Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Spring Means Fabulous Outside Events in Austin! (Revised) March 25, 2014

After a long, and very cold winter in Austin, I look forward to outdoor events in the Spring.  There are many, many events, and this list is not exhaustive by any means.  I do have my favorites, all of which involve amazing food, cocktails and  support good causes. My picks also boast some of my favorite outdoor venues in the City as well.

March 29, 2014 – This weekend, there are two events that I really enjoy, this Saturday March 29th, is Farmhouse Delivery’s Fais D0-Do, Gumbo Cookoff at Rain Lily Farm.  Stroll the gorgeous grounds at Rain Lily Farm, sampling Gumbo from the varied entrants, sipping on bloody marys, listening to Zydeco music.  There are raffle prizes, too. I’m in!  $10 a ticket.  Proceeds benefit Creek People.

March 30, 2014 – this Sunday, 2nd Annual Crawfish Boil at Lenoir, benefiting Austin Food for Life, a non-profit  organization that assists Austin area food workers with health care.  This event will take place in the garden behind Lenoir.  $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

April 13, 2014East Austin Urban Farm Tour – Spend a Sunday afternoon strolling amongst the crops, visiting the chickens, donkeys and goats on four urban farms mere blocks apart. At each farm, chefs will offer tastes of their art, using farm ingredients. Local mixologists, brewers, and wine merchants will share sips. In the fields, farmers will introduce their crops, share their experiences as farmers and answer gardening questions. It will be the perfect opportunity to get your gardening questions solved, with farm tours on the hour.  Proceeds benefit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Your $50 ticket will tell you which farm to start at, to prevent a backlog at any of the farms. No charge for children 12 & under.
Boggy Creek Farm – 3414 Lyons Road Austin, TX 78702

Food: Wink Restaurant,  Cafe Jose, Dolce Neve, Lenoir, Bufalina.  Drinks: Austin Wine Merchant, Live Oak, Weather Up

Hausbar Farm – 3300 Govalle, Austin, TX 78702

Food: Qui, Bola Pizza, Kome, Anjore Deepa, Dai Due.   Drinks Dripping Springs Vodka, Wahaca Tequila

Rain Lily Farm – 914 Shady Ln, Austin, TX 78702

Food:  Olive and June, Fabi and Rosi, Fresa’s.  (will update with full list)

Springdale Farm – 755 Springdale Rd, Austin, TX 78702

Food:  Eden East/Hillside Farmacy, Driskill Grill, Peche, Olamaie, Confituras. Drinks  Vinyards of Florence, Hops N Grain, Peche

See my recap of the 2011 East Austin Urban Farm Tour here:

April 19, 2014Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour – Spend an afternoon on a self-guided tour of select Austin-area produce keepers to get inspiration for your own urban coop.  Proceeds benefit the Urban Poultry Association of Texas, Inc.

My recap of the 2010 Funky Chicken Coop Tour is here:

April 17, 2014Live Fire! – Austin Food and Wine Alliance 6:30 – 9:00
This year at the Salt Lick Pavilion, local and regional chefs will exhibit their culinary mastery over open flames. Stroll the beautiful grounds of the Salt Lick Pavilion, taste the chefs’ offerings, taste a variety of wines and enjoy being outside before summer moves us all back inside. $75.00

Chef lineup:

Rene Ortiz of Angry Bear, Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen (San Antonio), Brandon Fuller of Cafe Josie, Kendall Melton of Contigo, Jeff Martinez of El Chile Cafe y Cantina, Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ, Matt McAllister of FT33, (Dallas), Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants (San Antonio), Ronnie Killen of Killen’s BBQ (Pearland), Rick Lopez of La Condesa, Monica Glenn of qui, Ben Runkle, Bryan Butler and Josh Jones of Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, Callie Speer of Swift’s Attic, Josh Watkins of The Carillon, Timothy Rattray of The Granary (San Antonio), Scott Roberts of The Salt Lick (Driftwood), Kristine Kittrell of Weather Up, Reece Lagunas of Whole Foods Market

More about this event from their website: http://austinfoodwinealliance.org/?page_id=610
To order tickets, go here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/live-fire-2014-tickets-10930275749
My recap of the 2011 Live Fire event here:

April 30, 2014Homegrown Revival Dinner at HOPE Outdoor Gallery.  “A very special dinner on the top level of one of Austin’s most popular landmarks – The HOPE Outdooor Gallery.  The night includes a 5-7 course locally sourced dining experience with music and pairs drinks along copy of  HOPE Outdoor Gallery; Lost &  Found Vol 1 art book & collection sticker pack.”  The dinner will be prepared by Chef Sonya Cote.   This should be a fabulous evening with amazing food, drinks and company. $150.00.  For tickets click here.

May 8, 2014 – Sustainable Food Center Farm to Plate: http://www.sustainablefoodcenter.org/donate/farm-to-plate $125.00

Sip and stroll format, with lots of local chefs, at the beautiful Barr Mansion.  Proceeds benefit the Sustainable Food Center and their many fabulous programs.

 

East Austin Urban Farm Tour of 2011 April 22, 2011

Last Sunday, I participated in the East Austin Urban Farm Tour, benefiting the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.   I met Kristi at Hausbar Farms, but arrived a bit early to  hang out with my friends from Bola Pizza and take some pictures of the farm.  Hausbar is a relatively new farm, one of three properties owned by the owners  Eastside Cafe.   The two properties and the land surrounding the restaurant, grow approximately 85% of the produce used at Eastside.  The farm had grown since I last saw it.

Hausbar crops

As always, if there are animals around, I tend to gravitate toward them – in this case Julian the donkey.

Julian

Julian was difficult to get a good photo of, because he followed me around like a puppy, and I couldn’t get any distance.  He went on the farm tours provided by Dorsey.  He ate the button off my pants.

Eastside was serving tamales and chili, although I was too warm for such fare.  Bola Pizza was dishing up their amazing pie.

Bola Pizza

This chicken wanted nothing to do with all of the hooplah, and stayed perched above the fray.

Above it all

Next, we hoofed it over to Springdale Farm, on Springdale Lane.  The Farm, owned by Paula and Glenn Foore, was in full glorious bloom.  There were  snapdragons aplenty, and they provided a wonderfully colorful accent to the crops.

Springdale Farm

More Spring Color

I tried a delicious lamb slider from The Driskill Grill.

Lamb Slider

From Springdale, we hoofed it over to Rain Lily Farm, on Shady Lane.   Also in full Springtime glory, the farm was fully planted and looked productive.

Rain Lily Farm

There was a salad with farm fresh lettuce, pork belly, and strawberries, and Colleen from Pie Fixes Everything was also on hand with her delicious treats.

Pie Fixes Everything

Next up, we headed over to Boggy Creek Farm, which has for years been one of my happy places.  For some reason, everytime I visit Boggy Creek with a camera, I feel compelled to snap a photo of the work gloves, hung up to dry each day, on the back porch of the farmhouse.

Gloves

To me, these are a reminder that farming takes hard work.  In the distance, there are folks getting a tour of the farm.

The flowers were stunning at Boggy Creek as well.

Gorgeous flowers

After Boggy Creek, we walked back to Hausbar, where we started.

Christian and the Bola Pizza Oven

The pizzas were still flying out of the oven, so I snagged a piece and went off to re-visit the button stealing donkey.  After the tour officially ended, a few of us went back to Springdale Farm, for a lovely evening under the big oak tree, with more food, some wine, and lots more fun.

I love our East Austin Urban Farms, and the farmers are some of the most special people I’ve ever met.  We are so lucky to have access to them.  Boggy Creek and Springdale both have farmstands on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-1:00, where you can purchase their fabulous produce.  You can help support Rain Lily Farm, by joining Farmhouse Delivery, a local food delivery service.   You can taste the wonderful bounty growing at Hausbar, by patronizing Eastside Cafe.

 

Stuffed Local Quail, with Rice and Spinach March 1, 2011

For my Oscar dinner, I decided to make quail.  I had some local quail from Farmhouse Delivery, I just couldn’t decide how to cook it.  Trying to remember what the stuffed Dai Due Quail was stuffed with, I hemmed and hawed between stuffing them and wrapping them in bacon and grilling.  So, I decided to stuff them with Kitchen Pride mushrooms, Spring onions and thyme.  So I cooked the mushrooms and onions in butter and white wine with garden thyme.

Mushrooms, onions, thyme, white wine, butter

Once this mixture had cooled, I mixed in a bit of Porcini Oil from Con O’lio, the commenced stuffing the quail with it.  Knowing the quail should be seasoned dry for a crispier skin, I drizzled a bit of the Porcini Oil on them too, because I couldn’t help it.  That olive oil is so delicious.  Then I put them in a 375 degree oven.

I also made some Lowell Farms Brown Jasmine Rice, and sauteed (then oversalted) some Springfield Farms spinach.   And this was my Oscar dinner.

Stuffed Quail Dinner

 

Happy Hour at Rain Lily Farm February 26, 2011

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Austin is so fortunate to have several local farms just East of downtown.  This week, I got to visit Rain Lily Farm, on Shady Lane, for one of their recurring  Happy Hours.   Rain Lily provides much of the produce for the wonderful all local, organic food delivery service, called Farmhouse Delivery, which delivers fresh produce from other organic farms, as well as locally sourced meats, dairy, breads and everything else you need to eat locally and organically.  www.farmhousedelivery.com

As guests were arriving, I peeked into the fields to see what they were growing.  All of the usual suspects for this time of year, lettuces, onions, cabbages.  The crops looked great, given the bad freezes we’ve endured.

Rows of Gorgeous Lettuces

Purple Cabbage

Onions

I love most of the farms that I’ve visited, but this one is especially cool because of all of the design elements here and there.

Iron Work on this structure

And, how often do you get to hang out in a tee pee?

Tee Pee

Or lay in a hammock?

Farm Hammock

The chickens are content in their large enclosure.

Happy Chickens

The was plenty of good food to be had as well.  The wildly popular Bola Pizza trailer was on hand with their delicious wood fired oven.  It was very well received, and they cranked out about 60 pies.  http://www.bolapizza.com

Christian of Bola Pizza

And, there was pie!  Colleen, from Pie Fixes Everything was there with her delicious fruit pies.

Pie Fixes Everything

I got to chat with Colleen, the owner of Pie Fixes Everything, whom I’d previously met at the HOPE Farmer’s Market.   I had heard of her locally sourced wheat flour pizza crust, and quiches, but this evening she was on hand with fruit pies.  Colleen sources as much in-season fruit for her pies as possible, uses organic eggs and unbleached, un-bromided flour.  Check out her website 222.piefixeseverything.com.

The event was BYOB, and I took my go-to favorite 1.5 liter bottle of La Vieille Ferme, which I call chicken wine, for the chickens on the label.  This French table wine pleases everyone I’ve ever poured it for, and is affordable enough to tote to big events and serve a group, which I did.   And, it has a chicken on the label, how apropos!

It was a wonderful and relaxing night on the farm, and I look forward to the next one.

 

 

No Grocery Store, Days 358 and 359 December 16, 2010

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Day 358 I managed a boiled egg for breakfast.  For lunch, I had the red snapper tacos at Cafe Josie.  In the mid-afternoon, I put on a pot of the pinto beans I was gifted earlier this year, and set them on low.  Then I left to go run errands for my folks, and ended up getting home later than I planned, to a big ole pot of burned beans.  So,  my rice and bean dinner, was just Lowell Farms Rice and a snack of Kocurek pork rillettes left over from the party last weekend.

Day 359, I ate a little raw milk yogurt.  Lunch was an impromptu office (really the whole floor) at The Austin Club.  I had a salad, a cheese enchilada, and a taco.  (Buffet style)  I had two events last night – first was a Farmhouse Delivery Happy Hour at Olivia, where the chef prepared several appetizers using Farmhouse Delivery produce.  So I had a radish, a strawberry (interesting, they are getting greenhouse strawberries) a bite of a potato gratin, and a bite of a fried green tomato.  Next up, an ornament exchange party, where there was an elaborate Antonelli’s cheese plate.  I usually just buy stuff to assemble my own cheese plate, but now I see why the Antonelli’s cheese plates are so popular.  Because they are gorgeous!  This plate had 5 or so cheeses on it, adorned with curls of cured meats, and some chocolates, yellow raisins and some nuts, I think.  It had already been partially eaten, but it was a work of art.  So for dinner, I snacked on the cheese plate.

 

Springdale Farm Pig Roast December 4, 2010

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This evening I attended a Pig Roast at Springdale Farm, which was one of the first events of Edible Austin, Eat Local Week.  I love Springdale Farm, and Glenn and Paula Foore, the owners.  Springdale Farm sits on just under 5 acres on Springdale Lane, near Boggy Creek Farm.  Unlike Boggy Creek Farm, the Foore’s don’t live on the property.  They have a farmstand on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9-1:00, selling their produce and eggs.  They have beautiful chickens.

Springdale Farm

I showed up a bit early, to get some pictures in the last of the daylight.  I wanted to see the pig roasting in action.  There were two pigs, the one roasted on an open flame, and a larger one that had been quartered and placed into two La Caja China boxes, like the one we used at my house a couple of months ago.

Pig roasting in cinder block pit

Off the spit

I didn’t take pictures of their largest growing area, but I love this wine bottle raised garden.

Wine Bottle Raised Garden

I’m also a huge fan of their growing tables, mostly filled with lettuces.  These would have come in handy when I was having back problems.

These growing tables are genius

Before the pig was ready, guests were provided fresh garden produce for sampling.

Garden snacks

When the first pig was brought to the serving tables, it was still in large chunks.  An instructor from the culinary school started shredding it and asked me to help him, so I put on gloves and got to work.

Roasted pig

There were seasonal sides prepared by Elizabeth Winslow of Farmhouse Delivery.  Broccoli, sweet potatoes, salad and a sautéed mushroom dish.

Sides

Gorgeous salad

There were desserts from Pie Fixes Everything, Whole Foods and Blue Note Bakery.  There was live music, and everyone sat on the lawn, under a sprawling pecan tree adorned with Christmas lights.  It was such a nice evening.  Good people, good food in a great setting for a wonderful cause – Urban Roots.  There will be events for the next week for Eat Local Week, and lots of area restaurants are participating with special, locally sourced meals.

 

Give the Gift of Local, Part Deux November 23, 2010

Aside from the gift ideas straight from the SFC Farmer’s Market downtown, there are lots of other great choices for keeping your gift giving funds in our local economy, and exposing friends to new local businesses they might not be aware of.

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop is loading up on gift type items, and has a catalog in the works to make shopping easier.   Aside from fabulous cheese, charcuterie, wine, beer, olive oils and preserves, Antonelli’s has a great assortment of serving pieces, like cheese boards, cheese knives, cheese plate markers, and an entire wall of other items that would be great for the cheese lover in your life.

Gift ideas from Antonelli's Cheese Shop

They have one of the more interesting wine selections in town as well.

Wonderful wines

Another product I’m hoarding for my gift baskets is the locally made Cajeta and Bourbon Cajeta from Blue Heron Farm.  Oh, heck yes!  Goat milk caramel is to die for.  Spoon it over Vanilla ice cream, please.

http://www.antonellischeese.com

Other gift items can be found at Con Olio, in the Arboretum.  This shop has an amazing variety of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, pastas, sauces, and another interesting wine selection.

Con Olio

http://www.conolio.com

One more amazing local food maker and purveyor is Delysia Chocolates.  Nicole Patel has a way with her chocolates, imparting some of the most interesting flavors I’ve ever tasted.  There are wine flavored chocolates, autumn inspired flavors, and some off the radar flavors like cigar, which is evocative of a cedar cigar box.  I am partial to the chocolates infused with heat from peppers.  Delysia has also now introduced a line of chocolate barks.  Big Fan.  www. delysia.com

Delysia Chocolates

Yet another interesting idea is to give the gift of a CSA Membership.  You choose the frequency of delivery of local produce from area farms.  Farmhouse Delivery offers not just produce from local farms but locally made products, such as Confituras’ locally made delicious preserves, and local cheeses.

http://www.farmhousedelivery.com

Edible Austin, a wonderful resource for all of the local goodness that Austin has to offer, would also make a wonderful gift.  Subscriptions are a mere $28 annually.  http://www.edibleaustin.com

If you are building gift baskets, as am I, another good resource is the Better Bites of Austin, Local Holiday Gift Fair event at City Hall on December 8, 2010 from 4:00 to 8:00.  This is a free event, where you can meet and shop from our local foodmakers and buy local products.