Austin Organic Farm Drying Up

The saga continues for our farmer friends David and Katie Pitre at Tecolote Farm. Here is a recent video and article covering the story.


Water Runs Dry on Austin Organic Farm

Our farmer friends at Tecolote Farm have been one of the best quality growers serving Austin, TX for over 15 years, and now with in the last 2 years they have been struggling to stay in business. Urban sprawl is sucking up all the water, putting local agriculture out. Is irrigating ball fields more important to a community than local food? Read the article in the Austin Statesman, and watch the video...

How can you help? Here is a note from Farmers David and Katie at Tecolote Farm:

Dear Friends of Tecolote Farm,
You've probably all heard about our water wells going dry this year, or read the article and seen the video of David talking about it in the Statesman. If not, you can still read the article and see the photos and video online at:

What can you do to help?
Thank you so deeply for your many offers to help. I have been talking to a lot of people who know the ins and outs of water usage in the area, and now I have concrete action items for you, our supporters and customers, to do to help the cause of securing our water supply. Finally, something you can do! Please take a minute to do the following:

1. **Most Important: Let's all do this before June 13th!!
Contact your County Commissioner. I have attached a sample letter you can send to him/her, and you may personalize it as you see fit. For example, expressing your relationship to the farm or expressing your appreciation of our weekly delivery service would be an effective way of letting your politician know that local family farms' success is important to you.
Also, be sure to fill in the blank lines in the letter with the appropriate information.

To find your commissioner's email address and telephone number, go to the following website:
You can also determine who your commissioner is there, if you don't already know. (It is important that you write to your commissioner, not ours, because your commissioner cares about your vote. Pressure on one part of the County to solve the water problem the County created will be effective, no matter which division of the County it is.)

2. Contact the media (Texas Monthly, TV stations, Dallas Morning News, or wherever you have leads), your state representative, and your state senator to alert them that you do not support rampant development near Austin without concern for agricultural sustainability. They need to know that you are upset that County wells are sapping water from your organic farm.
Find your state senator and representative:

Thank you all, and please let us know what skills or services you have that you'd like to offer to help us stay put and keep growing veggies for you!
Katie and David


Home-made Sauerkraut

The art of making sauerkraut is almost lost in our part of Texas. This area is rich in German and Czech history, and the older residents of the country side still reminisce when I mention sauerkraut. Traditionally, around here, it was chopped and naturally aged in stoneware crocks then seasoned with dill or caraway seeds prior to packing in jars. It was eaten fresh and also served hot with dinner. If you can imagine, local cabbage was only in season in the late fall and spring, so a family needed to be diligent in storing their cabbage for the year using natural lacto-fermentation and salt when refrigeration was not an option.

Our family makes our sauerkraut in much the same way as they did traditionally. The beneficial fermentation process is a key to maintaining a healthy digestive system, and the natural aging process preserves the "life" of the food, making it nutritious and wholesome.

Step 1: chop your cabbage. You can use green or red cabbage. Clean and core the cabbage. I use a 10" chef knife and cut the cabbage so that I can feed it through the food processor, using the large slicing blade.

Step 2: pack your crock sprinkling about 1Tbs of REAL or Celtic Sea Salt per head of cabbage, stirring it all together as you layer your heads of cabbage into the crock. If you wanted to add beets or diced apples, now would be the time to add all those ingredients together as well. We use a few different sizes of crocks. Our 2 gallon crocks can hold up to 6 medium heads of cabbage. Our 100 year old 12 gallon crocks hold up to 36 medium heads of cabbage.

Step 3: Pound the cabbage and let rest. Notice in the first picture there is a wooden pounder in the background behind the cabbage. I use that tool to pound the cabbage down into the crock. This helps release the water from the cabbage. I cover it with a cheesecloth and let it rest overnight to see how much natural moisture extracts from the cabbage. Then I add brine mixing 4 cups of water with 1 Tbs of salt, and keep adding this brine until the water is over the cabbage. You can add more or less salt as you like.

Step 4: Ferment. Cover the kraut with a wooden disc weighed down with a clean rock or a mason jar full of water. This is to keep the cabbage down below the brine. A 1 gallon zip lock freezer bag filled with water can also work. Cover with cheesecloth or a towel and let the cabbage ferment for 7 to 14 days, tasting it daily after the first week until you get the "ripeness" you like. In cooler weather it takes longer, and the longer you let it ferment, the more "ripe" flavor progresses. If a white film covers the water, just skim it off. This is the yeast in the fermentation process and is normal. I notice it more often when the weather is warm.

Step 5: Canning. When you found that your sauerkraut is to the point of your liking, pack it into clean mason jars and store in the fridge to eat at your pleasure. You can also add additional seasonings before packing it with herbs like fresh dill or dill seed. Caraway seeds are also traditionally used. Packing it just plain is also great. Sauerkraut will keep for 3-6 months in the fridge, no problem.

Enjoy with any meal!


HOMEsweetFARM Radio: Killer Tomatoes

Hi everyone, I posted an episode to HOMEsweetFARM Radio:

Farmer Brad and Jenny discuss righteous food and the concern over killer tomatoes in the market place. Are local tomatoes safe? You betcha! Click this link to check it out: Killer Tomatoes.

Come out to our up-coming Heirloom Tomato Festival, June 22, 2008. More info here... http://www.homesweetfarm.com/hsf_market_days.htm

- Farmer Brad