December 17, 2013

Austin is a center of the farm-to-table movementThanks to restaurants like Greenhouse Craft Food and Travaasa, Austin is becoming a hub of the farm-to-table dining movement. Both of those establishments have been at the forefront of offering Austin-area residents smart, healthy, sustainable eating options, and they have also used their notoriety to turn farm-to-table dining into a way to raise money for worthy causes.

Chef Rob Snow opens restaurant in Round Rock
While urban Austinites may have more sustainable dining options than residents of most other cities around the country, their suburban counterparts haven’t been so lucky. But that is changing, according to The Wall Street Journal, as Chef Rob Snow has opened a farm-to-table outpost in Round Rock, just outside of Austin, and it should provide exciting opportunities to graduates of Texas culinary programs.

Snow’s venture, Greenhouse Craft Food, serves antibiotic- and hormone-free, locally sourced meals for the entire family. And by designing a menu that is family friendly, he is hoping that parents who live in the Austin suburbs will have a local outpost where they can feed their children sustainable items, and teach them the importance of the farm-to-table movement.

“Lifestyles and traffic keeps families stuck in the suburbs eating at chain restaurants and local restaurants that offer few healthy choices with nothing on the menu that is locally sourced,” Chef Snow told the Journal. “I want those families to have the same access to healthy locally grown food as those who live in Austin. Their kids shouldn’t have to be stuck eating chicken nuggets.”

Farm-to-table pairing dinner
Travaasa Austin was the site of a recent dinner where beer, wine and food were paired to create a farm-to-table experience unlike any other. And with the proceeds going to Urban Harvest, an organization that advocates for healthy communities, respect for the environment and good nutrition through education and facilitating the building of community gardens, the dinner also served to promote sustainable eating in Texas and beyond.

All of the courses used locally sourced ingredients, and the beers came from Buffalo Brewing Company. Travaasa’s Chef Ben Baker kicked the night off in style with his collard rolls that used marinated zucchini noodles, green onion, roasted beets, cilantro, mint, orange-blossom dressing and poached fuyu persimmons. Everything was so fresh that, according to the Houston Press, they tasted as if they’d “been picked minutes prior to being served.”

Both of these restaurants show how Austin has taken the lead in farm-to-table dining and the social good it can bring.