Update Collin County

Welcome to the Blog – Feel Free to Look Around!

Firstly, a few words about other blogs in our niche – forget about them.

Chances are they contain too much fluff and haven’t gotten you the information that you need. Welcome to Update Collin County. On this blog, you’ll find advice on all things in your community such as eateries, entertainment, shopping, real estate, events, etc…

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2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference

Farm & Food Leadership Conference – Historic Downtown McKinney

Farm & Food Leadership Conference Overview

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable farming and local products you need to attend the 2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference. You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about this cause. Furthermore you will be making a difference in the farming industry for the future of local agriculture. This event will give you the opportunity to focus on policies and regulations that affect our farms and local foods. You will be given the tools and information needed to develop sustainable agriculture. This event is not only for farmers, we strongly encourage anyone working in the food industry, local business owners, and nonprofit advocates to attend. Each attendee will gain the knowledge to support and participate in the local and sustainable food movement.

Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance


What To Expect

This is the first time in 11 years that the Food & Farm Conference has been located in North Texas.

-You can expect in depth workshops to help farmers and producers with practical solutions such as how to form a successful co-op and food safety for produce growers.

-You will hear top speakers on a variety of topics including nutrition, sustainable sourcing at restaurants and retailers, food waste, water policy, farm support programs, GMO’s, food freedom, and more.

-Fred Kirschenmann, President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be speaking over multiple topics.

-You will have the opportunity to network with fellow individuals that share the same passions.

-You will have the option to attend an on-farm dinner, prepared by Harvest Seasonal Kitchen from food grown by local farmers.

Register Here


Sunday, Sept. 24: Pre-Conference Workshops | Heard Natural Science Museum

Monday – Times subject to change

9 a.m.: Welcome

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Keynote by Fred Kirschenmann

10:30-noon: Session 1:

  • Activism at the local level
  • Climate change: Looking past the “cause debate” to build resilient systems
  • Access to government resources for small farmers
  • Co-op Q&A

Noon-1:30: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:30-2:45 p.m.: Session 2

  • Effective legislative advocacy
  • Seed diversity
  • Growing sustainable grains
  • Farmers’ Market Q&A

3:15-4:30 p.m.: Session 3

  • Farm Bill, corporate mergers, and the news from DC
  • Activating your microbiota for health
  • How do we sustain Farm-to-Table?
  • Food Policy Board networking session

6 p.m.: Farm-to-Table Dinner at Pure Land Organic Farm, McKinney, Texas


Tuesday – Times subject to change

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.: Plenary session with Alan Lewis

9:35 – 10:35 a.m.: Session 1

  • GMO Basics
  • Wild foods: A guide to foraging
  • Opportunities for young farmers and military veterans

10:55 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.: Session 2

  • The latest news and developments with GMOs
  • Protecting pollinators
  • Farmer’s markets … what’s working and what’s not
  • Fermentation demonstration

1:210 – 1:40: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:40-3:10 p.m.: Session 3

  • Water and the future of our food
  • Food access: how do we get good food to more people?
  • Revenue streams for small farmers
  • Cooking demonstration

3:30-4:45 p.m. Session 4

  • Texas legislative update
  • Home gardening
  • The outlook for local brewers & distillers

4:45 p.m.: Closing


Nine-Band Brewing Company – Texas Inspired Brewery In Allen, TX

Nine-Band Brewing Company Owner Keith Ashley

Keith Ashley is the single owner of Nine-Band Brewing Company. Before starting the brewing company, Keith served in the Military, on the McKinney Fire Department, as a Flight Nurse, and as a Wylie Police Officer. This is a man who has risked his life for Collin County and now he is personally investing in this community with his business. Nine-Band currently employs four full-time employees, and six part-time employees to run the taproom and special events. Nine-Band offers tours of the brewery and the brewing process every Saturday at 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00. You don’t need to make reservations just show up a few minutes before your desired tour time with $15 in hand. The tour includes a pint glass and samples of the products through out the tour. Tourists are encouraged to stick around the taproom after the tour and sip on a few brews. The brewery’s taproom hours are:
Monday – Thursday: 5-9
Friday: 5-11
Saturday: 12-4

Keith Ashley

Nine-Band Brewing Company History

After retiring from the police force Keith decided to pursue his interest in the brewing business. Of course one of the most important aspects of a great brewing company is a catchy name. The “Nine-Band” name comes from the Nine Banded Armadillo. If you are not familiar with Texas history, the Armadillo is the state small mammal. Keith didn’t want your stereotypical “YEE-HAW” Texas name to represent his beer, but rather a true representation of who we Texans are. Furthermore, Keith went on to name every single beer that he and his team brew after something in Texas! The Brewery was established in 2013 and started brewing in late 2014. Nine-Band opened its doors February of 2015 with three beers (Nine-Band Pale Ale, Cactus Cat Kolsch, and Toad Choker Barley Wine) for its grand opening! The team gradually started expanding, adding 4 more 60 barrel fermenters, 7 more beers, and expanding all over the state of Texas.

Nine Band History

Nine-Band Brewing Company Today

Today Nine-Band Brewing Company is distributed through Ben E. Keith in the Dallas area, and Favorite Brands in the Austin, Houston, San Antonio area, and Quality Beverage in Oklahoma. After recently signing an agreement with Osage Casinos, the new endeavor will serve Nine-Band beer inside Osage Casinos! They currently can and keg their products depending on the beer/season. The Nine-Band Pale Ale, Cactus Cat Kolsch, and The Badge Honey Blonde are canned year round. The canned seasonals consist of the June Bug Summer Wheat, Ghost Cow Oktoberfest, and 28th State Stout. They do not can their Hoop Snake Hefeweizen, Toad Choker Barley Wine, Blue Lacy Brown Ale, or Hellwind IPA but rather only serve it off the tap.


Nine-Band Brewing Company Beers

The Nine-Band Brewmaster, Ian, has 15+ years of brewing experience. He is very tedious in his recipes and cleaning when it comes to the brewhouse. At the moment, he has 10 different styles that he brews throughout the year. All but one of the styles are ales. The only lager that we make at Nine Band is the Ghost Cow Oktoberfest. As stated before, all of our beers have a meaning behind the name that relates to Texas. The following is a list of the beers available and the meaning behind their name:

Nine Band Pale Ale – It’s our flagship beer that carries the Nine Banded
Armadillo on the label.

Pale Ale

Cactus Cat Kolsch – A legendary car with hair-like thorns used to prick cactus and release the juices. It would then let the juice ferment and come back to drink the juice. It would then shriek throughout the night on a drunken tangent. Haha.

Cactus Cat

Hoop Snake Hefeweizen – A legendary snake that would bite its own tail to roll away from predators or to chase its prey.

Hoop Hefeweizen

Blue Lacy Brown Ale – Blue Lacy is the state dog of Texas.

Toad Choker Barley Wine – A toad choker is a bad storm that floods the grounds enough to “choke a toad”. We get a lot of those here!

Toad Choker

June Bug Summer Wheat – You already know how bad these are in the spring/summer.

June Bug

28th State Stout – Texas was the 28th State to join the USA.

Ghost Cow Oktoberfest – The old myth/tale of driving down a dark country road and swerving off into the grass because you saw a cow in the road. You pull over, look behind you, and nothing is there. It must’ve been a GHOST COW!!!!!

Nine Band Brewing Ghost Cow

The Badge Honey Blonde – This beer was made nearly and dearly to Keith and his previous life as a service man to this country and the people of this state. Being in the fire, ems, police, and military; he wanted to give back. The Badge stands for the badge that these service men and women hold to protect and serve the citizens of the United States.

Nine Band Brewing Badge Honey Blond


Harvest/Ricks Team

An Interview With Rick Wells: Harvest – Ricks Chophouse – Water Boy Farms


The first time Rick remembers being interested in the service industry was at the age of 12 after his parents bought a restaurant. With Rick’s father being a football coach, he says he would have followed in his father’s footsteps if it weren’t for the family owned restaurant. After graduating college Rick started working with Bennigans and Sambuca opening up restaurants all across the country. He was educated on how to evaluate markets and project success for new locations.

Water Boy Garden

In 2003 Rick and his wife decided to buy some land in Lucas, build a home, and settle down. They wanted to give their children the opportunity to grow up on a farm looking up at the stars at night in awe of this beautiful place we call home. This farm is now Water Boy Farms, which supplies Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse with fruits, vegetables, and honey. In 2004 Rick was thinking about making a job change from the corporate world to something more community involved. After doing a little homework he decided McKinney was going to be the center of his universe, and he started Rick’s Chophouse.

Inside Ricks Chophouse

Rick’s Chophouse was the first restaurant he opened in McKinney, and after receiving the philanthropist of the year award in 2012 Rick was humbled and wanted to continue investing in his community. One statistic that stuck with him was “for every dollar you spend in a community $0.70 stays local.” He had a new goal in mind focused on the community and surrounding area. Rick wanted to fully stock his restaurants with locally grown products; this is where Harvest comes into the picture. After taking two years to evaluate and plan, Harvest was opened and in full swing, using local materials and recycled products to build this one of a kind restaurant.

Inside Harvest

-Current and Future Business

With around 40 farms to stock Harvest including Ricks personal Water Boy Farms, Harvest is known for its fresh and organic ingredients. The farm is run by Master Gardener and Executive Chef Andrea Shackelford, along with employees of Rick’s Chophouse and Harvest as a team effort to serve fresh local ingredients.

Water Boy Farm Vegetables

Each employee at Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse is put through an extensive hiring and training process in both restaurants! The restaurants run on “a one heart culture” meaning that each person is bigger than himself or herself and apart of a community that invests in each other. Rick has a very strong passion for this community!

Water Boy Honey

The two things Rick loves most are education and food, and with 1 school already and another on the way and 2 restaurants it is obvious that the Wells family has a bright outlook on the future of McKinney. Rick has so much in store for this community that goes far beyond his lifetime. The work Rick is doing right now will last for 100’s of years to come in this beautiful North Texas Town.

Water Boy Farms


Local Yocal – Farm Fresh Products & Butcher

Local Yocal Supplies Farm To Market Freshness Centered Around Customer Needs!

It all started when Local Yocal owner/operator Matt Hamilton made a decision to ditch the corporate world and start a beef company. After starting Geniuses Beef Hamilton soon realized that processors around this area didn’t have the correct licensing for resale. The Processors that did obtain the appropriate licensing were backed up and very hard to work with. This is how Local Yocal came to be, a lack of farm fresh meats and a desire to serve customers! With the processing side of the operation now taking place in-house, Hamilton had confidence in the product he was selling.


Starting off at local farmers markets Hamilton met an array of families selling great products just like him. This inspired Hamilton to pursue the retail side of the business in order to house great products locally made by great people! You can the store front in Historic Downtown McKinney stocked with fresh meat and high-quality hand made products.

Fresh Meat On Display

Hamilton now sells a farm fresh meat out of the store front as well as to whole sale local restaurants in McKinney and the surrounding area. A few of these restaurants include Harvest, The Pub McKinney, Square Burger, and Al Biernat’s Steak House.


Hamilton has dedicated a great deal of time to establish relationships with each supplier he features in his store. When you walk into Local Yocal you can be sure that you’re receiving the best products in Dallas!

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House – Good Homestyle Cooking

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House – Frisco, TX

Are you looking for some delicious southern cooking? You need not look any further because Babe’s Chicken Dinner House has got you taken care of. The Babe’s Atmosphere welcomes anyone into its casual and comfortable home. You won’t find any fancy decorations or dress code, rather a family style establishment where your neighbors wait on you and your whole family.

Babe's Seating


In 1981 Paul and Mary Beth Vinyard opened their first Country Cooking restaurant and named it Bubba’s. You will find Bubba’s in Dallas near SMU in a 1927 Texaco Service Station. This restaurant is very similar to Babe’s in the food that it serves, but it is more of a serve yourself or grab it To-Go location. On April 22, 1993, they opened their second restaurant and named it Babe’s Chicken Dinner House! The first Babe’s was built in a 1908 warehouse in Roanoke, Texas.

Babe's Tower“Babe” was Mary Beth’s nick name, and since she developed all the recipes it only felt natural. Over the next few years, Babe’s expanded substantially with an additional 8 locations including the one in Frisco. Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in Frisco opened on July 14, 2008. Each location takes pride in establishing strong roots in the community it serves. The employees live in these communities and play an active role in promoting the well-being of its residence!
Babe's Fried Chicken

-Babe’s Hours

Mon-Fri: 11-2 & 5-9

Sat-Sun: 11-9

Babe's Hours

Tub Of Love - Dude, Sweet Chocolate

Dude, Sweet Chocolate – Dark Handcrafted Treats!

Dude, Sweet Chocolate Is A Dark Chocolate Manufacturer, Distributor, And Retailer Focusing On Handmade Chocolate Creations.

Their product is handcrafted to create the best combination of fudges, truffles, nuts, and chocolate bars! There are currently four Dude, Sweet Chocolate locations in the DFW area where you can directly purchase your favorite sweets. They also maintain sales relationships with dozens of local and out of state resellers such as Whole Foods, winery and distillery operations, P.F. Chang’s, and more.

DSC Toffee

Dude, Sweet Chocolate created at a dive bar south of downtown Dallas where Chef Katherine Clapner and Redding May were regulars. After Mr. May partnered with Ms. Clapner to send unique chocolates as gifts while working with Merrill Lynch, Clapner decided to run with the idea. Selling her chocolates in summer heat at farmers markets she had the idea of opening up a local store! December of 2008 the first store/kitchen opened its doors! “At Dude, Sweet Chocolate we strive to differentiate ourselves by maintaining intense focus on the quality of the culinary product itself, and not getting lost in the rest of the product design process. You will not find a single bow, ribbon, or shiny box in our stores. Kraft paper packaging, brown labeling, and simple, clean design shift attention to the chocolate, which stands on its own.” –Dude, Sweet Chocolate Team

Dude Sweet Chocolate - Chocolate Vinegar
Katherine takes pride in factoring in different flavor profiles that wouldn’t usually fit in at a chocolate shop. Flavors such as Albatross blue cheese, sea salt fudge, and pumpkin seed toffee are local favorites. These are the types of products that make Mr. Clapner’s shop stand out from the usual chocolate shop, and she seems to effortlessly blow expectations out of the water!


Dude, Sweet Chocolate also offers unique products for corporate gifting that will leave a lasting impression on your customers. Mix and match the award winning chocolates to create a gift that is hand made and different.


The Emerson Entrance

The Emerson Apartment Complex -@- Frisco Market Center!


The Emerson Apartments are a modern, luxury community of one and two bedroom apartment found in the thriving Frisco Market Center. Each apartment attracts fashionable style, while still providing an efficient and convenient lifestyle. The Frisco apartments welcome you with traditional brick exterior, and transition into a modern and practical home focused on accommodating your daily life. With interiors featuring granite countertops, Whirlpool appliances, as well as a designer kitchen and bathroom, you will love coming home to your piece of paradise.

Emerson Kitchen

Each detail of the Frisco luxury apartments was designed with a focus to ensure you would receive everything you desire. The luxury does not stop when you walk out of your front door. It continues into the outdoor community amenities designed to give you the best living experience possible.

Emerson @ night

The Emerson features amenities that go far beyond the typical apartment complex. The Emerson takes pride in maintaining these amenities to encourage the most effective use of these features possible.

The following amenities are featured at the Emerson in order to provide their residents the living experience that we all desire. They feature a resort style swimming pool large enough to waist away the afternoon poolside with a book, or have a “backyard” get together with some local friends!

Emerson Pool

There is a courtyard with water features to sooth the mind and body as you read a book, or finish up some work from home.

Quiet Study

An outdoor poolside kitchen featuring a stainless steel gas grill for those world famous burgers the family cant seem to get enough of.

Emerson Outdoor Kitchen

Professional quality athletic center with training machines, HDTV, and Cable access.

Workout Facility Workout Facility 2

A conference center along with a technology business center featuring mac and pc computer access.

Tech Room

“The Cave” entertainment center featuring 75” HDTV, Poker, and Foosball to unwind after a long days work.

The Cave The Cave 2

Complimentary upright tanning beds available to all residents.

Tanning Bed

2-acre pond with walking trails for your nightly stroll with that special someone or the dog-o.

Walking Trail

Even your pet can receive the luxurious treatment with the complimentary Doggie Oasis Pet Spa.

Dog Wash

Bike Storage and repair center along with additional storage for those of you who are downsizing but haven’t found a home for your additional things is available as well.



McKinney Wine Merchant – Historic Downtown

Collin County’s Most Inspired and Intrepid Selection of Wine!

It’s time to ditch the Franzia and get over to McKinney Wine Merchant! This locally owned and operated merchant is housing some of the most delicious and exotic wines McKinney has to offer. Andy Doyle, a former U.S. Marine, is the owner/operator and has over 25 years of experience in the wine industry. Opening the doors April 5, 2011, you will still find Andy behind the counter and available for questions if you choose to visit the local downtown shop! His desire to accommodate each and every customer far outshines the corporate mindset to sell the most expensive bottle. Andy will personally help you find the perfect pairing for any event, dinner, or day by the pool.



-About McKinney Wine Merchant

McKinney Wine Merchant carries about 200 wines from six continents. Prices range from $9.00 to $300. McKinney Wine Merchant will deliver wine in McKinney and the surrounding 2 miles. They also offer a Wine-of-the-Month Club for an affordable surprise 12 times per year (every month). The Wine Merchant does a great job of finding the hidden treasures whether it’s a $10 Chardonnay you fell in love with on your honeymoon, or a $100 Cabernet from a tiny vineyard that few have ever heard of. There are also a few beers and accessories available in the store as well.

“I’m dedicated to the preservation of serious winemaking, and the enjoyment of serious wine. You should make every effort to buy all of your wine at McKinney Wine Merchant, forever.” -Andy Doyle


Palace Barber Shop

The Palace Barbershop – 125 Years of Business

The Palace History

Opening its doors for business in 1892, The Palace Barber Shop was started by two gentlemen named Lewis and Hinnant. Proving to be a sound investment, the barber shop operates under the same name and in the same location to this day! The Palace Barber Shop has served as a central location for men in the McKinney area to gather and tell the tales of the town. Up until this 1970’s barber shops served as private establishments for males only to exchange information, news, and stories in the privacy of male company. More often than not men would take a daily trip to the barber shop to get a hot straight shave and a shoe shine while talking with the men around town.

the palace 1932

In 1927 Bruce Luster started shining shoes in the barber shop at the age of 16. Dedicated to perfection and committed to excellence Mr. Luster became a well-known man in McKinney. Spending over 50 years shining shoes at The Palace Barber Shop, Mr. Luster knew just about everyone and everything about them. February 23, 1996, was officially declared Bruce Luster Day by Mayor John E. Gay, he has also been recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for his “dedication to the welfare of others”.


In 1978 the current owner Mr. Pearson took a risk and hired a young woman by the name of Linda Marshall. This was in an effort to expand and gain a larger clientele due to salon’s taking business away from the barber shop. After the initial introduction into the barber shop, and outlasting the grumpy old timers, things settled down and Linda became a part of the Palace family. The shop continued to be successful and in 2007 Mr. Pearson decided to sell the Palace to Linda. She became the 5th and only woman to own the Palace!

Linda Marshall Palace Owner

The Palace Now

Linda has worked hard to make the barber shop what it is today. She has done work to the interior along with exposing the hidden original brick wall behind the red chairs where gentlemen wait to get their hair cut.

exposed wall

The original wood floors didn’t cut health regulation, so Linda installed the checkered tile floor to keep the old time feel of a 1900’s barbershop as well. There has been a lot of change in this little barbershop as well as in Historic Downtown McKinney, but the quality and conversations held in this place can never be replicated. This is a place where everyone is welcome and a smile is required to leave.

Palace Haircut

Frios Gourmet Pops – Downtown McKinney

Frios Pops Makes Every Day a Good Day!
Fresh, frozen, fun best describes the gourmet pops served at Frios. Each pop is handmade with the freshest ingredients and sweetened with organic cane sugar. The team has established outstanding relationships with the farmers that supply them with the dairy and fruit used in the pops. This relationship ensures the utmost quality for every pop.
Frios Blueberry Cheesecake
Each popsicle is frozen to perfection with a fusion of different flavors that will burst in your mouth. There is currently one Frios in the Dallas area and they are located in the Historic Downtown of McKinney. They also cater events with a cart or a portable freezer for all of your outside activities with a large variety of flavors to choose from!
Frios Pops Portable
“The best part of our job is the reward of watching people smile as they enjoy our product. We’ve seen moms soothe their teething baby’s gums with a fresh strawberry pop; we’ve seen a teenage couple on their first date laughing and enjoying a pop in front of our store; we’ve been honored to be part of a newly married couple reception as the crowd toasts a life of happiness with a pop raised high. We’ve also enjoyed the company of a senior citizen who is instantly reminded of childhood summers after eating one of our muscadine pops.” – Frios Team
Frios CTC