Braving the heat, I stayed on the South side of the hike and bike trail Sunday for my midday stroll. Courting the shade has its advantages, but it was still a little daft to wander out at noon. In need of refreshment, I stopped at the Sunday Farmer’s Market at my neighborhood Community Renaissance Market and visited with Don Morrow, the chef of Tomorrow’s Meals Today and food distributor for the farmers’ produce. They have a nice collaboration going with Native Nom Nom Cafe, profiled earlier, and great deals on food boxes, local olive oil and bakery products and mixes. Natural meats and prepared meals are now also being offered.
Inside, I lucked into Roz’s Red Hot Tamales. Roz is a third generation tamale maker and has preservative, gluten and lard free tamales, both savory and sweet. I tried the spinach and feta, the black bean and corn and the chicken tomatillo tamales. Bueno! She had already sold out of the pumpkin and sweet potato so I’ll get there a little earlier next time. Speaking of sweet, check out the key lime mini cheesecakes and the cupcakes from the Sugar Tooth Bakery and Sugar Pops. You will want to stop by sometime and sample the cafe and food table delights, both natural and home grown. This community space is rocking South Austin!
Native Nom Nom is a chef-driven progressive natural food cafe offering awesome hand-crafted dishes. Breakfast: Tacos, sandwiches – Lunch/Dinner: Fried rice, spinach risotto, salads, specialty pizza pies. All made with local/native farm fresh ingredients!
The menu features pizza, breakfast tacos, sandwiches, soup and salads. So far I’ve sampled the pizza, which was fair, the breakfast tacos (featuring pastured raised Vital Farms eggs) which were really good and several excellent salads. Owner, Chris Rios is committed to serving healthy food, plenty of vegetarian options and a place for the community to gather, providing movies, music, poetry and art events in support of local artists and fans. The business model at the Community Renaissance Market is incubating a number of South Austin originals for locals of all ages. Opportunities for discounts with the contribution of foodstuffs to the Capital Area Food Bank are coming. A drop off station for recycled shoes and clothing is already in place by the front door.
I fondly refer to this younger generation of naturally minded foodies as granola hipsters and I couldn’t be happier they are finding a good home in South Austin. The Native Salad Trio features the Thai Green Papya Salad, the Quinoa and Toasted Barley Salad and the the House Garden Salad, garnished with a very nice, light vinaigrette. I look forward to sampling the Kale salad and am glad to have unique taco options so close to home.
The Community Renaissance Market at 6800 West Gate Boulevard and William Cannon is filled with pleasant surprises. Located in an abandoned Albertson’s, co-visionaries, Ruth Glendinning and Susan Buhrman describe their concept:
Community Renaissance Market houses a variety of locally-owned microbusinesses with products ranging from antiques, organic dog treats and fair trade jewelry, to locally-grown food and art. Open the the public Wed – Sun, this microbusiness incubator & community hub is a multi-cultural, accessible, fun experience for all members of the community. Community Renaissance Market is a “slow tech” development focused on Sustainable Local Organic Work organizations and businesses, reflecting the vision and values of the local community.
Some of the shops are shown in the photo gallery below.
Sporting a new Sunday Farmer’s Market and two cafes in addition to the sweet shops, you will never go hungry when shopping or enjoying community events like the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Metaphysical Fair, Arts and Music Weekend, Natural Family Fun and the Makers and Bakers Bazaar. More sauntering to come as I watch the evolution of this very interesting community business model.