Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chef Jackson Bolton's Picks for the Freshest Produce in Austin!

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I think that all chefs can agree that when creating their culinary masterpieces using fresh produce and proteins is key. So, Jackson and a couple of his friends from culinary school decided to sit down and create a list of the best places around Austin to find the best and freshest local products. We hope this list is helpful to chefs and regular food lovers alike.

We love going to the farmers market with our friends on Saturday mornings. Some of our favorite vendors are: The Kocurek Family Charcuterie, Harvest Time Farm Stand, Mediterranean Chef, Urban Roots, and the Cake and Spoon.

Larry and Lee Ann Kocurek own the Kocurek Family Charcuterie. They create charcuterie items made only from local, free range, hormone free meats. Charcuterie from only local products benefits and supports farmers and ranchers and exposes a food art form to all.

Harvest Time Farm Stand is located in the Canyon Lake area. Owners Larry and Gail Smith are known for their homemade canned jellies. We also love their farm fresh eggs.

The Mediterranean Chef, Nikki Kaya, makes the best hummus, tabuli, and babaganoush we have ever had. She doesn’t stop there she makes all of the classic Greek fares and much of it is organic.

Urban Roots is a program that allows the urban youth to cultivate produce from a local eastside farm as part of YouthLaunch non-profit to develop leadership skills, horticultural practices, and learn to work in teams and with the community. The Urban Roots project participants grow, and then sell, a wide variety of sustainably grown crops at the Saturday market, eastside farm-stands, and donate produce to local soup kitchens and charities.

Jackson and I do the majority of our shopping at our neighborhood Central Market. We love the well organized layout of the store almost as much as the multitude of options of fresh organic produce, meats, and seafood flown in from around the world. Chef Jackson is teaching a cooking class at the Lamar location on father’s day. It will be an amazing class about wine and cheese pairing and also a few of his signature wild game dishes. It should not be missed!

We also recently took a sushi rolling class at Whole Foods Market. The class was a blast and a great way to spend time with friends and family. Eating the sushi at the end of the class was definitely the best part!

Wheatsville Co-op is another one of our beloved neighborhood grocery stores. It is, in our opinion, the best place for vegan and vegetarian options. The friendly and knowledgeable staff helped with all of my questions and they make the most amazing custom fruit and veggie smoothies!

Sprouts Farmers Market was actually picked by some of Jackson’s schoolmates that live down south. They swear by Sprouts Market. It was started in Arizona and now has spread to Colorado, California, and Texas. They specialize in farm fresh produce and goods from mostly local farmers. Their mission statement is: Sprouts Farmers Market helping America eat healthier, live longer and spend less.

Jackson was very happy to make suggestions about where he finds the best and freshest products in Austin. We really hope that all the information is helpful in choosing the best place for you! Happy cooking!

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