Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Update-My Favorite Spring Events, 2015 March 5, 2015

It most certainly feels like Spring may never get here, but surely things will start to warm up soon.  I’m cheering myself up by looking forward to some of my favorite Springtime Events.  This list certainly in not all inclusive, and doesn’t include some of the obvious large annual events – these are just a few more affordable events I enjoy.  The update is to add Live Fire, the details of which were just released.

March 7, 2015  Sunshine Community Garden Spring Plant Sale This event is held the first Saturday of each March, and is my favorite plant sale for vegetable transplants.  The greenhouses will be filled with everything you need for your Spring Garden, including more tomato and pepper varieties that you can even fathom.  Peruse their online inventory and make your own list to take with you, or you might be overwhelmed.  Go early, wait in line, and be prepared for the crush of humanity that will ensue when they open the gates.  It’s part of the fun, I promise.

March 28, 2015  Fais Do Do, Gumbo Cookoff at Rain Lily Farm  This annual event sponsored by Farmhouse Delivery, is held at Rain Lily Farm on Shady Lane.  Your $35.00 ticket will get you unlimited gumbo tastings, complimentary beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.  Proceeds benefit Creek People.  This is a really fun time, on one of our lovely East Austin Urban Farms.

March 29, 2015  Edible Austin’s Children’s Picnic and Real Food Fair  This is a fun event for the whole family, held at the historic French Legation Museum and grounds.  There will be lots of food vendors, and lots of educational opportunities as well.  Kiddos typically pet baby goats, learn about backyard chickens, learn gardening from volunteers, and leave the event with their own little box garden.

April 4, 2015 Funky Chicken Coop Tour  This-self guided tour of some of Austin’s most interesting and innovative chicken coops.  Homeowner’s show off their coops and share their experiences keeping backyard chickens.  Drawings and giveaways will be available at the launch site, Buck Moore Feed Store.

April 9, 2015 Austin Food and Wine Alliance’s Live Fire This event is a meat lovers paradise each year.  The lineup of chefs has just been released and it looks amazing!  Many of your favorites local chefs and some from restaurants in other cities, will cook over live fire, and for $70 a ticket (early bird price), you will get to sample them all.  The event is held at the Salt Lick Pavillion, and will also feature live music, mines, cocktails, and craft beer.  Proceeds go toward the Alliance’s culinary grant program.

April 12, 2015 East Austin Urban Farm Tour  Also self guided, this is a tour of 4 of Austin’s Urban Farms, Boggy Creek Farm, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, and Rain Lily Farm.  These four farms are all within walking distance of one another, and just a short 3 miles from Austin’s Capitol.  Each unique farm will host hourly tours by the farmers, and you will enjoy bites from some of Austin’s best restaurants, and sips from local beverage artisans and brewers.  While the final restaurant/artisan list has yet to be announced, the early word is very impressive, including Lenoir, Wink, Olamaie, Texas French Bread, Dolce Neve, Live Oak Brewery, Weather up, Austin Wine Merchant, Qui, Kome, Fixe, Fukumoto, Uchiko, Hops n Grain, Mescal, Paula’s, Banner Vodka, The Driskill, Swifts Attic, The Hightower, Anjore, Eden, Gardner, East Ciders, Liber & Co., Zhi Tea, Dai Due, Fresas, Odd Duck, Bola Pizza, Treaty Oak Distillery, Real Ale.  I’ll update this list once it is finalized. The tickets are $50.00 for adults, kids under 10 are free and proceeds benefit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Ongoing:  Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities with Green Corn Project.  We will be installing gardens for our recipients through March.

Ongoing:  Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has events every week, including cheese and jam pairings, cheese and beverage pairings, and classes.

Ongoing:  Confituras has jam making classes throughout the year and they are really fun and informative.  It is about to be fruit season!

 

Urban Farm Code Update June 24, 2013

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Do you love our  Austin Urban Farms? They need our support right now and there is now an easy way to show your support.  Www.austinurbanfarms.org is now live and explains what the farms need to stay in business, and provides a way for you to sign up as a supporter.

Photo: Love Austin's farms? The Sustainable Food Policy Board is making their recommendations for changes to the Urban Farm Code on Monday 6/24, 12:30-2:30 pm.  Please come to the meeting in support of the farms or e-mail the members and let them know that Austin farms make good neighbors and are an important part of our community. http://www.austintexas.gov/sfpb

 

No Mystery Meat Here! February 26, 2013

I am aware that other cultures eat horse meat, but I choose not to, having grown up with horses as pets and companions.

The recent (and widening) scandal about horse meat making it’s way into the food supply, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21569645)   has people up in arms and wondering “how can this happen?”  Hopefully, like the major egg recall a few years ago, that sent many people to their local farmer’s markets in search of safer eggs, this will have people paying closer attention to their meat supply.  I have a friend living in London, where lots of the horse meat disguised as beef, showed up in the local food outlets.  She reports that people are flocking to their local butcher shops for safer cuts of real beef.

If you buy your meat at a local supermarket, you can get to know the butcher there, and ask about their sourcing, and if they grind their own meat in-house, and what not.

If you’d like to take it a bit further, we Central Texas folks are so lucky to have so many of local sources of all variety of meats available.  You can meet the farmers, ask them about their practices, visit their farms and see for yourself how the animals are raised and what you are going to get.  This way, the chain of control is diminished and the chance of shenanigans is next to zero.

Here is a list of some, certainly not all of our local protein purveyors, all from whom I purchase meat.  I have met all of these farmers, ranchers and purveyors and trust them 100%.

I’ll attempt to list all of the locations where I know they are available, but this will not be exhaustive either, so click the name and it will link to their site.  Many on this list are available for delivery through Greenling and Farmhouse Delivery.

Richardson Farms, Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, turkeys (seasonally), and sausages.   SFC Farmer’s Markets downtown, Sunset Valley and at the Triangle, Barton Creek Farmer’s Market, and Waco Farmer’s Market, (Jim Richardson is a veterinarian, which gives me great comfort in how their animals are treated) (they also sell eggs, popcorn, wheat and sorghum flours, cornmeal and sesame seeds)

Hausbar Farms  Freedom Ranger Chickens – Boggy Creek Farm Farmstand

DearRun Land and Cattle Longhorn Beef – Boggy Creek Farm, Farmstand – All cuts of beef as well as Summer Sausage

Dewberry Hills Farms, pastured chickens, (and they are delicious) – SFC farmer’s market downtown and Sunset Valley

Thunderheart Bison, All cuts of grass-fed bison (including the hump!) –  SFC Farmer’s Market Downtown, Pearl Farmer’s Market, San Antonio

Full Quiver Farms, Grass-fed beef, whey fed pork – Barton Creek Farmer’s Market (they also make yogurts and some of the best farmstead cheeses I’ve ever had)

Windy Hill Organics, Goat, Beef, Lamb – HOPE Farmer’s Market

Countryside Farm, Duck, Guinea, Chicken – SFC Farmer’s Market Downtown and at the Triangle

Smith and Smith Farms, Chicken, Lamb, Eggs – SFC Farmer’s Markets downtown, Sunset Valley, Triangle, Cedar Park Farmer’s Market, Mueller Farmer’s Market  and Barton Creek Farmer’s Market

Peeler Farms, Chicken – HOPE Farmer’s Market

Bastrop Cattle Company – All cuts of delicious beef – HOPE Farmer’s Market, Mail Order Delivery over a certain amount, Bastrop Producer’s Market

Madrono Ranch  Bison – Boggy Creek Farm, People’s Pharmacy

Broken Arrow Ranch, Broken Arrow Ranch sells wild game such as boar, antelope, nilgai, and quail, online and ships

Salt and Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria  Austin’s newest brick and mortar butcher shop, which also specializes in-house cured salumis

Dai Due Butcher Shop  Dai Due doesn’t sell cuts of meat, per se, but makes delicious things with them, charcuterie, sausages, pates terrines and lots of other wonderfulness.  SFC Farmer’s Market downtown, and Mueller Farmer’s Market

Now days, you can buy all of the same cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat that you’d be able to buy at the store, directly from the farmers/ranchers.  They come in plastic vacuum wrap, without the styrofoam and “juice catcher” pad underneath that you’d see in the store.  The meat is normally frozen as soon as it is processed, for maximum freshness.   Less packaging leads to less waste in the landfill, which is an awesome added bonus.

Consumers have choices, and hopefully, if you are looking for local proteins for you and your family, this will be a help.  Is it more expensive?  Yep.  Is it important enough for you to pay more?  That’s for you to decide.

Just so you know that I practice what I preach – a sampling from my freezer:

Thunderheart Bison

Thunderheart Bison

Bastrop Cattle Fajita Beef

Bastrop Cattle Fajita Beef

IMG_2971

Smith and Smith Lamb

Smith and Smith Lamb

Richardson Farms Ribs

Richardson Farms Ribs

Richardson Farms flank steak taco

For dinner last night, I quickly defrosted a slab of Richardson Farm’s Flank Steak, seasoned it with salt and Springdale Farm’s smoked pepper mix, seared it in a screaming hot cast iron skillet, for about 3 minutes on each side; let rest for 20 minutes, squeezed some lime over it,  then sliced thinly, and served on  Blanco Valley non-GMO corn tortillas, with some Full Quiver Cheddar and my own pickled jalapenos and pickled onions.  So easy and good.

 

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.

 

Update-East Austin Urban Farm Tour, April 17, 2011 April 6, 2011

It is almost time for the Second Annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour, and the details are out now.  There will be tours of each farm at 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15.  The participating farms are Boggy Creek Farm, Hausbar Farm, Rain Lily Farm and Springdale Farm, all within walking distance from one another.

There will be chefs on hand at each farm, preparing locally sourced food and drink as follows:

Boggy Creek Farm – Eric Polzer of Wink; Steward Scruggs of ZOOT, Barrie Cullinan of Word on Food Bakery; Live Oak Brewery Beer;

Springdale Farm – Pesche, Driskill Grill, Jessee Griffiths from Dai Due, 512 Brewing;

Rain Lily Farm – La Condesa, Fabi & Rossi, Pie Fixes Everything, Republic of Texas Tequila;

Hausbar Farm – Dripping Springs Vodka, Paula’s Texas Orange, Bola Pizza, East Side Cafe

This is a really fun event, and a great way to get to know your local farmers.  The Tickets are available online through www. farmhousedelivery.com or at each farm gate the day of the tours.  $35.00 is the cost and the the beneficiary is the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.  http://www.farmandranchfreedom.org

 

Walking the Walk – Eastside Cafe Grows Their Own March 18, 2011

People are taking an interest in where their food comes from more than ever, and I think that’s great!  Last year I did some posts about restaurants and their gardens, and people wanted to see more.  Sadly, there really aren’t that many restaurants with gardens.  Eastside Cafe has had gardens for as long as I can remember, and they expand them every year.  The owners have also now bought land and established an East Austin Farm, Hausbar Farm, which you can see for yourself on the upcoming East Austin Urban Farm Tour. (I’ll post about that again soon.)

At Eastside, you can walk around the gardens, and see exactly what will end up on your plate.

Eastside Cafe Gardens

I love the round lettuce gardens, with different varieties swirling toward the center.

I’m a big fan of onions, and these water troughs are perfect for growing them.

Water Trough Onions

There is lots of visual interest here, with food food growing in all manner of unlikely spaces.

Bathtub garden

Old Bedframe garden

Eastside was the first place I ever saw cinder block gardens, with the blocks turned up and food planted in the holes.  These cinder gardens are all over their property.  Very smart.

More gardens

The gardens are indicative of the transition from late winter to early spring, filled with leeks, kale, lettuces, cabbage, but also tomatoes.  I was interested to see they had not taken up their hoops or covers just yet, because we never know when that late cold snap is going to surprise us.

Cabbages

They also grow the flowers that you will find garnishing your plate.

Eastside Cafe has delicious American cuisine.  They will be happy to tell you the source of everything on your plate, if it isn’t from the garden or their chickens.  If they don’t grow it, they source it as locally  and sustainably as possible.   Located in East Austin, the cafe resides in a lovely old house, with a garden room out back where you can also sit.  I enjoy shopping at the little shop on the premises, Pitchforks and Tablespoons, where you will find garden supplies, locally made candles and other gift items, books on gardening and eating sustainably, and where they also sell their housemade salsas and salad dressings.  Dine there for lunch or dinner during the week, or for brunch, lunch or dinner on the weekends.  You will be glad you went, I promise!

Eastside Cafe, 2113 Manor Road

More restaurant garden posts to follow soon!