Food Matters: A celebration of sustainable farming
Also, USDA lowers its recommended internal temperatures for meats.
Five years ago, Erin Flynn and Skip Connett were just getting their organic farm in East Austin under way.
Now, in addition to its community-supported agriculture program and farm stand, Green Gate Farms has expanded with a 33-acre plot along the Colorado River and created New Farm Institute, a nonprofit with the mission to "educate, assist and inspire a new generation of sustainable farmers," especially those looking to grow food within 30 miles of an urban center.
The farm is hosting a hootenanny at the new site at 176 Howard Lane, off FM 969 west of Bastrop, starting at 3 p.m. Saturday. Live music starts at 5 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. Swimming, fishing and camping are available. Ice cream, beer and wine available for purchase, and proceeds from a silent auction will go to the institute. Tickets ($10 for adults, $5 for children) at the door. www.greengatefarms.net .
- Addie Broyles
USDA's recommended temperatures lowered
One night at Trio, chef de cuisine Todd Duplechan asked us how we liked our Niman Ranch pork chop with muscat grape chutney, and I remember saying how glad I was that he didn't cook it to death.
There was a candy veneer on the outside and a pink bloom in the center, something you don't see at restaurants and home kitchens still cleaving to the notion that if you don't cook pork to a leathery whiteness, it surely will curse you with trichinosis or tennis elbow. Like any cut of meat, the source is the best place to counter foodborne illnesses, and Duplechan said at the time that he felt confident enough in the quality of his pork to cook it with respect.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week endorsed that notion, revising its recommendations for cooking pork to match its guidelines for steaks, roasts and chops: an internal temperature of 145 degrees. In most meats, that means medium, with a little ray of pink in the middle.
The previous official threshold for pork had been 160 degrees. USDA Undersecretary Elisabeth Hagen said, "With a single temperature for all whole cuts of meat, we believe it will be much easier for consumers to remember and result in safer food preparation."
Now there will only be three numbers to remember: 145 for whole meats, 160 for ground meats and 165 for all poultry."
- Mike Sutter
Openings, closings and coming soon
• Closing: The first location of the Parlor, that bastion of pizza and punk rock at 100-B E. North Loop Blvd., will close this summer because of a rent increase, the restaurant announced on Facebook. The Parlor plans to mark its 11-year run with two weeks of shows June 8-21. They reassured fans that the Hyde Park location at 4301 Guadalupe St. will stay open.
• On the horizon: James Holmes of Olivia has plans for the former home of Nueva Onda on College Avenue: He'll open Lucy's Fried Chicken there, doing Gulf oysters, Texas specialties and his share of battered yardbird. Holmes already does a picnic-style fried chicken for Sunday brunch at Olivia, his farm-to-table bistro on South Lamar Boulevard. The new building will be designed by Michael Hsu, the same architect behind Olivia and a host of other Austin restaurants.
- Mike Sutter
Food and wine briefs
• Three Austin restaurants and bars have landed in national magazines this month. Bon Appetit listed 24 Diner as one of its six best destination diners, calling its roasted banana and brown sugar milkshake a "must-order." Esquire correspondent and Austinite Andy Langer called Bar Congress one of the country's best new bars, and Food & Wine features chef James Holmes of Olivia and Elizabeth Winslow of Farmhouse Delivery in a piece about farm-fresh entertaining. Holmes will re-create dishes from the article for a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Olivia (2043 S. Lamar Blvd.).
• Cafe Josie (1200 W. Sixth St. www.cafejosie.com ) will host a five-course wine dinner with California wines from Sonoma and Napa Valley at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. $69. Reservations at 322-9226.
• Johnson's Backyard Garden, which has one of the largest community-supported agriculture programs in the region with more than 30 pick-up locations spread across the Austin area, is expanding its CSA to include home and office delivery for an extra $5 per box. You can find more details and sign up at www.jbgorganic.com .
• Kerbey Lane Catering is hosting a fundraiser dinner for the Sustainable Food Center at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at and Springdale Farm, 755 Springdale Road . Tickets cost $30 and are available at kerbeylanecafe.com.
• "Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food" by Austin chef Alain Braux won first place in the cookbook category of the Paris Book Festival last week.
• The Beat Divas, the food-centric jazz vocal trio that frequently performs at cooking classes and events around Austin, will celebrate the release of their CD, "Dishin' With the Divas: Songs of Food, Love & Mayhem," with a release party on June 26 at Central Market. www.facebook.com/thebeatdivas .
- A.B., M.S.