We’re bringing together the talents and supplies of Austin’s iconic food names to create a series of seasonal, local recipes for all to enjoy. This week, we’ll be showing off the results of gifting seasonal vegetables from Johnson’s Backyard Garden to Taylor Byrd, former chef at some of Austin’s preeminent restaurants, and now the founder of Byrd Provisions.
For the first round of recipes,Chef Byrd utilized seasonal vegetables currently available in a CSA box from JBG. Check out the absolutely delicious, elegant dishes using kale, sweet potatoes, fennel, and carrots (along with many other veggies) that are included in JBG’s autumn CSA box. For a vibrant presentation of Rosso & Flynn Texas quail (sourced from Diamond H Ranch in Bandera), Chef Byrd prepared a fennel and sweet potato risotto, and topped the plate with crispy fried kale. With a beef tenderloin from our holiday spread and redneck cheddar cheese from our friends at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Byrd shows off a creamy collard green gratin. Finally, he displayed sous vide magic, cooking Rosso & Flynn English-cut short ribs to ultimate tenderness before grilling up tortillas for short rib tacos, served with slaw and toppings from the selection of seasonal vegetables.
Johnson’s Backyard Garden
Johnson’s Backyard Garden, or “JBG” as seen on their signature hats all over town, began in 2004 as a true backyard garden; founder Brenton Johnson converted his yard on the East Side to a quickly burgeoning vegetable garden. With a little know-how from a past selling sandwiches to Grateful Dead fans, Johnson’s business began at the Downtown Farmers’ Market, and graduated to a full CSA program in 2006. Eventually, demand required the purchase of 20 new acres for JBG’s growing operation. Finally, in 2010, JBG purchased 186 acres in Garfield, Texas, the current home to 200 different crops grown according to certified organic standards.
Read the full JBG story on their website.
What is CSA?
The Community Supported Agriculture model allows customers to advance purchase shares of an upcoming harvest, thereby ensuring a market for farmers and local produce for consumers. Along with weekly or biweekly delivery of organic local produce (boxes come in four sizes), CSA membership with JBG includes invitations to events and classes, a weekly newsletter, special member pricing, and access to a database of recipes and tips.
Read about Johnson’s CSA program on their website.
Chef Taylor Byrd’s career is littered with jobs at fine restaurants in New York City and Austin. Since his most recent stint at Austin’s The Brewer’s Table, Byrd has struck out on his own with Byrd Provisions, a private in-home dining service providing every aspect of the meal, from tables and dinnerware to gourmet, customized meals.
In Byrd’s own words:
“Byrd Provisions is a boutique chef operation with years of high end restaurant experience in both Austin and New York City. The mindset of this service is to curate intimate dining opportunities with an emphasis on personalized menus tailored to each event using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. My aim is to allow others to enjoy restaurant quality offerings and its technical approach in a relaxed environment. Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
Chef Byrd’s kitchen experience includes:
New York City
- Gramercy Tavern
- Root & Bone
- The Brewer's Table
- Old Thousand
Pairing our locally sourced meats with local, seasonal vegetables from Johnson’s Backyard Garden provides convenient access to meals comprised of the highest quality foods available, and remind us that supporting the community is as easy as preparing a delicious meal. We partner with companies like JBG because, like our own business, theirs is centered around certified organic, ecologically conscious methods. We share the belief that extending the life of the land doesn’t just benefit consumers in the future — we’re already enjoying the delicious benefits today.