Archive | October, 2013

Two local food magazines debut in Houston and San Antonio

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It’s been an exciting month for the local food word in Texas with the debut of two new magazines.

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Edible San Antonio debuted (the digital issue isn’t online just yet) with their Fall Harvest issue.  I’m looking forward to following the growth of the farmers markets, local sourcing restaurants and food artisans in the Alamo City, and am thrilled that another Edible magazine will be helping tell those stories.  Edible San Antonio is publishing on a six times/year rotation and offers a $35/year subscription.

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The magazine launch that has had me circling my mailbox in anticipation is Sugar & Rice from Houston.  My friends Chris Cusack, who you may know from his days as a co-owner at Thunderbird Coffee, Benjy Mason and David Leftwich have conspired to create a beautiful, thoughtful journal focused on the Gulf Coast region.  It’s gorgeous, inspired and I haven’t been this excited to get a magazine in the mail since I received my first issue of Garden & Gun.  Sugar & Rice is publishing quarterly and subscriptions are $30/year.

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I love that there is now a magazine focused on local food stories in four of Texas’ major cities (Edible Austin, Edible Dallas & Fort Worth, Edible San Antonio and Sugar & Rice).  Getting a subscription to each will guarantee that you have one of the best informed libraries in the state. See you at the magazine stand!

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Support Austin’s Urban Farms on Thursday 10/17/13

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URBAN_FARM_STICKERS_1If you’ve been following along, you know that the City of Austin is updating the Urban Farm Code and this Thursday, October 17th, the City Council will vote on the recommendations from the Sustainable Food Policy Board and the Planning Commission. You’d think coming off a 6-1 vote from the Planning Commission, this would be a slam dunk, but it’s not.

A small group of very vocal activists are accusing the farmers of the craziest things you’ve ever heard of – gentrifiers, land grabbers, you name it. At one point, they even compared the farms to the old tank farms that used to pollute East Austin. Tank farms! It would be funny if they weren’t serious.  They don’t want any farms in any neighborhood – ever.

The reality is that these Austin farms provide us with healthy food and a phenomenal community and educational resource. I think of the farms like schools, parks and libraries – we should have them in every neighborhood, all over the city.

If you support Austin’s urban farms, please participate in Austin Urban Farm Day on Thursday.  Here are some of the ways you can help:

  • Wear green – the color of the farms!
  • Wear a sticker showing your support of the farms. You can get one at City Hall when you join us for the hearing or you can print your own and share with friends. (The stickers are formatted for Avery labels 22830.)
  • Put up a sign showing your support of the farms.
  • Get social! Post a photo on Thursday in your green shirt with your sign to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #austinurbanfarms and we’ll repost it on this website.
  • Most importantly, come join us at City Hall.  The public hearing portion of the council meeting begins at 4 pm and we would love for our friends and supporters to pack the council chambers. You can sign up in support of Urban Farm Code update and even speak if you feel so moved.  You can sign in any time before the vote and here are the steps for how to do it.
  • And, if you haven’t written already, please send a nice note to the council telling them you support Austin’s Urban Farms.

Unfortunately I won’t be there Thursday because of a business trip I couldn’t move, but I’ve signed in and I’ll be on social media.  Please go be my voice at the meeting. Speak up for the farms.  They are worth it!

Need more details? Click here to learn more about Austin Urban Farm Day.

Not sure how to sign in to speak or support the Urban Farm Code Update at City Hall? Here are instructions.

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Learning Local: Farmers Markets

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While learning to navigate the local food community, I have found that Farmers Markets are a great resource. You may be thinking, well duh, but when you take a closer look Farmers Markets can teach you more than you might have initially thought.

Farmers markets in essence are markets full of farmers. You want to learn about local food? This is your mecca. Vendors and farmers are knowledgeable, well connected in the food community, and friendly. At first, farmers seemed like a wise and untouchable breed, I was maybe even a little intimidated. How do you even cook kohlrabi?  Do they think I’m stupid because I have no idea what that cute little squash is? Farmers get up at the crack of dawn to haul fresh produce and goods to you. They farm because they love it and want to share their local seasonal produce with you. Use them as a resource! Ask questions, they won’t bite.

Learn the food seasons. Farmers markets are a great way to learn what grow when.  Spoiler alert, most fruits and vegetables grow best in one particular season. The produce at Farmers Markets directly reflect what is coming out of the farms at that time. You don’t get everything all the time when you buy local seasonal food, but it makes you appreciate the food more. It has helped me gain an appreciation for the natural cycle.

Now I am no stranger to HEB, I have circled the produce bins a time of two. But let me warn you, once you start going to Farmers Markets it changes the grocery store forever.  It is hard to describe how much of an impact it can have when you connect with your food source. Forming a relationship with your food and the people that grow it is a powerful thing. It isn’t just shopping anymore it becomes almost an experience. Have you connected with a local Farmers Market yet? Check out this Farmers Market guide from Edible Austin and start exploring.

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