Growers Alliance of Central Texas
For Immediate Release, February 15, 2011
Media contact: Erin Flynn, Green Gate Farms, 512-484-2746, greengatefarms@gmail.com

WHO’S TRULY LOCAL? GroACT REVEALS TOP 10 AUSTIN RESTAURANTS
Neighborhood Farmers Share Buyers List

Austin, TX – Everyone seems to be jumping on the “buy local” bandwagon, yet the only ones who know the truth about local food are the ones who grow it. That’s why area farmers are revealing who is buying directly from them.

“Growing good, clean food in Central Texas is hard work and because Austin’s local food system is still forming, procuring it takes some effort, too,” says Katie Kraemer Pitre, GroACT founding member and farmer at Tecolote Farm. “GroACT wants to give credit to chefs who do more than write on their menus ‘we buy local food when it’s available.’ Restaurants deserve recognition for their efforts.”

GroACT, Growers Alliance of Central Texas, a recently formed group of local, sustainable and organic farmers and ranchers, surveyed its members to help citizens identify restaurants that buy regularly from area farms.

“What’s interesting about the results is that restaurants of all sizes are in the top 10: ranging from the small, funky Odd Duck to the large, corporate W Hotel,” says Erin Flynn, GroACT founding member and farmer at Green Gate Farms. “These restaurants, regardless of whether they are big or small, old or new, are keeping family farms in business.” Flynn added one of the most surprising results of the survey was that the highest ranked buyer of local food was a restaurant without walls: Dai Due, a mobile supper club and farmers’ market vendor.

GroACT is concerned that grocery stores, including Whole Foods and Wheatsville, as well as distributors, have confused citizens — and bypassed local farmers — by defining “local” to mean the entire state of Texas. The standard definition of “local” is food grown within 150 miles of a city center.

Flynn said in time GroACT may evolve into a brand of cooperatively marketed high-quality products, but for now the group wants to help farmers be heard and protect the integrity of Austin’s local food system. She added citizens can look forward to a survey of “Truly Local Caterers” this spring.

Area farmers are encouraged to join GroACT, an all-volunteer organization, featuring such farms as: Angel Valley Farm, Boggy Creek, Green Gate Farms, Hairston Creek, Tecolote Farm, and Urban Roots. For more information, see: www.gro-act.com

Survey Methodology
A simple online survey listing 130 restaurants (compiled from websites including Austin Restaurant Week and Edible Austin Magazine’s Eat Local Week) was made available to about 80 Central Texas farmers and ranchers from December 2010-February 2011. Responders rated restaurants according to whether they purchased food “frequently” (defined as weekly or whenever solicited) or “infrequently” (defined as monthly or occasionally) using a weighted point system. Farmers were urged to write in restaurants that did not appear on the master list and to include purchases made by chefs at farmers’ market. Following are those who received the top ten highest rankings.

Top 10 Austin Restaurants
Buying Directly from Neighborhood Farms
1. Odd Duck Farm to Trailer
2. Eastside Showroom
3. Texas French Bread
4. Somnio’s
5. Jack Allen’s Kitchen
6. Olivia’s
7. Trace at W Hotel
8. La Condesa
9. Peche
10. East Side Pies

To see additional survey results, go to www.Gro-Act.com