Local Ice Cream / Steelbow Farm / Dan's Hamburgers / Seasonal Recipes No. 83 July/August 2022
Cel eb ra ti n g th e ver y b est of Ce n t ra l Texa s fo o d cu lt u re
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LOCAL ICE CREAM
Bringing babka to the people
Chill out around Austin
What’s On Our Counter
18 S potlight on Local Picnic Parlour ATX
27 What's In Season
ORDER TODAY: WindyBarBeef.com 512-474-2855
The 1 in 5 Central Texas children at risk of hunger need your help so they can have a happy, healthy summer.
14 Local Legends
. 100% LOCALLY RAISED &
After a difficult two years for our community, families are continuing to struggle as food and housing prices soar.
10 N otable Edibles
B eef fo r t h e S er io u s B eef Ea t er
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REG U LA RS
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On the Cover
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Homemade Peach Ice Cream Recipe and Photo by Heather Barnes
RECIPES OF THE SEASON
for locations, vendor lists & more info visit
Creamy Yogurt Dip & Peach Ice Cream
EdibleAustin.com / 5
he summer heat has definitely arrived in Central Texas with many days reaching temperatures in excess of 100 degrees already. We thought it was the perfect time to include a story that harkens back to how ice cream became part of the fabric of Texas but also explores the delicious ice cream options we have today. From the start of Blue Bell Creameries in 1907 to ice cream innovators like Amy’s, Lick, NadaMoo! and OroBianco, we are fortunate to have great places to find a cold summer treat in this heat throughout Austin and the Hill Country. Our Farmers Diary gives us a glimpse into the background of Steelbow Farm and how owners Finegan Ferreboeuf and Jason Gold left Texas and headed to Maine, only to find themselves back in Central Texas to take advantage of an opportunity to grow their own vegetables on the land once owned by their farming mentors. Cultivated on five acres of land in east Austin, Steelbow provides fresh, nutritious vegetables to many of Austin’s chefs and restaurants. In our Edible Endeavor, we learn about a lawyer from Israel, Sariel Brummer, who immigrated to the United States when her husband came to pursue his MBA. Unable to practice law in the U.S., Brummer decided to turn her babka — a traditional Jewish pastry — into a business and founded Babka ATX to share her delicious baked bread with people in Austin. Today she sells her babka made with a family recipe at local coffee shops, Central Market, the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller and online. As Local Legends go, Dan’s Hamburgers definitely stands out as a name synonymous with old Austin. Dan’s started out on Congress Avenue in 1973. Almost 50 years later, there are four locations around town. Still family-owned and operated by Dan’s daughter, Katie Congdon, Dan’s has been through their share of challenges but they have stood the test of time and continue to provide their juicy burgers, fries, milkshakes and more to their loyal customers. We also have some great recipes to share with friends and family this summer — be sure to try out the fresh peach ice cream (you can pick up fresh peaches at your local farmers markets) and the yogurt dip alongside fresh vegetables and watermelon. We hope you all enjoy your summer and this issue of Edible Austin! Sincerely,
PUBLISHER/EDITOR Monique Threadgill email@example.com
Skilled dietitian providing culinary, nutritional & locally-focused meals
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ralph Yznaga firstname.lastname@example.org
AUSTIN’S FINEST GOURMET PIZZAS AND SALADS
COPY EDITORS Claire Cella Stacey Ingram Kaleh
sourced from Austin’s finest local farms
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ada Broussard Stacey Ingram Kaleh Ava Motes Emily Treadway
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Heather Barnes
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DINE-IN / TAKE OUT / “TAKE & BAKE”
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Burgers All Week at Congress! ORDER MADE-TO-ORDER BURGERS AND LUNCH SPECIALS ONLINE AT ROYALBLUEGROCERY.COM
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W H AT ’ S
ON OUR COUNTER Story and photography by MONIQUE THREADGILL
Take a look at what we are enjoying this month:
COLLETTES MINI DONUT CAKES
TOASTY ALMOND DIP
It’s sometimes difficult to find a vegan or gluten free sweet treat that also tastes great and is fun to eat, so we were excited
Austin-based Toasty Almond Dips provides a great option for
to try Collettes Mini Donut Cakes. It was hard to believe these
a quick, healthy snack. Made with toasted almonds, fresh herbs
delicious mini donuts were packed with protein and low in sugar
and local spices, these dips are a great accompaniment to fresh
— and were also vegan, gluten free, dairy free and made without
vegetables, crackers, chips or as a spread on a sandwich. The dips
artificial flavors or coloring. The donuts are made locally and come
come in six flavors — original, chipotle, jalapeño ranch, french
in a wide variety of seasonal flavors, from cinnamon and avocado
onion, chill ranch and spinach and artichoke — and all of them
lime, to espresso and pumpkin spice. You can pick them up at the
are made with simple and intentional plant-based ingredients. The
Lone Star Farmers Market at the Hill Country Galleria on Sundays
dips are also vegan, gluten free, keto and paleo-friendly and free of
or order them online.
major allergens. You can pick up a container of Toasty locally at
SFC Farmers Market, Peoples RX, Thom’s Markets, Dia’s Market or online. toastydips.com
GOLDEN RATIO COFFEE POUCHES We love freshly brewed coffee any time of the day, but summers in Austin are a great time to try a glass of iced coffee. For those of you who enjoy coffee but find it challenging for your stomach, locally owned Golden Ratio offers a unique slow-roasting method, producing golden beans that have almost no quinic acid (the component of coffee that makes it rough on your stomach). The result is a smooth, unbitter and tea-like coffee that is pleasing to your palate and your gut, and doesn’t stain your teeth! Golden Ratio comes in convenient pouches that you can take with you on your summer travels and it can be served hot or cold. We picked up a box of their variety pack that comes with three flavors — chai spiced, original gold and vanilla coconut — and we loved them all. You can find Golden Ratio at CoDependent downtown, Dear Diary
AUSTIN JAM COMPANY Our friends at Swedish Hill always turn us on to great things to try, and this time they recommended Austin Jam Company. We picked up a jar of their That’s My Jam — a delicious combination of strawberry, cherry and rhubarb — and were delighted with the taste and texture! The company is locally owned and their fun and original jam flavors, like Fig Deal and Jampagne, are made in small batches with fresh ingredients and based on seasonality. They are great on a toasted English muffin, or as the perfect complement to a festive cheese board. You can pick up a jar of these fun, funky fruit jams at Central Market, Swedish Hill, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop or other specialty retailers or order online. austinjamcompany.com
in East Austin or you can order online. drinkgoldenratio.com 8 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 9
Local Foods Transitions from Pop-Up to Permanent Location
by AVA MOTES
photos by MACKENZIE SMITH KELLEY
Lou’s Opens Second Location Lou’s Barton Springs Beloved counter service restaurant Lou’s Eastside has recently opened a second location near Zilker Park: Lou’s Barton Springs. Much like the flagship, Lou’s Barton Springs offers an outdoor dining patio with the addition of a screened porch called “The Treehouse,” which is built around a 350-year-old pecan tree. Lou’s also features a large indoor dining space that caters to families no matter the weather. The menu at Lou’s Barton Springs includes many of the “American roadside classics” that made Lou’s Eastside a favorite, including burgers, rotisserie chicken, nachos and salads. They also serve breakfast items that are perfect after a morning swim in Barton Springs Pool, such as housemade donuts and breakfast tacos, as well as pastries from Swedish Hill bakery. And, with pitchers of beer to enjoy in a large comfy booth, Lou’s is a staple pit stop before an evening in the park with friends. To try this new location for yourself, visit 1608 Barton Springs Road or order take-out online via Toast. For more information, visit www.lousaustin.com.
photo by RALPH YZNAGA
La Santa Barbacha Moves to New Location at Native Hostel
Neighborhood Vintner Debuts in Westlake
La Santa Barbacha, the food truck known for their Mexican slow-roasted barbacoa tacos on homemade corn tortillas, chilaquiles and natural aguas frescas, has relocated from their former location on South Congress to their new location at Native Hostel on East 4th Street.
New to the Westlake area is Neighborhood Vintner, a first-of-its-kind elevated wine shop and wine bar concept. The shop offers over 1,000 wines for purchase by the bottle, as well as a curated selection to be enjoyed by the glass at their bar. Neighborhood Vintner was started by Leo and Tiffany Resig, Westlake residents who are eager to share their love and knowledge of wine with fellow Austinites.
The new location offers more seating and more parking, and owners (and siblings) Rosa de Lima Hernandez and Daniela Hernandez say they are “excited to be in a space where we can serve more of Austin and share our passion with the community.”
“As Austin continues to grow, so, too, must the opportunities to enjoy and discover fine wine,” Tiffany says. Although Tiffany and Leo noted the proliferation of wine bars downtown, they found that there is a need for something “right-around-the-corner” where Austinites can share a glass of wine with friends and shop for a special bottle.
Visit their new location at Native Hostel at 807 E. 4th Street or find them on Instagram @ lasantabarbacha.
“[We wanted] a go-to, elegant yet approachable space to gather with friends and enjoy unique and classic wines alike,” Tiffany says. Neighborhood Vintner is just that: an accessible wine shopping experience guided by advanced sommeliers like general manager Paul Ozbirn.
After hosting a successful pop-up in Austin, the Houston-based restaurant Local Foods has opened their first brick and mortar location in Austin. The new Local Foods will service the downtown Austin area with casual counter-service from breakfast to dinner. Much like the original location, Local Foods has a mission of supporting Texas farmers, ranchers, fishmongers, and artisans. They source ingredients from vendors in the vicinity of Austin whenever possible, ensuring a thoroughly “local” meal for all diners. “We are a small business ourselves that has been mom and pop-run since 2012,” said Local Foods Co-founder and Chef Dylan Murray. “We believe that sustainable sourcing practices equal better quality offerings and enhances relationships with our community.” Murray himself is fond of other small businesses and vendors in the Austin community, as he is a UT-graduate with roots in the Central Texas area. Local Foods’ menu features a wide variety of sandwiches, as well as pastries, salads, and in-house coffee drinks that will expand in the fall. Local Foods touts their crunchy chicken sandwich as a “fan favorite” among Houston eaters. However, their menu is also accessible for vegan diners, with standout selections like an oyster-mushroom po-boy. The new location is open to both grab-and-go and dine-in orders, offering two floors of seating and an outdoor patio. Visit their new location at 454 W. 2nd Street or localfoodstexas.com to learn more.
Ozbirn said his goal is to find the perfect wine for Neighborhood Vintner's customers, while gently pushing them out of their comfort zone and telling them about both new and old world offerings. Along with the rest of the team at Neighborhood Vintner, he provides a personal and educational experience like no other. Visit Neighborhood Vintner at 3663 Bee Caves Rd., Ste. 4D. To learn more, visit neighborhoodvintner.com.
photos by LA SANTA BARBACHA
photos by Lou's Barton Springs
10 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 11
photo by NIC PATRIZI
Patrizi’s Opens Storefront Location in Austin Lake Hills
photos by ADAHLIA COLE
Starbase Brewing Blasts into Southeast Austin New in Southeast Austin is a brewery with its sights set on the stars. Starbase Brewing was founded by a group of engineers who are passionate about space travel, and touts itself as the future “official” brewery of planet Mars. This craft microbrewery was developed with a mission of promoting science and sustainability, as well as fostering community for those curious about space expeditions. Starbase Brewing offers an in-house mango Mexican-style lager, a honey kölsch and a hazy IPA. Starbase took over the space that was formerly Orf Brewing, and has reimagined the location as a gathering spot for the space community.
Italian food truck Patrizi’s, which has been an East Austin favorite since 2013, has just opened their first brick-and-mortar location. The new restaurant is situated in the Austin Lake Hills neighborhood on Cuernavaca, a location chosen for its proximity to co-owner Matt Patrizi’s home. With a larger dining space, Patrizi’s is now expanding their menu and service hours. The original Patrizi’s location was only open for dinner, but their new counter service concept also offers breakfast and lunch. In the morning, customers can enjoy Patrizi’s panzerotti, stuffed with scrambled eggs and cheese or Nutella. New to the lunchtime menu is focaccia with a range of savory toppings. The dinner menu will retain many of the house-made pastas that made Patrizi’s a favorite, such as the pomodoro, cacio e pepe and carbonara. The new location has also expanded the drink offerings from the original spot, now boasting a full bar with Patrizi’s palomas, orange limoncellos and various wines and beers. And of course, Patrizi’s beloved meatballs and garlic bread will be sticking around. The second Patrizi’s now offers inside dining, as well as outside seating reminiscent of their original location. To enjoy their casual Italian fare, stop by for dine-in service at 1705 Cuernavaca Dr. N, or learn more at patrizis.com.
photos by MAIE DAY
Maie Day Opens in South Congress Hotel Recently added to the South Congress Hotel is Maie Day, a chophouse named for the ancient European celebration of the beginning of summer. Maie Day promises to continue the May Day party year round, describing themselves as “a daily festival of food and community” for tourists and locals alike. Maie Day was founded by hospitality group MaeiB, which was behind popular Southern restaurant Olamaie, in partnership with New Waterloo. Their newest venture is a fun take on the traditional steakhouse, with an intentionally summery interior design. “The intention behind Maie Day's interiors is to bring warmth to the space and allow the food and the people to shine above all else," says New Waterloo designer Olenka Hand. Complementing this bright decor is an equally exciting menu, complete with classics like prime rib, rib-eye, pork chops, butcher’s steak and chicken. Maie Day also serves a myriad of raw bar items, oysters, and distinctly Southern sides like creamed greens, mac n' cheese and glazed carrots. Maie Day is now open in the former Central Standard space in the South Congress Hotel at 1603 S. Congress Ave. To book a reservation and explore the menu, visit maieday.com.
photo by PROVISION DINING HOUSE
Provision Dining House Re-Opens in the Triangle After a two-year closure, Austin’s Provision Dining House is re-opening its doors at the Triangle. Provision Dining House first opened in 2019 as a “craft-forward” restaurant in North Austin, but unfortunately closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they are up and running again with a new look and an updated menu. “While we are — at heart — the same restaurant, we have had some changes given the change in location,” owner and executive chef Albert Gonzalez says. “We are more focused on being family-friendly with an expanded kids menu, [we] have a separate lunch menu that caters to the quick pace of lunch service, and we've incorporated a rotisserie into our menu.” Provision’s menu now includes additions such as prime rib, porchetta and rotisserie chicken, and they have expanded their bar with a carefully curated beverage program. Situated between commercial and residential spaces at the Triangle, Provision Dining House is able to service a wider range of customers than ever before. With both indoor and outdoor patio seating, the new location offers refined reboots of classic dishes in a playful and laid back atmosphere.
In order to give back to this community, Starbase Brewing announced plans to donate one percent of their profits to science education. The brewery operates using renewable energy to offset their carbon footprint. They have also outlined a plan to engineer beer brewing techniques suitable for the conditions on Mars. With these goals in mind, Starbase promises to take customers out of this world.
Visit Provision at 4600 W. Guadalupe St., Ste. B5 in the former Maudie’s Tex-Mex location. For more information, visit provisiondininghouse.com.
Starbase Brewing is now open at 4700 Burleson Rd., Ste. F. To learn more, visit starbasebrewery.com.
owner Nic Patrizi by RALPH YZNAGA
12 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 13
Dan's Hamburgers Story by STACEY INGRAM KALEH Photography by RALPH YZNAGA In the Local Legends series, we shine the spotlight on a restaurant that’s
Dan’s Hamburgers has no doubt served up as many formative memories as
been serving the Austin community for more than three decades. These
it has burgers. Growing up in South Austin, I recall visits with my parents
iconic spots have become part of the fabric of our region’s shared culture,
when I was little — my brother and I thought it was so cool that it was
with multiple generations of Central Texans able to fondly reflect upon
called “Dan’s,” which is my dad’s name. We’d joke that it was his place.
memories made at these beloved eateries. In a rapidly growing and
I also remember visits with friends when I got older and once I got my
changing region, they’ve stood the test of time. Yet, they still need our
driver’s license, it was one of the first places I went on my own. Before
support so that they can be enjoyed by future generations. It’s time to rediscover
high school football games at Tony Burger Center, we’d head to Dan’s on
the restaurants that keep our communities authentic, vibrant and resilient.
Menchaca for cheeseburgers (only now I am seeing the comicality of
olklore always abounds when we talk about Dan’s Hamburgers. This
family-owned-and-operated Austin institution, which will
getting a burger before going to Burger). And I’m certainly not alone in having Dan’s play host to good times with good people. “We love our customers inviting their friends and family to meet at our stores for their favorite meals,” says Congdon. Meaningful relationships with customers are what set restaurants like Dan's apart.
celebrate its 50th anniversary
Not only do customers love Dan’s, but so do their employees. “We do have
next year, was founded by
many long-term employees and managers that have been with us 10, 20
then-spouses Daniel Ignatius
and 30 years,” says Congdon. “Our staff knows our customers by name and
Junk and Frances Maldonado
recognizes their families as well.” She touches on that special relationship
in 1973 at 1822 S. Congress
with customers that only businesses prioritizing service over multiple
(now the site of a Torchy’s
decades seem to have.
Tacos). When Dan and Fran divorced after many years of successful restaurant operations, growing popularity and expansion, the restaurants also split up as part of the divorce, with some Dan’s locations changing to Fran’s. Only Dan’s locations still remain today. The split caused quite the game of telephone among their legions of devoted customers. Was there a family
The Dan’s location at Ben White and Menchaca was redesigned and reopened in 2014, playing up a vibrant American Bandstand-era feel with red and white geometric designs, comfy and spacious booths and a renovated kitchen. While the new space may be sleek and shiny, the recipes
Hamburgers is currently planning a remodel of its Airport Boulevard
feud? Were the recipes the same? Which was better?
location, which includes adding a drive-thru, and hopes to do the same
Which makes me wonder: Are the stories we come up with just all part of
American fare and old Austin style to new generations, and are in it for
the fun that results from a community of customers that still feels like part
with its North Lamar location. They look forward to bringing classic
of one big family? Because that’s what Dan’s Hamburgers has created — a loyal, one-of-a-kind, burger-loving community.
Order Up! May We Suggest:
Rumors and whispers aside, where word-of-mouth really resonates is in
For breakfast: Homemade biscuits with creamy sausage gravy.
the recommendations from neighbors and friends pertaining to the juicy, made-to-order burgers, crave-worthy onion rings, curly fries, classic milkshakes and retro vibes one finds at Dan’s. Katie Congdon, daughter of Dan, now owns Dan’s Hamburgers and serves as president and CEO. She proudly continues her family’s legacy of serving up delicious food that everyone can enjoy and honoring the Austin tradition of creating a casual, reliable and fun atmosphere for customers. “I believe we have stood the
For lunch: Order a hamburger (a regular is a ¼-lb.) made with certified Angus beef, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, with options to add on cheese, bacon, jalapeños and Hickory sauce. Pair with a rich chocolate malt. In any case, don’t forget the onion rings and curly fries!
test of time by keeping true to our original roots,” Congdon says. “We still
serve a great quality burger made to order. Most of our menu items are
North Lamar Blvd. and in Buda. Learn more about menus and hours for
prepared in-house daily. This includes our breakfast menu. We make our
each at dans-hamburgers.com.
sausage gravy from scratch along with our buttermilk biscuits. We have a simple menu and serve what our customers love best.” 14 / EdibleAustin.com
Katie Congdon and team member Bella
EdibleAustin.com / 15
Bringing Babka to the People Sariel Brummer and Babka ATX Story by AVA NOTES Photography by BABKA ATX Although Brummer has been baking babka for years, she never thought of it as her trade. She initially worked as a lawyer in Israel, and said that her career path was planned out from a young age. However, the challenges that she faced immigrating to the United States prompted her to reconsider.
These first customers placed orders for curbside pick-up at Brummer’s house. The babka that they purchased was baked using Brummer’s family recipe in her home kitchen. Although Brummer has since scaled up her operations to a commercial space and hired three additional bakers, she has not sacrificed the identity of her product.
“We came to the U.S. for my husband’s MBA. We wanted to experience a new place and culture, [but] it was different because I couldn’t practice law here. I had a lot of plans for the relocation, but we moved around so much and I couldn’t do them,” Brummer says. “I was at home, I couldn’t get a job. It was scary, but I understand now that it made me more resilient.”
“I'm baking like I'm baking for my kids. All the ingredients that I use are clean. I don’t use preservatives.” Brummer says. “All of us at Babka ATX love babka, and we love sharing it with people … both traditionally and with unique flavors.”
This resiliency opened Brummer up to the possibility of trying something completely different. When she recognized the need for babka bakeries in the United States, she began to wonder if she could remedy this. As a new mother, it seemed like a daunting task. But Brummer figured she had nothing to lose.
“We also sell mini babkas as a grab-and-go version for coffee shops. I like to say that everything is bigger in Texas, but my mini babka. In a way it’s not all traditional babka anymore, but it’s not about that. It’s more about introducing people to something they don’t know [to] bring them joy. That’s what I like to do,” Brummer says.
In her spare time, Brummer said she enjoys experimenting. Babka’s cake-like bread is traditionally filled with cinnamon or dark chocolate, but Brummer has added flavors like butter pecan, tomato basil and caramelized onion to Babka ATX’s menu. Brummer also created various seasonal batches, such as a rainbow Pride Month babka, which shares half of its proceeds with LGBTQ+ nonprofits.
“I had this idea but I kept wondering ‘Why now?’ and ‘Why me?’ until one day I was like, ‘Wait, why not?’ I couldn’t think of an answer, so I decided to just give it a try,” Brummer says. And with that simple question, Babka ATX was born. Babka ATX is a bakery without a storefront, which produces babka that is available for retail at local coffee shops and Central Market, as well as through shipped online orders via their website and Amazon. Brummer opened the bakery in November 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this was a challenging period for many small business owners, she used the timing to her advantage.
aking babka is in Sariel Brummer’s DNA, but it was not always a part of her life plan. Brummer grew up in Israel, where this traditional Jewish pastry is a staple on every dining table. As a kid, she regularly made babka with her mother to enjoy alongside her morning coffee, as an afternoon snack, and at every family celebration. So, when Brummer immigrated to the United States seven years ago, she was shocked by the scarcity of babka in America. “We moved a lot in the U.S. in the beginning, [and] it was really hard to find babka,” Brummer says. “It’s funny that on one side of the world, something is super popular. And then on the other side, people don't know what it is. I thought, ‘People have to know what babka is, they need to try it.’” 16 / EdibleAustin.com
Brummer started baking babka as gifts to introduce new friends to her culture. After leaving behind her family and career in Israel, these moments of connection were precious to her. Brummer discovered a passion for sharing babka, which laid the foundation for what would eventually evolve into her own bakery business: Babka ATX. “It took me a few years to settle down, but when we finally settled in Austin, I decided it's time to bring babka to the people,” Brummer says. “I founded Babka ATX thinking it was something I could do while having a baby at home. In the first two months of operations, I baked and sold 500 loaves out of my home kitchen. It’s something I wouldn’t have imagined back when I was just making 10 babkas a week with a tiny mixer.”
“The pandemic made me think about what I want and how I wanted to see my life in the short-term. I knew I couldn’t go back to Israel and I couldn’t bring family here. So making babka was a way to still feel connected to them … [and] the business was a way to connect with new people here,” Brummer says. “I think that's part of the reason it picked up so quickly, because at that time people were looking for community. My first few customers were the people who wanted to get out of the house, drive somewhere, and get something comforting to eat.”
Brummer is currently looking ahead to expand her business, with the goal of sharing babka with as many people as possible. She said that she wants Babka ATX to be a recognizable brand in Austin, and she cannot wait to share her product with people in other regions as well. “The connection with the people is the thing I like the most,” Brummer says. “When I started, I just wanted to bring joy to my friends and my neighborhood. And that’s what I still do, but now the neighborhood is always getting bigger.” To learn more about babka ATX, visit babkaatx.com.
EdibleAustin.com / 17
spotlight on LOCAL
Bohemian Luxury Picnic Parlour ATX
Story by EMILY TREADWAY Photography by PICNIC PARLOUR ATX
“I love the whimsy of a picnic,” DeMitchell says. And she tries to provide
love the idea
her clients with their own sense of whimsy. “I want them to feel
of a picnic.
important and celebrated with each detail. From custom floral
Beautiful weather, tasty
arrangements to the vintage glassware and plating we use, I want each
client to have a memorable experience.”
family and friends — what’s not to enjoy? Until your dream of an idyllic day
nightmare of logistical planning: What do we sit on? What do we eat? Do we have enough food? And will it fit in the car? This is where Teresa owner
of Picnic Parlour ATX, steps in. DeMitchell grew up in Hawaii and loved being outdoors as often as she could. During the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was isolated indoors, all DeMitchell yearned for was being back outside in the company of friends. By the time restrictions loosened, she had come up with the idea of blending her love of the outdoors with the companionship of friends and family, and Picnic Parlour ATX was born. “What makes our picnics unique is that all our clients have to do is show up,” DeMitchell declares. Picnic Parlour ATX designs the picnic, lays it out, curates the food (if the customer orders it) and provides clean up. Picnic Parlour ATX offers a picnic experience that is both upscale yet casual. Picnic packages are available, but DeMitchell also provides unique, custom picnics tailored to customers’ specifications. Clients can bring their own food, or, for an additional fee, Picnic Parlour will serve
These memorable experiences can take place almost anywhere. Picnic Parlour ATX has staged picnics all over Austin and the surrounding areas, from Georgetown to Fredericksburg and everywhere in between. “We have even set up on a private dock and outside of a yurt in Dripping Springs,” DeMitchell says. Picnic Parlour ATX isn’t just a summertime business. “Our clients celebrate special occasions year-round, so we want to be available for them,” DeMitchell says. Luckily, Austin has nice picnic weather most of the year, even during the winter months. But if the weather isn’t cooperating, Picnic Parlour ATX also provides the option of indoor picnics. “Indoor picnics are a great option for rainy and cold months. Or maybe you just want a more intimate experience [than an outdoor picnic could provide].” For the hotter months, she says they have umbrellas and lace tents to create shade for the clients. Picnics from May to September also come with complimentary battery-powered fans. A devoted dog-lover, DeMitchell also encourages clients to bring their pets to their picnics or even make the picnic a “pet party.” Picnic Parlour ATX offers a picnic experience unlike any other. These are not picnics of yore with plastic, red gingham tablecloths, hot dogs and paper plates. As a client of Picnic Parlour ATX, expect to be spoiled, expect the extra mile and expect your dream of the perfect day to come true. For
website at picnicparlouratx.com.
charcuterie, brunch boards and desserts. Picnic Parlour ATX arranges food and drinks in partnership with local vendors. They can also coordinate with restaurants for larger, more elaborate meals.
18 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 19
Scoop up Summer at Local Ice Cream Shops Story by STACEY INGRAM KALEH Photography by RALPH YZNAGA
ummers in Central Texas are unwaveringly hot. We often experience many consecutive triple-digit-temperature days. For as long as I can remember, Austinites have been surviving these sizzling summers by embracing two key strategies: refreshing dips in Barton Springs and Deep Eddy and ice cream breaks. Cold, creamy, packed with flavor and undeniably fun, treats like ice cream and gelato are summer must-haves. And our local ice cream shops have become the all-ageswelcome destinations of choice. Passionate ice cream artisans give us a window into their creativity with each delicious bite, consistently concocting new flavors and combinations — in a rainbow of colors and textures — to customers’ delight. Ice cream makers provide an element of surprise with this inventive nature, but they can also serve up the kind of nostalgia that makes you feel right at home when you taste that signature flavor that’s remained unchanged for decades. It’s the kind of work that makes children jump up and down as they wait in line to pick out their flavor from the lineup, the kind of work that brings together friends and uplifts spirits, the kind of work that helps adults recapture their childlike joy — for one sweet break. Ice cream breaks have a long legacy in Texas. We might say they’ve become tradition. When I was growing up here in Austin, where generations of my family have lived,
Gati Ice Cream
I went to my grandparents’ house for ice cream. One thing you could always count on finding in my Nana’s freezer was a half-gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. Nana always had ice cream at the ready — Blue Bell in particular — much to her grandkids’ delight, and wouldn’t imagine a day passing without it. Today, I keep a half-gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla in my freezer. It goes over well for any occasion and adds a finishing touch to nearly every treat we mix up. For me, the story of ice cream in Central Texas starts with Blue Bell. Now one of the best-selling ice creams in the country, Blue Bell had humble beginnings in 1907 when a group of businessmen in Brenham, Texas, decided to make butter from the excess cream brought in by area farmers. They started a creamery and, a few years later, began making ice cream and delivering it to neighbors via horse and wagon. Ever since, they’ve been in the business of delight. And no story about ice cream in Austin could exist without Amy’s Ice Creams. I have great memories of summer evenings with friends spent in the cool, A/C-filled refuge of weird that is Amy’s. In middle school, it was a treat to meet friends (and their parents) at the Guadalupe location. I was always amazed at the staff’s acrobat-like skills in mixing crush-ins and tossing the ice cream high into the air before catching it in a cup. In high school, our friend group would drop by the Westgate location next door to the Regal Cinema after a night at the movies to dissect and
Lick Honest Ice Creams
overanalyze whatever we just saw. Sometimes, we’d earn a free crush-in by answering Amy’s movie trivia question at the counter. And whenever we host visitors now, we make sure to stop by Amy’s on South Congress — always iconic. In a lot of ways, I feel like Amy’s is one of those few completely original businesses that taps into and funnels the authentic spirit of our city. Amy’s has been a consistent presence in our community for 38 years, and it’s hard to imagine Austin, or today’s celebrated ice cream and frozen treats culture, without it.
organizations that address issues customers care about, such as the Dell Children’s Medical Center and We Are Blood. “A company is a vehicle for building community,” Simmons emphasizes. If that’s not the genuine Austin spirit, I don’t know what is.
“Austin and Amy’s have grown up together,” says Amy Simmons, founder of Amy’s Ice Creams. After working at an ice cream shop while she was in medical school, Simmons fell in love with the culture of being part of people’s happiest moments. Thanks to a great mentor, she learned the tools to start her own business, and planted firm roots here in Austin after a two-day visit in 1984 when she received encouragement from some fellow entrepreneurs at Chuy’s and Texas French Bread. Amy’s started with one location, across the street from its current Guadalupe location, in 1984, and has since expanded to 16 locations spread across Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Although Simmons has seen great potential to expand beyond Central Texas, she values “the regionality of ice cream” and remains committed to deepening involvement in our community. “I love going to different cities and visiting their local ice cream shops, enjoying that culture that’s just a little bit different than it is in other cities,” she says. It’s easy to see why Amy’s has become one of our most beloved, continually growing local businesses. Simmons has always prioritized company culture and leads with her passion for being part of people’s happy moments. In the process, she has created a community of employees and customers who’ve co-created a meaningful and lasting culture of “being yourself and expressing yourself.” It’s the kind of culture that keeps customers coming back and keeps former employees flying in from across the country to join in on annual reunions. Dedicated to its mission to “make people’s day,” Amy’s has grown deep roots in the community by welcoming customers to be a part of the business by helping to create flavors, by providing flexible schedules and business mentorship opportunities for employees (Amy’s has transparent financials and Simmons has even helped former Beesforall.com employees draft business plans) and by supporting charitable
Both Blue Bell and Amy’s have contributed greatly when it comes to creating a community of ice cream enthusiasts here in Central Texas. And this ice cream-loving culture has opened the doors for many specialty shops led by highly trained artisans that prioritize sustainably-sourced, fresh ingredients. “When we opened, the culinary scene here was starting to undergo a real transformation and Austinites were very enthusiastic and supportive of that. It was definitely the right time for us to show up on the scene with out-of-the-box flavors like Roasted Beets with Fresh Mint and Goat Cheese, Thyme and Honey! We'll be forever grateful for the support the Austin community has shown us,” say Lick Honest Ice Creams co-founders Chad Palmatier and Anthony Sobotik. Entrepreneurs like Palmatier and Sobotik, as well as ranchers and artisans like Phil Giglio of OroBianco Italian Creamery in Blanco — which makes gelato using water buffalo milk — have introduced us to exciting new flavors, textures and even milk-alternative ice cream options, friendly to every diet. These creatives are also lifting the curtain to show us the inspiring stories behind their endeavors and revealing the skilled art of delivering that perfect scoop. It’s clear that Central Texas’ ice cream culture is still being shaped and defined. When writing this story, I brought the whole family along during my “research phase,” embarking on a grand, multi-week ice cream adventure to explore these new shops and rediscover favorites. My husband and our two daughters (ages 3½ and 6 months) raced to eat our ice creams, giggling as it dripped down our hands and faces, melting quickly in the Texas sun. We tried dozens of flavors, thrilled by the search for ones we felt were the most unique as well as the shop that made the best vanilla. We cooled off, refreshed and re-energized, dancing around during our short-lived sugar highs. We also learned a lot about the art form that is ice cream and our talented and thoughtful neighbors who have transformed their passion for sweet treats into welcoming places that make our communities more vibrant. EdibleAustin.com / 21
LICK HONEST Ice Creams
Whether you’re a cup or a cone person, prefer vanilla or pistachio and lavender, want just the scoop or all the toppings, our local ice cream shops have you covered! From staples like Blue Bell and Amy’s to artisans like Lick and Manoli’s to Gati’s vegan ice cream or OroBianco’s water buffalo-milk gelato, there are plentiful opportunities to embrace joy and chill out with a delicious scoop, all while supporting local entrepreneurs.
amy's Ice Creams It’s come to symbolize uniquely Austin businesses to locals and visitors alike — Amy’s is an Austin institution. After 38 years of serving up scoops and tons of fun, we know we can always count on Amy’s for great service, cool vibes and seemingly countless flavors and crush-in combinations! Amy’s is known for the crush-in. Rather than placing mix-ins like cookies and brownies, which are baked at Amy’s own bakery (Baked by Amy’s), nuts, gummies and more on top of your scoop, ice cream artists “crush” your chosen ingredients into the ice cream in a sort of performance
customer. It makes for an unforgettable and custom experience every time. And Amy's Ice Creams
with a selection of over 350 flavors, there’s always reason
to return. “We’re always pushing ourselves to create new and better flavors,” says founder and CEO Amy Simmons. While you can always count on favorites like Mexican Vanilla,
MANOLI'S Cruise down South First to find Manoli’s ice cream, pastry and coffee truck. This family-owned operation knows how to churn out authentic European-style treats. Everything on the menu is scratch-made with fresh ingredients, and, according to Manoli’s website, also made with “love and care!” Visit the truck during its hours on weekend evenings to try decadent flavors like Tiramisu and Dulce de Leche. In need of a caffeine pick-me-up? Try ice cream plopped into their rich espresso. Dairy-free flavors like Piña Colada and Double Chocolate Chip are also available. When the sun is scorching this summer, be sure to also try handmade ice pops, fruit sorbets and refreshing Italian Ice! Must-try flavors: Almond, Coconut, Stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings), and Mint Chocolate Chip
Belgian Chocolate or Strawberry (made with a base Sweet Cream flavor and blended with fresh roasted strawberries), there are also new and creative
603 Live Oak Street | manolisusa.com
flavor options at the ready. For instance, Blackberry Turmeric, Maple Bacon,
Chad Palmatier and Anthony Sobotik founded Lick Honest Ice Creams in 2011 in Austin to honor the local ice cream shops and homemade ice cream they grew up enjoying in small rural communities, committed to creating flavors with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients from the outset. “We both grew up enjoying homemade ice cream and came to appreciate the need for local, small town ice cream shops that worked directly with a family-owned dairy and made seasonal flavors with locally sourced ingredients,” says Sobotik. “As we began to plan our move back to Austin, we realized the community truly needed this style of scoop shop, so in 2011 we opened our own! Working directly with Lick Honest Ice Creams family-owned farmers, food producers and supporting that community is still at the heart of what we do and continues to guide how we grow as a company,” he says. For Sobotik and Palmatier, “honest” means using the purest ingredients they can find, completely free of artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrups and preservatives. All of the milk they use comes from family-owned dairies in Texas and Wisconsin, and every batch of ice cream is churned by hand in their North Austin kitchen. In terms of inspiration, we look to see what’s in season and what we are able to source from local farmers and artisans to add to our ice creams. We also look to nostalgic desserts that we grew up eating quite a bit for inspiration. It’s fun to marry those dishes to the ingredients that are in season and then reimagine it as an ice cream flavor,” says Palmatier.
Can’t make it to their scoop shops? Half-pints are available at local Whole Foods, Wheatsville Food Co-Ops and other neighborhood grocery locations. Must-try flavors: Goat Cheese, Thyme and Honey, Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint, Texas Sheet Cake, Peach Leaf Graham Crunch and anything seasonal! 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., 6555 Burnet Rd. #200, 1905 Aldrich St. #150 | ilikelick.com
Gati Ice Cream
GATI Ice Cream Grab a seat on their cozy and vibrant patio and stay awhile when you fulfill your next craving at Gati Ice Cream on the East Side. Gati’s standout ice cream is vegan and made with creamy coconut milk and packed with bold flavor. It was founded when Jam Sanitchat, owner and chef at Thai Fresh, had bought too many mangoes for the restaurant and needed to move them quickly. She whipped up a coconut milk-based mango lime ice cream to sell as a dessert which, according to Gati’s website, “went like hot cakes,” and the rest is history. Gati serves up more than 40 ice cream flavors, most of which are made with fewer than four ingredients and all of which are vegan and gluten-free with a coconut milk base. Some favorites include Lavender Caramel and the vibrant blue Cookie Monster with vegan oreos. You
and Popcorn. Where do all of the flavor ideas come from? Amy’s co-creates
Flavors such as Peach Leaf Graham Crunch (new this summer and made with peach leaves from Hausbar Farm); Blackberry, Lime and Basil; Blushing Blueberry and Mixed Berry Corn Cobbler highlight seasonal Texas-sourced ingredients and stand apart from offerings at chain shops, contributing to Lick becoming an Austin go-to.
flavors with staff, customers and suppliers. Planning a celebration? Don’t forget about Amy’s beloved ice cream cakes! Re-discover an Austin favorite and express your creativity during your next visit to Amy’s. Must-try flavors: Mexican Vanilla (try crushing in graham crackers and strawberries!); Peach Cobbler, Lit Mint and Becky’s Bear amysicecreams.com
Manoli's photos by Monique Threadgill 22 / EdibleAustin.com
Lick is also committed to giving back to our community. “The Austin community was so welcoming to us when we first moved here and opened our scoop shops, so we want to make sure we are always giving back,” say Palmatier and Sobotik. Their #ConesforaCause campaign has raised over $50,000 for local nonprofits to date, including the Sustainable Food Center, Urban Roots, the Central Texas Food Bank and others.
can enjoy scoops in-store and also take a half-pint home with you! They also bake gluten free and mostly vegan treats like brownies and coffee cakes, and offer the highest quality coffee, with options like cortados to aztec mochas and mushroom lattes. Need another reason to visit? Gati is a living wage establishment and is committed to paying its employees a higher wage than the industry standard, as well as providing benefits like paid vacation, paid sick leave and health insurance. Must-try flavors: Lavender Caramel, Thai Basil and Cookie Monster 1512 Holly St. | gatiicecream.com EdibleAustin.com / 23
CLEAR RIVeR ICE CREAM, BAKERY & DELI DOLCE NEVe
Translating to “sweet snow,” it’s hard to find a more refreshingly cool treat on a Texas summer day than Dolce Neve gelato. The inspired creation of three passionate gelato lovers — siblings Francesca and Marco Silvestrini and Francesca’s fiancé, Leo Ferrarese — Dolce Neve came into being when the founders could not find a “proper Italian gelato” in the U.S. Francesca received formal training at Carpigiana Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, and refined her skills working for Gianfrancesco Cutelli at Gelateria De’Coltelli in Pisa, Italy. In 2012, Francesca was invited to participate in the Serberth Festival Talent Show, a competition among the most talented emerging chefs in the gelato business worldwide, and won sixth place. All of this is to say, she really knows how to make spectacular gelato! Francesca’s fiancé, Leo, grew up in a small town in Northern Italy and shares her passion for gelato. Her brother, Marco, inspired by gelato flavors found in New York when he was working there, joined the business to help create some of Dolce Neve’s most inventive flavors. Visit Dolce Neve’s cute, old-Austin style house shop on South First or Plaza Saltillo location on East 5th Street to try staple flavors like Salted Caramel and Crema Dolce Neve (custard with lemon zest), and rotating flavors like Mascarpone and Figs, Almond Custard and Chocolate with Candied Orange Peels. Must-try flavors: Crema Dolce Neve; Ricotta, Honey and Pistachio; Fromage Blanc and Apricot Jam 1713 South First, 1109 East 5th St. | dolcenevegelato.com
Headed out to the Hill Country? Design your itinerary around a stop at Clear River for “super premium” small-batch ice cream. Using high quality ingredients and fresh fruit and nuts, Clear River offers dozens of flavors with Texas flair, ranging from Snickerdoodle and German Chocolate Cake to Peaches n’ Cream and Pecan Pie. Must-try flavors: Amaretto Peach and Pecan, Chocolate Pecan, Peach Sherbert, and pretty much anything with pecans and/or peaches!
OROBIANCO ITALIAN CReaMERY
138 E Main St, Fredericksburg, 78624. | icecreamandfun.com OroBianco Italian Creamery brings the taste of authentic Italian-style gelato to the Hill Country, serving as Texas’ first and only water buffalo dairy and creamery. A “pasture to palate” operation, co-founders Phil Giglio and Jason Peeler control all aspects of the production process, from raising livestock on a 100-percent grass diet to transporting, pasteurizing and processing milk into fresh gelato and cheeses.
Photo by OroBianco
Oro bianco translates to “white gold,” which Giglio says refers to the unique, porcelain-white color of water buffalo milk. Water buffalo milk has a significantly higher butterfat content than cow’s milk, creating a distinct full mouthfeel and signature richness that translates to creamier gelato. Giglio’s family is originally from the south of Italy, known for its water buffalo mozzarella. He first envisioned an operation focused on cheese and cured meat, which OroBianco certainly does with expertise. When he decided to open a café on Main Street in Blanco, Giglio and his mother traveled to Italy to learn how to make gelato, which has become a favorite at the cafe ever since it opened in March of 2021. OroBianco’s gelato is crafted in small batches completely by hand using grass-fed water buffalo milk from their own livestock and other premium ingredients, locally sourced when possible. “We’re farmers and ranchers ourselves,” Giglio says of himself and business partner Peeler, “We want to support other local farmers and ranchers.” They source fresh fruits from Fredericksburg farms and orchards, which Giglio’s mom started out hand-picking, raise their own ducks and chickens for their egg cremas (custard gelato), grow herbs themselves and make chocolate in-house from raw, single-origin cacao beans. “There’s at least one Texas touchpoint in everything we make,” says Giglio. Why set up shop in Blanco? Giglio loves the Texas Hill Country’s dedication to celebrating agriculture and inviting people in to understand the people and processes behind the products we consume — like wine and cheese, for instance. Here, we get a peek behind the curtain, with opportunities to see how milk products make their way from ranch to retail. “It’s a central part of the identity of the Hill Country,” Giglio says. “We’re blessed with a place that can sustain animals and fruits and also a population that wants to see it and be part of it.”
CENTRAL MARKeT SMALL BATCH ICe CReaM
NadaMoo! photo by Monique Threadgill
NADAMoo! Austin-based NadaMoo! has changed the ice cream game and brings everyone — even those with dairy-free diets and dairy allergies — to the ice cream social!
Central Market loyalists know not to skip over the store’s frozen section! During the summer, look for an explosion of delicious seasonal flavors in the Central Market super premium craft ice cream lineup. Their small-batch ice cream features recipes using regionally sourced ingredients, like blackberries, pecans and honey, and 16 percent butterfat for extra creaminess. Must-try flavors: Goat Cheese and Texas Honey; Sweet Corn and Blackberry Jam; Pecan Praline Bourbon and Strawberry Thyme centralmarket.com
In 2004, family-owned-and-operated NadaMoo! whipped up its firstever batch of coconut milk frozen dessert at home in the kitchen for friends, family and neighbors. By 2016, their neighborhood had grown to a national scale. It’s not hard to see why — their ice cream has the rich creaminess of any other, their flavor range covers all of the traditional favorites and they provide a much-needed dairy-free alternative that can be enjoyed by all.
Must-try flavors: Chocolate (using scratch-made chocolate), Corn and Blackberry Crema
Committed to sustainability, NadaMoo! uses ingredients that are organic, fair-trade certified and GMO-free. The coconuts they use to make their creamy treats are organically grown without added water, with husks used as a biomass fuel. Not only are the coconuts used to make the ice cream sustainably sourced, they are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, protein and “good fats.” The pure agave syrup paired with the coconut comes from local farmers who hand harvest each blue weber agave pina and use the waste as fertilizer.
503 Main Street, Blanco, 78606. | orobiancomilk.com
You can find NadaMoo! in most H-E-B’s, Whole Foods and Randall’s. Must-try flavors: Strawberry Cheesecake, Birthday Cake Cookie Dough and No Sugar Added Mint Chip
Dolce Neve 24 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 25
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EdibleAustin.com / 27
RECIPES OF THE
SEASON recipes and photography by HEATHER BARNES
CREAMY YOGURT DIP Serves 4
This creamy yogurt dip with fresh cucumbers, watermelon and seasonal herbs is the perfect addition to a summer potluck. 2
red wine vinegar
honey Pinch of garlic powder Pinch of onion powder
salt Black pepper
fresh dill, for garnish
fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Measure the Greek yogurt into a bowl and add in the vinegar, honey and spices. Mix well. Spoon into a shallow bowl, arrange the cucumbers and cubed watermelon alongside and on top and garnish with fresh herbs. Place the bowl on a platter and arrange the pitas around the bowl.
photo by Brian Van Den Heuvell 28 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 29
FRESH PEACH ICE CREAM Makes 3 quarts
fresh peaches, chopped
half and half
Pinch of salt
Mix peaches with sugar and refrigerate. Combine whipping cream, half and half, sugar, eggs and salt in a saucepan. Cook on low, stirring, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and is thickened. Remove from the stove and add in vanilla and almond extracts. Let cool before putting in an ice cream maker. When ice cream is ready, stir in peaches and serve.
Photo by NATALIYA VAITKEVICH
30 / EdibleAustin.com
SEASONS STEELBOW FARM
by ADA BROUSSARD photography by RALPH YZNAGA
teelbow Farm is located just a few miles east of the 130toll road, Austin’s own autobahn that cuts through a sliver of Blackland Prairie, which is home to some of the richest clay soils of our region. There are occasional landmarks that dot the highway’s landscape, like the Tesla headquarters, which looks like a concrete Death Star rising from hayfields and pastures. But, as the crow flies, Steelbow’s bucolic five acres of production fields are less than 10 miles east of Mueller’s center, nestled on the border of where Austin relaxes into Manor and Webberville. As I drove down the farm’s driveway, a dozen cattle egrets changed locations, lazily moving from one bank of a flourishing pondscape to the other, seemingly oblivious to the Death Star and the wall of development a few miles away. If you’ve ever been to this part of Austin, it may be a surprise to you that you’re still in Austin at all. I met Finegan Ferreboeuf and Jason Gold, owners and operators of Steelbow Farm, at the end of a workday at around 3:30 p.m. — an admirable time to wrap things up on a week when temperatures hung steadily over 100. The 5-acre certified organic vegetable farm is located on property leased from David Pitre and Katie Kraemer, owners of the now-closed Tecolote Farm — one of the first diversified vegetable farms to answer Austin’s early 90s call for more local food. Like a well-loved home, curios from the former farmers are everywhere, including three friendly horses named Apollo, Bailey and Jesse. Next to the wash and pack area, there is a shady place to break. We settled around a motley assortment of benches, chairs and an old wooden table adorned with a faded plastic iguana that seemed perfectly in place. As staff clocked out from a full day in the heat, they lingered for a visit, the fact that they weren’t sprinting off the property somehow telling. Ferreboeuf and Gold first met at a Central Texas Young Farmers meetup in 2012, both already a few years deep into their individual forays into agriculture. Gold, who grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York, spent his summers working in landscaping and once even had a job driving a tractor at a vineyard. But he didn’t consider farming 32 / EdibleAustin.com
as a career path until after college graduation. “I worked for a year in front of a computer … and I don't know, the world kinda sucked. I was 23 or 24, it was 2010, and there were no jobs to be had anyway. And I [thought], I like food a lot. I like working outside. Maybe I’ll try farming?” Like many young farmers before him, Gold turned to the WWOOFing network, short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms — to learn more. He wet his feet at a farm in California, and a little over a year later, he found his way to Texas. He dug deep into Austin’s farm sector — first with a job at Urban Roots, then Greenling, next Austin Orchards, and finally, at Greengate Farm where he managed their river property. At the same time, a similar evolution was happening for Ferreboeuf during these same formative years. Ferreboeuf was born and raised in San Francisco, and as a young adult, didn’t have a particular interest in agriculture. “My parents were city people. I was a city kid. I went to college, majored in creative writing … basically, I majored in poetry. Worthless,” she jokes. In 2012, Finegan moved to Austin, a city she barely knew, and found herself living on Tillery Street — a kismet East Austin locale that put her down the road from Boggy Creek Farm. Ferreboeuf began to volunteer at Boggy Creek, and eventually worked and managed the farm for a couple of seasons. Like Gold, she decided to WWOOF. After an immersive bout of farming in Ireland and France, she returned to Austin and got a job at Tecolote.
The farming community in Austin is as small as the number of farms, and it was only a matter of time before Gold and Ferreboeuf met. “We ended up hanging out a lot and became good friends. One thing led to another, and then we kind of, well, we left Texas.”
EdibleAustin.com / 33
FARMERS diary In search of adventure and continued farm experiences, the couple left Texas in 2016 to see what farming looked like elsewhere. In a 1995 F250, pulling a 24-foot airstream, Ferreboeuf and Gold headed out in search of farms where they could live and learn, together. After a stint working for a multi-species grazing operation in the Adirondacks in New York, one farm lesson was particularly palpable for the pair: they were done working for other farmers and were ready to start their own business. They also learned that vegetables were their future. “After that experience, we were like no animals,” Gold tells me, dragging out the o in “no” to make the point. Their current farm dog, Elvis, is the notable exception. Gold and Ferreboeuf started Steelbow on a plot of land, not in Central Texas, but in central Maine, lured by cheap leasable farmland, a robust community of small growers, and a network of statewide incentives and resources that made getting started from scratch on raw land tenable. Over the course of three years, their farm “grew from a really tiny farm to a slightly bigger tiny farm, to even a slightly bigger tiny farm,” Gold explains. After three seasons, they wondered if their big tiny farm was outgrowing the relatively small Maine market. Their lease was also going to run out, and they looked (without much luck) for Maine properties to lease or buy. There was another factor to consider, too: Ferreboeuf was pregnant with their first child, Izzy, who is now 2½ and is often seen on Steelbow’s Instagram in an iconic pair of red cowboy boots. Ferreboeuf ’s parents were in Austin, and to put it simply, “childcare was a thing to think about” for the couple. While pondering their next move, Ferreboeuf called David Pitre, her former boss at Tecolote. “Hey, do you think it'd be crazy to move back to Austin and farm?” She expected him to say yes, it’s a ludicrous idea, but instead, he told her that the veggie market in Austin was wide open. For context, Maine’s entire population is about 1.5 million, the same size as the Austin metro area. Comparatively, Central Texas is short on vegetable farmers, especially when you consider the rate at which older generations of growers are retiring. “Then a few weeks later, [David] called me and told me that they were going to get out of farming.
The plan for the new parents was to start slowly. “We were only gonna do a couple of markets and restaurants,” Ferreboeuf says. “Our first week doing deliveries was March 20 … And then it was the shutdown. So then we just had this groundswell of CSA people.” In those first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic when grocery shelves were barren, Steelbow pivoted and entered one of the busiest seasons of their life. “We’ve grown a lot quicker than we had anticipated. We anticipated a market that was open and pretty receptive. But at this point, I feel like we can't grow enough [food],” says Ferreboeuf. Now in their sixth season operating Steelbow, two years after the birth of their child and the start of the pandemic, Gold and Ferreboeuf seem to have found their Texas groove, which involves intensively farming a freshet of specialty vegetable crops with the help of around five employees, most of whom work full-time, four days a week. The farm does run a seasonal veggie box program, a lingering consequence of the pandemic, but their bread and butter is really Austin-area restaurants and chefs who appreciate Steelbow’s eagerness to grow “the very best varieties based on flavor and flair.” In the cooler months, that includes a dazzling variety of bitter chicories like costarossa radicchio, and colorful brassicas like purple napa cabbage. In the heat, they lean into the chilis, growing around 25 varieties of peppers this summer alone. Whereas some farms may find it cumbersome to work with chefs’ variable schedules and scrupulous tastes, Steelbow was made for this niche and are happy to experiment when a chef asks them to grow a bizarre variety of this or that. “I think we're a restaurant farm at heart,” Ferreboeuf says as Gold nods along. “Both of us have always really liked working with chefs. That relationship [between farmer and chef ] is super inspiring to me.” Before they found each other, Gold and Ferreboeuf found farming by virtue of their love of food, and it pans out that this interest is what drives the long, hot days. “We love being able to eat at the places that we sell to and appreciate what chefs can do with our produce,” says Ferreboeuf.
including five high tunnels. Less than 10 days after I left Maine with all
Ferreboeuf and Gold decided on the name Steelbow while in Maine. “Steelbow, it’s a Scottish term, an antiquated agrarian term, that is the simplest form of a lease agreement,” Ferreboeuf tells me. “We went into starting a farm knowing we were going to lease land.” The two favored farm names that spoke of the place the farm existed, homages to local rivers and roads, but because they weren’t yet sure where they would forever-farm, they found a combination of words that instead spoke to their situation. “It's a little ironic,” Ferreboeuf tells me as they both laugh, “because we’re still leasing land. And we don't necessarily want to be. We’ll see.”
of our farm stuff, we were seeding [transplants] in this greenhouse,”
To learn more about Steelbow Farm, visit steelbowfarm.com.
And would we want to consider leasing Tecolote?” Ferreboeuf says.
“It's sort of a the-stars-align scenario,” recalls Gold. Ferreboeuf gave birth to Izzy in December 2019, and the family moved to Austin in January 2020. “[My friend and I] loaded up the largest truck I could rent with all of our stuff, which was like the whole farm,
Gold recounts as he gazes in the direction of the Tecolote-turnedSteelbow hothouse. 34 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 35
IS PLASTIC PLASTIC WASTE WASTE IS THE COST COST OF OF EATING? EATING? THE STORY STORY
E M I LY E M I LY
PAY N E PAY N E
A N D AND
DA N I EL L E DANIELLE
N I ER E NB E R G
About a year ago, a comedian—not a scientist or environmentalist—enlightened About a year ago, a comedian—not a scientist or environmentalist—enlightened consumers about a product they use every day that is harmful to the planet. consumers about a product they use every day that is harmful to the planet. “A lot less plastic winds up getting recycled than you might “A lot less plastic winds up getting recycled than you might think,” John Oliver said on that particular episode of Last Week think,” John Oliver said on that particular episode of Last Week Tonight, which has now been viewed more than 4 million times. Tonight, which has now been viewed more than 4 million times. In the United States and Canada, less than 9 percent of plastics In the United States and Canada, less than 9 percent of plastics is recycled. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection is recycled. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), packaging comprises the largest percent of U.S. Agency (EPA), packaging comprises the largest percent of U.S. plastic waste. Since the pandemic disrupted curbside pickup plastic waste. Since the pandemic disrupted curbside pickup and put more emphasis on single-use products, especially in and put more emphasis on single-use products, especially in food service, these numbers have only worsened. food service, these numbers have only worsened. Consumers often see plastic food packaging as the cost of Consumers often see plastic food packaging as the cost of eating: tubs of salad greens; clear clamshells for berries; and eating: tubs of salad greens; clear clamshells for berries; and even, pre-wrapped cucumbers and other produce. even, pre-wrapped cucumbers and other produce. And while many plastics are recyclable, they still end up in And while many plastics are recyclable, they still end up in landfills, oceans and, ultimately, in our bodies. landfills, oceans and, ultimately, in our bodies. Now, however, in an exciting wave of innovation, businesses Now, however, in an exciting wave of innovation, businesses and entrepreneurs are rethinking how to package food. and entrepreneurs are rethinking how to package food. R EA L LY RECYCLED? R ECYC L ED? REALLY “Muchfood foodpackaging packagingisismade madefrom fromplastic, plastic,and andmost mostplastics plastics “Much
Sustainable Urban Development. Sustainable Urban Development. Amidpressure pressure transform recycling system, experts Amid to to transform thethe recycling system, experts are are
arenever neverrecycled—though recycled—thoughthe theplastics plasticsindustry industryhas haslong longworked worked are to convince us otherwise,” says Dianna Cohen, co-founder and to convince us otherwise,” says Dianna Cohen, co-founder and
advocating circularity food packaging. Circular systems advocating forfor circularity in in food packaging. Circular systems pre-prevent waste from reaching recycling facilities by implementing stratvent waste from reaching recycling facilities by implementing strat-
contaminated and, and, thus, thus,sent senttotolandfills, landfills,the theEPA EPAestimates. estimates. contaminated Contaminationcan canoccur occurfrom fromcontact contactwith withnon-recyclables non-recyclablesinin Contamination
and consider what reuse disposal of plastics (eventually) and toto consider what thethe reuse andand disposal of plastics (eventually) would look like, especially packaging is compostable. would look like, especially forfor packaging thatthat is compostable.
CEOofofthe thePlastic PlasticPollution PollutionCoalition. Coalition. CEO One-quarter of packaging reachingrecycling recyclingfacilities facilitiesis is One-quarter of packaging reaching
NN AT RR E ES S EE CC TT I O AU TU I ON N edible Communities edible Communities| |S ISGI G
recycling bins or items that are not clean—the most common recycling bins or items that are not clean—the most common culprit is food residue. culprit is food residue. Further, recycling facilities are often underfunded and overFurther, recycling facilities are often underfunded and overwhelmed. In 2018, China stopped importing most plastic waste whelmed. In 2018, China stopped importing most plastic waste from both the U.S. and Canada. That ban upended recycling from both the U.S. and Canada. That ban upended recycling systems that relied on exports, and neither country has been systems that relied on exports, and neither country has been successful in building a domestic recycling market. successful in building a domestic recycling market. For example, Stamford, Connecticut made $95,000 selling For example, Stamford, Connecticut made $95,000 selling recyclables in 2017; after 2018, it paid $700,000 for removal. recyclables in 2017; after 2018, it paid $700,000 for removal. And Bakersfield, California, earned $65 per ton from recyclables; And Bakersfield, California, earned $65 per ton from recyclables; it now pays $25 a ton to get rid of them. it now pays $25 a ton to get rid of them. The recycling system is also wrought with environmental The recycling system is also wrought with environmental injustice. “Recycling facilities are predominantly built in marinjustice. “Recycling facilities are predominantly built in marginalized communities, in part due to the traditional invisibility ginalized communities, in part due to the traditional invisibility of and bias against low-income communities of color and Inof and bias against low-income communities of color and Indigenous peoples,” says Nilda Mesa, director of urban sustaindigenous peoples,” says Nilda Mesa, director of urban sustainability and equity planning at Columbia University’s Center ability and equity planning at Columbia University’s Center for for
egies reuse and repurpose plastics already created. A shift in this egies toto reuse and repurpose plastics already created. A shift in this direction requires the food industry to rethink packaging materials direction requires the food industry to rethink packaging materials
EdibleAustin.com / 37 ediblecommunities.com ediblecommunities.com
“Thereal realgame gamechanger changerwill willbe bewhen whenpeople peoplebuy buyless lessplastic, plastic,reuse reusewhat what “The theyhave haveand andminimize minimizewhat whatgoes goesininthe thetrash trashand andinto intorecycling,” recycling,” they
CO OSTA BLEI SI SCOMPLI CO MP LC IC AT ED CO MM PP OSTABLE AT ED
“Alongwith withthe theinnovation innovationininmore moresustainable sustainablepackaging, packaging,pricpric“Along inghas hascome comedown downdramatically, dramatically,and andit’sit’sonly onlya asmall smallpremium premiumtoto ing
Unileverand andPepsiCo PepsiCoinclude includecompostable compostablepackaging packagingasaspart part Unilever of their strategies to reduce waste. Chipotle and Sweetgreen use of their strategies to reduce waste. Chipotle and Sweetgreen use compostablematerial materialforfortake-out take-outmeals. meals. compostable
conventionalororfossil fossilfuel-based fuel-basedpackaging packagingnow,” now,”Gailmor Gailmorsays. says. conventional Ecovative’stechnology technologyupcycles upcyclesfarming farmingand andforestry forestrybyproducts byproducts Ecovative’s
Compostablesarearemade madeofofplant-based plant-basedmaterials—corn, materials—corn,starch starch Compostables sugarcane—unlikeplastics plasticsderived derivedfrom frompetroleum. petroleum. ororsugarcane—unlike
throughmycelium myceliumtotocreate createplastic-free plastic-freeand andhome-compostable home-compostableprodprodthrough uctsfor forthe thefood, food,leather, leather,beauty, beauty,foam foamand andpackaging packagingindustries. industries. ucts
Compostablepackaging packagingisn’t isn’talways alwayssustainable, sustainable,though. though.WithWithCompostable outthe theright rightinfrastructure, infrastructure,pricing pricingand andawareness, awareness,compostables compostables out
Gailmorisishopeful hopefulthat thatmore moreoptions optionscan canbebeavailable availableatatlarge large Gailmor scaleasasconsumer consumerdemand demandrises. rises. scale
cancontribute contributetotothe thefood foodpackaging packagingwaste wasteproblem. problem. can “Compostableis isoften oftenreferring referringtotopackaging packagingthat thatmust mustbebe “Compostable
you’dasked askedme metwo twoyears yearsago, ago,I Iwouldn’t wouldn’thave havebeen beenasasenthuenthu“If“Ifyou’d siastic,”says saysGailmor, Gailmor,“but “butI Iam amvery veryconfident confidentnow.” now.”Consumer Consumer siastic,”
transportedtotoananindustrial industrialcomposting compostingfacility—which facility—whichit itoften often transported isn’t,and andjust justends endsupupinina alandfill landfillversus versusrecycled,” recycled,”says saysEmily Emily isn’t,
demanddrives drivesinnovation, innovation,lower lowerprices pricesand andmore moresustainable sustainableopopdemand tionsfor forsmall smallbusinesses businesseslike likeBrass BrassRoots, Roots,but butthe theonus onuscan’t can’tbebeonly only tions
Stucker,vice vicepresident presidentofofmenu menuinnovation innovationand andproduct productintegrity integrity Stucker, Farmer’sFridge. Fridge. atatFarmer’s
Thisis,is,ininpart, part,because becausecomposting compostingfacilities facilitiesare arenot notavailable available This nationally.Mixing Mixingcompostables compostablesinto intocurbside curbsidebins binscan cancontamicontaminationally.
POWERROOFFPR PRO CU RE MENNT TTHHEEPOWE O CUR E ME T Onepowerful powerfulsolution solutionisisfor forgovernment governmentand andinstitutional institutionalproproOne
naterecycling recyclingstreams. streams.Throwing Throwingcompostables compostablesininthe thetrash trashgets gets nate themsent senttotolandfills, landfills,where wherethey theyemit emitmethane. methane. them
curementpractices practicestotohelp helpreduce reduceororeliminate eliminateplastic plasticpackaging. packaging. curement “Wecan candodothis thisononananindividual individuallevel leveland andalso alsoneed needtotosupport support “We
Whenproper properinfrastructure infrastructureand andeducation educationare areininplace, place,proproWhen cessingcompost compostcan canbebesustainable, sustainable,especially especiallygiven giventhat thatmunicimunicicessing
systemsshifts, shifts,from fromour ourschools schoolstotoour ourworkplaces workplacestotopolicy policyand and systems legislation,”says saysCohen. Cohen. legislation,”
palitiespay payforforwaste wasteprocessing processingbybyweight. weight. palities municipalitythat thatcan canfigure figureout outhow howtotominimize minimizeitsitsorganic organic “A“Amunicipality
SanFrancisco, Francisco,California, California,was wasone oneofofthe thefirst firstcities citiestotomake makea a San zero-wastecommitment commitmentinin2003—it 2003—itdiverts diverts8080percent percentofofitsitswaste waste zero-waste
wastestream streamwill willbebesaving savingfunds fundsover overthe thelong longrun, run,asaswell wellasascutting cutting waste greenhousegasgasemissions emissionsand andproducing producingmaterial materialthat thatwill willenrich enrich greenhouse soils…It’sIt’sa win a winallallover,” over,”says saysMesa. Mesa.But Butonly onlyif ifthey theycan canafford affordit.it. soils… “Wewould wouldhave haveloved lovedtotobebeininallallcompostable compostablepackaging packagingfrom from “We thebeginning, beginning,but butforfora asmall smallcompany companystarting startingout, out,pricing pricingfor for the smallruns runsand andguaranteed guaranteedshelf shelflife lifeforfornew newproducts productswith withununsmall knownvelocity velocitycan canbebeprohibitive,” prohibitive,”says saysLogan LoganFarley, Farley,chief chiefoperatoperatknown ingofficer officeratatBrass BrassRoots, Roots,a aplant-based plant-basedsnack snackcompany companybased basedinin ing NewOrleans, Orleans,Louisiana. Louisiana. New T HEPP RI C EI SI SRI RG I GH IFIFTHE RICE HTT Foodbusinesses businessesconsider considerpricing, pricing,shelf shelflife lifeand andquality qualityofofprepreFood sentationforforpackaging, packaging,and andit’sit’sbeen beencheaper cheapertotochoose chooseplastic plastic sentation packaging.Brass BrassRoots RootsFounder FounderAaron AaronGailmor Gailmorbelieves believesthe thetide tide packaging.
turning,however. however. is isturning,
I GN NA A I ONN edibleCommunities Communities | | S SI G T TU UR RE E S SE EC CT TI O edible
fromlandfills. landfills.Vendors Vendorsuse useeither eithercompostable compostableororrecyclable recyclablecontaincontainfrom ers,and andevery everyevent eventmust mustoffer offerrecycling recyclingand andcomposting. composting.The Thecity city ers, alsorequires requiresindividuals individualsand andbusinesses businessestotoseparate separatewaste wasteinto intorecyrecyalso clable,compostable compostableand andtrash trashbins. bins. clable, “Movingaway awayfrom fromsingle-serve single-servemeals mealsand andsnacks snacksisisprobably probablythe the “Moving mostimpactful impactfulway waytotoreduce reducepackaging packagingwaste wasteininananinstitutional institutional most setting,”says saysthe theCenter Centerfor forGood GoodFood FoodPurchasing, Purchasing,a anonprofit nonprofitthat that setting,” aimstotouse useprocurement procurementtotobuild builda amore moreequitable equitablefood foodsystem. system. aims Accordingtotothe theCenter, Center,buying buyingbulk bulkitems itemscan canhelp helpinstituinstituAccording tionsreduce reduceboth bothpackaging packagingwaste wasteand andfood foodwaste—a waste—awin winfor fortight tight tions budgets,too. too. budgets, Forexample, example,many manyelementary elementaryschool schooldistricts districtsare arerequired requiredtoto For
servemilk milkwhich whichisisdistributed distributedininsingle-serve single-servecartons. cartons.Students Studentstake take serve carton,drink drinksome someorornone noneofofititand andthrow throwititininthe thetrash. trash.But But a acarton,
whenthe theAustin AustinIndependent IndependentSchool SchoolDistrict DistrictininTexas Texastransitioned transitioned when
40 / EdibleAustin.com
EdibleAustin.com / 41
to bulk milk, they reduced so much waste that it was able to transi-
NatureSeal coating combines vitamins, salts and minerals to extend
tion to all organic milk for the same cost of single-serve cartons.
the shelf life of sliced fruits for up to 28 days.
Other institutions are increasing demand for sustainable food
Meanwhile, Notpla aims to eliminate the need for single-use
services—within the Center’s partner institutions, there has been a
plastic bottles. Its condiments and water sachets are made from
more than 30 percent increase in environmentally sustainable pur-
seaweed, which can be composted or actually eaten. And Sway’s
chasing over the last few years.
seaweed packaging integrates seamlessly with existing machinery, eliminating the costs for manufacturers.
LEADING THE WAY
Gupta-Fonner’s waste-free delivery service aims to do the fun-
Meanwhile, some of the largest industry players are tackling packaging and plastic waste internally.
damental work of building a circular supply chain from the ground up. For her, waste is an issue of design. “Linear supply chains are not
In 2021, Driscoll’s diverted more than 10 million pounds of
designed for this,” says Gupta-Fonner.
packaging from landfills. The company’s circular clamshell initiative
Designing the infrastructure for circularity—a system that in-
requires packaging suppliers to incorporate recycled clamshells back
herently limits waste—can create an easy and affordable choice for
into new clamshells.
Clover Sonoma released the first fully plant-based milk carton in 2022. Meanwhile, Danone aims to make every piece of packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
PACKAGELESS EATI N G There’s no silver bullet to solving the food packaging crisis. It’s
This focus on waste reduction can drive investment in better sorting infrastructure, reducing widespread contamination and making recycling easier for all.
complex and requires both top-down solutions and bottom-up changes by consumers and businesses. “The real game changer will be when people buy less plastic, reuse
“Private industry has the opportunity to create the demand to kickstart or revive strong and stable recycling end markets for the
what they have and minimize what goes in the trash and into recycling,” says Mesa.
circular economy, and we hope more brands and manufacturers will
Cohen recommends prioritizing unpackaged food. Whole
step up to the design and sourcing challenge,” says Camille Herrera,
Foods, Sprouts and co-ops allow customers to purchase bulk food
packaging development and sustainability manager at Driscoll’s.
in reusable containers, while zero-waste shops are becoming more
More than 70 brands have committed to the One Step Closer to Zero Waste Packaging campaign, which launched in January 2022. It aims to improve infrastructure, labeling and the responsibility of producers.
common across the country. And farmers’ markets offer a way to avoid plastics in grocery. Kroger partnered with TerraCycle to test a reusable packaging program in 25 Fred Meyer stores. Customers will be able to pur-
The campaign also supports the Break Free from Plastic Pollu-
chase products from brands like Arbor Teas, Nature’s Heart and Na-
tion Act. It mandates reduced production of a variety of materials,
ture’s Path in reusable containers that they can return to be cleaned
including plastic, and requires producers of packaging, containers
and food service products to boost recycling and composting efforts.
If unpackaged foods or reusable containers aren’t available, Co-
Companies that fundamentally change the way they think about
hen says to choose easily recyclable materials like paper, glass and
packaging, rather than simply swapping plastics for another single-
metal. Consumers can also look for products with instructions on
use material, can build true circularity.
how to dispose of their packaging.
“To make any kind of single-use packaging including composta-
“If you want true systemic change, it means taking a stand against
bles, you’re using precise raw materials, energy and water,” says
things that derail the broader conversation, just like you take a stand
Anukampa Freedom Gupta-Fonner, co-founder and CEO of Spr-
for the organizations that are actually solving the problem,” says Gup-
ingEats.com, an online grocery store achieving zero-waste delivery
from farm to table.
There also is the need for a cultural shift. “When you acknowledge that there are resources, natural elements and actually pieces
Z ER O PACKAGING
of real life and habitats that went into making this packaging,” says
The best way to reduce packaging waste, though, is by using no
Gupta-Fonner, “then reuse is compassion.”
packaging at all. Apeel makes plant-derived coatings that growers, suppliers and retailers use to keep produce fresh two to three times longer. And
edible Communities |
SIG N AT U RE
Emily Payne is Food Tank’s copy editor, and Danielle Nierenberg is the president and co-founder of Food Tank.
For more on this story, visit ediblecommunities.com
Bask in the sunny sweetness of fresh fruit desserts filled with cherries, berries, and peaches. Top flaky crusts and crumbly cobblers with cool ice cream, and line picnic tables with lemon squares and strawberry shortcakes. Summer has never tasted so good!
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