Taste of Place
The Taste of Place project began as a collaboration between the Wildflower Center and UT Green Corps (Division of Housing and Food Service at The University of Texas at Austin) to explore edible plants native to Central Texas — the “ultra-local” food. Together, we have been selecting and experimenting with the best plants to grow in our native food garden. Other species have been targeted for wild foraging. With each harvest, we explore cultivation techniques and recipes. In 2018, Center horticulturists established a display garden of edible natives alongside our Wildflower Café, which occasionally incorporates the plants into its recipes. Through the process of growing and preparing food, Taste of Place promotes the importance of native plants and improves our connection with our region.
Food expresses a unique sense of place. Considering special characteristics resulting from geography, geology and climate interacting with plant genetics, native food plants reflect the local environment and remind us of where we are. They define a region and inspire an aesthetic and culture that influences diverse disciplines and generations.
As Lady Bird Johnson once said, native plants “give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours.” Native plants serve as a critical component of healthy landscapes providing multiple benefits such as creating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, and producing food and medicine for people. As native plants are adapted to local climate and soils, they require fewer inputs than a traditional garden, and many are self-seeding annuals or perennials that require one-time planting for repeated harvesting.
Taste of Place began in fall 2015 with funding from The University of Texas at Austin’s Green Fee program. This collaboration activated new relationships between the Wildflower Center and the university. We are currently seeking additional funding to sustain existing operations, further develop the project, and extend its reach to the university and local community.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
DIG IN WITH NATIVE PLANT RECIPES
Chile Pequin-Citrus Turkey
Prickly Pear Cranberry Sauce
Vegan Wild Onion and Tuber Stew
Wild Onion and Chile Pequin Cornbread
Prickly Pear Margaritas
Persimmon Dessert Bars
Chile Pequin Vinegar
Pickled Devil’s Claw