“Growing good, clean food in Central Texas is hard work and because Austin’s local food system is still forming, procuring it takes some effort, too,” says Katie Kraemer Pitre, GroACT founding member and farmer at Tecolote Farm. “GroACT wants to give credit to chefs who do more than write on their menus ‘we buy local food when it’s available.’ Restaurants deserve recognition for their efforts.”
Are you eager to support the local Central Texas farm to table movement? Here's a tip: not everyone who advertises "We Buy Local" actually buys here. Alas where go consumer dollars, so go marketers. "Local," "organic," "natural" - terms that define the heart of the farm to table movement are being co-opted by grocery stores and restaurants eager to cash in on the movement going mainstream.
To clarify the definition of "local" in the interests of growers within 150 miles of Austin, Grower's Alliance of Central Texas surveyed its members to determine local restaurants who regularly buy "farmer's market fresh."
One of the most surprising results of the survey was that the highest ranked buyer of local food was a restaurant without walls: Dai Due, a mobile supper club and farmers’ market vendor.
At the top of the list of restaurants with walls is Odd Duck, Bryce Gilmore's all-local trailer on South Lamar Boulevard. Rounding out the top 10 are East Side Show Room, Texas French Bread, Somnio's Cafe, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Olivia, the W Hotel, La Condesa, Peche and East Side Pies.
Because it was limited to members of GroACT, survey results regrettably omit Kerbey Lane Cafe which contracts with a specific area farmer for local crops, and Eastside Cafe, which now raises all its own eggs and grows 30-50% of its produce in its large organic garden and at nearby HausBar Farms. According to Austin Chronicle, these fresh chefs were locavores before it was cool.
Still the Growers Alliance of Central Texas list is a great place to start for the conscious consumer who wants to support local agriculture and Austin fresh chefs.
Go to www.gro-act.com for the complete list.