leads to the heart of the farm: a 5,000 square foot environmentally friendly straw-bale house, fondly known as Baleyfield House. This home anchors our learning environment, provides shelters for overnight activities, and serves as command central for weddings, retreats, and family gatherings. Just steps from the back door is our kitchen garden, an orchard, spiral garden, a greenhouse, and even an outdoor pizza kitchen!

Surrounding Baleyfield House is a sustainably managed farm—our living classroom of fields and forest, native grasses, three distinct and interconnected ecosystems, a pond teeming with water life, a labyrinth, beehives, chickens, private cabins… and more.

Our goal is to provide the blank canvas upon which you create your unique event. You won’t find a more beautiful, enchanting, unique place to enjoy your special occasion.

Click toggles below to discover our other spaces.

Baleyfield House

Sleeps 38, can accommodate 75 to 140.

The heart of Blackwood is Baleyfield House. Built in 1996 with the help of many friends, the 5,000-square-foot structure is one of the first of its kind in Central Texas. Baleyfield house is fully constructed from straw bales, one of the most sustainable, natural building materials available.

A byproduct of rice, wheat, or oats, straw has no nutritional value. If it cannot be used in horse stalls, it is thrown away or burned. For construction, bales are given a second life by being covered in a non-porous surface for superb weather resistance. Straw bale construction gives Baleyfield an R-value of 60, needing one fourth less energy to power an air conditioning unit half the size needed in conventional construction. The ceiling insulation is made of shredded newspaper soaked in boric acid to act as a fire retardant and insect repellant.

A spacious porch runs along the back of the house and overlooks the Kitchen Garden. Rocking chairs, tables, and hammocks make this the central spot for gathering – whether it be for meals or meetings (or naps!). Inside, an enormous stone fireplace anchors the large great room, with spacious bunkbed sleeping rooms and adjoining baths on either side. Baleyfield can sleep up to 38 for overnight retreats.

The kitchen is a cook’s dream, with open shelves for cookware and labeled bins for staples, an expansive granite island with two utilitarian sinks, a commercial range, room for several cooks, and perches for onlookers. The decor is a charming mix of country French and a trend-setting loft look.

An enormous stone water-harvesting tank collects rainwater from the standing-seam metal roof for use in the house. (Outbuildings also harvest rainwater.)

Upstairs is the bride’s suite, a comfortable and delightfully appointed space for pre-wedding preparations. This spacious room accommodates a large bridal party and is charmingly decorated for pre-wedding photographs.

Our two cabins accommodate the groom’s preparations.

Gathering Hall

Constructed in 2013, the Gathering Hall is a 60- by 30-foot multipurpose event space that can accommodate 200 guests for a wedding service, 140 for a sit-down dinner… or more than a hundred yoga mats! The building is equipped with central heat and air conditioning, an adjoining commercial kitchen, a bath house, audio and visual capability, a flat screen TV, and projector and screen. Round tables and chairs seat ten comfortably. The building’s rainwater harvesting system supplies all of its water needs, using well water only as back up during drought. The Gathering Hall overlooks an expansive lawn (perfect for the outdoor portions of your event) and the Hopscotch high tunnels and garden.

Cabins

Book your next getaway at one of our two private cedar cabins. The cabin’s wood was sustainably sourced from the logs of trees killed by pine beetles, making good use of otherwise unusable wood. Each studio cabin is nestled in the peace of the woods and is equipped with a queen size bed, relaxing seating area, dining table with chairs, mini fridge with sink and counter space, and indoor lavatory. The highlight of your stay, the outdoor shower, will have you feeling refreshed and relaxed and will rejuvenate your connection with nature. Cabins can be reserved with events or booked individually on Airbnb. Inquire about our STAY packages, which include a private chef dinner and special farm experiences.

Chef's Kitchen

Ideally designed and appointed, the Chef’s Kitchen serves any function—from a private cooking class to the preparation of small plates for hundreds attending our fall festivals. Here we prepare nutritious meals for three dozen young campers and delicious themed brunches to Morning in the Country guests. We create delicious, seasonal foods made with produce freshly harvested from the farm or sourced from neighboring farmers. For example, we prepare our own wholesome, chemical-free pasta, make medicinal honey infusions, host demonstrations of specialized cooking techniques by noted area chefs, and more.

Utility Building

On the southwest corner of the property is a workspace and prep area for our farmer. Here we store fresh produce in our CoolBot system and the covered wrap-around porch provides refuge and a relaxing space to enjoy the gardens. The utility building can also serve utilized as additional space for your event (in the past it’s even been used as a dance hall!).

Other Amenities

Wedding packages include the use of our cabins for pre-event preparations. The chef’s kitchen, located in the Gathering Hall, has ample space for preparations and plating along with refrigerator and freezer storage. We provide guests access to the North and South parking lots, each accommodating 40 vehicles. Parking lots are out of view of reception and ceremony spaces.

Our Farm

The land that Blackwood is on near Hempstead, Texas, was once a forest of trees and brush struggling to grow in poor soil. Now it has been transformed into a living classroom—Blackwood Educational Land Institute.

Of the 33 acres that make up Blackwood, about four are cultivated as the Hopscotch and Kitchen gardens. The gardens at Blackwood are managed with regenerative agricultural practices, informed by multiple disciplines and perspectives. The Kitchen Garden has been growing nutrient-dense food since the early 1990s, and the Hopscotch Garden was built in 2010. Two high tunnels in Hopscotch enable us to experiment with growing specialty crops in the harsh Texas climate.

We grow healthy food to inspire the next generation and to connect us all. We are dedicated to harvesting and producing our food in restorative and environmentally-conscious manner, often employing key concepts of the day. Whether it’s biomechanics or permaculture, we’re integrating resiliency into our farming methods.

Our Fall 2019 CSA Season

COMMENCES TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29th AND RUNS THROUGH WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18th!

2019 Winter Dinner

Saturday, December 9th, 2019 from 5 to 9 p.m.
In partnership with Chef Cade Conlon of Longspoon Catering