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A one night show at Wally Workman Gallery will include art and photography
from the pages of Edible Austin. A portion of sales will go to Urban Roots.
December 11, 6–8pm
Building a garden box is easy and inexpensive. These are perfect for small yards and are a great opportunity to grow lots of vegetables in a small space. These are also a great opportunity to have kids help learn where their food comes from.
The Travel Issue
What we learn from other cultures, global cuisines and new experiences enriches our lies and our community at home.
Luminations at the Wildflower Center; Tamales! Festival at Pearl; 2014 East Austin Urban Farm Tour
Applications to host a coop for the 2014 Funky Chicken Coop Tour (FCCT) are now available! The deadline to apply to be a Coop Tour Host is January 25. FCCT, founded in 2009, is an annual self-guided tour held each spring in Austin by the nonprofit Urban Poultry Association of Texas, Inc.
Locally grown and artisanal foods and beverages were front and center on the minds of state legislators during the 83rd legislative session. Not only did a number of bills get passed that will provide greater freedoms and support for local farmers and food producers, but the state’s craft brewers and distillers also got an economic boost from several bills of their own.
Achievements at a glance:
Senate Bill (S.B.) 515: For the first time, brewpubs can now sell their products off-site thanks to this bill, whereas previously, their products could only be consumed on premises. It also raises their manufacturing limit from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels a year, and allows them to sell their products to wholesale distributors for resale. In addition, up to 1,000 barrels of that limit can now be sold directly to retailers.
S.B. 516: Previously, brewers who brewed less than 75,000 barrels per year were allowed to distribute any of that amount to retailers, but those who brewed more than that had to go through a distributor exclusively. With the passage of this bill, however, if a brewer manufactures less than 125,000 barrels per year, they may obtain a distribution permit, which allows them to sell up to 40,000 of those barrels to retailers directly (starting January 1, 2014).
S.B. 517: The same rules as S.B. 516, but it applies to manufacturers of ales, whose product contains alcohol levels of greater than 4 percent.
S.B. 518: For the first time, small breweries can sell up to 5,000 barrels per year to consumers on-site, as long as they produce less than 225,000 barrels per year and meet certain other conditions.
Charles Vallhonrat, the executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, says these new bills are important for the future of craft beer in Texas. “Economically, we really wanted to push these bills through to be able to grow an industry that’s booming nationwide,” he says. “It’s doing well in Texas, but we wanted to take some of the handcuffs off.”
S.B. 828: Sets up a distiller’s agent permit, which authorizes an agent to act on behalf of distillers to conduct samplings at retail stores and to take orders from wholesale distributors.
S.B. 642: Allows distillers to sell their product in bulk to food producers who manufacture their foods using spirits as an ingredient.
S.B. 652: Allows distillers to buy bulk alcohol products from other manufacturers for manufacturing purposes.
S.B. 905: Allows distillers to sell up to 3,000 gallons per year of their spirits for on-site consumption. They also may sell up to 3,500 gallons of their spirits per year for off-site consumption, as long the spirits are packaged in unopened bottles no larger than 750 milliliters, with commemorative labels, and are sold and limited to two per customer in a 30-day period, among other requirements.
House Bill (H.B.) 970: Picks up on Senate Bill 81, which passed in 2011 and allowed home-based production of baked goods and a few other foods not requiring refrigeration, as long as they were sold on-site and did not amount to more than $50,000 per year in sales. In response, various municipalities used zoning ordinances to ban these home-based operations. Therefore, H.B. 970 prohibited zoning ordinances from being used for this purpose, while also expanding the list of permissible foods and adding several new safety requirements. The law also allows these foods to be sold both on-site as well as at other specified off-site locations, such as farmers markets and food festivals.
H.B. 1382: Allows farm-stand operators and vendors at farmers markets to provide samples to their customers, as long as the items are prepared and served in a way that meets certain safety requirements. The bill also allows cooking demonstrations at farmers markets and waives permitting fees for them as long as they are for bona fide educational purposes and meet certain other requirements.
H.B. 1392: Requires the Department of State Health Services to provide information to farmers and food producers about what they are legally required to do within 30 days of receiving a written information request. —Nicole Lessin
Things have changed a bit since we began publishing Edible Austin in 2007. There is more awareness about why we should care where our food comes from and how it directly affects our health and the future of our planet. There is more sustainably and locally produced food that we can buy at more farmers markets, eat in more restaurants and find in more grocery stores. That is good. And that is satisfying. But that is not enough. The world is plunging toward an end-game scenario that is not what I would wish for my grandchildren—or theirs. We can see the writing on the wall in climate change research and population models that predict degrading conditions—environmental, geopolitical and financial—for nature-based food production worldwide, which is the heart and soul of our existence.
The Outdoor Issue
Conservation of our earth below the firmament has been eloquently championed in this country for decades by poets such as Wendell Berry and scientists such as Wes Jackson of the Land Institute. In many parts of the world, the land still holds ancient truths and is revered, but increasingly there is a global grab for its resources and treasure—not for preservation, but for consumption.
This issue is dedicated to those who are aware of the delicate balance between use and abuse and seek to live in sync with the natural world. We are lucky to have an “Outdoor” issue. As I walk through a meadow or along a creek bed, I often wonder how long humans will have the privilege of inhabiting the surface of this planet before having to swathe themselves in a protective dome or journey through space to find inhabitable worlds. Science fiction-esqe, perhaps, but not so unimaginable!
Herein, we tell the stories about the preservers in our midst in the form of pickle-maker Sam Addison and longhorn cattle ranchers Don and Debbie Davis. We write of the Picos family of Fiesta Tortillas, who continue to adhere to unadulterated recipes using non-GMO and organic grains. We reveal the mystical-seeming attributes of biodynamic farming and how farmer Bill McCranie grows off-the-charts-sweet blueberries by farming in harmony with the lunar calendar. And in true DIY outdoor-style, we present Feral, where under the watchful eye of Chris Houston, hunted bounty is hand butchered and packaged for multiple seasons’ worth of delicious family dining. And as long as we’re on the subject of DIY-ing, Hip Girl Kate Payne reveals the magic of making marshmallows at home for a sublime s’mores experience in your own backyard or on your next campout.
We must not take this earthly plane for granted. If we can simply live upon it gently and give back what we take from it, it is all we need.
By Robin Chotzinoff • Photography by Staci Valentine
My copy of Amelia Saltsman’s “The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook” was just about worn out, so when her new cookbook, “The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen,” arrived, I got into bed and read it like a novel. I then went into the kitchen and produced gvetch (the “Romanian ratatouille”) and zucchini latkes, and experienced a psychological breakthrough. I used to think of Jewish food as either wonderful (my father’s chopped liver with hard-boiled eggs and bits of onion) or god-awful (a chicken boiled into submission by someone’s mother in 1950s Yonkers). But it turns out that the cuisine of my forefathers contains both nuance and breadth. And even though this book’s organization follows the yearly cycle of Jewish holidays, it’s an everyday ethnic cookbook for seasonal chefs of any religious or cultural background. “Even if you don’t know the names of all the holidays,” Saltsman writes, “a year’s worth of Jewish food bears a striking resemblance to any market-driven cook’s seasonal road map.” I like that almost as much as this: “Schmaltz, chicken or duck fat cooked low and slow with onions, and gribenes, cracklings made from poultry skin and onions, are at the core of the Ashkenazic food identity. Over the decades, they have gotten a bad rap by some as unhealthful, outdated and overused. I have three words for you: duck-fat fries.”
“The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen” has a little bit of everything—Saltsman’s own story, the wide-ranging culinary history of a wide-ranging people, political activism on behalf of sustainable farmers and enticing photographs starring Saltsman family heirlooms and California produce. Because she likes “looking and cooking and reading and digging around,” Saltsman has unearthed some traditions that may surprise even the most observant Jew. “Simchat Torah,” she writes, “is one of my favorite holidays: a celebration of books and learning, with music, dancing, and throwing back vodka shots to mark the end of the holiday season. What’s not to like?” Not much. Ditto for the Iraqi funnel cake recipe, the story about the oyster knife and the loving portraits of two grandparents from two continents. How did Saltsman cram all this into a book? Read on.
by Anne Marie Hampshire • Photography by Jote Khalsa
It’s the parched and muggy end of August in Austin—mid- to upper-90s most days (not counting the heat index)—and this day is just like the rest of them. While the A/C struggles to keep its cool, it’s hard not to be worried about the turnout for what most would say is an unseasonable gathering: a soup swap. Mmmmmm…steaming hot soup in August?
But sure enough, the faithful enter one by one, laden with boxes or coolers full of quart-size mason jars of soup, bottles of wine and beer, loads of crackers and cheese, chocolates, dips and spreads and more hugs and joviality than one could ever think possible on a molten Saturday afternoon. Ah, the soup swappers have arrived. And they are really excited about their soup.
Dawn and Robert opted for an intimate gathering with family and close friends. Most guests traveled in from the Midwest to celebrate this longtime couple’s nuptials, so Dawn and Robert wanted to give their guests the unique flavor of Austin while here. They chose a variety of local vendors to help complement the groom’s one-and-only request of a fried chicken dinner.
Photography: Alison Narro | Wedding Dress: Second Summer Bridal | Florist: Central Market | Venue: Palm Door on Sabine | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Rings: Shane & Co. | Catering: Pink Avocado Catering | Beer: Austin Beerworks & Lone Star | Wine: Austin Winery | Band: Blue Channel Jazz | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Bride’s Shoes: Allen’s Boots | Groom’s Shoes: Converse | Desserts: Tiny Pies | Hair & Makeup: Urban Betty | Bridal Skin Care: Sauveur Skin Care | Party Favor Koozies: Feeling Printy | Rentals: Premiere Events | Rehearsal Lunch: Easy Tiger
I’ll never forget when I first moved to Austin and noticed our abundance of loquat trees—in yards, parks, abandoned lots—they seemed to be everywhere! But if it weren’t for my Lebanese father, Peter, I may not have ever tried this sweet, tart fruit. Loquats, or akedenia as they’re called in his country, are one of my dad’s favorite treats. The look on his face when he saw a heavy, fruit-laden tree on his first visit to Austin was one of pure joy! As we drove past a tree in an empty lot, he yelled, “Turn around!” We spent the rest of his visit on a daily hunt for loquats, and it’s become a tradition each time he visits in the spring or early summer. He fashions a stick called a naehli with a hook on the end to gently pull down, with touching familiarity and confidence, the high branches. I can almost picture him harvesting and eating the beloved fruits in his native country.
There’s no need to forage around town for loquats—the trees are a snap to grow. Consider adding one or two to your edible landscape.
by Lydia Jarjoura
The Home Issue
In this first of an annual addition to our regular bi-monthly issues, you’ll find beautiful table settings, gardening tips and DIY landscaping for our dry local environment.
Austin artisan Eric Billing teaches you about the best kinds of countertops for your kitchen, and Kay Rogers talks reclaimed wood.
Learn how to grow a garden on top of your house with "green roofing" techniques. Further improve your roof by learning about solar panels and how to make your home eco-friendly.
The Heirloom Issue
Our Heirloom issue celebrates tradition and authenticity, family memories and gatherings with friends over food. We can remember and relish these traditions by immersing ourselves in them using all of our senses—tasting, smelling, touching, listening, seeing—and by using words to recall the memories.
We hope you enjoy the stories in this issue, told from the heart, to be passed along in meaningful ways to others.
Here at Edible Austin, we seek out, review, ponder, write about and enjoy lots and lots of delicious, fresh local foods—pretty great job perk, yes? But our team also fancies celebrating that local abundance at home by rattling the old pots and pans. For this year’s Cooks issue, we thought it’d be fun to share with you our team picks for a couple of must-have kitchen tools. If you’d like, share yours with us on Instagram using #edibleaustincooks
When Daniel Olivella came to the United States in 1979 at the age of 18, he had stars in his eyes — though not the kind you might expect. He was going to be a famous jazz saxophonist, and his uncle Paco was going to help by giving him a job at his Continental restaurant in Chicago while Daniel pursued his dream.
In Catalonia, the experience of tapas is a festivity. You go to a bar or restaurant, sit at a table with friends, and order a variety of small plates to be passed around. As the night goes on, everyone shares their favorite foods, orders a few more plates, and excitement builds at the table. It’s no secret that Catalans like to drink. For us, leisure time and work time are equally important. We spend many hours socializing in bars, and tapas are a natural extension of our proclivity for drink. Tapa actually means “lid” and refers to the way Catalans perch small plates of food on top of their drinks. We love small bites of food with our drinks so much that we have several words describing different types of tapas. Pica-pica means “pinch pinch.” These are even smaller snacks usually served as single bites. Pinxos are skewered foods, and they are typically on full display on the countertop of the bar like a buffet from which guests can pick and choose.
Have you ever experienced a moment where you stop, look at your life and realize that it’s wildly different than you could have ever imagined? Maybe you live in a state you never thought you’d live in, or you’re working a job that wasn’t on your radar. I recently had one of those moments. As I chose my college major and made the decision to move across the country, I had to stop and wonder, “How did I get here?” The answer is simple: Urban Roots.
Held October 3 at The Allan House, the event gives guests the opportunity to bid on exclusive dining packages with notable Austin chefs. With small bites prepared by the chefs, refreshing libations, as well as a fantastic silent auction, you’ll leave happy even if you don’t place the highest bid (though we’d love it if you did).
This year’s Texas legislative session brought plenty of good news for local food producers. Several notable food and beverage bills were signed into law this June, providing protections and beneficial expansions for farmers and culinary artisans.