Forager Fest at Zilker Brewing May 27 2017

Zilker Brewing Co. has partnered with local chefs and forager Rachael Young of Wild Eats Austin to bring you a uniquely Austin event featuring local chefs and special beers made with foraged ingredients.

Forager Fest takes place at Zilker Brewing Company this Saturday from noon to 4pm and will showcase locally grown ingredients from Yard to Market Co-op, handmade small batch products from Benjamin Soap Co. and small farm-to-table bites from our own Kyle Burns of Hot Mess.

Last week Pink Boots Society of Austin partnered with Rachael Hackathorn of Zilker Brewing Company and Rachael Young of Wild Eats Austin to learn the basics of foraging and forage for beer ingredients. I sat down with both Rachaels to learn more about foraging and this Saturday’s event.

What does it mean to forage and how did you get started?

Rachael Young: Foraging is often a word that defines the practice focused on gathering or taking or harvesting. For me, foraging is deeper and is a gratitude practice. It has less to do with what I take and more to do with what I find. It’s listening. It’s building relationships. It’s a vibrational conversation with the wilderness. It’s asking for the plants’ help in making medicine and food, thinking of my loved ones, in a state of connection to the Divine, overwhelmed with gratitude for what reveals itself. I am a woodswoman. both a gentle huntress and an ally to the wilderness. I’m constantly redefining what foraging means to me, but that’s where I’m at right now.

I started when I was about seven years old in Vermont. My first mentor was an Abenaki man, He Who Sings the Wolfsong, AKA Wolfsong. My father was founding director of a non-profit summer camp for the children of the state’s migrant workers and low income families. Wolfsong was a father of campers, a beloved volunteer staff member and a storyteller. He was the first to teach me to track and forage. I think jewelweed was my first wild edible love: it makes these little pods that are fun to pop and the seeds taste like raw oats.

Tell me more about Wild Eats Austin?

Rachael Young: In its initial stage, wild eats Austin was created to introduce the local terroir to Austin’s chefs. There was so much interest that I started to teach ethical wildharvesting to local restaurant groups and their teams. Now, it’s in the sweet spot of project-based partnerships, like with Zilker, focusing on incorporating wild ingredients in different mediums, along with leading plant walks for corporations and the general community.

Photo Credit: Caroline Wallace, Pink Boots Society Austin. 

What inspired you to partner with Zilker Brewing Company to make beer?

Rachael Young: I’m a plant alchemist at heart and I love product development. I have a degree in biology but a lifetime of growing, and foraging, and medicine making. I love innovating and have a unique skill set to lend to working relationships around food and drink. It was exciting to me to work with Zilker Brewing Company who makes some of the best beer in beautiful Austin, Texas, and to share some of the flavors that we’re naturally blessed with here.

Rachael Hackathorn: Marco was inspired by the bee and honey. In their home brew days they brewed a Honey Saison that was really his initial inspiration for the beer and the foraged ingredients. Bees are the ultimate forager. I really just took the idea and turned it into an event that would showcases small format foraged beers.

Tell me more about the event happening this Saturday.

Rachael Hackathorn: Forager Fest is an event that showcases local seasonal ingredients, both foraged and cultivated. We have partnered with HausBar Farms and wild eats Austin to source ingredients to for our small batch series that includes 6 variants of our our Belgian saison, Jazz Synthesis. For the event we have set up a small farmers market featuring Yard to Market Coop, Wimberley Tea Co. and . few other local artisans as well as live music and farm fresh bites from Hot Mess.

I can say first hand that the beers are delicious! Can you talk a little more about the process of making these delightful small batch beers?

Rachael Hackathorn: We brewed Jazz Synthesis then broke it down into smaller batches, 5-10 gallons, and conditioned the beer with a variety of seasonal ingredients. We then bottled conditioned the beer. The challenge when planning the profile of each beer was the fact that we didn’t know what would be available when we began incorporating ingredients so the profiles really came to fruition when we started foraging with Rachael.

What can people expect when they come out this Saturday?

Rachael Hackathorn: Guests can expect to purchase half pours, full pints and bottles of the seven variants to be consumed on site (dumb laws) of our Belgian saison, Jazz Synthesis, including the original base beer. There will be live music from 2-4 from the Jon Klekman Jazz Quartet and Dry Sky & Kyote as well a small farmer market full of produce and hand crafted goods. Kyle Burns, of Hot Mess will be serving up farm fresh bites with ingredients sources from both HausBar Farms and Boggy Creek Farms. Farmers markets always foster my creativity and I really love the idea of urban farmers markets that are primarily supported by surrounding farms and that is what I really wanted to bring to life.

Forager Fest at Zilker Brewing May 27 2017

More details on event partners:

Wild Eats Austin – Pathfinders
Wild Eats Austin is an educational project created by Rachael Young to reintroduce sustainable use of the local terroir as food and flavoring agents to Austin’s locals and food creatives. With a lifetime of interacting with plants behind her including 37 years of foraging and gardening, a degree in ethnobotany, and a long history of herbalism she brings a unique practice to the wild food and medicine space. For contact and more information including events go to IG @wildeatsaustin

Yard to Market Co-op
Yard to Market CO-OP, founded in 2013, is a cooperative business, owned by and serving the needs of independent, home-scale food producers. By combining resources, we are able to access the local food market and reduce marketing, sales and distribution costs for all owners, this improving the economic benefit of home-based food production.

Hot Mess
Meet Kyle Burns the stud chef behind @hotmessatx. He’s a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) grad with a dream that’s come to life. You can find him parked in front of the brewery using as many local ingredients as possible on his hot mess food truck menu.

Wimberly Tea Company
“Everyone’s Favorite Native Texan.” Founded by a group of friends with a passion for food and drink, The Yaupon Tea Company has has been harvesting, drying and roasting locally grown Yaupon leaves to create the wild grassy and fruity tea. The Yaupon Holly is native to Texas and the is only naturally-caffeinated plant in North America.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Forager Fest at Zilker Brewing May 27 2017

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