Things I Learned at Pies & Pigs

Getting in the know during a good cause

Bryan Butler of Salt & Time cutting up their stuffed pork
Bryan Butler of Salt & Time cutting up their stuffed pork

The Pies & Pigs benefit for artist and baker Colleen Sommers was indeed one of the best local food parties I've ever attended. It was really gratifying to see several generations of the Austin food community come together to help one of their own on the shady ground at Springdale Farm.

Thanks to the warm and welcoming spirit of the property and farmers Paula and Glenn Foore, party guests were encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs and relax in the shady areas of the farm while the Whiskey Shivers played and local food artisans served up amazing food. Local bakers really knocked themselves out preparing pies for both the auction and the dessert station. Teo scooped up their excellent bourbon vanilla gelato and there were huge buckets of Blue Bell Homemade vanilla, as well. A gentle breeze kept the early evening heat from being too oppressive and twinkling lights lit the yard once the sun disappeared. It was a magical night. Here's hoping all the positive energy and the money raised are helpful to Colleen in her battle against cancer.

It wasn't all just great food and good vibes out there, however. For a working journalist, the party also provided a golden opportunity to pick up news items. Here are some of the things I learned while enjoying myself at the farm.

• Raymond Tatum is moving his 3 Little Pigs trailer a few yards across the parking lot at 1209 Rosewood to its former home under a shade tree because the west sun has turned the trailer into a broiler. His Asian-marinated whole pig on the bone was a big hit with party guests.

• Matt Lee of Teo Gelato reports that he's now making gelato with fresh milk from Mill-King Creamery in nearby McGregor, Texas, and having to tweak some recipes because of the milk's inherent richness. Look for a festive parasol bike cart from Teo to be scooping gelato and sorbetto at the Downtown Farmers’ Market some weekend soon.

Cedar Park Farm 2 Market is becoming known for the diverse group of artisan cheese makers selling at the Saturday morning market in the Lakeline Mall parking lot. Look for Pure Luck Dairy to be there soon. Also, market manager Carla Jenkins is looking for Northwest Austin area chefs to provide cooking demos at the market.

• Jill and Kevin Lewis of Austin Slow Burn are busy producing the bottled version of Torchy's Tacos wildly popular Diablo sauce and Torchy's verde salsa will be next in the product line.

• Once the party started, Bola Pizza fired up 42 pies in 55 minutes, the same amount of time it took to float 5 kegs of local beer! Bola owner Christian Bowers says he's looking for one or two congenial, like-minded food artisans to share his big commercial kitchen in North Central Austin.

Salt & Time butchers Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler estimate that the opening of their brick-and-mortar location at 1912 East 11th will now be pushed back until September or October. Their boned and stuffed pig with a crisp crust made for some very good eating as were the grilled Anaheim pepper halves stuffed with their house sausage, cheese, and topped with an egg, sunny side up – wow!

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