Monday, September 6, 2010

Waco's Local Sustainable Food Movement

We went to our first Local Farmers Food Festival (put on by Waco's Local Sustainable Food Movement) on Thursday, and it was wonderful.  The movement is spearheaded by Ullja Kuntze, who some Baylor alums may remember for the delicious smoothies she sold out of a small trailer in front of the Comet Cleaners near campus. She moved on to open a European Bakery, and this is apparently her newest project. Anyone who's met Ullja knows she is warm, friendly, successful, and throws herself into everything wholeheartedly. So I expected nothing less from the Food Festival - and I was not disappointed.

She's managed to organize a whole slew of local farmers and ranchers (offering everything from farm fresh eggs to grass raised beef to organic vegetables to free range dairy products - even home grown herbs) and even circumvented a pesky city ordinance restricting "farmers markets" with an ingenious pre-order system for perishables (ensuring that the vendors know how much to bring to each festival and nothing goes to waste). The festivals are held every other week, I believe, and we will definitely be back at the next one.

For our first experience we kept it simple, pre-ordering only a dozen farm fresh eggs. When we arrived we also loaded up on summer squash, cucumbers, okra, red and yellow onions and garlic. The fresh veggies are first come first serve, not pre-ordered, and limited in variety and supply right now with the heat, so we got there early and snatched up as much as we could. Everything is organically and sustainably grown, hand-picked, and so, so, so good.

We were so excited about cooking our fresh veggies. We stewed the okra with yellow onion, tomatoes, garlic and just a splash of Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette Dressing. I steamed the summer squash while Keith grilled Cuban flank steak. It was one the best meals we've made in a while. All those fresh flavors just really are tastier than most of the vegetables you get at the store. Plus, I am so excited that something like this is happening in Waco and happy to be able to support it.  

Next time we are going to get more eggs, as many fresh veggies as we can get our hands on, a lamb shoulder roast, and hopefully an herb planter full of basil, thyme, mint, oregano and dill. Can't wait. If you live anywhere near Waco, I highly recommend joining Waco's Local Sustainable Food Movement and pre-ordering for the next Food Festival (September 18th) as soon as you can.

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