Introducing Edible Houston's 2016 Local Heroes!

March 04, 2016
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Last November we asked our community: Who is your Local Hero? We asked you, our readers, to nominate your favorite local hero in each of 13 categories, including local farmer, vendor, market, chef, restaurant and artisan. An overwhelming response came back and yielded more than 40 finalists.

Drum roll … After more than 3,000 votes came in—we have our winners! We couldn’t have done it without you, our voters! We are thrilled to see such a strong local food community and would like to shout out a big thank you to all our local heroes who make our local food community grow strong and healthy—including all those hardworking local growers, makers and purveyors who didn’t make it to the Local Hero Awards this time around. And thanks to all of you for participating.

Congratulations to our 2016 Local Hero Award Winners. Here they are!

Beverage Artisan
Winner: Kickin’ Kombucha

Kickin’ Kombucha is a group of friends who are dedicated to providing our community with an exceptional kombucha. Small-batch brewed and bottled by hand in Houston since 2010 with a unique blend of 13 organic teas and tisanes.

Photo 1: Karbach Brewery
Photo 2: Chef Monica Pope
Photo 3: Yonder Way Farm
Photo 4: Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market

Winner: Karbach

Karbach Brewing Company opened its doors in 2011 and has since become one of the fastest-growing breweries in the nation. Brewmaster Eric Warner and crew are dedicated to producing high-quality ales and lagers suited for the Texas climate. The brewery is open seven days a week for tours, brews and some great food!

Winner: Monica Pope

“I don’t think we’re ever done building our community, and I’m sure I won’t ever fully realize what I meant in 1992 when I said I wanted to change the way Houston eats,” said Monica Pope in our September issue when talking about our local food community. Pope has been a true local hero on the local food scene for decades. At Sparrow Bar + Cookshop restaurant she also offers cooking classes as an interactive way to learn about local produce.

Winner: Yonder Way Farm

If you have had their meat you know that the farmers at Yonder Way Farm care for their animals and land, proving that they care about what we eat. Yonder Way Farm raises grass-fed beef, pastured pork and pastured chickens and eggs in the hills of Fayetteville, Texas. Working to be good stewards of the land and striving to re-establish the art of grass farming, Yonder Way Farm raises its animals free of confinement in a natural environment.

Farmers Market
Winner: Urban Harvest Eastside market

Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Eastside Street has been operating every Saturday, rain or shine, in the same location for nearly 12 years. Featuring over 60 year-round vendors, the market has become not only a premier shopping destination but also a place to meet old and new friends. So come and enjoy a good breakfast, a hot cuppa, a nice chat, and fill up those grocery bags with market goods, from artisan pasta to heritage poultry!

Photo 1: Lisa Seger - Blue Heron Farms
Photo 2: Bread-maker Rosemarie Abbouchi - Artisana Bread
Photo 3: Justin Turner - Bernie's Burger Bus
Photo 4: Pam Walker - Food Writer

Farmers Market Vendor
Winner: Blue Heron Farm

Every Tuesday and Saturday, Lisa Seger loads up her car with farm-made chevre (plain and seasoned), yogurt and her famed bourbon cajeta and sells out often before the market is over. Lisa and husband Christian Seger run a small-scale humane goat dairy farm that emphasizes respectful treatment of the land, animals and people that make good food possible.

Food Artisan
Winner: Artisana Bread

Rosemarie Abbouchi fulfilled a dream to become an artisan baker when she opened her bakery in Oak Forrest to sell rustic Europeanstyle breads. You can also find her at the Saturday farmers market (Urban Harvest Eastside). Among her breads are pain a l’ancienne (a French baguette that literally translates as “old-fashioned bread), pane integrale con miele (whole-grain bread with honey), pains au lait (milk and butter breads) and brioche.

Food Truck
Winner: Bernie’s Burger Bus

Chef/Owner Justin Turner has served classic American fare to area patrons since 2010, when the iconic yellow school bus turned food truck first hit Houston streets. Now served at two locations in Bellaire and Katy, the school-themed menu embodies Turner’s philosophy of cooking everything in-house.

Food Writer
Winner: Pam Walker

Pam Walker has a genuine and pure local-food voice. A former organic farmer herself, she supports good farming practices by word and in every way. Pam Walker writes for several Edible magazines, including Edible Austin and Edible Houston. Walker is the author of Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State.

Photo 1: Central Market
Photo 2: Sandra Wicoff, Exec. Dir. - Urban Harvest
Photo 3: Chef Richard Knight - Hunky Dory
Photo 4: Home Sweet Home - Specialty Market

Winner: Central Market

With their racks of wine, great assortment of cheeses and cured meats, fresh meats and seafood counters, a large vegetable and fruits section, just-baked breads and fresh coffee, Central Market offers just about anything for the gourmet food lover.

Winner: Urban Harvest

Market goers are familiar with Urban Harvest as a lively rain-or-shine Saturday farmers market on Eastside and Richmond. More than a farmers market, nonprofit Urban Harvest encourages community, good nutrition and sustainability through the teaching and support of organic gardening. Under the direction of an all-volunteer board, Urban Harvest has grown from humble beginnings to employ a full-time staff and literally thousands of volunteers.

Winner: Hunky Dory Tavern

Houston’s renowned “nose-to-tail” chef Richard Knight brings seasonal British- American cuisine at Hunky Dory Tavern. House-made meats—including sausages, pâtés and terrines—and condiments like piccalilli and gentleman’s relish showcase his commitment to what Chef Knight calls “simple things done well.” The menu ranges from steaks and chops from the hearth—a focal-point wood-fired hearth grill—to pub fare at the bar.

Specialty Market
Winner: Home Sweet Farm Market

The Stufflebeam family created Home Sweet Farm in 2004 as Houston’s first community- supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Today, their Home Sweet Farm Market— housed in a historic building in the heart of Brenham—is growing as a local food hub where you can find products from local farmers and producers, ranging from fruits and vegetables to meats, poultry, eggs, honey, cheese, oils and condiments—all grown and produced locally.

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