Tecolote Farm (podcast)Apr 25th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Back when I lived on a road called Hog Eye, eight miles east of Austin, Texas in a town called Manor (pronounced MAY-nur), I counted among my neighbors, David Pitre and Katie Kraemer Pitre of Tecolote Farm.
Tecolote is a Spanish word for owl; when David and Katie bought the land that would become their farm, owls were (and remain) abundant.
Tecolote Farm’s 12 acres received organic certification in 1994, and the farm supplies the longest continually running Community Supported Agriculture program—or CSA—in the state of Texas. CSAs are a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
Katie says when they got started, they put flyers advertising their CSA on the windshields of cars parked in the Wheatsville Food Co-op parking lot in Austin. They cultivated their first sixteen members with this old school approach (old school was the only school in the early 90s) and that was the last marketing they had to do for the next ten years. Word of mouth kept them in members, and the members were kept in healthy, delicious organically raised produce.
That doesn’t mean they’ve had an easy row to hoe.
Farming is a 24/7 year-round business for this couple. They raised three children while raising a variety of crops, including rare and heirloom vegetables. They’ve had to deal with with the same kinds of issues those of us who grow organic vegetables gardens deal with, but on a much larger scale.
And then there’s the water.
When they purchased their land, the well on the property had never gone dry–even during the worst drought conditions Central Texas had seen to date, which was in the 1950s. But that changed several years ago when Austin’s growth started pushing east, and demand for water grew. Travis county dug wells to meet the needs, which in the end, dried up Tecolote’s water supply.
But all is not lost. Food writer for the Austin American Statesman, Addie Broyles wrote an article for the paper recently that details the Petri’s water woes, and the solution.
David and Katie plan to grow a variety of healthful organically grown food for the foreseeable future, because at their core they are farmers, and that’s what farmers do.