Livin' la Vida Local

Whole Foods' The Forager's Table event highlights local products

Whole Foods might be the behemoth of the natural and specialty foods world, but each region of the company has the ability to bring in small, local vendors. The Forager’s Table dinner was a chance to spotlight some of these offerings.

Lynda Berrios, Texas Local Forager for Whole Foods Market's Southwest Region (photo by Rod Machen)

The event was held in front of the Gateway location of Whole Foods in north Austin. A small patch of grass was transformed into a supper club, complete with live music to accompany the meal. Local forager Lynda Berrios hosted the event as she is the point-person that helps these products make their way onto the shelves, and all ticket proceeds went to the Austin Food & Wine Alliance’s Central Texas Culinary Grant Program.

Throughout the five courses, local products were used in interesting and appealing ways. The appetizer course was highlighted by the Mediterranean Chef’s Grandma’s Humus with fresh veggies and a pickle platter from the guys at Hat Creek. They’ve branched out from the burger biz in a delicious way. Their pickled offerings are firm while still packing lots of vinegary punch.

The Mediterranean Chef's highly addictive "Grandma's Humus" topped with Austin Pesto Company's jalapeño pesto (photo by Rod Machen)

Salad was provided by Agua Dulce with olive oil and vinegars by Texas Olive Ranch. The surprise of this course was a ball of goat cheese from Pure Luck Farm and Dairy. It was covered with toasted pecans and complemented the greens wonderfully.

A skirt-steak street taco was served with an topping from Oh Kimchi and placed on a cilantro tortilla from Paqui. The main course consisted of an amazing seafood concoction from the folks at Whole Foods. Black Texas drum fillet was stuffed with shrimp and oyster dressing and served over a bed a blanched chard.

Though most stomachs were full by that point, dessert was too good to be missed. Cream-cheese biscuits made in-house were served with butter, honey from GoodFlow and Confituras jams. I had the fig butter, and it was heavenly paired with that biscuit.

Throughout the night, each offering of food was paired with an accompanying beer from Save the World Brewery in Marble Falls. A mocktail made with local favorite BeeSweet lemonade was also served.

While supper events featuring local ingredients are nothing new, the Forager’s Table is a chance for local foragers to point out the process for getting these products on the shelf as well as allow the public a chance to meet these committed, driven food producers. Don’t be surprised to see other such events pop up around the Austin area. It’s a great way to connect good food with all of the people who love it.

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Whole Foods Market, The Forager's Table, Lynda Berrios, Hat Creek, Mediterranean Chef, Confituras, GoodFlow, Agua Dulce, Texas Olive Ranch, Pure Luck Farm, Pacqui, Oh Kimchi

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