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SNAP Recipients in Houston Can Pick Up Free Fresh Produce at Local Farmers Markets

Plus, more Space City dining intel

a bunch of cherry tomatoes at a farmer’s market and sign for eggplants on sale
Produce for sale at the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market
Urban Harvest/Facebook

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

SNAP recipients can pick up free produce at Houston-area farmers markets

Double Up Houston, a program from Urban Harvest Farmers Market that matches Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds for the purchase of fresh fruits and veggies, has increased the daily amount SNAP users can spend at six Houston-area farmers markets. In response to rising food needs, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, Double Up will now match up to $30 a day on fruits and veggies. In addition, the program is offering a $5 coupon available through the end of August for new customers.

SNAP customers can use their Lonestar or EBT card to get the matching funds at the following markets: Blodgett Urban Gardens, Hope Farms, Finca Tres Robles, Northeast Community Farmers Market, Plant It Forward Farms, and Urban Harvest Farmers Market. In addition, customers can pre-order boxes by visiting the Double Up website.

#AskChefsAnything raises $15,000 for immigrant restaurant workers

#AskChefsAnything, the virtual fundraiser in which people could bid on 30-minute personal Zoom conversations with local chefs and tastemakers, raised roughly $15,000 in less than a week for the Southern Smoke Foundation, according to a press release. That money will be earmarked for Southern Smoke’s Emergency Relief Fund, with a specific focus on providing support for immigrant restaurant workers.

This was the tenth iteration of the #AskChefsAnything fundraiser since April, and each event has focused on a different city. The chefs and food personalities who received the highest bids in Houston were Chris Shepherd ($1,250), Aaron Bludorn ($1,000), andJustin Yu ($640).

Dawn Burrell leaves Kulture

James Beard-nominated chef Dawn Burrell has left Downtown comfort food spot Kulture to focus on her next project, a meal-prep service called PIVOT, Houstonia Magazine reports. The PIVOT initiative was originally founded by women-led culinary network I’ll Have What She’s Having in the wake of COVID-19. The idea behind PIVOT is to provide families facing new challenges of working from home, home schooling and more with prepared meals and meal kits featuring local and organic, sustainably grown ingredients, according to Burrell’s website. A portion of proceeds from PIVOT will feed seniors living in Houston’s Third Ward. Burrell also told Houstonia that she’s working on an idea for a new restaurant.

Saint Arnold Brewery is open again

After a series of confusing rulings from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, some Texas-area breweries are reopening, including Saint Arnold Brewery, according to the Houston Business Journal. TABC has clarified that the 51% calculation of gross receipts used to determine whether an establishment is classified as a bar or a restaurant should only include the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption, which excludes to-go, retail and wholesale sales of alcoholic beverages. Previously, TABC said that sales to distributors, which make up the bulk of brewery sales, had to be included in the total.

These new guidelines mean that breweries that serve food, include Saint Arnold, can reopen as restaurants at 50% capacity. In an Instagram post, the brewery thanked its fans for pressuring Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the TABC to make the change. The brewery had previously said the closure could lead to the laying off of up to 75 employees.

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