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West of Austin and just east of Fredericksburg, nestled between wineries and hay fields, is a tract of savanna grassland — an ecosystem defined by grasslands dotted with oak trees. Historically, the movement of large ruminant animals and unrestricted wildfires helped architect this fertile region. Today, Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins, owners of Roam Ranch, are helping to restore this region through the practice of regenerative agriculture. At their 700-acre ranch, the bison truly do roam, and the deer certainly play.
It’s that time of year when Central Texans hop in their cars and search for those signs lining the winding roads in the Hill Country – “Peaches For Sale.” You can also find peach fans flocking to farmers markets far and wide in search of that summertime sweetness.
As an ode to this favorite Texas fruit, we’re helping you create an all-peach meal from start to finish.
For over half a century, the town of Driftwood, Texas, has been synonymous with Salt Lick BBQ. Since they opened in 1967, Austinites have been making the short drive south of Austin for the famous all-you-can-eat, cash-only, BYOB barbecue joint. About 11 years ago, Salt Lick owner Scott Roberts told Edible Austin about his vision to transform the area into a wine-lover’s paradise and an antidote to urban sprawl. Driftwood Estate Winery and Duchman Family Winery were already established in the area, and Salt Lick Cellars followed closely behind when they planted their first grapes. Today, Driftwood has really come into its own. As the vines have matured, so have the wines coming out of the area. For those who prefer other libations, beer and liquor options are flocking to the area as well. If you’re looking for a nice day trip, or just want to get out of town, head south toward the waft of smoky barbecue. But please remember to drink responsibly, and always have a designated driver for your journeys.
Know the land. Respect the hands.
This simple statement, found on every bottle of wine from The Grower Project, pretty much says it all about the venture cofounded by respected Texas wine figures Rae Wilson and Andrew Sides. Not only are they committed to using 100 percent Texas grapes, but their mission is to work directly with growers to make quality wines from the grapes of a single vineyard. The hands and the land. Texas terroir in spades.
Giving back to the community is always more fun with good company — even better if you have some pizza and beer to go along. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (fondly referred to as The ABGB) brings all of those excellent elements together with The Hell Yes Project, their philanthropic effort to give back to local nonprofits in a variety of ways.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SPOTLIGHT
By Bambi Edlund
Welcome to our winter issue! With features on Thanksgiving sides, festive fusion foods, Texas red wine and a guide to holiday gifts, there's something for everyone.
When founding his winery 10 years ago, Dr. Bob Young of Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas, wanted to make a big, bold red wine. “I did a lot of research comparing grapes with a spreadsheet of all the characteristics I was looking for, and tannat was a good fit,” says Young. “I had a hunch it was going to do well here.”
Originally from Madiran in Southwest France, tannat is not one of France’s best-known varietals. The wines of Madiran were not historically sold widely on the international market, overshadowed by the more famous region of Bordeaux just a few hours north. In the 1800s, French immigrants took the tannat vine with them to Uruguay, where it has thrived, becoming the country’s most planted grape. The success of the grape in South America piqued the interest of American winemakers like Young.
Addiction recovery is a difficult path to navigate. But as with many things in life, the journey is exponentially easier with a good guide at your side. For Austinites working in the food and beverage industry who struggle with addiction and mental illness, Joel Rivas wants to be that guide.
Rivas, founder of San Antonio’s Saint City Culinary Foundation, expanded the foundation’s addiction recovery and wellness program, Heard, to Austin this past spring. Offering support groups for individuals in the service industry, Heard’s Austin chapter meets weekly. The groups are open to all food service professionals, even those who simply want to talk about their days.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SPOTLIGHT
Impress your guests this holiday season with the cheese trays, tastings, classes and events from Austin’s essential cheese institution, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. John and Kendall Antonelli opened the shop in Hyde Park in 2010, with a focus on sourcing the highest quality cheeses from around the world, often traveling the globe themselves to meet cheesemakers before carrying their products.
“As trite as it may sound, we love what we do,” says Kendall. “Coming to the rescue with a cheese tray, treating folks in our shop and just letting them escape in one of our tasting tours or classes — every day we get the opportunity to put a little positive energy in people’s lives and spread joy through cheese.”
If you’re looking to host a private party in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, Antonelli’s Cheese House, located across the street from the shop, is the perfect venue. The hub of Antonelli’s events is a beautiful home with over 100 years of history, and it can host up to 50 guests! The Antonelli’s team also offers private cheese tastings at the house, or you can attend one of their public classes, covering tasty subjects from Cheese 101 to Perfect Pairings with chocolate. If day trips are more your speed, the Antonelli’s team hosts popular dairy farm tours and cheese-centric Lady Bird Lake cruises.
For fans of dairy and local goods, a trip to Antonelli’s Cheese Shop is simply a must. As one private tasting attendee ardently put it, “I’ve lived in Austin my entire life and, hands down, that was one of the coolest things I’ve done in this city. The cheese was delicious, the pairings were carefully chosen and the whole evening emanated a love of one’s work and sharing it with others.”
Visit antonellischeese.com to book your event today.
Texas offers a unique calendar of in-season fruits and vegetables!
Use this list to guide your way through the local farmers market and inspire dishes to share with friends and family. Learn how to transform produce with simple techniques and showcase peak season flavors for a true taste of Texas.
To capture the departure of winter and whispers of spring, we turn to simple preparations and allow the produce to shine: Peak-season strawberries are briefly soaked in a vanilla syrup and paired with easy cream biscuits. Don’t throw away the syrup — the leftovers make for an excellent addition to cocktails or lemonade. For a show-stopping vegetable side, flip a floret of broccoli on its head, slice into thick steaks, roast and garnish with a zippy shallot vinaigrette with briny capers.
Tomatoes (Hot house)
Grilled Broccoli "Steaks" with Caper-Shallot Vinaigrette Makes 4-6 servings
For the broccoli:
4 whole heads broccoli (about 2 lbs total)
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. freshly cracked black pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 medium shallot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ c. white wine vinegar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. water
1 T. dijon mustard
½ t. kosher salt
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. capers
2 T. toasted pine nuts
Grated pecorino cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the broccoli on a cutting board, stem side up. Slice vertically into 1/2-inch slabs. Some of the florets will fall off — set those aside and store for another use. Lay the slabs on a baking sheet. Do not use parchment paper or a silicone mat, as this will prevent browning. Using a pastry brush, generously oil the broccoli. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast for 25 minutes, or until slabs are generously browned and stems are tender. While broccoli is roasting, combine shallot, garlic, vinegars, water, mustard and salt in a mason jar. Allow to sit for 15 minutes as the shallot mellows in the vinegar. Add oil, secure jar with lid and shake until oil is emulsified, about 30 seconds. Stir in capers. To serve the broccoli, spoon caper vinaigrette over steaks and garnish with pine nuts and grated cheese.
Sweet Cream Biscuits with Strawberries Makes 8 large biscuits or 12 small biscuits
For the strawberries:
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. water
2 T. vanilla bean paste or 1 whole vanilla bean
pod, seeds scraped
1 lb. strawberries, trimmed and diced
For the biscuits
3 c. all-purpose flour
4 t. sugar
1 T. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
2 c. plus ¼ c. heavy whipping cream
¼ c. turbinado sugar, plus extra to top biscuits
For the whipped cream
1½ c. heavy whipping cream
Drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets, brush with the remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the sugar has caramelized. Allow to cool slightly, and transfer to a cooling rack until ready to serve.
To make the whipped cream, vigorously whisk the heavy cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in a few tablespoons of the strawberry sugar liquid, adjusting to taste.
To assemble the biscuits, gently split each biscuit in half with a fork, and top with a dollop of cream and spoonfuls of strawberries, draining off syrup as necessary.
Biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to one day. To serve the next day, refresh biscuits in a 350Åã oven for 3 minutes. You can prepare the strawberries up to two days in advance, and we recommend using any leftover syrup for cocktails or lemonade!
Story and photographs by Rachel Johnson See her work on Instagram @stupidgoodrachel
Story by Sean Armstrong / Pictures by Ralph Yznaga
For many, these recent, uncertain weeks have been a time to reflect on what matters most. They’ve been a time for video conferencing, hand sanitizing, homecooking, homeschooling, to-go tacos and binge-watching Tiger King. They’ve been a time for solidarity with family, friends and neighbors.
And they’ve been a time for cold beer. Specifically, delicious, locally crafted beer.
As most bars and restaurants remain indefinitely shuttered, local breweries, along with the entire industry, have struggled to cope with the crisis, too. Luckily for beer aficionados, canned and bottled brews still remain widely available. Many breweries are also offering growlers, crowlers and other to-go options straight from the taproom.
Along with washing your hands, social distancing and tipping delivery people generously, enjoying tasty beer has become a matter of civic duty. In the interest of public health, here are 10 stellar local brews to bring you some much-needed cheer during these uncertain times.
Pecan Porter, (512) Brewing Company — 6.2% ABV
Porter fans, rejoice. This bonafide Austin classic is finally available in bottle form. Brewed with organic Texas pecans, the hearty concoction’s robust, nutty aromas are well balanced with sweet, malty notes and hints of chocolate lurking within its delectable depths. Its impenetrably dark pour and otherworldly flavor profile make this longtime favorite the perfect pairing for starry Texas nights and long bouts of quiet contemplation.
Hans’ Pils, Real Ale Brewing Co. — 5.3% ABV
Blanco-based Real Ale may be best known for their wildly popular Firemans #4, but their crisp and refreshing Hans’ Pils is truly spring in a can. Fresh, bright and leafy overtones hit with a tickling carbonation that quenches thirst in the Texas heat like nothing else. Toss in an eye-opening amount of hops for an otherwise traditional pilsner, and you’ve got yourself the ideal companion for freshly cut lawns, overworked grills and long, lazy hours in the hammock.
Blood Orange IPA, Austin Beerworks — 7.0% ABV
There is nothing subtle about Blood Orange. One look at its iconic white and orange can, and you’ll know you’re in for a unique experience. Normally, when we’re all taking showers and attending social events, this fashionable six-pack would be one to accessorize with. These days, we can still appreciate its bright bursts of citrusy hops and dangerously deceptive drinkability all on its own. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.
Dale’s Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Brewery — 6.5% ABV
Since opening a brewery here in 2016, Austinites have been proud to welcome this Rocky Mountain import as one of our own. The generously hopped American Pale Ale has long been a favorite in the craft beer scene, and its eyebrow-raising balancing act of floral, headstrong hops and pale malts fully back up its reputation. With its endless swiggability and unpretentious packaging, Dale simply can’t fail.
Hefeweizen, Live Oak Brewing Co. — 5.3% ABV
Launched decades before the craft beer boom, Live Oak’s much celebrated and sought after hefeweizen remains a paragon of traditional German brewing sensibility. This easy-drinking brew brims with sweet clove, banana and vanilla flavors matched by a healthy dose of wheat malts and, refreshingly, nary a hint of hops. One sip makes you yearn for simpler times — when we didn’t have to think twice about running into H-E-B for a case to bring to our buddies’ cookouts. The way I see it, Live Oak Hef is the official beer of Texas summer — and maybe fall, winter and spring, too.
A Pale Mosaic, Hops & Grain — 5.9% ABV
If beer is to be considered art (and it surely must be), then A Pale Mosaic is art in its highest form. True to its name, this very drinkable IPA is made up of a magical mosaic of Old World malts and New World hops. The result is a crisp, complex whirlpool of flavor that is right on the money.
Urban Chicken Saison, Friends & Allies — 4.9% ABV
As the name implies, old country values mingle casually with refined, city slicker sensibilities in this modern take on the classic farmhouse ale. Saaz and Magnum hops, notes of fruit and spice and a low alcohol content make this a saison for all seasons.
Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout, Independence Brewing Co. — 8% ABV
Good morning. The sun has risen over the Hill Country, and you’re famished. Thankfully, Independence Brewing’s stoutest of stouts has you covered. Dense and dark Convict Hill’s heady, rich, roasted malts, sweet chocolate aromas and undeniably smooth, oaty finish make it an integral part of a well-balanced brunch.
Parks & Rec, Zilker Brewing Co. — 5.3% ABV
Some beers are just meant to be enjoyed outdoors. With a portion of every sale going toward the Austin Parks Foundation, the aptly named Parks & Rec certainly pairs well with a fresh breeze. A bright burst of hops (led by the Centennial variety in honor of Zilker Park’s recent 100th anniversary) makes this pale ale an appropriately fresh and vibrant go-to for spring.
Mr. Mingo,Jester King — 4.5% ABV
Who is Mr. Mingo? It’s a mystery known only to the mad geniuses behind one of Jester King’s latest — and perhaps most pleasant — concoctions: a lighthearted farmhouse ale artfully brewed with roselle hibiscus flower. As with all their beers, Mr. Mingo is unfiltered, unpasteurized and entirely unconventional. The funky, lipstick pink brew’s initial tartness is well matched by its vivacious carbonation and high guzzlability, making Mr. Mingo a great choice for a daytime drinking partner. Despite the audacious color, the promised hibiscus arrives almost as a whimsical afterthought — a refreshing dessert to showcase the mysterious Mr. Mingo’s flowery personality.
Grilling tomatoes concentrates their sweetness and adds a depth of flavor to this classic bruschetta with creamy herbed goat cheese.
Story and recipe by Rachel Johnson
by ADA BROUSSARD / photos by RALPH YZNAGA and SARAH McCONNELL
Picture a farmer in your head. Tiffany Washington, owner of Dobbin-Kauv Garden Farm, may defy that picture. For example, Washington doesn’t really like bugs and is unsettled at the thought of most critters. Her husband, Roc, gave her squeamish alter ego a name: Nancy Farm Fancy (which is also now her Instagram handle: @nancyfarmfancy.) Washington has four children, is a Navy veteran and grew up right here in Austin. And if all this isn’t extraordinary enough, she also says that she is the only Black female farmer in the City of Austin.
It would take an article as long as a new role of drip tape to tell the story of why this is so. Farming requires land, and land grants given at the end of the 19th century were only given to white families, and most often men. Other institutionally discriminatory systems made it difficult for Black families to hold onto land they legally owned. Despite this, agriculture became an important economy for Black Americans, and, by the 1920s, 14 percent of farmers were Black. Today, this number is below 2 percent, in part due to discriminatory lending practices by the USDA, which withheld loans, insurance and general support to Black farmers across the country. In 1997, a class action lawsuit was filed by Black farmers against the USDA and resulted in them winning $1 billion. And yet, over 20 years later, Washington says Dobbin-Kauv is still the only Black-owned farm in the City of Austin.
Washington found farming through a peculiar path. When she re-entered civilian life after serving in the U.S. Navy, she was pregnant with her daughter, Raeghan, and suffering from PTSD. She remembers the heaviness. “I was like, I just need to figure out what’s going on. This is not what my life is supposed to be looking and feeling like,” she says. Washington sought the aid of therapy animals, but because she isn't really a dog person, she adopted the next best thing: three tortoises named Pepernacky, Sheldon and Quagmire. This testudine trio required a vegetable-rich diet, and Washington eventually grew tired of buying produce and started to grow her own. She began with lettuce. She tells of a call she got from her husband one afternoon, letting her know he’d just made a salad with the lettuce she grew. She caught the gardening bug and began to grow more than just tortoise food.
Soon Washington had requests from her family to transform their backyards into edible landscapes. Cantaloupe and okra blossomed at her mom’s home, and tomatoes and onions grew at her grandma’s house. She needed more space, and a lightbulb went off: Washington realized she wanted to learn to farm. In so many ways, it just made sense. “I think that’s where it translated for me, being a veteran and going into farming. It was a way for me to continue my service. It’s boots on the ground.”
In the spring of 2018, Washington completed Farmershare Austin’s Farmer Starter program, which involves equal parts classroom education and time in the dirt. There, Washington met Lorig Hawkins, who was working as farm manager (and now owns and operates Middleground Farm). After Farmshare, Washington completed a VA sponsored program called “Battleground to Breaking Ground,” which required a 100-hour farm apprenticeship. Under Hawkins’ mentorship, she invested sweat equity into a worthwhile project — the founding of her own urban farm. She named it Dobbin-Kauv Garden Farm after her ancestors who helped found Antioch, a freedman farming community near Buda.
Dobbin-Kauv sits on the corner of Roggie Lane and Manor Road in northeast Austin. When Washington first visited the plot, it was a two-acre meadow — full of biomass and potential. She dug around in the dirt under her feet, discovered worthy soil and signed the lease. On the day of the interview, a fresh mountain of mulch was delivered. Upon seeing the mound, Washington's kids, specifically her youngest, Brayden, b-lined to the mountain, flicking off his flip flops without missing a step. While he conquered the mulch mound, Washington’s oldest daughter, Raeghan, happily heeded her mother’s request to waterthe eggplants. It was abundantly clear that the kids were at home in the soil.
Dobbin-Kauv is the epitome of what it means to be an urban farm; the corner it sits on is busy. There is a T-Mobile store across the street, but Washington remembers when the building housed a Mrs. Baird’s Bakery — a spot she visited on field trips as a student at Winn Elementary. Cars and busses whiz by, and Washington is frequently greeted with lots of friendly waves and hellos. It’s easy to see that Washington is making a name for herself in the neighborhood. Always the positive role model for her family and community, Washington observed a street disturbance and wryly exclaimed, “Urban farm news now! We’re on the case!”
But of course, she wasn’t really joking. Sure, Dobbin-Kauv Garden Farm is a space for Washington to flex her organic farming knowledge and grow specialty eggplant, but her presence on the block is more profound than that. Along with providing for her family, Washington is committed to making difference in the lives of this vital neighborhood.
“The issues that I see every day continue to tell me that this is something that I have to do … I gotta feed my community,” she says. “They’re hungry. They need healing.” Washington keeps an eye out for her neighbors. Her farm acts as a grassroots food pantry and an agricultural information hub to any curious passerby peering over the fence. Though we owe our thanks to a troop of tortoises for Washington’s initial interest in farming, her devotion to her community is familial. Her grandmother, Dorothy Turner, was a renowned civil rights leader active in Austin during her lifetime. Many of the community programs she helped champion were boots-on-the-ground initiatives, providing real value to the community they served ... not unlike the impact of Dobbin-Kauv.
When asked what motivates Washington to keep farming, she says, “For me, it’s just in me. It’s just what it is that I’m here to do. It’s liberating — for me it’s about taking back my heritage, my rights to this land.”
With the help of a crowdfunding campaign, there are two new picnic tables at the farm just begging for a potluck. But the tables are just the beginning, and Washington isn’t holding back her ambitions for the space and her future as a farm(h)er. In addition to expanding production on her current plot, she wants to transform nearby abandoned spaces and create a network of urban food production.
Washington hopes to eventually own the piece of property she currently farms, converting the house on-site into a commercial kitchen and co-working space for farmers and food entrepreneurs. Dobbin-Kauv Garden Farm’s story is just beginning. Follow along on Instagram (@dobbinkauvfarm) or on Facebook through the Dobbin-Kauv Garden Farm page.
We have beautiful products in Central Texas, especially on the seam of the two seasons that coincides with Thanksgiving. Winter squash and lettuces are available, but tomatoes aren’t out of the question, either. Persimmons and apples are easy to find, and, with a little ingenuity, you can arrange for ducks, turkeys, pheasants and doves (think of them as little turkeys.) There’s no need to use words like “bounty” or “cornucopia”—just take a look around and see what’s growing, swimming or flying.
Our Thanksgiving menu reflects what’s available now and here. If you’re a traditionalist, mix a few new dishes in with your old favorites. Either way, I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate.
Also, Honor the Animal with Hugh Fitzsimmons as he field harvests his bison with compassion and grace. And learn about Brenton Johnson who started a garden in his backyard and now has a thriving CSA.
We are excited to support a local initiative called Citizen Foodie, spearheaded by Brandi Clark, Austin’s dynamic grassroots-community activist (she is chair of the board for Austin CarShare, sustainability officer for the proposed, socially and environmentally-responsible One Earth Bank and Austin Eco Network founder, to name just a few of her endeavors). The Citizen Foodie program, a re-imagining of the post–World War II victory gardens, is inspired in part by L.A.-based eco-artist Fritz Haeg’s international edible-front-yard project embraced by Austin earlier this year. It is currently being developed in conjunction with an impressive slate of local nonprofit food and gardening organizations and businesses. This initiative aims to exponentially increase the amount of private and public land used for organic and sustainable food cultivation in our area, making nutritious, local food more readily available to all.
And, because this is an election season, and because we as individuals can collectively make a big impact on how our food future plays out, please consider the power of your vote and honor its voice. Vote with your fork!
By Amy Crowell
During the severe Texas drought of the 1950s, my grandpa quit farming and went to work for the rural electric cooperative. His parched corn stood crispy in the dust. The cracks in the field were so big that my mom, five at the time, was afraid she’d fall in and never get out. Yet, even though he quit farming on a grand scale, my grandpa never gave up his garden that produced food for his family until the day he died.
By Dan Imhoff