This year's drought conditions (and late-season storms in June that took out an uninsured hoophouse at Green Gate Farms) have been hard on local farms, but it was deer that caused La Flaca Urban Garden's recent crop loss.
Alejandra Rodriguez Boughton's Southwest Austin urban farm had produced a bounty of more than 20 kinds of peppers, and in July, a deer (or two) broke into the storage space and ate nearly every one of them. In a season where not much grows besides peppers, it's been a devastating loss, but Boughton is trying to recoup sales with a trio of specialty salts she was able to make with the peppers and herbs she could harvest this year. (You can buy those salts through her website and Farmhouse Delivery.)
But the Austin Winery and Deepa Shridhar, the owner of Puli-Ra supper club, are also coming to her aid.
At 7 p.m. Oct. 27, Shridhar is hosting a fundraiser dinner for La Flaca at the Austin Winery that will feature a four-course Mexican-Rajasthani dinner and cocktails. The menu includes venison enchiladas, grass-fed steak with wine yeast uni butter and churros and a jam made with Austin Winery's first vermouth.
The dinner will be the first opportunity to buy the fortified wine that was made with La Flaca herbs and is fittingly called Revenge. The Revenge Vermouth bottle will even include an image of a deer.
Tickets cost $110 and are available at squareup.com/store/Puli-Ra. Puli-Ra hosts monthly supper club dinners at Austin Winery, 440 E. St. Elmo Road, and you can find that schedule on Shridhar's website.
Learn how to make pretzels with Easy Tiger head baker David Norman
Homemade pretzels aren't as easy to make as they are to eat.
That soft texture inside and the pliable dark crust on the outside take a little bit of practice to get right, but this fall, Easy Tiger's head baker, David Norman, is teaching two pretzel-making classes so you can re-create that doughy magic at home.
Just in time for Oktoberfest, Norman will lead two four-hour courses on Oct. 5 and 6 at Easy Tiger Linc, 6406 N. Interstate 35, where attendees will learn how to make, twist, dip and bake the pretzel dough. The classes start at 10 a.m. Tickets ($125, easytigerusa.com) and include Easy Tiger lunch, a beer and a dozen baked pretzels to take home. It's a hands-on class, so bring your own apron.
Later in October, Norman will release his first cookbook, "Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe's Most Beloved Breads: A Baking Book."
Sample foods from all around the Mediterranean at Austin's longest-running festival
The longest-running festival in Central Texas isn't the hot sauce festival, the Pecan Street festival or South by Southwest.
At 87 years young, it's the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival, or Medfest, an annual celebration of all things Mediterranean, from music and dancing to food.
The event returns on Friday and Saturday at the St. Elias Orthodox Church, 408 E. 11th St., with a shopping bazaar and live music from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Attendees can also try a variety of food, cocktails and wines and listen to Lebanese singer Danny Achkar.
The event is open to the public with a $5 donation at the door or at Twin Liquors, which is run by the Jabour family and has been involved with the event since the first year, but admission will be free from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday to encourage family participation.
“Medfest is more than a tradition for our family; it’s ingrained in our culture,” David Jabour, president of Twin Liquors, said in release. “We’re honored to continue to play a role in the festivities this year and look forward to seeing friends and families celebrate with food, cocktails, live music and dancing.”
Does your kids' school need a beehive? Here's how to apply for a grant to get one
The Austin-based Whole Kids Foundation wants to help your kids' school get a beehive.
Backyard beekeeping has had a renaissance over the past 10 years, and schools are also using bees to educate students about STEM and where food comes from. Three Austin schools, including Austin Montessori School, have beehives that were installed with the help of grants from Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit started by Whole Foods Market in 2011.
The organization is now accepting applicants for these $2,000 grants from K-12 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. Beehives complement school gardens, which Whole Kids also funds through grants, but this grant program is separate from the school garden program. Applications for both the beehive and school garden grants are open until Oct. 15.
Whole Kids Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in grants in the past eight years that have helped build 5,452 gardens and 401 educational beehives. Whole Kids also helps schools implement salad bars, and those grant applications are accepted year-round. You can find out more about the grants and fill out an application at wholekidsfoundation.org.