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The Owl Through a Camera Lens

You may have noticed some changes on our site and we are excited to roll them out! In addition to spiffin’ up the website, we have been so fortunate to partner with photographer, Keeshi Ingram, of Keeshi + Photo. She is an Austin-based photographer specializing in documentary style photography, which suits the farm perfectly. Keeshi’s talent of capturing the beauty in even the simplest of moments makes these hot & sweaty (and just a little bit shy) farmers blush. Keeshi does an amazing job capturing every detail of Tecolote. The people. The fields. The veggies. The sunlight. As you all know, we are passionate about local organic food, but also the greater meaning of  ‘local food’. Through Keeshi’s exquisite photos we hope to capture the daily operations of the farm and offer our customers a beautiful, real and organic look at the little farm that works so hard to bring the best quality vegetables to your kitchen. We are grateful for the amazing work of this artist, and look forward to bringing more of Keeshi’s photos to you soon. Check out more of Keeshi’s photos in our new Gallery!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo with Cilantro, Onions & Garlic!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! What better way to celebrate than with a tasty feast featuring lots of Tecolote cilantro, onions and garlic! Check out our Tecolote goodies featured on The Green Spork’s blog. Wondering whatto do with all that cilantro, onions and garlic? Here are some ideas perfect for Cinco de Mayo!      

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Kale & Black Bean Salad with Beets, Pepitas and Avocado

We are excited to introduce a new staff member, Staci Brindle! She’s a nutritionist, food blogger and veggie junkie that it is as wild about local organic produce as we are. You can check out her blog, The Green Spork, but she will also be sharing some of her tasty creations here at Tecolote, like today’s recipe featuring this weeks harvest of curly kale. In addition to being a Jill-of-all-trades (including a love of farming) Staci has website and graphic skills that she’s bring to the Farm. Stay tuned for exciting changes coming to the Tecolote site and social media. Perhaps the best part is that Katie finally has some help in the office (woo hoo!) Today’s recipe is a seasonal take on a simple kale salad. This recipe explains how to ‘massage’ the dressing into kale, which is an important step. If you have never massaged kale you will find that this extra effort softens the kale and transforms it into a tender, delicate salad showstopper. It’s especially nice on a spring day enjoyed outside with a chilled glass of your favorite white wine.   Kale & Black Bean Salad with Beets, Pepitas & Avocado by The Green Spork Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 0 mins 6070743 Ingredients 8 stalks of kale, washed, dried and destemmed 1 cup red cabbage thinly shredded 1 Tbls. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil 1 tsp. soy sauce 2 Tbls. raw tahini juice of 1 lemon 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed 2 medium beets, cooked, peeled and cubed 1 avocado cubed 1/8 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 1 Tbs hemp seeds, or seseme seeds Instructions In a large bowl tear the kale into bite sized pieces. Add the shredded cabbage to the bowl, and admire the beautiful color combo. Add the […]

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2015 CSA Sign Ups Available Now

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, […]

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Farmgrass Fest 14

FarmGrass Fest ’14 on April 6, 2014

  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 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!

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Local, Sustainable Farms for Andy Brown as Travis County Judge!

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, 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 […]

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2014 CSA Renewal Time

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, […]

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2013 Marks 20 years at Tecolote Farm!

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!

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Field and Feast visits Tecolote

  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.

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Great Story from the Statesman’s Addie Broyles

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.

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Farmer David on Community-Supported Agriculture

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 […]

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Local Food Fair on October 23 to celebrate inaugural FOOD DAY

Local Food Fair to celebrate Austin’s CSA farmers, local farmers markets, and other ways to get locally-grown food! Kick off the inaugural national Food Day a day early with a Local Food Fair in the pecan tree-shaded two acre yard behind Third Coast Activist Resource Center at the wonderful 5604 Manor Road Austin, TX 78723. Our farm will be set up there with information on our CSA and some produce for sale. Other CSA farms and farmers market reps, along with local delivery services, will be there to answer questions about their services. Music by the Kudzoo Brothers will keep our toes tapping. Cooking demonstrations on the hour at our sponsors, the Sustainable Food Center‘s tasting tent. Let us know if you’re coming with an RSVP here at the Food Day website!

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The end of August

We had big hopes for this fall: our first ever Fall CSA season and the development of our new raw land down on the river into farmland. Our water woes will be greatly diminished when we can farm on land with a better water source. Oh how we miss the days of our hand-dug well chugging through drought years without missing a beat! For now, though, there is but one hope: the return of RAIN to our soil. Without rain, fall crops will wither in the endless heat and hot ground. Without rain, mesquite abatement and deer fence construction on the new land will be nearly impossible.  We’ll keep going, as other area farmers have done all summer, because Texas farmers are tough, and fairly hardened to the cruel weather.  But I don’t know if we’ve ever wished for the end of August to signal the end of summer so badly.  The shade cloth-covered greenhouse is full of baby vegetables wanting to make their way in the world. September can go either way, but I’m all for making it as different from August as it ever gets. Get out your dancin’ shoes- there’s a 20% chance of rain Friday-Sunday -and let’s all bring that rain to Texas!

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Water Solutions

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 […]

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Moving into the twenty-first century… but keeping our veggies old school

We are so excited about the potential of our brand-spankin’ new website! Recipe searches, announcements, photographs, online payments~ the possibilities are endless.  As the first vegetable delivery service in all of Texas, we operated for over a decade with a waiting list 3 to 5 years long. Having a website sounded like little more than a vehicle to ensure our waiting list grew to an unmanageable length, and we avoided it like the plague! Now there are more than a few farms offering their own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations, and almost just as many other businesses re-selling various farms’ goods and wares. While we intend to retain the quality we’re known for, we’ve expanded somewhat and are happy to offer CSA memberships with no wait for the first time ever! Word of mouth and the taste of our produce still have the phone ringing with “How Can I Join?” inquiries, so we want to make it easier for you to get answers to your questions here on the website.  We decided to “go public” with it even though it’s a work in progress. Hope you enjoy watching the modernization of Tecolote Farm. Don’t worry, though: the vegetables will retain their timeless, Old World “fresh from the garden” quality!

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Pioneers of CSA

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 […]

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Water Woes

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 […]

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Who we are and what we do

Tecolote Farm operates the longest-running CSA in Texas, and was first certified organic in 1994. We started with 16 CSA customers, and have since provided countless Central Texans with fresh, delicious vegetables – many rare, heirloom varieties not often seen in stores. Before farming near Austin, we had the pleasure of farming in the beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska (long summer days! deep glacial soil!) and in central coastal California. We grow over 150 vegetables on our organic farm near Webberville, 13 miles east of the capital. We start all of our own vegetables, including heirlooms and heritage breeds, and everything we sell is grown and harvested here, at Tecolote Farm. We systematically follow the highest possible standard of quality and freshness. Produce is available via our CSA to subscribers in the spring/summer, and from late March to early November at the downtown Austin Farmers’ Market, the Cedar Park Farmers Market or the Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market. Thanks again for your interest in local, fresh & healthy (the secret’s out: it tastes so much better!) Did you know: in 1900, more than half the U.S. population lived on farms, 46 million out of the 76 million total population? By 1950, only 16 percent of the population – 23 million people – lived on farms. By 1990, there were 3.9 million people living on farms, only 1.6% of the total population. From Katie’s multi-generational roots in California citrus ranching to David’s family background in Louisiana rice farming, we are proud to represent the new face of farming!                         

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Many thanks to Keeshi + Photo and Twisted String for their photography contributions