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Market Update and Details about the Farm to Plate Dinner on May 7th

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It was cold and very windy at the market on Saturday morning, but still a great day. I was a little disoriented walking around when all the tents weren’t up, but I managed to fill my bag up without much problem.

This week, there were still Brussels Sprouts and even more strawberries (although by 11 am they were gone). There were more carrots this week, too. Milagro Farms had some beautiful beets that have a white stripe inside – they call them candy cane beets and they are gorgeous. 

I was trying to think of a recipe I could make with them that wouldn’t cause them to lose their stripe and my friend Susan reminded me of a recipe from Aquarelle in which you use the beets as the “pasta” in a goat cheese ravioli. It’s beautiful and delicious and would leave the beets in their candy cane state. I can’t wait to make it again and encourage you to try it if you haven’t. (And, yes I saw the Mark Bittman today article about not liking goat cheese and beets together, but I like it.)

A couple of important market notes – Saturday 3/7 is the Toyota Venza Taste of Market event.  Local chefs will create special recipes from market ingredients so come downtown between 9-1 pm to check it out.

Also, Farm to Plate tickets have gone on sale.  Farm to Plate is the annual fundraiser for the Sustainable Food Center on May 7th at which you will be able to taste delicious plates from local chefs and sip from 10 wineries and 3 local breweries.  Early bird tickets are on sale for $75 (regular ticket is $85) until March 14th so buy your tickets today.  

When Susan and I were discussing the Farm to Plate dinner, I told her how clumsy I am and how I find wine holder plates, the great appetizer plates with a place to rest your wine glass, to be very helpful.  She assured me there would be tables (but you know how these events are) and mentioned that she had tried to find eco-friendly disposable wine holder plates to no avail. Luckily Mansion is donating china.
I bought acrylic wine holder plates years ago before I thought about things like putting more plastic in a land fill, but I wash them after each event and reuse them.  I, of course, had to look for myself to see if I could find eco-friendy plates and spent the better part of Saturday night while babysitting my niece and nephew searching online (yes, I am a nerd).  
Susan was right; I couldn’t find eco-friendly reuseable plates anywhere.  I did however find a plethora of ceramic, porcelain and wood plates that you could buy.  So, whether it is for the Texas Food and Wine Festival, Farm to Plate, or the Austin Wine Festival after that, consider bringing your own plate rather than using a plastic/acrylic one.  I’m sure the Barr Mansion plates will be great, but with one of these you are less likely to spill your dinner down your shirt…
Here are links to the places I found; I think the Bamboo plates (4 for $19.95) are my favorite. Very cute.

Ceramic & porcelain plates: 
Sand Dollar Plates – 4 for $31.50
Black & White Plates – 4 for $44.50
Wine Valley Wine Plates – 4 for $42/6 for $60

Target Teak Plates – 2 for $19.99 
Wine & Dine Cherry Plates – $9.95 each 
Wood Cocktail Plates – 4 for $24.95
Ecobamboo Wine Plates – 4 for $28.95 
Bamboo Wine Plates – 4 for $19.95

Striped Wine Glass Plates – 4 for $32.95
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Market Update and Another Save the Date

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Spring is coming up on us quickly and you can definitely see it at the market. I mentioned last week that you can now get Brussels Sprouts and this week there were STRAWBERRIES. Woo hoo! I love strawberries. If you want berries though, you need to be an early bird – they go fast.

There were also two different beef vendors this week and one even had all beef hot dogs. Imagine, enjoying a hot dog and not worrying about what’s in it.

And, if you are a goat cheese fan, you will be thrilled to know that Made in the Shade dairy is back with their feta and their flavored goat cheese. Yea!

Save the date: I ran into Susan Leibrock, Community Relations Director for the Sustainable Food Center, at the market yesterday and she mentioned that their annual fundraiser, Farm to Plate, will be on Thursday, May 7th. I missed the event last year but understand it was fabulous, so mark your calendar. I’ll post more details as they become available.

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Save the Date – Taste of the Market event at Downtown Austin Farmers Market on 3/7

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correction – I originally posted that the Venza was a hybrid.  It is not.  My apologies for the error.

I received this press release last week and it sounds like a fun event sponsored by Toyota to promote their new vehicle.  Hope to see you there….


Event Series Kicks Off at Austin Farmers’ Market on Saturday, March 7

SEATTLE – February 12, 2009 –The Toyota Venza Taste of the Market event series kicks off with a single-day event in Texas at Austin Farmers’ Market on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 9am.  Toyota Venza created Taste of the Market to celebrate the importance of farmers’ markets to communities across the United States. 

During the Austin event, in booths throughout the market on 4th and Guadalupe, local beloved chefs and popular local farmers will be paired together for a day that highlights Austin Farmers’ Market’s offerings.  The chefs will prepare special tastings showcasing their partner farm’s fresh ingredients and visitors will have the opportunity to sample the chefs’ creations while also learning more about the market vendors, their products, and how to buy and eat seasonally. In addition, to further support the market, Toyota Venza is making a financial donation to Sustainable Food Center, the organization that brings Austin Farmers’ Market to life each week.

“We are blessed with an abundance of food in our region and I truly believe that is what we are meant to eat,” said Taste of the Market participant Jesse Griffiths, chef/owner of Dai Due Super Club.  “By sourcing locally from farmers and ranchers, we are not only eating more nutritious foods but also helping with the local economy.”

Throughout the course of the Austin event, 12 local chefs will offer up their culinary creations featuring their partnering farmer’s fare.  The impressive panel of talented chefs  includes Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club, John Bates of ASTI, Jason Donoho of FINO,  Teresa Wilson of Aquarelle, and Greg Ritter of Texas Culinary Academy.

 In addition to the free tastings, visitors will be able to sign up to receive a month-by-month Taste of the Market Guide to Eating Seasonally in Austin. Market-goers will also be invited to pick up complimentary herb plant starts at the Mobile Garden Venza, and can enter to win a unique culinary prize.

 “Sustainable Food Center is thrilled to partner with Venza on Taste of the Market,” said Susan Leibrock, SFC Community Relations Director. “Austin Farmers’ Market has come to represent the community’s commitment to locally-grown, sustainable, and healthful options for eating.  It is through community and individual support that the market is assured a strong future, and Venza’s Taste of the Market is a great way to highlight and celebrate what Austin Farmers’ Market offers to both chefs and citizens week after week.”

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Edible Austin Eat Local Week & LovePuppiesBrownies

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If you haven’t heard already, this week is Edible Austin’s Eat Local Week which highlights local food & spirits and raises money for UrbanRoots, a nonprofit that teaches kids about sustainable agriculture and healthy food. 

The events started at Saturday with, what I hear from my friend Sara, was a great bike ride to some of Austin’s urban farms.  Events continue through Saturday and are afford ably priced so check out their website and go support local food!  
On a separate note, I recently had the pleasure to taste a great local food treat.  Joel Haro of LovePuppiesBrownies shared some of his tasty desserts with my team at work.  I’m not big on sweets (notice the lack of dessert recipes on the blog), but I LOVED the “You Mocha Me Crazy” with the espresso beans.  And, I thought I was going to have do hand-to-hand combat with our admin to keep her from hiding the box in her desk before everyone got a brownie.  Needless to say, they were a big hit.  If you are looking for a great Austin treat to share with your friends and family, I highly recommend contacting Joel.  The brownies would be great stocking stuffers.
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