Farm to markets continue to grow

The breezy patio at Jack Allen's Kitchen was packed last Saturday afternoon. Farm families with weathered hands and sunburned faces were relaxing after busy Saturday morning markets, enjoying the warm hospitality of father-and-son chef/restaurateurs Jack and Bryce Gilmore, who host a farmer appreciation luncheon every year to celebrate the hard work and dedication that goes into producing the fresh vegetables, dairy products, and meats that are served at Jack Allen's and Barley Swine throughout the year. The party came early this year because Gilmore is opening a second Jack Allen's in Round Rock in Sep­tem­ber, expanding the farm-to-table concept into the suburbs. Though the atmosphere was convivial, the gathering had some somber moments. Suzanne San­tos of the Sustainable Food Center led a moment of silence for the loss of two women who had made unique contributions to the local farm community. Jean Mason McKemie, St. Edward's University math professor and wife of farmer Willie McKemie, died of cancer last week. Though she didn't work on the farm, Jean's support of Wil­lie's "farming addiction" at McKemie Home­grown was widely known and respected. Hairston Creek Farm co-owner Sarah Rowland was one of the matriarchs of the modern organic farm movement in Central Texas, pioneering community supported agriculture and local farmers' markets in this area alongside her husband, Gary. Last year's farmer appreciation luncheon was the last time many of us had seen Sarah in public, sporting a few wispy tufts of hair as badges of courage in her valiant battle against metastatic breast cancer. Sarah's family hosted her memorial service at the farm earlier this week and, in accordance with her last wishes, a benefit to raise money for her son Henry's college education is in the works. We'll keep you posted about the details for that event, and you can read more about Sarah Rowland in our blog.

I chatted with Cedar Park Farm 2 Market manager Carla Jenkins about her new Mueller Far­mers Market that will be located at the historic Browning Hangar on the western edge of the Mueller neighborhood facing Airport Boulevard. It'll offer seasonal produce, sustainable meats and poultry, Gulf seafood, farm eggs and dairy products, honey, olive oil, baked goods, and artisan food products Sunday mornings from 10am-2pm, beginning Sept. 9. If Mueller-dwellers embrace the market the same way they have Contigo, it should be a huge success... Be sure to check out Kate Thornberry's weekly Farmers Market Report every Friday in our On the Range blog.

In other Eastside news, Hoover Alexander is relaunching the Soular Food Garden trailer (1112 E. 12th) at 7am Fri., Aug. 31, serving breakfast tacos and coffee. Later in the day (11am-8pm), the menu switches over to veggie-centric offerings and what Alexander is calling Texa-Mexi-Que: smoked brisket, pork loin, turkey, or the house recipe sausage on white bread sandwiches with pickles, on flour tortillas with salsa, or on freshly baked kolach slider buns with mustard. Sounds interesting.

Be sure to follow on Twitter @ACFood – there's just no telling where I'll turn up!

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More Jack Allen's Kitchen
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Like father, like son: Two very different restaurants reflect a lot of the same values

Virginia B. Wood, May 14, 2010

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Hoov, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Jack and Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Suzanne Santos, Sustainable Food Center, Jean Mason McKemie, Hairston Creek Farm, Sarah Rowland, Cedar Park Farm 2 Market, Carla Jenkins, Mueller Farmers Market, Browning Hangar, Hoover Alexander, Soular Food Garden trailer

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