A visit to the farm used to involve a trek out to the countryside, but on Sunday, April 14, Austinites have a chance to tour four Austin urban farms, gems all less than three miles from the Capitol, that are changing the way Austin eats. At the East Austin Urban Farm Tour visitors can explore the fields and chat up the farmers at Boggy Creek, HausBar, Rain Lily and Springdale farms, tucked away in the Govalle neighborhood.
East Austin was once chockfull of farms that fed the city, but, as Austin grew, the farms were pushed out by commercial projects and housing. Slowly over the last two decades, small farms have returned to the East Side bringing seasonal crops, flowers, poultry and a bit of tranquility to the neighborhood. Two of the farms, Boggy Creek and Springdale, host regular farm stand hours on Wednesdays and Saturday, but the farm tour provides a less common peek at HausBar and Rain Lily farms.
Dorsey Barger, owner and farmer at HausBar Farms, encourages visitors to learn more about where their food comes from. “They can go in the chicken coop and see where the eggs are laid, walk in our rows of vegetables and see what carrots growing in the ground look like.”
During the tour, farmers will share their wisdom about growing in Austin, a perfect opportunity for home gardeners to get your most pesky questions answered. And, if you think the crops are fun, wait until you meet the chickens, ducks, donkeys, goats and rabbits. The small livestock are equally entertaining for adults and kids, and on a few of the farms, rule the roost.
While the farms are easy walking distance from one another, wearing comfortable shoes is advised, as you are bound to work up an appetite. Each stop will host several restaurants making dishes using produce from the farms.
Participants can nibble small bites from popular spots like Bola Pizza, Cafe Jose, Dai Due, Hillside Farmacy, Kome Sushi Kitchen, Lenoir, Olivia, Olive & June, Sway, Vespaio, Wink and others. Local brewers, wine merchants and distillers including Balcones Distillery, East End Wines, Live Oak Brewing Company, Paula’s Texas Spirits, St. Arnold’s Beer and Treaty Oak Distilling Company will be on hand to quench your thirst.
The event runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. , rain or shine, and adult tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door with children under age 12 are free. Buying tickets in advance is wise as the event usually sells out. The pick up location for your wristband is assigned at the time of purchase. The tour benefits Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a national nonprofit that supports independent family farmers.
The East Austin Urban Farm Tour promises to open your mind and fill your belly with goodness from local farms. Spend an afternoon learning what it takes to grow in the city while you enjoy treats from some of Austin’s best chefs, brewers and distillers — a great way to celebrate spring by any measure.