Grow Up!: 5 Local Farms Feeding Austin
Featuring five local farms rooted in feeding the community.
The greenhouse at Boggy Creek Farm
Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons
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HausBar Farms may be the new kid on the block among East Austin’s urban farms, but the operation runs like it’s been around for centuries. When Dorsey Barger and her partner Susan Hausmann started developing the two-acre property in 2009, they made the decision to never use any gas-powered equipment. Every garden bed—all 51 of them—was dug with pitchforks and shovels. Lawn mowers have mostly been replaced by the two mini-donkeys that graze the pasture, but when they are needed, HausBar employs a solar-powered lawn company.
In the back of the lot sits a large tank, which stores 35,000 gallons of rainwater and ensures the crops only feed off the purest resources. Thanks to the manure and by-products from the animals that call this place home, HausBar has a rich compost that keeps the life in the soil incredibly healthy. Although they like to stick to old school farming and gardening, the farm will deviate toward modern implementations with good reason—like installing a solar-powered roof that generates 75 percent of HausBar’s electricity.
HausBar Farms also differentiates itself by selling exclusively to restaurants. Working with chefs is more than familiar to Barger, who owned and operated Austin’s beloved Eastside Café for 24 years until she sold the restaurant to work on the farm full-time. When chefs come to purchase produce, Barger takes them on a tasting tour—much like at a winery. And because HausBar prefers to make the most of what nature provides, even rogue weeds are on the menu (and are so delicious that chefs buy them).
There may not be a market stand for locals to shop at, but there is a ‘GuestHaus’ bed and breakfast on the property, where all guests are free to harvest their own produce and frolic among the many chickens, ducks, geese, bunnies, and donkeys who roam the farm. Consider it an immersive farm experience with a touch of hospitality.
Affiliated Cause: East Austin Urban Farm Tour
The annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour is a “rain or shine” sip, eat, and stroll fundraising event that takes place on four working urban farms—Boggy Creek Farm, HausBar Farms, Rain Lily Farm & Springdale Farm—all located within walking / biking distance of one another in the heart of East Austin. Enjoy
delicious bites from many of Austin’s top chefs using the freshest farm ingredients, and handcrafted sips from local brewers, wine merchants, and mixologists on each farm. Guided farm tours allow guests to get to know the farmers behind the food and learn how it’s grown. Proceeds benefit Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance.