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.

 

Amplify Austin Day, March 20, 2014 March 18, 2014

Amplify Austin’s big day of giving to local non-profits, is coming up in 2 days and 9 hours, as I write this.  From March 20-March 21st, you can donate to your choice of over 400 non-profits.  The goal of Amplify Austin is to raise $4,000,000 in 24 hours!

There are several non-profits that are near and dear to my heart, so I’m sharing their pages here in an effort to get the word out about their good works.

Green Corn Project – https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/greencornproject/overview

Texas Organic Farmer’s and Gardeners Association – https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/tofga/overview

The Sustainable Food Center – https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/sustainablefoodcenter/overview

Austin Food and Wine Alliance – https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/austinfoodwinealliance/overview

The main website is https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/ and you can search for the non-profit of your choice.

 

 

Urban Farms Are Good for East Austin June 27, 2013

When I got in my car yesterday morning, to head to work, I heard Susanna Almanza, from PODER, a group against urban farms in East Austin, on the radio talking about how people with “disposable income” are moving to East Austin to start farms that take up space that could be used for affordable housing.  During the course of the day, I heard several different snippets, one in particular that the farms sell produce that East Austinites cannot afford. The group has also alleged that some unnamed farm, refused to provide seedlings to someone because they “couldn’t profit” from giving them away.  They are being portrayed as profit driven commercial entities who do not support their East Austin Community.  I feel compelled to respond to this with some actual facts.  Maybe they just don’t know all of the good that the farms do?

I am long time supporter of the Sustainable Food Center, and supporter and new Board Member of the Green Corn Project, both organizations that work with low income people from all over Austin, but certainly East Austin.

Boggy Creek Farm, has hosted the Green Corn Project’s main fundraiser, for 14 years.  This October  27th will be the 15th year that Boggy Creek opens up the farm to host our Fall Festival.  This is the one major fund raising opportunity for Green Corn Project, whose mission is to install  gardens at no cost, for low income people (school and churches) who would otherwise have no access to organic food.  Green Corn Project has installed hundreds of gardens in East Austin over the years, taught recipients how to maintain them, provided compost, seeds and seedlings  and we couldn’t carry out that mission without the generosity of Boggy Creek Farm. (Picture below is from Metz Elementary Garden)  The farm gives tours to any school that asks, and has hosted free camps for neighborhood children over the years.

School Tour.  Last month they did four in one day!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/1010788_10151664995412192_197046429_n.jpg

Springdale Farm frequently hosts events for and benefiting non-profits, including the Sustainable Food Center , which operates 4 local farmer’s markets in Austin, including one in East Austin, teaches low income families how to seek out healthier food, grow it and cook it in ways that work for their individual families.  The SFC also teaches gardening and installs gardens.  Most recently, Springdale hosted Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, for a pop-up picnic  which was free to the public, and accepted donations for the Sustainable Food Center.  Nearly $500 was raised for the SFC.  Springdale hosts school tours for whomever asks, at no cost, to teach children where food comes from and has worked a lot with Idea Allen Elementary, its nearest neighbor. (Idea Allen lends Springdale its parking lot behind the farm, so that events on the farm have little to no impact on the neighborhood.)  Most recently, Govalle Elementary School, in East Austin, came to the farm for a tour, and sent these thank you notes.  Community is among the most important missions of each of the East Austin Urban Farms.

Photo: Thanks for coming Govalle Elementary. Now eat your veggies!

Photo: Special delivery! Sweet notes from Govalle Elementary School.

Idea Allen Elementary Garden Club on the farm.

Photo: IDEA Allen Elementary School Garden Club visited the farm this week. Next generation coming on strong...

Hausbar Farm, just this year donated eggs to Govalle Elementary so that they could hatch their own chicks. This Spring, Hausbar hosted 3 Govalle Elementary pre-k classes on the farm.  The kids were able to walked down the street to their neighborhood farm to see where food comes from.   The farm hosted a small group of high schoolers from Austin Can Academy, and taught them about sustainable farming.  Dorsey, one of Hausbar’s owners,  went to UT’s East 6th Street Elementary School for a couple of visits to donate seeds and time to talk to their garden club and prepare their beds for planting.  Hausbar hosted a free neighborhood camp this spring so that everyone in the neighborhood could enjoy the farm. Every chance the get, they host Urban Roots youth who come and enjoy getting to know where eggs come from (since they don’t have hens at their farm) and getting to know just what the heck donkeys have to do with farming.  They recently hosted a bus-load of Walnut Creek school, Elementary School Garden Club members.  Last week we had a fantastic group from kids and adults from Communities In Schools come spend the morning with us.  2 weeks ago Hausbar  had a summer camp that included paying campers, but neighborhood campers were invited to attend free of charge.  (photo from Spring camp which was free)

Photo: Had such a great time at our Neighborhood Kids Farm Camp Saturday! We live in the best neighborhood in Austin!

Rain Lily Farm hosts an annual arts series, free to everyone in the neighborhood, called Shakespeare on the Farm.  People come to the farm, (many walk from their homes nearby,) sit on blankets and enjoy the works of William Shakespeare, performed on the farm.

Shakespeare on the Farm Fall 2011

The contributions to the East Austin (and greater Austin) communities by these farms is invaluable and way to vast for me to  include even a fraction of what they do.  They are good neighbors and I would gladly have any one them it my neighborhood, next to my house.   They are each a shining example of how we all should be treating the Earth, using organic methods in their farming, collecting rainwater and composting.  I could go on listing all the good things these farms have done and continue to do, but it would be laborious, and too long to read.

The City currently is working on amendments to the Urban Farm Code, which, as written is somewhat vague.  I have been attending the Board/counsel meetings to keep informed and show support for the farms.  Currently, the suggested amendments to the existing Urban Farm Code, limit events on the farms and would require special event permits for most events.    Farms don’t generate enough income from selling produce, to support continued farming.  Events are essential.  Farmers are not politicians, and aren’t accustomed to public speaking and political activism.  They could use our help spreading news of their good works and you can help by signing up as a supporter at http://www.austinurbanfarms.org.   The site also lists other ways you can help support our local farms.

 

Dai Due – Choose Food With Care November 14, 2012

As part of the Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance “Meet me at the Market” campaign to help raise awareness for the Sustainable Food Center, and their Capital Campaign, I offered to profile one of my favorite vendors at the SFC Farmer’s Market at Republic Square – Dai Due.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that in 2010, I challenged myself to eat only food grown in my garden, or sourced from local farms and farmer’s markets, for a year, in an effort to avoid eating the products of industrialized agriculture.  I still eat that way today, and Dai Due is an important part of my way of life.  And, If I ever have a question about a source of food, the practices of a farm or any local food related question, I ask Jesse.

“Dai due regni di natura, piglia il cibo con misura” ~ “From the two  kingdoms of nature, choose food with care.”  From their website, their name espouses their philosophy.  Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield, the team behind Dai Due, continue to inspire me every day.

Dai Due brings their Butcher Shop offerings to the SFC Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and also prepares hot food to order.  Butcher shop items always include a variety of fresh sausages, link and bulk, bacon, frequently hot dogs, burgers made from proteins sourced locally, and raised humanely.

There are also charcuterie items, pates and terrines.  This week chicken liver mousse is on the menu.  In colder weather, they offer quarts of chile and sometimes gumbo.  Many items are only available seasonally, such as Chorizo Verde available during the brief window where  peppers (hot season) and cilantro (cool season) are in season together.  The Wild Boar Chorizo is a staple at my house.  There is always a variety of pickled items and mustards, and when he has homemade Worschestershire sauce, I always get a couple bottles of that.

Yellow Mustard and Grapefruit Worcestershire

I’ll be picking up some fresh leaf lard this week, in anticipation of tamale making season.  This week, I  also ordered a Thanksgiving special, the Porchetta made with Black Hill Ranch hog. I’ve had this fabulous specialty roast before, and was happy to see it return to the menu.   Other items this week include Traditional Mincemeat, which they start preparing in May, as the figs and mulberries become available.  Fruits continue to be added as they come into season, culminating in a jar of mincemeat which will make one pie.  Other seasonal offerings are Pickled Beets, Giardiniera, Escabeche.  One of my favorite items, Roasting Hens from Dewberry Hills, this week, laced with Lemon and Sage Butter.   If you  sign up for their email, the menu comes out on Tuesday, and you can place your order to be picked up at their kitchen on Friday, at the SFC Farmer’s Market,  or at the Mueller Market on Sunday.

The weekly menu and item descriptions name the source of everything, and everything is organic and sourced in or near Austin.  You may notice of the photos above “Harvested by Hunting.”  There is no mystery to any of the food from Dai Due, and very important to me, no hormones or antibiotics in any of the meat they source.  I know exactly what is NOT in my food: fillers, chemicals, preservatives, or anything else I don’t want to eat.  Often herbs in their offerings are sourced from their own garden.

Hot food at the market this time of year, often features the much coveted Biscuit and Gravy, with Country Style Breakfast Sausage.  I am a fan of the Chilaquiles, and whatever breakfast taco is offered; this week will be Red Chile Brisket Taco with Green Onions and Cilantro.

Last Saturday’s Hot Food Menu

In addition to to the markets, Dai Due also offers hunting weekends, fishing workshops, and a Supper Club, that sells out within minutes of being announced.  I’ve nearly wrecked my car trying to pull off of Mopac to reserve a dinner once the schedule is out.  Jesse also held a class on canning tomatoes, that launched my canning obsession and totally removed any fears I had.

Dai Due By-catch Dinner

And if that isn’t enough, Jesse has a new book, with his friend and amazing food photographer, Jody Horton: “Afield, A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish”, which has received great reviews.  It is a beautiful book, and everything in it looks delicious.  http://www.amazon.com/Afield-Chefs-Guide-Preparing-Cooking/dp/1599621142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352914542&sr=8-1&keywords=afield

Afield

In support of the book Jesse is teaching a free sausage making class at Callahan’s this Saturday, 11/1/12 from 3-5:00, and a cooking class at Central Market this Sunday, at noon.  He will be cooking wild game from the book and a book is included in the ticket price.  Tickets are still available from Central Market here: http://www.cookingschoolsofamerica.com/centralmarketaustinnorthlamar/index.php?page=classes#1724

This post in written in part to support the Capital Campaign of the Sustainable Food Center, to build a permanent home from which to provide its services.  The non-profit SFC helps break down the barriers to healty, nutritiouss food, and supports family farms.  The Grow, Share, Prepare program teaches the community about local food, growing food and holds cooking classes, in addition to running their four farmer’s markets; The Republic Square Park and Sunset Valley on Saturday, Triangle Park on Wednesday and East on Tuesday.  There farmer’s markets provide a valuable and affordable space for farmers and food artisans to get their food to the public.  They need a facility to continue their good works from, and need funds to build it.  If you’d like to donate to support the SFC, you can do so here:  http://www.sustainablefoodcenter.org/capital-campaign/about

See my other posts about Dai Due here:

https://austinurbangardens.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/dai-due-seafood-dinner-at-springdale-farm/

https://austinurbangardens.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/dai-due-dinner-at-fino/

And by others:

http://passporttotexas.org/cooking-afield-with-chef-jesse-griffiths/

Book Review:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2012-10-26/culinary-dream-team-afield-a-chefs-guide-to-preparing-and-cooking-wild-game-and-fish/

 

SFC Community Garden Tour, Panel Discussion and Potluck April 25, 2011

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There are two upcoming gardening related events that I’m interested in.   The Sustainable Food Center,  in collaboration with the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens and the Congress for New Urbanism, is hosting the Second Annual Austin Community Garden Tour, and first-ever Community Gardening in Austin: A Panel Discussion & Local Food Potluck, both of which will take place Sunday, May 1st. 

The Second Annual Austin Community Garden Tour, to take place May 1st from 10am – 4pm. The Community Garden Tour is a free, open house-style tour providing the opportunity to visit each of these unique places, talk to the gardeners there, learn how to get involved, and maybe even get inspired to start your own.  Join in celebration of these community spaces for locally grown (and self-grown!) food in Austin . A downloadable/printable map of participating community gardens and additional details will be available here<http://communitygardensaustin.org/?page_id=605>

Following the tour, there will be  Community Gardening in Austin: A Panel Discussion and Local Food Potluck from 6 – 8:30 pm at 5604 Manor (home of the Workers Defense Project, the Third Coast Workers for Cooperation, and Third Coast Activist Resource Center ).  Speakers will share information about the current landscape of community gardening in Austin , the work they are doing to make Austin a more community garden-friendly city, and what you can do to get involved. Bring a dish made with locally grown food, as well as your own reusable plate and utensils, and join in the celebration! Space is limited, so if you’d like to attend the Panel and Potluck, please click here to RSVP via Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/home.php#%21/event.php?eid=170433056342051>. You can also RSVP for the Austin Community Garden Tour here via Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/home.php#%21/event.php?eid=199410486749605>.  If you are not a member of Facebook RSVP for the events here<https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dEZJcDhtWHJJSHlJRENZS3dTdHRLbFE6MQ>.

Visit the 2011 Austin Community Garden Tour page for more information!<http://communitygardensaustin.org/?page_id=605>

 

Two Upcoming Events Supporting the Sustainable Food Center March 7, 2011

This time of year is a bit crazy, and it is difficult to keep up with all of the wonderful events and  happenings.  There are two, however, that ring near and dear to my heart – as they both benefit the Sustainable Food Center, the organization, that runs the Downtown Farmer’s Market, the Wednesday Market at the Triangle, and the Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market, (amongst a variety of other community related projects.)

The first event is the SFC Chef’s Series, Spring Bounty, on April 10, 2011 at La Condesa.  This event features lots of my very favorite Austin Chefs, cooking locally sourced, multi-course tasting menu.  Chefs include, Ned Elliott of Foreign and Domestic, Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine and Odd Duck, Zack Northcutt of Haddington’s and Mulberry, Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside and Backspace, David Bull, of Congress & Second, Paul Qui of Uchiko, and Laura Sawicky of La Condesa.

This is an amazing line up of talented chefs and I can’t wait to see what they prepare.

Tickets are $125 and can be  secured at http://sfcchefseries.eventbrite.com

The other event, I told you about last week, SFC’s Farm to Plate Fundraiser on May 12, 2011.  This event will be held at the gorgeous Barr Mansion.  Featured Chefs this year are David Bull of Congress, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due and James Holmes of Olivia.  Other highlights include local brews and Cocktails by Tipsy Texan.

There will also be an opportunity to bid to win a signature experience from Bola Pizza catering, wood fired artisinal pizzas for up to forty people.

This promises to be an extraordinary evening, and could not support a better cause.  I can’t wait!  Tickets on sale now.

http://sustainablefoodcenter.wordpress.com/farm-to-plate/

When you purchase tickets to these events, you are supporting not only the Sustainable Food Center, but also the local farmers and their farms, thereby strengthening our local food systems, as well as the local restaurants where these chefs normally cook their delicious food.  Win/win.

 

SFC Farm to Plate Tickets Now Available March 1, 2011

The Sustainable Food Center, the non-profit group that runs the Farmer’s Markets downtown, at the Triangle and at Sunset Valley,  (among other incredible programs) is hosting their Third Annual Farm to Plate Fundraiser on May 12, 2011.  This event will be held at the gorgeous Barr Mansion.  Featured Chefs this year are David Bull of Congress, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due and James Holmes of Olivia.  Other highlights include local brews and Cocktails by Tipsy Texan.

There will also be an opportunity to bid to win a signature experience from Bola Pizza catering, wood fired artisinal pizzas for up to forty people.

This promises to be an extraordinary evening, and could not support a better cause.  I can’t wait! Tickets on sale now.

http://sustainablefoodcenter.wordpress.com/farm-to-plate/