Farm-to-Fête: Eden East
Chef Sonya Coté has turned her garden into gourmet.
By Sam Jackson, Photos by Robert Lerma
Situated out of the way in East Austin, Chef Sonya Coté has carved out a piece of farm-to-table utopia at Eden East. Each weekend Chef Coté can be found cooking up her farm-to-table cuisine with food sourced locally from Springdale Farm. At this reservation-only establishment, expect to dine under the stars in a canopy of aged pecan trees – on cold or rainy days they offer seating in a cozy 1920s farmhouse. Don’t be surprised to see local, celebrity chefs there to entertain. Coté has been known to invite her friends over, like Mat Clouser from Swift’s Attic, or you just might spot members of the Pixies dancing on the tables.
Next up for Coté, who also runs the more traditional Hillside Farmacy, is a Mediterranean-themed project. She got her inspiration from a recent trip to a music festival in Florida and brought back intriguing ingredients she is currently experimenting with, such as pecan oil and fresh anchovies. She said the atmosphere at the festival was like “being in the Twilight Zone with chain smoking mermaids.” We can’t wait to see what farm-to-table freshness Coté has cooking up her sleeves with an equally exquisite venue to match.
You just might be seated next to Representative Eddie Rodriguez at a communal table at Eden East.
For the past three of his 12 years serving in the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Rodriguez has been helping to lead a one-of-a-kind legislative body, the Farm-to-Table Caucus. He is on board with the farm-to-table movement and is working hard to make good food more accessible and put local farmers more at ease.
The founder and a co-chair, along with Texas Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and 18 other members of the Texas legislature, have turned their focus “to educate members of the Texas Legislature on issues relating to the growing, harvesting, and consumption of Texas foods, distilleries, craft beers, and regional wines.” The other half of their work is focusing on issues involving local farms, nutrition and hunger, among others, and working to pass related legislation. Currently, Rep. Rodriguez and the Caucus are targeting lower income families’ access to organic food.
“I’m working on legislation to allow for the Lone Star [food stamp] card to be readily available at farmer’s markets,” he told us of his current goals. Currently, his top priority is rewriting a code in Texas agricultural law that only allows farms of 10 acres or more in Travis County to qualify for agricultural evaluation and more importantly, a lower tax rate. This would ease the pressure on small farms like Springdale Farm, which operate on extremely small plots of land or that only grow certain crops.
“The counties have some flexibility on how large a tract can be before they qualify for evaluation,” Rodriguez explains. “So we want to eliminate that minimum. There’s not a consistency around the state.”
For more information visit, http://www.edeneastaustin.com