It’s past time to share this culinary treasure, unassumingly nestled between a gun store and mattress outlet. As you enter Farm To Fork, you’ll quickly forget you’re in the confines of a strip mall.
Owner and Chef Shelley Pogue
A colorful tattoo of flames travels up the left arm of Farm to Fork’s owner and chef, Shelley Pogue. The fire stretches toward her left elbow, where colors dissipate and rays of the sun take shape. Short auburn hair frames intense blue eyes. Her posture exudes confidence and strength, softened only by a southern accent, a reflection of her past.
Those blue eyes turn into pools of water as Pogue recollects her biggest culinary influence, the grandmother she affectionately called Mawmaw. In 2004, Mawmaw passed away and bequeathed her home to her granddaughter. The following year, in pursuit of her dream, Pogue made the difficult decision to sell her grandmother’s house. This provided her the opportunity to attend the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. It was the memory of beloved Mawmaw that gave Pogue the drive and ambition to graduate cum laude in 2007.
Pogue has worn numerous hats in the kitchen. For numerous years, she created recipes that were mass-produced for markets in both the United States and Canada. In 2014, she left a successful career in recipe development to open a catering business in Leander. The focus was on sourcing ingredients from local farms, including her own.
Like the colorfully-drawn streams of fire that rise up Pogue’s arm, it didn’t take long for word to spread about her mouth-watering creations. Soon locals wanted the option to dine on one of her creations in a restaurant setting, hence the opening last spring of Farm To Fork Catering & Eatery.
Farm To Fork’s Country Casual Dining
When Pogue designed the brick and mortar space, she wanted it to feel comfortable, accessible and Southern. Farm To Fork is a curtsy to country chic. Mason jars aren’t just a means for carrying luscious Banana Cream Pie; they’re also light fixtures. Sky blue walls contrast black chalk-painted flooring, where chubby-winged pigs take flight underfoot.
At lunch, tables are kept minimally decorated, with a tin basin filled with paper towels and plastic utensils. Meals are brought out in little baskets lined with red and white checkered paper. For dinner, the scene is turned up a notch by adding glassware and white dinnerware. Plastic utensils are also replaced by silverware wrapped in linen. The space mimics the food: pure comfort.
Rotating Menu of Comfort Food
The entree menu changes daily. Pogue knows it’s time-consuming for her staff, but the dish rotation is essential to Farm To Fork’s philosophy. Why wouldn’t the menu change daily, if meals center on what’s fresh from local farmers?
There is a collection of staples like the Triple Threat Grilled Cheese, Corn Casserole and Beef Tenderloin Sandwich. But every day, Chef Pogue and her talented team (mostly military veterans) create additional entrees that are posted a few hours before serving begins.
The afternoon I visited Farm To Fork in Leander, my anticipation rose as I waited for the lunch menu to pop up on their website and Facebook page. The Creamy Organic Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pepita Seeds was worth the wait. The thick liquid was savory and sweet, with a wonderful undertone of coconut milk that made the soup taste extravagant. It had just enough kick from fall spices to contrast the sweet flavors. Truly, comfort in a bowl. There were plastic spoons on the table, but I was almost tempted to drink straight from the bowl.
Another item that will bring tastebuds joy is the #MooPig Sandwich. Everything good that ever came from a grandma’s kitchen is piled inside fresh cheddar jalapeno bread.
The menu at Farm To Fork may change daily, but the essence remains the same. Shelley Pogue isn’t only honoring her historical roots, but she’s planting and cultivating them, too. The steady stream of repeat customers is an indicator. Like the tattoo on her arm, Chef Pogue is on fire!
And like Pogue’s memory of her Mawmaw, your visit will linger long after you’ve left the building.
11880 Old Farm to Market Road 2243, #201, Leander, TX – Website
@judymerhar wants to know:
Have you visited Farm To Fork in Leander? If so, what do you remember most about your experience?