It’s almost time! No, not for Christmas, but for Eat Local Week! December 5th through 12th is Edible Austin Magazine’s annual celebration of our finest locally sourced food and products with the proceeds benefiting Urban Roots, a local nonprofit that teaches under-served kids how to grow sustainable food and run a business through the operation of a farmers market stand. I’ve had my calendar blocked off for several months now and am looking forward to the kick-off this weekend.
Eat Local Week truly offers something for everyone. Each day, there are events highlighting some aspect of the local culinary community from coffee and tea to seafood to locally produced products to cocktails. You can also participate by dining out at one of the many Central Texas restaurants that will have a special Eat Local Week menu or items using locally sourced ingredients. The list of restaurants is impressive and could keep you busy sampling great food all over town.
I’m kicking off Eat Local Week on Saturday, December 5th at 10 am with the Urban Farm Bicycle Tour organized by Bicycle Sport Shop. This easy, family-paced ride will explore several East Austin farms, community gardens and give folks a chance to stop in at Zhi Tea for refreshment. I can’t wait to explore the farms on bicycle.
If bicycles aren’t your thing, you can stop into Zhi Tea from 10 am to 2 pm for the Edible Austin Tea Festival. For $10 you can try several local teas paired with local food.
And rounding out your Saturday is a very special screening of the movie Fresh at the Paramount Theater at 8 pm with a special guest appearance by celebrity farmer, writer and local food advocate Joel Salatin who will host a question and answer session after the movie. If you haven’t seen Fresh, it is a lovely movie that illustrates the difference between local family-owned and industrial farms.
I was fortunate enough to see a screening at Boggy Creek Farm this summer and enjoyed it so much that I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the screening on the 5th. Edible Austin has generously provided me with two tickets to give away to a reader. If you are interested, please comment on this post by 6 pm on Wednesday. I will use a randomizer to pick the winner.
If you aren’t worn out after Saturday’s festivities, I’ll look forward to seeing you at some of the other events next week:
Sunday, December 6th you can attend the Drink Local Coffee Festival hosted at Owl Tree Roasting from 11 am to 2 pm or sip inventive cocktails that evening at Tipsy Texan’s Drink Local Cocktail Contest hosted at Palm Door from 6 to 9 pm.
Monday, December 7th you can enjoy a delicious dinner and movie at The Alamo Drafthouse Benefeast showing of Julie & Julia that includes a question and answer session with author Julie Powell at 7 pm and/or you can indulge in a Happy Hour with The Cupcake Bar at Finn and Porter from 5 to 7 pm.
Tuesday, December 8th grab your jacket and skate at the Local Growers First Frost from 5 to 10 pm at Whole Foods. You can enjoy live entertainment and tastings from local vendors while you skate. Or, if you prefer an evening of art and seafood, visit Austin Museum of Art’s Gulf Coast Sampler. This event has limited seating and it is suggested that you buy your tickets in advance.
Wednesday, December 9th you can shop for products made by local food artisans at the Edible Local Gift Fair from 4 to 8 pm – a great way to make local gift baskets for friends and family for the holidays. That evening, Fino is hosting a Chef’s Table dinner with Balcones Distillery pairing their delicious dishes with cocktail master Bill Norris’ Balcones concoctions.
Thursday, December 10th from 6 to 8 pm the Wally Workman Gallery is hosting Fine Food Art Gallery Night with food prepared by the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and cocktails from Tipsy Texan and Paula’s Texas Spirits.
Friday, December 11th you can join six Texas Breweries at Meet Your Local Brewers Happy Hour at the Whip-In from 4 to 8 pm. For $20 you get to taste up to six pints of locally brewed beer and sample food from some of the best carts in town like the Best Wurst, Sushi-a-Go-Go and Flip Happy Crepes.
Finally, the week winds down on Saturday, December 12th from 10 to noon with a Celebrity Local Food Cookoff at the Downtown Austin Farmers Market.
Phew! Most of the events are reasonably priced in the $10-$20 range and they support an organization that is making a tremendous difference in our community. I’d say that’s a win-win for everyone.
So, go review the Eat Local Week site and block your calendar for a great week of celebrating food in Central Texas. I’ll see you at Eat Local Week! And don’t forget to post a comment if you are interested in winning the tickets to Fresh!