Austin restaurants pay market fees for local farmers, ranchers amid chilly sales

The owners of Odd Duck and Barley Swine know that this time of year can be rough on local farmers and ranchers.

Farmers and ranchers at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown and Sunset Valley didn’t have to pay booth fees in January, thanks to a donation from Odd Duck and Barley Swine. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Unlike many areas of the country where farmers markets shut down over the winter, our local markets operate year-round, but that doesn’t mean they are busy year-round.

That’s why, for the second year, the restaurants have paid the booth fees for all the farmers and ranchers at the Sustainable Food Center farmers’ markets downtown and in Sunset Valley. The donation of more than $4,500 paid the booth fees for 63 farmers and 49 ranchers for the month of January.


“We’re so appreciative of Odd Duck/Barley Swine’s support of the SFC Farmers’ Markets and vendors,” Joy Casnovsky, deputy director of SFC, said via email.  During this tough time of the year, not having to pay booth fees can be the difference between a farmer or rancher making a profit at a market or not.

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Bryce Gilmore is head chef and owner of Barley Swine at 6555 Burnet Road in North Austin.

Chef/owner Bryce Gilmore and his team have long been dedicated shoppers at the Austin-area farmers markets since he first opened a food truck in 2009.

“It’s our way of saying thank you to all the farmers for their hard work, especially when the challenges of the winter can result in less produce available to bring to the markets,” Gilmore said via email. “I figured it’d be nice for them to not worry about the booth fee when they have less to sell along with fewer customers shopping at the market.”


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