The Taste the Place Tent - Where food meets our palate

Many years ago when the Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market Downtown was still called the Austin Farmers’ Market, we created a tent to educate our wonderful customers about food from the market. Many changes have happened at the Markets since then, but one of the constants has been Taste the Place. SFC is proud of the work our volunteers do each week to offer samples of the amazing foods provided by our market vendors.

Each year as the fall season kicks off and the farms begin to recover from the heat of Texas summer, we get the first taste of fall at all the Taste the Place booths at SFC Markets. Usually this includes a simple sampling of chopped vegetables that allow you to compare whose tomato you like best or try a new vegetable for the first time. But with the help and support of dedicated volunteers the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown team has been able to take this to the next level featuring a sampling of prepared foods they are making on site for you to try, as well.

Paula Arciniega is SFC’s Volunteer Coordinator and she has recruited the team you see at market now. There are three volunteers who have helped us make sampling a flavorful experience, alone well worth a trip to the Market. Annie Baucom, Jake Greenfield and Ken Kruse recently prepared an amazing recipe for an SFC Taste Off market cooking contest, competing against one of our market vendor. And, they won! These volunteers have embodies the SFC mission and bring an amazing energy to volunteerism at SFC. This is our way of saying thank you to Ken, Jake and Annie. So next time you are at any of the SFC Farmers’ Markets, stop by Taste the Place to sample the flavors of the season prepared by our exceptionally talented volunteers.

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September 2015 Taste Off Contest, Winning Recipe: Caponata Mexicana

Eggplant and Squash in Tomato Sauce with a Spicy Mexican Kick Serves 4



  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Spanish Onion, ½ Inch Dice
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Sliced Thin
  • 1 Medium Eggplant, ½ Inch Dice
  • 1 Medium Summer Squash, ½ Inch Dice
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 oz Chocolate of Choice, Coarsely Chopped
  • Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey, More or Less to Taste
  • Tomato Sauce (Prepared or Using Following Recipe)
  • Salt and Pepper, to Taste
  • Optional: 1 Chipotle in Adobo, Finely Chopped
  • Tortilla Chips for Serving

Tomato Sauce

(Can substitute approximately 2 cups prepared sauce)

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 Serrano Peppers, Chopped
  • 1 Small Poblano Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
  • Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Lime Sour Cream

  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • Zest of 2 Limes, Finely Chopped
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Cilantro, to Taste


Tomato Sauce (If not using prepared sauce)

Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Add onions, garlic, serrano and poblano peppers with a pinch of salt.

Sweat until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Continue to simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated (cooking time will depend on the vegetables you use, but estimate about 20 minutes).

Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the main dish.


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.

Add onions and garlic, and sweat until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add eggplant, squash, cinnamon stick, chocolate, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Stir to combine.

Add tomato sauce and stir to coat vegetables.

Cook 10-12 minutes on medium heat until eggplant is soft. If the pan goes dry, add water a quarter of a cup at a time to prevent burning.

If you want a spicier option, stir in the chopped chipotle in adobo to taste.

Serve on tortilla chips or as a dip with sour cream on the side.

Lime Sour Cream

Whisk lime juice with sour cream. Add it a little at a time if more or less lime flavor is desired.

Fold in lime zest, salt and cilantro and serve on the size or drizzled on top of the caponata.