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Farmhouse Delivery Brings More Local Food to Austin Doorsteps

FHD bagAustinites are a lucky breed, it’s true: Culinarians, especially, can eat like royalty in the capital city. This spring, they got even luckier when a new delivery grocer started business.

Texas Locavore is late to tell you about this. Why? One of the owners of the new company, Farmhouse Delivery, is my friend Elizabeth Winslow. Covering friends can be tricky for we journalist types. But you need to know about Farmhouse.

Farmhouse delivers exclusively local and seasonal products. (Want strawberries? You can only get them from Farmhouse if they’re in-season in Texas.) Also, organic production methods are non-negotiable for Winslow.

To get started with Farmhouse, Austinites order a $39 bushel of produce (or 10 bushels for $350). This includes a selection fruits and veggies dependent on what’s available – and appealing to Winslow, a former professional chef and bonafide epicure. They then have the option to add on other food products, from beef to bread and beyond, on an à la carte basis. Delivery day varies by zip code, and orders must be placed by Friday for delivery the following week.

[updated 28 July 2009]

Now for Something Different: Black Spanish Wine

A grape that’s totally different from the Merlots and Chardonnays you know, Black Spanish thrives in Texas. But does it make good wine? That’s a matter of personal choice. I enjoy the table wines and port Franklin Houser makes from it at his Dry Comal Creek winery. Get the scoop straight from Houser in this video, the 5th in a series of 6 from the Go Texan wine program. (And if you really want to know more about Black Spanish, you can check out this article I wrote about it last year.)

Does this mean I’m obsessed?

watermelon_truck

I *promise* I wasn’t stalking them. (My husband was driving.) This truckload of watermelons, spotted on I-35 N last week, were apparently headed north up out of the Valley. I wonder where they ended up?

All About Texas Tempranillo

It’s true: Tempranillo grapes are yielding some of the best Texas wines these days. The wise Jim Johnson of Alamosa Wine Cellars in Bend gives the full scoop in this new video put out by the state’s Go Texan Wine program.

Peach Season, Baby

nectarine2You know you want them. But are you afraid you can’t have them? Central Texas had a late, killing freeze this spring that took out much of the 2009 peach and nectarine crop. All is not lost, though; you’ll just have to look a little harder than usual to find local peaches this year. Check out your farmers’ market, or, in Austin, order through Farmhouse Delivery. A call to Psencik Peach Farm (details here) in Fredericksburg earlier today yielded good news, too: They’ve got two varieties harvesting now. Neither is free-stone, so they’re not ideal for canning and jam. But the flavor is good, and the farm-stand is open 9-5 everyday but Sunday, when its hours are 12-5.

If you’ve never tasted a just-picked peach, it’s time you did. (If you don’t know why, you can read my post on the subject from last year around this time.)

“Curing Their Own”

cissis_datesThe Austin Chronicle’s Mick Vann proffered a great primer on pork last week. My favorite part of the package? This handy list of Austin restaurants that cure their own.  (Also very helpful is this list of local pork producers, and where to find their goods.) A dozen different eateries around town are curing cuts of pork in-house, and the results are very tasty. At Cissi’s Market, house-cured pork studs the All-Day Breakfast Salad and wraps around Grilled Medjool Dates, themselves filled with pecorino and marcona almonds (left). The latter is a must-try, if you haven’t already enjoyed it.

Dai Due, April Schedule

Jesse and Tamara have announced the schedule for April’s Dai Due suppers. To get full detail, visit their website. And don’t dally. With only three exquisite, unparalleled offerings for the month, first-come, first-served is an urgent proposition.

  • Seafood Supper Club at Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Sunday April 5th, 3pm

…amazing produce and super fresh Gulf seafood from our contacts in Freeport…

  • The Farmhouse Challenge at Rain Lily Farm, Saturday April 11th, 3pm

…Strawberries and asparagus should be at their peak, along with Rain Lily’s gorgeous carrots, beets, herbs and spring onion…

  • Wild Game Banquet at Hotel Saint Cecilia. Sunday, April 26th 6:30pm

a feast of rare, esoteric, and hard to find truly wild ingredients…

How Funky is Your Chicken?

IMGP7000Mark your calendar and start the countdown: Austin’s first Funky Chicken Coop Tour happens on April 11. Raising chickens is a hot trend this season, in case you didn’t notice. If you want to get in on the bird action (like me), you won’t want to miss this opportunity to see where Austin’s chickens lay their eggs. The tour, self-guided, will run from 10 to 4:30. Rainlily Farm, pictured at left, is one of the more-than-a-dozen participants whose fowl digs are included. Check out this website for all the deets.

Today’s the Last Day for Early-Bird Tickets

farm2plate1The Sustainable Food Center’s annual Farm to Plate fundraiser happens again this year on May 7. Today’s 40-degree gray makes May seem far away, but it’s going to sneak up fast. More importantly, early-bird ticket sales end today. Individual tickets are $75, and tables that seat eight people are $700. But prices go up starting tomorrow.

If you missed this event last year, you can read about it here and here. In short, it’s a great place to get a broad overview – and plenty of tastes – of Austin’s local-food scene. And even better than last year is this year’s venue: The Barr Mansion.

Slow Food in Austin, an Overview

“Slowing Down,” a film by Adrian Tapia