Wellness 2014 Notable Mentions

AUSTIN FOOD & WINE ALLIANCE AWARDS FOUR LOCAL CULINARY INNOVATIONS

Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA), a nonprofit formed just two years ago, recently announced the four winners of its 2nd annual 2013 Culinary Grants Program. The Alliance awards the grants based on culinary inventiveness and contributions to the local community. The program supports chefs, farmers, wine, beer and spirit makers, artisan producers and food-focused nonprofits. 

Confituras' founder, Stephanie McClenny, who produces locally sourced and responsibly produced preserves, was awarded $10,000 for her Preserving Austin Project. She plans to change the way Central Texans think about preserving—both our food and our oral histories—with the creation of an educational mobile kitchen and traveling canning museum. 

Austin's first whole animal butcher shop, Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, won a $5,000 grant. These funds will enable Salt & Time to become the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas, and allow expansion of its cured meat operation and provide wholesale, Texas-made salumi to chefs and restaurants. 

Blacklands Malt of Leander provides the first locally grown and malted barley in Texas. Founder Brandon Ade was awarded a $5,000 grant to expand onsite storage capacity, source additional barley, and, hopefully, bring one more regional farmer onboard as a producer. With Blacklands' efforts, beer will soon be available made from 100% Texas grown malted barley.

Elgin's Skinny Lane Farm is a boutique, family-owned vegetable farm founded by Bekki Callaway and Michael Moser. Skinny Lane Farm's $5,000 grant will help create an 'On-the-Farm' cooking program, the first of its kind in the Elgin area. 

The annual Austin Food & Wine Festival will take place on April 25–27. AFWA will host Live Fire!, a beef-centric, chef-driven tasting extravaganza, to kick off the weekend. The Alliance is the designated beneficiary of the festival, a three-day tribute to world-renowned chefs and winemakers. Visit austinfoodwinealliance.org for more information.

REGISTER NOW FOR 2014 TOFGA CONFERENCE

Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) will host its annual conference from Thursday, January 30 through Sunday, February 2 in Houston at the DoubleTree Hotel. This year's theme is The Time is Now!: It is time to raise a new generation of organic and sustainable food producers in Texas. It is also a time to get Texans growing the food Texans need to be healthy. Keynote speaker will be Forrest Pritchard, author of Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm. Look forward to a wide range of workshop topics, including fruit trees, social media and organic certification. Visit tofga.org to register. 

JAM & JIVE WITH EDIBLE AUSTIN AT TRAVAASA AUSTIN EXPERIENTIAL RESORT

Travaasa Austin and Edible Austin will host Jam & Jive, a weekend of learning, eating, dancing and exploring, on January 25-26, at Travaasa Austin, located in the beautiful hills of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.

The two-day culinary event will include a series of workshops on Saturday designed for budding and experienced foodies on food preservation. In the evening, guests will enjoy a farm-to-table dinner prepared by Travaasa Executive Chef Benjamin Baker, followed by a dance party with live music by La Strada—also featuring “hand jive” lessons and a dance performance. On Sunday morning, guests will enjoy a brunch followed by tours of The Farm at Travaasa Austin.

The culinary workshops will focus on making the most of winter’s harvest bounty. Edible Austin columnist and Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne will host “Rind to Seed: Citrus Preservation Workshop.” Participants will learn to deconstruct a grapefruit, utilize each component in creative and delicious ways, and take home a jar of grapefruit-infused vinegar and recipes for how to use it up! Other workshop options are “Sourdough Bread—Fermenting Grains Workshop” on how to make sourdough bread with Chef Baker, who will detail the progress that sourdough has made traveling the planet for the past 172 years. Good Food award- and Austin Food & Wine Alliance grant winner Stephanie McClenny will present “Jammin’ with confituras— Preserving the Seasons Workshop.” And Oh Kimchi founder Abigail Lunde will lead a session on the Ancient Art of Making Kimchi where participants will take home a jar of a seasonal variety that they learn to prepare themselves. Single day passes are available to access to the workshops, dinner and dance party. Or, book the Jam & Jive overnight package, which includes the culinary workshops, dinner and dance party along with a ticket to the Sunday brunch and the farm tour. 

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Sustainable Food Center. Visit travaasa.com/jamandjive for more information and tickets.

CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT THE FRENCH LEGATION MUSEUM

On February 1–2, the French Legation Museum will host a weekend of special events honoring an important part of American history—the contributions of African American cooks from our culinary past.  

Saturday’s Peace Through Pie Social will feature guest speakers Toni Tipton-Martin, author of the upcoming book, The Jemima Code: 150 Timeless African American Cookbooks and Their Extraordinary Legacy, and Michael W. Twitty, a recognized culinary historian, chef and rare expert in the reconstruction of early Southern cuisine as prepared by enslaved African American cooks. 

On Sunday, the fun continues with a Pig Roast, which will include live music, local beer and an exciting menu created from heirloom Southern recipes cooked by Mr. Twitty, who will use nineteenth-century techniques and share his historical cooking methods with guests. Get tickets and more event information at flm.org or call 512-472-8180.

INTEGRITY ACADEMY WILL OFFER PLANT-BASED LUNCH PROGRAM

Casa de Luz, a community center and restaurant located within walking distance to Zilker Park, is adding a new private school to its offerings. The Integrity Academy will open its doors in August 2014. They are enrolling now for ages three to eighteen, and information sessions for prospective parents are available by appointment. 

Casa de Luz, which serves a whole-food, plant-based, 100% organic breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, will provide lunches to students and staff at the Integrity Academy. With a commitment to serving the students a macrobiotic meal each day, it is the expectation of the academy that students will not only learn, but experience as well, the essential art of living a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit integrityacademy.org, or call 512-535-1277.

GOOD TASTE 2014 AT THE CONTEMPORARY

This quarterly series, co-presented by The Contemporary and Edible Austin, connects the art on view at The Contemporary with local and sustainable food. Join us on Thursday, February 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., for the first event of 2014, Good Taste: For the Love of Fungi, inspired by artist Charles Long’s use of fungi in his exhibition CATALIN, which runs January 18 through April 20, at the Jones Center. Enjoy small bites of mushroom-centric tastings created by Spoon & Co.’s Meg Schwartz, seasonal kombucha from Buddha's Brew and craft beer. Guest speaker, Jason Cortlund, co-writer and director of the film Now, Forager, will discuss the culture and influence of mushrooms from John Cage to psychoactives to their use as sustainable materials. Advanced tickets recommended: $15 or $10 for members and available at thecontemporaryaustin.org/programs 

BACON AND BEER FESTIVAL!

The first annual Austin Bacon and Beer Festival is on Saturday, February 22, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Marchesa, presented by Bacon and Beer Festival producers, Eat Boston, in partnership with Edible Austin to bring this crowd-favorite event to town.

The Bacon and Beer Festival (which has sold out in Boston, Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia) will bring together 20 to 30 area chefs, restaurants and craft brewers to celebrate the best of both bacon-centric food and craft brews in Central Texas. Featuring a hog butchering / curing workshop by Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, it will also raise money for Capital Area Food Bank. For more information and tickets, visit edibleaustin.com