Happy New Year! We hope that the coming year brings you Health and Peace! Katie and I have been marveling at the changes that have happened surrounding food here in Central Texas since we started farming here 21 years ago. When we began, the few farmers markets that existed were flooded with Mexican produce, restaurants wouldn’t even talk to local growers, and not a CSA existed in Texas or even the South. Well, we’ve come a long way. For most of us here in the Austin area, the availability of quality food is so much greater now. Of course the marketing potential for the trend has not been lost on companies both large and small, so that everywhere we turn we see a new craze. “Farm fresh” seems to apply to about anything. Whole Foods will now deliver California produce to your door, and even “local” produce often changes hands 2-3 times before it gets to the consumer. We are starting to feel “old-fashioned” now. What we are, and have been doing for 2 decades, really seems so simple. Harvesting seasonal produce in the cool of the morning, and bringing it to people’s houses within 24 hours is what we do. We are happy with the sustainable scale at which we operate, and are given meaning by having a relationship with those who eat our food. Our goal is not to make piles of money or build a huge business. We are content with our place in the community and appreciate your making it possible to do what we do. We hope you’ll join us for the upcoming spring and summer season! With sincere thanks for your support, David Pitre, 2.5.15 HOW TO SIGN UP As always, we strive to begin deliveries the week after Spring Break & SxSW, […]
Happy New Year! We hope that 2014 is fulfilling and joyful for each of you. On January 2nd, I came out of the house to start the day and met Mercedes (our favorite long time crew member) face to face with smiles. We were both convinced somehow that 2014 was going to be a good year. Maybe it was intuition, or maybe it was reflective of how farmers are quick to forget the last year and always think the coming year will be better. Looking back on the last few years, it is obvious Austin has changed so much, as has the local food landscape. Many farms and restaurants have come and gone, and the plethora of new farmers, farmers’ markets, food distribution companies, etc. is overwhelming. We are proud and honored to have been here so long and to have taken part in shaping the state of Austin Food. We are proud to be Texas’ oldest CSA and to have a history of selling to local restaurants long before it was the “latest thing”. While Katie and I are in some way involved with just about every local food and farming related committee, board, and group that exist around Austin, we have never really been self-promoters and marketers. We have always felt our produce should speak for itself. Unlike many of the latest food marketing businesses, we have tried to keep our CSA operating in a simple manner to keep prices as low as we can. We have avoided selling “add ons” and others’ products because we feel we can only honestly vouch for what we produce ourselves. With all the choices out there, we are honored that so many of you continue to support us. If we could ask anything, it would be that you tell your friends, colleagues, […]
We are thrilled to celebrate 20 full years farming the rich blackland prairie soils of our beloved home farm this year. So much has happened to us, to Austin, to eastern Travis County in two decades, not the least of which is the community of people that has in one way or another sprung up via an affiliation with our farm. Buoyed by this network, we are ready to start the next twenty years strong, with many new projects in the wings, and a strong, committed team. Speaking of our Farm Crew of Destiny, we just received this lovely, hand-crafted Christmas present from 2012 crew member and rising manager, Earl, who put this enduring Tecolote Farm philosophy into a physical reminder for the wash area: Nice work, Earl! Additionally, this pastry chef-turned-farmer co-wrote our grant application to the Austin Food and Wine Alliance , and we were selected! AFWA received 30 applications, from which they had to choose only 3 grant award winners. We were proud to accept the grant, which will help us get our longstanding plans off the ground to 1. raise heritage breeds of pastured pork and 2. offer subsidized CSA shares for low income families in the area. Thank you to the grant selection committee and to the Board of Austin Food and Wine Alliance- we know we were in good company and you had hard choices to make. These are just a couple of the big things happening in 2013, our 20th anniversary year! We are accepting new CSA members for the 2013 season. Prices are not going up and we’ll be delivering the same Awesome, not Perfect vegetables that have kept Austin happy for 20 years! Check out our CSA page for more information. Merry Christmas~ Happy New Year!
Cecilia Nasti came out to the farm on the same evening that our crew was shooting skeet after work. She wasn’t ruffled, however, to hear gunshots at an organic farm. Her “real job” at Texas Parks and Wildlife has her covering hunting issues as well as natural places of beauty for their radio pieces about Texas Parks. She recently did a story on nothing other than… skeet shooting. It was a true pleasure to hang out on the back deck with this Austin original and our one-time neighbor. Her love of food, gardening, and cooking is evident: her Field and Feast show, which airs on KUT every weekend and took the place of Growing Concerns, is her own baby. She does it to spread the good word about farm-to-table connections. Her podcast about Tecolote is airing on KUT this Saturday, April 28, at 11:55 a.m., or Sunday, April 30, at 11:01 a.m. You can also hear the podcast anytime from her website.
CSA basketeer Christina found this cool recipe from a gluten-free slow cooking blog, and adds, “Everything is vegan, but you can substitute parmesan for the nutritional yeast for amore traditional style pesto. It looks so good in that turnip soup too. ” recipes and images courtesy of: http://healthyslowcooking.com/2012/04/23/potato-turnip-soup-with-spring-greens-pesto/ Spring Greens Pesto gluten-free, soy-free 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup orange juice 4 cups greens (collards, kale, arugula, spinach, etc.), stems removed and chopped ¼ to ½ cup nutritional yeast 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or extra orange juice 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or plain lemon juice) ½ teaspoon smoked salt (or plain salt to taste and a few drop liquid smoke) After you prep the greens add the water and orange juice to a sauté pan on medium heat. Add greens and cook until greens are tender, but still bright green (about 10 minutes). You can add extra water in cooking if it gets too dry. Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until grainy or finely minced but not pureed. Add extra olive oil, water, or orange juice if the mixture is too thick. Makes 1 to 2 cups pesto Is recommended as well in this soup: Slow Cooker Potato Turnip Soup 2 cups turnips, peeled and chopped 4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped 4 cups water 1 tablespoon vegan chick’n bouillon 1 sprigs rosemary, 2 to 3 inch or 1/2 teaspoon ground salt and pepper to taste 1 to 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, optional Add everything except salt, pepper, and almond milk to your slow cooker. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Remove rosemary sprig and discard. Puree using an immersion blender. If you want a thinner soup add the non-dairy milk and blend it in also. Add salt […]
From Monday basketeer Stephanie Johnson. Hi Katie, Here’s the recipe for the souffle. It was really good; cheesy and tangy! I love sorrel. I had never even seen sorrel before I got my first Tecolote bunch however many years back it’s been. It was actually quite easy to make, I hope lots of people will try it! Love, Stephanie Sorrel Soufflé (Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Cheese Soufflé in How to Cook Everything) 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick butter), plus 1 teaspoon ¼ cup flour 1½ cups milk, warmed until hot to the touch 6 eggs, separated Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Dash cayenne or 1/8 tsp. dry mustard 1 cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese, like aged asiago, Pecorino Romano I small shallot, minced 1 cup sorrel puree (1 bunch, stemmed and sautéed in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until it becomes a puree Preheat the oven to 400°. Use the teaspoon of butter to grease a 2-quart soufflé dish or other deep baking dish, such as a Corningware-type dish. If you want to make individual soufflés, use a little more butter and grease four 1 ½ – to 2-cup ramekins. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining butter. When it foams,add the flour and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring, until the mixture darkens a bit, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time to avoid lumps, and then cook until the mixture is thick, just a minute or two longer. Turn off heat and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, cayenne or mustard, cheese, shallots and sorrel puree. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt, just until they hold soft peaks. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the beaten whites into the batter, and […]
Read Addie Broyles’ Food section cover story from April 11, 2012: After long battle over water, Tecolote Farm finally moving on! It has been a long four years since our wells dried up here at the original farm. Statesman writer Addie Broyles tells the tale of how we keep on keepin’ on.
Outside of the Agro-industrial Pipeline by David Pitre Happy New Year! Here’s to Health and Peace for all of us. As always, we are excited about the coming year on the farm. One of the common traits successful farmers share is a poor memory, which allows us to specifically forget the trials, tribulations, and sore muscles of the past year while getting all giddy about the fresh young plants in the greenhouse ready to go in the ground. It’s wonderful to be able to start fresh each year. As many of you know, we have struggled with water issues on our farm. This year we are starting to develop for farming new land about 12 miles east of us. We have planted onions there and hope to grow some of our potatoes, melons, and winter squash. The soil there is wonderfully rich and water appears to be plentiful. We are very thankful that the opportunity for the new land arose and that we are making it work as a new farm. You, our CSA members and regular farmers market shoppers, may not know it, but you are doing something radical. You are supporting and investing in a relationship that flies in the face of the anonymous global marketplace. You are creating a direct connection between the growing of the food that sustains you and your family. It is a personal relationship built on trust and respect. As we make decisions on the farm, and grow and harvest produce, we have many of your faces in our minds. It is similar to the visions of family or friends you hold as you cook in your kitchen. You have their health and happiness in mind as you cook, and it guides how you do it. This gives great meaning to what we […]
Why I’m returning by Lorig Hawkins, Tecolote Farm Manager-in-Training On the last day of 2011, I proudly put my first full farm journal on my bookshelves. I was so giddy and proud at the fact that I have been farming, or rather, learning how to farm, for a year! You see, from the moment I knew this work was for me I have documented every moment I have spent farming. For all you super geeks out there you will be happy to note I have gone one step further and after re-reading my notes I have indexed everything into topics that I can then reference in a larger notebook. Whether it was at Urban Roots, Tecolote Farm, or any other farm I’ve visited, I’ve made a point to write down everything I could remember from that day, as small as it seemed. Because believe me, if you listen closely, are aware, and work really hard to see the bigger picture and make connections, you learn something extremely valuable every time you step foot in the fields. And I couldn’t be more fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from David and Katie at Tecolote. He may say it flippantly or in passing but David will make comments that will guide you forever as a farmer; you just have to be listening. And guys, I’m listening and writing it all down! And as I shelve that first year notebook I eagerly pick up the next one, labeled 2012. This year I will continue at Tecolote for their regular spring/summer CSA season. I am returning for more, hungry to learn, hungry to work and sweat and ache, and hungry to continue meeting people who care about their food, and their farmers, and care about making it all accessible. I am so excited […]
Now taking 2012 CSA sign-ups! 2012 CSA Subscription Agreements coming soon (within the next two days)- email me at email@example.com beforehand to reserve your spot for our award-winning, long-standing vegetable delivery service! Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson at the Paramount Stateside Theater last night was a lovely way to end a weekend full of a slow, soaking, stuck-in-the-mud kinda rain. I’d like to pay tribute to both of them and the poem which Edible Austin’s Marla Camp asked Wendell to read last night: Water from Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry I was born in a drouth year. That summer my mother waited in the house, enclosed in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind, for the men to come back in the evenings, bringing water from a distant spring. veins of leaves ran dry, roots shrank. And all my life I have dreaded the return of that year, sure that it still is somewhere, like a dead enemy’s soul. Fear of dust in my mouth is always with me, and I am the faithful husband of the rain, I love the water of wells and springs and the taste of roofs in the water of cisterns. I am a dry man whose thirst is praise of clouds, and whose mind is something of a cup. My sweetness is to wake in the night after days of dry heat, hearing the rain.
After some weary years of wrestling with water lines and digging trenches for buried pipe and electric cable to a new small production well at our original Webberville farm, we are going to Hawaii going to do it again! At the new River Farm in Utley, Bastrop County, down on the Colorado River, about 12 miles east of our current farm. The well-diggers were there all day yesterday, and are at it again today, trying to find a good, dependable source of well water for us for many more decades of organic vegetable production. Fingers crossed, hopes high, looking for water when it’s oh-so-dry. We welcome all well-wishers (haha), prayers, hopeful thoughts, thunderstorms, etc.
We hope you have all survived the hottest, driest central Texas summer in recorded history! While our plans to take the kids on a road trip to the mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana preceded knowledge of the horrendous summer that lay ahead, in retrospect we feel very fortunate that we weren’t picking okra in 107° all July!! I know many of you missed the okra, melons, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumber-melons that late summer baskets bring, but have no fear: we’ll be doing summer season as usual starting again in 2012. The real question on everyone’s mind, though, is: “Will there even be a fall season in this dratted weather, and, if so, when will it start?” We planned and were excited about a fall CSA (our first ever), so we plunged right in- despite the daunting late August/early September weather- and got seeds started in plug trays (in the cooler!) and transplants in the hot ground. We wanted to start the first week of October, or last week of September. It has been an act of hope planting into hard, dry ground full of clods, and keeping the soil moist enough to entice germination and continued life. We sent Zachary, our eldest, up to Jarrell one day with the truck and trailer to purchase 3 round bales of corn stalks for use as mulch. The newly-transplanted peppers and eggplants wouldn’t have survived without protection, and there was not a stalk of untreated hay or straw to be had within all surrounding counties. Corn farmers who lost their crop still baled the stalks to sell for feed to hay-starved livestock, beneficial at least for caloric value. So, the short answer is: “Yes, we still plan to do a Fall CSA, and hope to start in mid October.” The […]
CSA – or Community-Supported Agriculture- is a way for people to interact directly with a farm: to know their farmer, to eat food harvested mere hours before delivery, and to secure farm viability in their community. The CSA model was introduced into the United States by Robyn Van En and Elizabeth Hendersonin 1985. We were honored to be selected to co-teach an intensive short course on CSA with Elizabeth at the 2010 Southern SAWG’s Sustaining Family Farms Conference. People partaking in a CSA form an agriculture-supporting community: a community which keeps its food production local, organic, and delicious. This is a mutually beneficial relationship between the farmer and the Tecolote Basketeers. Your early financial support allows us to buy seeds and pay workers in the winter months, and our early labor and time investment pays off in your reserved share of the harvest. Our vegetable delivery service has always grown by “word of mouth” and our customers tell so many friends about the delicious and unique vegetables delivered to them that we had a 3 to 8 year waiting list for over a decade! Happily we have increased our numbers some, due to acquiring a larger delivery van and farming new ground, and for our 2012 season, we can offer you direct entry spots without the wait. Having brought the CSA farm-to-table model to Texas in 1994 – just 9 years after its U.S. inception, Tecolote Farm is a pioneer for CSAs in the South. 25 years of vegetable farming experience translate into your weekly enjoyment of a diverse, healthy supply of great-tasting vegetables! The Tecolote Farm subscription service, or CSA, started out with 16 customers our first season. Since then we have grown to 225 weekly basket deliveries, and continue to limit membership to ensure the kind of personal […]