The nature of nonprofits; plus, the scoop on this week's culinary calendar
Nonprofit organizations exist with a mandate to give away money, whether it comes from an invested endowment or active fundraising, and the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas is no exception. The foundation raises money primarily through the annual Rare and Fine Wine Auction held in April during the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. A healthy chunk of that money is allocated as an annual contribution for their longtime fundraising partner, Austin's PBS outlet, KLRU. The auction has become so successful in recent years ($325,000 in 2006), however, that now some of the funds it generates are earmarked for a Grant Award Program designed to support and encourage innovation and education in the culinary and viticultural arts. For example, two early grants were awarded to support the production of the upcoming KLRU series The Wine Roads of Texas and the pilot episode for the children's educational cooking show Papi's Kitchen (see related feature, "It's Noon. Do You Know What Your Children Are Eating?"). The most recent $20,000 grant was awarded to the Sustainable Food Center to support its Farms, Foods, and Healthy Futures program, as well as to the Downtown Farmers' Market. The competitive, statewide grant program is open to all Texas residents, businesses, and organizations. The application process for the 2007 grant cycle runs from September to December 2006. For complete application information and downloadable forms, go to the foundation Web site at www.winefoodfoundation.org.
The limestone hills of Blanco Country are alive with the color and fragrance of lavender, just in time for the second annual Blanco Lavender Festival. This fine example of agri-tourism is a project that involves the entire community. Lavender is planted around the historic courthouse square in downtown Blanco, and a market featuring lavender-related gifts, arts, and crafts will be set up on the grounds. Local businesses and restaurants will be selling lavender items and dishes, and seminars on growing lavender will be presented upstairs in the courthouse. Guests are encouraged to park at Blanco High School and ride shuttle buses downtown, as parking is limited. In addition to the festivities in town, nine farms within driving distance of Blanco will be hosting guests, each with its own lavender offering. Look for such attractions as pick-your-own fields, food-and-beverage concessions, designated picnic areas, mazes, gifts, crafts, skin care, and aromatherapy products. The painted note card with a lavender recipe by the Austin mother-and-daughter team of graphic artist Jan Heaton and chef Allison Heaton is only one example of the many items available. For a full list of activities, participating farms, and maps, go to the festival Web site at www.blancolavenderfestival.com; Saturday, June 10, 9am-6pm; Sunday, June 11, 9am-5pm.
Event Menu :: June 10-15
Boggy Creek Farm's Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle will host the first-ever tour of their second farm in Milam County near Gause. The Gause farm is where Butler grows crops that require plenty of acreage, such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, squash, and melons. It is also the location of Butler's canning kitchen and his acclaimed smoke-dried tomato operation. For complete details about necessary attire and directions for the 11Ú2-hour drive, go to www.boggycreekfarm.com; Sunday, June 11, 10am.
Looking for a way to help kids make the connection between nature and the foods they eat? Send them to Summer Farm Camp, a joint venture of the new Whole Foods Culinary Center (West Sixth & Bowie) and Boggy Creek Farm. The camp is designed for kids 8-11, and each weeklong session is $225, with spaces for 12 campers. Activities will include soil preparation, planting, organic weed and pest control, harvesting produce, tending chickens, making a compost pile, and preparing snacks with farm-fresh foods. Register at the customer service desk at Whole Foods or call 542-2340; June 12-16, 8-11am; June 19-23, 8-11am.