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, […]
Mark your calendars for Sunday, April 6, 2014. A beautiful day of bluegrass, food and fun on a real working farm, benefiting local Texas farmers via the Growers Alliance of Central Texas’ medical emergency fund. To purchase tickets and get more details on the great line up of bands, visit www.farmgrassfest.com Advance tickets are a huge value – only $15 for 5 amazing bluegrass bands, in a comfortable rural setting on the beautiful Simmons Family Farm in Niederwald, Texas. Enjoy Spring, Local Farms, Bluegrass Music, and Fantastic Farmers Market Food!
Tecolote Farm joins forces with local farms and food businesses to host a meet and greet with Travis County Judge potential Andy Brown this Saturday, February 22, from 11:30 am -1 pm at Barr Mansion. Green Gate Farm, Edible Austin, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, Barr Mansion, and so many other local sustainable and organic food businesses are supporting Andy Brown. Local, organic small plates will be served, and all are welcome. Please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the Facebook event page: Let’s Talk Food with Andy Brown! We as farmers prefer to stay out of the political limelight, but sometimes it’s important to share what you know. In case you don’t remember Tecolote Farm’s battle over our groundwater loss from 2008-2010 with Travis County, read here. The Travis County Commissioners Court was generally friendly and open to finding a solution at the time, save for one Commissioner: Sarah Eckhardt. She is running for Travis County Judge now, and our experience with her character is such that we are strongly endorsing Andy Brown. In addition to the vindictive tone and lack of support or openness she demonstrated, there were issues with her policy, especially considering that she was viewed as THE sustainable/green commissioner. Read on to see what water lawyer Drew Miller, who represented us pro bono in the battle, summarizes about her unfriendly positions toward this local, organic, sustainable farm: “Sarah Eckhardt was steadfast and uncompromising in seeing to it the County was able to, with impunity, pump a neighboring organic farm’s long-producing well dry by locating the County’s new wells nearby and pumping the heck out of those wells – including by wasting that groundwater. She was steadfast and uncompromising in making sure that the County would hide behind the antiquated rule of capture, while hypocritically assailing that legal […]
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!
For three years, we battled the County to find a solution to the loss of our groundwater caused by their pumping massive amounts of water up to East Metro Park’s playing fields and catch-and-release fishing ponds. They didn’t come through, thanks in large part to the obstructive response of Commissioner Eckhardt. So we went back to doing what farmers do best: figured it out ourselves. Solution #1 The new well (which we located via the research done by UT Professor Jack Sharp’s Hydrogeology class) is installed and operating. While producing half the volume of our previous well, and thus not enough pressure to directly supply our drip irrigation system, it is possible to irrigate with this groundwater through a storage tank and sand filter set-up. Farmers have always been known for innovation. Even though our groundwater was sucked out from under us by over-development in our area by subdivisions and County parks, we have survived! Solution #2 Looking ahead, we realize that our proximity to Austin (14 miles from the capitol building) and the fact that we live in a county where the then current Director of Natural Resources (Joe Gieselman) said, “The best and highest use of their land (Tecolote Farm) is no longer agricultural” makes our future not so certain. Farming is so important, and a county which goes on the record to discourage farmers from nurturing fertile soil to feed the local community is essentially pushing them out. As a matter of survival, we purchased a parcel of land another 14 miles the other way (east) in Bastrop County. We continue to farm Tecolote Farm proper, but our first crops went in the ground at the new land in Fall 2011. We lovingly call the new place the River Farm, as it was first coined by the […]
We are eternally grateful for the outpouring of community support given to Tecolote Farm during our three year water trial. While Travis County chose to hide behind the Rule of Capture and not do anything to help alleviate the damage caused to our groundwater supply and our financial well-being, we learned so much about how much Austin community members value their local farmers. From your letters, emails, and phone calls to showing up at County court hearings and helping build our networking base, we felt held in the heart of all that is good about Austin. We believe our efforts would never have made it as far as they did without the incredible support our CSA customers, farmers market shoppers, neighbors, and community liaisons made on the behalf of this local, organic farm. One County Commissioner member estimated the County received over 15,000 pleas via email and telephone to “help the farm”. If that wasn’t a mandate on publicly elected officials, what is? Good News is: We did drill a well at one of the sites suggested by the UT study, and now have a low production well on our property again. We are very grateful to the Hydrology students led by Jack Sharp for the preliminary work they did, which facilitated finding the well site. Because the water production from this well isn’t sufficient to run the farm, we have also purchased additional property in agriculture-friendly Bastrop County next to another organic farm. There we will raise more beautiful organic produce, with a more reliable water source to keep our future steady! Hallelujah for the USDA’s Farm Security Administration’s low interest loans. Following are some notes from when we first tried to get the website up and running in 2009. Funny how what the County said they would do […]