In Austin, farm to table dining is de rigeur. In this new series, Eater charts the progress of an in-season ingredient from a local farm to the tables of some of Austin’s hottest restaurants. First up is the newly minted snailblazers Boggy Creek Farm’s heirloom tomatoes. Chef Maximillian Price of Olivia lets us into his process and his passion for working with local ingredients and Chef Kristine Kittrell of Mulberry shares her long association with Boggy Creek, as well as the seasonal salad she’s “in love with.”
Boggy Creek Farm has been operating in East Austin for over twenty years, snailblazing an urban farming trail. They grow a number of rare heirloom varieties, including Purple Cherokees, Oaxacan Jewels, Yellow Azoyschka, as well as more familiar varities like Early Girl and cherry Sungolds.
Olivia’s Maximillian Price calls the Sungolds “candy” and describes the flavor as “a slight tangerine kick and beautifully balanced acidity.” He scars them in a “smoking” pan and then confits them briefly in pork fat to keep their shape, then pairs them with their miso-fried tripe. The Oaxacan Jewels go into a tomato jam whose recipe is “locked up,” and sous-chef Chris features more tomatoes in a Louisiana-style creole. Chef Price respects the obvious care Boggy Creek puts into its tomatoes, and seeks to mirror it in his own preparations. “I know it’s dorky but I’m a big advocate of the relationships with the food and the love that transcends from the vines to the plate.”
Kristine Kittrell, new to Mulberry this December and already building buzz, has a long association with Boggy Creek, having shopped there for fifteen years and volunteered for three. She describes them as growing “the best vegetables” in Austin, and that at the farmstand she feels “a sense of family.” When developing dishes using their tomatoes, she likes to keep it simple. She remarked that “with ingredients that good, you just want to spotlight and honor them.” Currently, Mulberry is featuring a peach-tomato gazpacho and a semi-panzanella salad that Kittrell is “kind of in love with,” composed of brioche croutons, blanched green beans, and pickled onions and mustard seeds.
Farmer Carol Ann Sayle reports that her tomatoes are “on their way out,” though there may be a smaller crop later on in the summer. Either way, it’s high time to go enjoy this essential summer flavor. Boggy Creek also has a farmstand twice a week, if getting up at 8AM to stalk chefs is your kind of thing.