At Hunt to Table, guests experience true foraging and resource education

Hannah Plantowsky

Taking the concept of farm to table a step further this Saturday, Austin foodies will hunt and harvest an entire meal from meats and vegetables they procured themselves. Through the Hunt to Table event, farmers, hunters and newcomers come together in celebration of our resources and what they have to offer.

The Texas Wildlife Association will host its annual Hunt to Table event to promote wildlife education and resource conservation. Nicole Greaney, TWA’s director of membership, said by taking guests hunting and touring the venue, Springdale Farm, they hope to achieve their goal of promoting environmental protection and preservation. 

“We did our first annual Hunt to Table dinner last year, and we offered a hunt for people who never had that opportunity,” Greaney said. “People automatically hear ‘hunting’ and have a preconceived notion that it’s a bad thing or just a shoot-to-kill type thing, so we pulled in Jesse Griffiths, a renowned chef in Austin, so he can take people hunting, have them harvest the animal and show them how to gut, quarter and prepare (the animal).”

Greaney said this type of meal addresses a growing interest in demystifying how food is procured and the production process that follows.

“The people that came (last year) were people interested in healthy eating, where their food comes from and what that really means,” Greaney said. “Majority of them had never hunted before, but were genuinely interested in how it all works.”

Glenn Foore, owner of Springdale Farm, said he appreciates TWA’s effort to educate and provide a truly organic meal.

“It goes along with the whole food movement, in that you don’t waste any food if you can,” Foore said. “We’re all struggling to get organic food in us these days, and there’s no better way to do that than eating wild game.”

As both a farmer and sportsman, Foore said he feels incredibly close to nature and finds the lessons Hunt to Table offers worthwhile and long lasting.

“They get to realize the simplicity of the gratitude of taking wild animals and sharing the bounty with your friends,” Foore said.

Kristin Parma, TWA’s Membership Coordinator, said guiding people through their first hunt and harvest is an unparalleled gratification.

“When you cook a piece of meat you went out into the field and harvested, you have a story to tell and that brings people together,” Parma said. “It’s that concept of knowing where your food comes from and getting excited about that, and going on your first hunt and serving that to someone else, that builds that whole sense of community.”

Foore said the community is full of respect and appreciation, despite the rugged reputation hunters may have.

“A misconception is that most hunters are tough son of a guns and all are gun hungry, but what I’ve found is that most all hunters are very conscious and protective of the environment,” Foore said. “We want to see it just the same way as when we got there.” 

At the end of the day, the combination of this event’s cuisine and education makes it an unforgettable experience for its attendees.

“They get to dine at one of Austin’s best urban farms at a glorious time of the year with one of the best chefs in the country,” Foore said. “It opens people’s eyes that if you enjoy the heck out of this dinner and you’re interested in hunting, then you should pay attention and get involved.”