Jacksonville’s foods and drinks scene will get the highlight in a e-book on “Meals Revolution” – Information – The Florida Instances-Union
City will be featured in an upcoming book, Food Town, USA: Seven Unlikely Cities That Are Changing Our Eating Habits.
Jacksonville draws attention to its growing food and drink scene, as seen last year when Food and Wine stated that “we can’t believe how cool Jacksonville is right now.”
The city is now featured prominently in an upcoming book titled “Food Town, USA: Seven Unlikely Cities That Will Change Our Eating Habits”.
Writer Mark Winne writes that he wants to explore the “food revolution that is taking place all over America” - the growth in “farmers markets,” real coffee shops “, brewpubs and artisanal food”.
He wanted to illustrate this growth by showing how it takes root in cities that are usually not considered revolutionary or particularly progressive.
Winne describes himself as a “food activist”. He has nearly five decades of experience with food policy councils and food nonprofits and is now the senior advisor to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
He discovered Jacksonville while visiting a friend in town and doing some food counseling. The people he met repeatedly assured him that the local food scene was “blowing up”!
So he went to investigate – and found some truth in it. So Jacksonville gets an entire chapter in his book, as does Bethlehem, Pa .; Alexandria, La .; Boise, Idaho; Sitka, Alaska; Youngstown, Ohio; and Portland, Maine.
In Jacksonville, Winne was very popular, mentioning restaurants like Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, Southern Roots Gas Station, The Bearded Pig, Vagabond Coffee, Orsay Restaurant, Black Sheep Restaurant, 1748 Bakehouse, Community Loaves, Holley’s Bar-BQ, and Celestia’s Coastal cuisine and soul food bistro.
He explores places and shops as diverse as the Riverside Arts Market, Down to Earth Farm, Congaree & Penn, Urban Beach Urban Farms, Pura Farms, Clara White Mission’s White Harvest Farms, Bee Friends Farm and Olive My Pickle as well as Slow Food First Coast and Native Sun markets, which recently announced the closure of their three stores.
He writes about Manifest Distilling, Intuition Ale Works, the Aardwolf Brewing Company, and the Hyperion Brewing Company.
And it features people like Susan King of Feeding Northeast Florida, Alderman Ju’Coby Pittman of the Clara White Mission, Chef Amadeus, Nathan Ballentine (aka Man in Overalls), Tim Armstrong of Eat Your Yard Jax, and Berry Good Farms. and Laureen Husband, formerly director of Healthy Jacksonville.
The Food Town, USA chapter on Jacksonville isn’t just a celebration of the city’s food scene, however.
Given Winne’s background as a food activist, he explores the city’s food deserts, large areas in poorer areas where healthy food is hard to find, and shows groups and people trying to solve this problem.
He also discusses what he sees as the divide between local white food entrepreneurs and African Americans who run restaurants in northwest Jacksonville. He suggests that a “partnership” between the two groups could benefit the city as a whole: “Let’s call it a belief in food and its inherent healing powers,” he writes.
In a phone interview from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winne said that a changing food scene comes mostly from people who are passionate about making a difference. “It doesn’t matter a very large number of people driving change,” he said. “They have a vision, they have drive, know-how, some skills that they have developed over the years.”
He found that there is usually a loose, mutual support network where entrepreneurs and activists can find help and ideas rather than a breakneck competitive environment. For example, consider local taprooms with their own beer, as well as other local breweries that could be considered rivals.
“There’s a certain amount of spontaneity and organic connection,” he said. “It’s almost a tacit commitment to create a better food scene in Jacksonville and the quality is getting better.”
This is what Kurt and Allison D’Aurizio found – among those in Winnes’ book – as they prepare to open the Springfield Bakehouse in 1748. They have been selling artisan baked goods in places like the Riverside Arts Market and are moving to a 34-seat restaurant on the former site of Carl’s Main Street Restaurant.
They have reached out to other restaurant owners for advice, even simple things like figuring out how to handle tips and where to go for insurance. “The community is pretty spectacular,” said Allison D’Aurizio.
The couple have been in the Jacksonville food scene for years, and Kurt D’Aurizio was a leader at Slow Food First Coast, a nonprofit that emphasizes the links between local farmers and local food. 1748 Bakehouse will continue to try to use as much locally sourced produce as possible, he said.
They said Jacksonville’s food scene started in the past five to eight years. “More and more people are interested in where their food comes from,” said Kurt D’Aurizio, “how it is prepared and who grows it.”
Winne sees some of the demand in a changing demographic as businesses pull in people on expendable incomes and look for the good food and drink they had elsewhere. But don’t overlook the influence of the locals – especially the younger ones who have stayed in town or withdrawn from elsewhere.
“The role of millennials is pretty big and doesn’t necessarily need to be understood,” he said. “People in their twenties and thirties find that this old hometown that they wanted to escape from because it was boring and boring and had no chance suddenly looks pretty good. They come back and say, well, there is a chance here for someone with some energy and ideas. “
Winne said a thriving food scene is gaining momentum and can become critical to the success of cities like Jacksonville.
“It’s good for business, it’s good for people’s work, it’s good for people’s health,” he said. “It takes more than soccer teams to get the world to see you. A good, diverse, emerging scene – just celebrate your meal.”
Matt Soergel: (904) 359-4082