Last night, the Dallas chapter of the Slow Food group met at Craft and Growler, the hip new beer dispensary that opened in Fair Park six months ago. This was the first meeting for the group with Liz Goulding, a young, small and very determined food nerd at the helm.
After a few beers (otherwise what's the point of getting together?), Goulding jumped up on the table to get the room's attention. She opened up discussions on the importance of the Slow Food movement and what she hopes to accomplish in the next year (lots of food, lots of farmer interaction, lots of fun) before turning the floor over to Kevin Carr, founder of Community Beer Co.
Beer might not be the optimal food item to use to frame a discussion of locavorism. Hops and grains don't exactly do well in Texas' soil, making it impossible to source ingredients locally. Carr countered that his brewery grows its own yeast for brewing and all the water they use (of course) comes from local sources. Where Community Beer resonates most with the Slow Food movement is their commitment to quality, hand craftsmanship, and also the surrounding community.
Kevin Afghani, the owner of Craft and Growler, also spoke to the nearly 30 attendees who showed up to his beer store. Afghani's selection is overwhelmingly focused on local craft beers, making his store a hub of local breweries. He also spoke to the importance of local economics -- that spending money on local beer assures those dollars stay here in Dallas instead of riding a supply chain across the globe and into some cooperate conglomerates coffers.
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The Slow Food movement doesn't have it easy in Dallas. Farm-to-table cooking has been embraced in a meaningful way by only a handful of restaurants, and the climate here limits access to many ingredients. Membership at the organization has been moving at a snail's pace over the past few years and events have dwindled.
Goulding is a firecracker, though, and seems to have brought new life into the group. Their next event will be held at the Paul Quinn Farm in South Dallas. Attendees will get a chance to meet with the gardeners one on one in a way they wouldn't be able to at larger events that cater to hundreds of guests. They'll get to pick up a shovel, turn some dirt, and harvest produce to take home with them (I hear the spinach is looking pretty good right now.)
If you're interested in attending, check out their website and head to Paul Quinn College at 9 a.m. May.
Paul Quinn College, 3837 Simpson Stuart Road, 9 a.m.-noon.