AUSTIN (KXAN) — From drought to heavy rain, central Texas is no stranger to the rapid and extreme changes in our weather. But as climate change and the frequency of severe weather increase, farms are doing their best to cope, as conditions become increasingly unfavorable for many crops.

Meteorologist Sean Kelly talks to chef and owner Fioret Desco L’Oca d’Oro. L’Oca d’Oro is an Italian farm-to-table restaurant that relies heavily on produce from local farms in central Texas.

“The way we build the menu is strictly based on what we can get from small local farms,” Tedesco said.

Over the past few years, he has been noticing some major changes in the local farms that supply him with produce.

“With climate change, that’s affecting an ingredient that’s not where it’s supposed to be or where they think it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t taste or look the way it should,” Tedesco said.

Tomatoes are not the most reliable for him. The pumpkin season is starting to evolve, and he even has to deal with a poor eggplant harvest.

“The eggplant ends up being small and starting to rot rather than fully ripening.” He adds that he still continues to buy eggplants to find a way to create unique dishes.

Fortunately, his restaurant structure can adapt to sudden or extreme weather changes that can affect crops. This is done by allowing flexible menus; not set in stone.

This allows him to go beyond a single ingredient if the season gets tough and crops aren’t producing.

“We’re introducing more wild herbs and wild grains,” Tedesco added.

Normally, he would see these as background material, but now he pushes them more to the front of the dish. He is involved in his dishes every step of the way and prides himself on visiting the farm to see for himself what he can use to cook.

“I often look at those products first. To see what excites me…I have an open mind,” Tedesco said.

Sourcing locally is very important to him and he will continue to do everything he can to support these farms.

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