Urban farms are charming, important, and an important part of Austin's culinary landscape. But regulations abound, and the cost of compliance is killing the real work of maintaining this farm. So Austin's food community rallied in a big way on Sunday September 28 for a fundraiser to help save Springdale Farm.
For only $50 - a deal considering many of the food events Austin offers - we got exquisite cocktails (I vowed to stick to wine only, but then we tried what Cointreau was serving up) and samples of edibles from a veritable Who's Who of great Austin eateries. And we got vintage furniture seating areas, and music, and some Farm Games (Chicken "Poop" Bingo). Given the really big crowd - and this is just a small part of it pictured below - I hope we made a substantial dent into the financial matter of saving Springdale Farm.
I lost my posse early on in the event, practically right out of the gate, because I paused a long time here at the table with the offerings from the Driskill Hotel. I just cannot say no to anything involving roasted corn. So I said yes to two of those little plates.
And all that was mixed in with some finely blistered shishito peppers.
Smart planning that the organizers had all those food offerings right up front. This allowed for something solid on the tummy to absorb the potent offerings over at the cocktail stands. Many local favorites there representing the cocktail scene (e.g., Tipsy Texan):
There were wine offerings as well, from another local favorite: Austin Wine Merchant. Reminds me I need to stock up on Belle de Brillet over there for holiday parties.
Have never seen a more beautiful or more herbal gin and tonic than the one we sampled from here. A few sips were plenty. Those things were powerful.
Then it was time to figure out what that really long line was all about: it was Sonya Cote holding court over some pig and pig fixins. We asked what this offering of hers was called. She told us it was a "Pig Bar." Like a Bloody Mary bar, with the garnishes and all, but here the main event was a pig that had been grilled out over a large open grill right there.
A+ for the styling here: roasted lemons, thinly sliced apples tossed in a very light dressing, carrots in a like manner, without the creamy coating -- all served on a silver tray.
Here we saw up close some of the beautiful bounty of the farm: these eggplants (everyone was using produce from the farm in their offerings).
The Hightower turned these eggplants into this elegant offering, with crème fraiche and tomato gastrique. Yes, that beautiful pear-shaped item is in fact a very firm and tasty thin slice of this eggplant.
It was a fine afternoon, if a tad humid.
Many thanks to my friends for hanging out on a bench while I waited close to 30 minutes for that Cointreau cocktail. More on that later.
But most of all, many thanks to the many chefs who donated a lot of time and a lot of fantastic food to this most excellent cause.