Cafeteria recieves runner-up spot on list of buyers who go local


South Congress Market offers locally grown produce

The St. Edward’s University cafeteria’s efforts at buying local paid off when it was placed on a list for excellence in buying local produce and livestock.

The cafeteria made the Growers Alliance for Central Texas’ 2011 Truly Local Restaurant Survey on Feb. 15.

The survey was based on a list of 130 restaurants in Austin that was given to around 80 central Texas farmers. The farmers rated the restaurants on how often they purchased locally grown food. The participating farmers also had the choice of adding a restaurant that was not on the original list to the running.

   The top winner was mobile restaurant Dai Due. Because the restaurant does not have a permanent location, it is in its own category separate from the other locations.

The top ten winners include Austin favorites like Eastside Showroom, La Condesa, and Texas French Bread. The “very honorable mention” category includes Wink, Thai Fresh, and Trio, among seven others. Finally, the runners-up include Kerbey Lane, Uchi, and St. Edward’s cafeteria.

Locally grown products affect more than just those who eat them. Those who handle the food also had positive things to say about locally grown products.

“It’s a good experience. I went from processed foods at other Austin restaurants to this, and I love it,” Cameron Cloud, a line cook at Hunt Hall Café, said. “It’s great to have fresh greens rather than produce shipped from across the country that you can’t be certain of its age.”

Some of the products St. Edward’s purchases from nearby farms vary from week to week. However, some staples include broccoli from the Farm Patch, oranges and grapefruit from Gonzales Produce and collard greens from Oak Hill Farms.

“It’s always great to see and hear how our hard work in buying local comes to life,” Michael Smith, the general manager at South Congress Market, said.

Some think St. Edward’s could do more to buy locally.

“I wish [St. Edward’s] would buy locally a lot more often because it would be more beneficial to everyone, especially students,” Randy Guerrero, the night shift cafeteria supervisor at St. Edward’s, said.

As for the future of purchasing locally, the St. Edward’s cafeteria doesn’t plan to stop.

“We are always looking for new farms to buy product from,” Smith said. “We get a lot of product from Sustainable Food Center with Andrew Smiley and from Farm to Table from John Lash. They represent a lot of farmers who can’t make it to town daily, so they go there, get their produce and bring it to us.”