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The Latest News from Wheatsville

Posts by Aldia Bluewillow

Local Vendor Spotlight: Skull & Cakebones

When and why did you decide to make vegan cupcakes?
Sascha has been vegan baking since 2002 when her infant presented with dairy and egg allergies. Coming from a great line of bakers, her library filled with old newspaper clippings and recipes transcribed from generations past, Sascha taught herself how to recreate these recipes as vegan. Yauss, who has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in design, has been working in the industry since 2003. She has honed her skills in marketing and design, teaching at the college level for over a decade. In fall 2011, Yauss’s mom started encouraging us to put our talents together to package and sell cupcakes. We decided to take the leap in early 2013 and the rest is sweet, sweet history.

What local partners’ products do you use?
Cuvee coffee, Buddha’s Brew kombuchas, Jester King beers, Buzz Mill Coffee, SRSLY chocolate, JBG Organic veggies, Love Bean fudge and caramel spreads, Tequila 512, Treaty Oak rum, Revolution Spirits gin, NadaMoo! ice creams, Bona Dea gluten free flour blend, confituras jams, Zhi teas, Hot Dang OG burger, Happy Hemp toasted hemp seeds, Austin Pesto Co. basil, and lick ice cream so far.

What is your favorite treat that you make?
We can’t get enough of that chocolate Cuvee coffee pudding that goes on top of the Mocha Marmalade trifle jars. Whenever we make it, we all take a little bit home to eat (usually at night, before bed, IN bed!)

Are there new products in the works?
We are always working on new and exciting products! We are constantly looking for new partnerships for the most unique flavor pairings we can bring to market. If we aren’t baking for production, we are baking for R&D.

What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?
Do you mean besides Popcorn Tofu?! A trip to Wheatsville feels like a trip to visit with old friends. Everyone there is so lovely, supportive, and kind. It feels like everyone really believes in our company and our product, and is as invested in selling it as we are. We have SO much gratitude for the Wheatsville Co-op family and their bear hug of warmth.


Local Vendor Spotlight: Dos Lunas Cheese

Joaquin Avellan, CEO of Dos Lunas Cheese, graciously answered a few questions for us:

1. When and why did you decide to make cheese?

I just wanted to make something really good for my wife. And, I wanted it to be a gift from deep inside me, which meant from my homeland of Venezuela.

I am the chef in our home, and I put my heart on every plate. And, since my father had retired to a farm in the Andes and had started a dairy farm, I fell into cheesemaking during a long visit in 2011.

Back in Austin, I kept experimenting, putting more and more heart into more and more cheese. One day, my wife smiled and said she loved it (and me) but 80 gallons a week was too much for our kitchen and our refrigerator.

So, I pitched a tent at a farmer’s market and sold out the first day. Now, I put my heart onto every plate I can!

2. What kind of milk do you use?

The most pristine milk I could find in Central Texas, from Stryk Jersey Farm in Schulenburg, Texas. Their small herd of Jerseys are all grass-fed and free roaming, and I can literally taste the earth and the seasons in every bucket, all year round.

Bob and Darlene Stryk are the best, wonderful and ethical farmers and such good souls. You can taste all that goodness in their milk, too.

3 What is your favorite cheese that you make?

Dos Lunas Clasico. It is based on my father's recipe from Venezuela. Trying to capture that particular queso fresco taste in a freshly aged cheese was the original inspiration for establishing Dos Lunas Artisan Cheeses. And besides, it melts so well and makes a mean quick quesadilla.

4. Are there new products in the works?

Oh yes! Every year we design new cheeses, and for the past year we have been developing cave aged cheeses with a rind. The prototypes have been very successful, and I can't wait to share them with the world as well.

5. What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?

Wheatsville, being a co-op, is quite literally about sharing, about coming together with the best we have. It’s about community, and about sharing true health in our community. That’s exactly what Dos Lunas aspires to be about as well.

And, Wheatsville didn’t just buy from us. They have engaged with us and helped us so much, with everything from how to improve our packaging to encouraging us to create more flavors.
We admire the generous sharing spirit of Wheatsville.


Local Vendor Focus: Good Flow Honey

How long have you been in the honey business and what prompted you to start?
We started selling honey in 1975. We only had a few hives, but they produced enough of a surplus for us to be able to sell some honey.

Do you have a favorite variety of honey?
The best honey is the stuff you get to dip into when you are extracting it fresh off the hives.

What is your best selling honey?

How long have you been selling honey to Wheatsville?
Wheatsville has been carrying our honey since the beginning. We used to take in a drum, turn it on its side and let people bottle out of it. Wheatsville and Woody Hills Co-op were our first customers. And as I recall, our very first customer was a food-buying club started by the same people who started Wheatsville. We used to deliver to them on a street corner.

How often do you get stung?
It depends on what we are doing, but it usually happens in the spring when it is still cold. They don’t like having the roof taken off and if you get someone mad at you there is a good chance you’ll get a lot of stings from that one and friends.

Does it still hurt a lot after all of these years?
No, it is just a minor irritation. Old-timers used to come in for stings to help with rheumatism and arthritis, but if you are allergic you better stay away.

What is the most unusual way that you’ve heard of Good Flow honey being used?
Some people use it in their hair or as a mask on their face. One person who is a pedicurist uses it for his treatment on feet.

What is one thing about honey or bees that most people might not know?
They have an incredible communications system based on the chemicals in their pheromones.

Will Good Flow Juice ever be available again? (Shoppers still ask every few weeks when your juice will return!)
Perseverance furthers as they say. We have been working at it steadily since we were forced to shut down because of new FDA regulations in 2008, and this might even be the year when it happens. We are getting close.

What’s your favorite recipe that features honey?
Bar-b-que sauce!

EZ BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup organic ketchup
1/4 cup Good Flow honey
1 TBS Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp chili powder (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Baste onto meat, tofu or tempeh before cooking or use as a dip. Serves 6


Local Vendor Focus: SRSLY Chocolate

SRSLY Chocolate (pronounced seriously) is our Vendor Focus for February, just the right company to see more of during the Month of Love. Bob and Robin Williamson are the owners of SRSLY Chocolate, a bean to bar chocolate company located right here in Austin, TX! Bob and Robin were nice enough to answer some questions about their lovely chocolates!

How did you get started making chocolate?
Bob used to bake baguettes and pastries for the farmers markets in Tallahassee, FL. One day, he decided to make chocolate from scratch for a croissant recipe. After pulsing cacao nibs in a food processor and watching the transformation to chocolate, he was hooked. From that moment onward, we’ve focused on making really great handcrafted bean to bar chocolate.
With a commitment to produce the finest chocolate in a sustainable manner, we use organic & fair trade cacao and cane sugar to handcraft each bar. Our cacao comes from a cooperative in the Dominican Republic that reinvests back into the community, building roads, clinics and schools. Our cacao beans are sorted, roasted, cracked, winnowed and stone ground in granite mills to produce an elegant and assertive chocolate. Gentle, low and slow roasting develops great flavor while preserving delicate aromas. Stone ground chocolate has a rustic texture that reminds us of its origin. Each bar is hand wrapped with love We’re serious about what we do!

What is your favorite flavor?
Bob: Oaxacan Espresso. Cacao and chilies have been used together for millennia. This ancient combination is exciting and intriguing in our bar. Add a little locally roasted coffee from our friends at Third Coast Coffee and you’ve got a really fantastic chocolate bar that incorporates and highlights its rich Mesoamerican history with local ingredients.

Robin: 70%. Honestly each flavor has gone through a phase of being my favorite at one point or another. I’ll get stuck on one for about five months and then rediscover a new one and then get hooked on that! Right now I’m finding myself reaching for the 70% plain dark a lot more. It’s a perfect match to whatever mood I find myself in. It’s rich, dark slightly malty fruity flavor really hits the spot!
Is there an unusual way to use your chocolate bars?
I think there’s someone in Austin that does chocolate massage… whatever that is. So yeah, I’d think that qualifies as unusual. But really, chocolate is an amazingly versatile thing. You can eat it in so many forms from a simple, elegant chocolate bar to rich luscious hot chocolate to chocolate brownies. Chocolate is great with anything!
Are there any new flavors on the horizon?
Yes... too many really. In a perfect world, I’d release a new flavor every week, ad infinitum. But really, a new flavor every few months is the way to go. We’ve been working with local Texas olive oil for a bar. Local is a big focus for us. It’s really hard to take cacao that’s grown two thousand miles away, preserve its sense of terroir and try to synthesize it with its production here in Texas. What else? Halvah. Cardamom and Pistachio. Texas Lavender. Keep your eyes peeled for some really interesting stuff.
Why did you move from Florida to Texas?
Because everything is better in Texas! But really, Robin used to live here in Austin about six years ago. She loved it and when I came to visit, I fell in love instantly. No offense to our Floridian brethren. Austin’s got a great food scene and really great citizens who help foster a supportive environment. It called out to us like it has to so many new residents. We’re pumped to be a part of it!
Where do you see SRSLY in five years?
We see ourselves as a regional chocolate maker with deep Texas roots providing one of a kind handcrafted chocolate made with organic and ethically sourced cacao. Our vision has us doing a couple of really great things in 2019: working directly with cacao farmers, building our own facility, employing fellow Austinites. It’s a long road but we’re up to task!

CLASS:  Chocolate Making
Instructor:  Bob Williamson
DATE:  Saturday, February 7
TIME:  1pm-3pm
COST:  $35
WHERE:  4001 South Lamar Community Room

Ever wondered how chocolate was made? Learn how cacao is transformed into chocolate with SRSLY chocolate’s own Bob Williamson. Watch as cacao beans are cracked, winnowed and refined into chocolate. Taste some fantastic chocolates from SRSLY chocolate while we learn about cacao’s history and impact, past and present. Learn the basics, ask some questions and go home with a bar of fine flavor craft chocolate!


Wheatsville Bike to Work Benefits

by Cecelia Wild Pony, Packaged Clerk, S. Lamar

When I chose to move to Austin in 2006, one of the major reasons was that I would not have to buy a car. I was a poor college student, and one thing I figured would save me lots of money was riding a bike everywhere. I was right.

Although I did buy a car in the years since, my first choice for commute is always by bike. Parking is convenient, fuel is cheap (and eco-friendly!), maintenance is easy and I never have to wait for everyone to be ready before I can leave the party. My initial commute to the Guadalupe store was pretty easy, a mile or so, and now my commute to the Lamar store is a bit lengthier, just about twelve miles round trip, but Wheatsville and it’s Bike to Work Benefit have always made making the choice to ride the easy one.

Our Bike to Work Benefit was launched two years ago by our dedicated HR Director, Beth Ley. The way that it works is each month, you fill out a slip stating that you rode to work either four times or a total of eight miles (whichever comes first) and then $20 is put into your “bike bank”, which you may use for any bike related items you purchase in that year. I have used it to buy bikes, gloves, u-locks, lights, tubes-just about everything, and it feels really great to know that I am investing in my fitness and safety each time I ride my bike to work.

My personal commute is from the Tarrytown area of Austin, from around 29th and MoPac. I try to utilize bike and pedestrian lanes when possible, so I take the back neighborhoods hugging MoPac to the river and then the hike and bike trail under the highway. This gives me the scenic route through Zilker (dedicated bike lanes!) and hooks me straight into the South Lamar lane for the long ride up the hill.
Once I get to work, I’m sweatier than I used to be when I rode to Guadalupe, but no worries, we have the convenience of an employee shower! In our office space, there are two showers dedicated specifically to employees who bike to work, and I can say from personal experience they are GLORIOUS. There is nothing quite like a shower after a long bike ride to get you ready for your day at work.

While Wheatsville has provided this consideration to staff, we also have plenty of amenities for cyclist shoppers as well. There is bike parking in the front and back of the store, as well as a repair station for putting air in your tires, fixing a flat, adjusting brakes or derailleurs. Parking in the front is covered by our awning to protect your bike, and we are adding additional parking to accommodate bikes with trailers attached.

When I moved to Austin, I was a hesitant and inexperienced cyclist. Now, having lived in a city and worked for a employer that is so encouraging and adaptable to cyclists, I can proudly say that I am a strong and knowledgeable commuter on two wheels. Thanks, Wheatsville!


Local Vendor Focus: Thunderbird Energetica/EPIC

I recently interviewed Taylor Collins and Kate Forrest, founders of Thunderbird Energetica and EPIC.As well as producing healthy, nutritious foods, they are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!—Adrienne

Tell us about how Thunderbird Energetica got started.

The first Thunderbird Energetica bar was created to help Katie heal from a serious inflammatory injury of her knee. She was training for the Kona Ironman World Championship race and unable to run or bike due to pain. We took a step back and considered what types of food we were consuming and how this might contribute to inflammation. We ended up eliminating inflammatory foods from our diets and created the Cherry Walnut Crunch bar. We loaded it with natures most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients (Turmeric, Cherries, buckwheat) just for Katie. Within a few weeks her knee was significantly better and she was 100% back to training. We were so excited about this amazing creation that we decided to start selling the bar locally.

What is your favorite flavor?

Katie’s favorite flavor is Bison Bacon Cranberry. Taylor’s  favorite flavor is Almond Cookie Pow

How did Epic Bars get started?

The EPIC bar idea came to us during an extended camping trip in West Texas. After days of eating only sugar based, high carb camp food, we were craving something savory and high in protein and fat. We were frustrated that all the “protein” bars we carried were made of heavily processed isolates and syrups. We wanted to make a high quality, portable protein snack that was made of whole foods. We decided that the best way to do this was through grass fed animal protein (just like our ancestors ate). We started experimenting with making bacon jerky for 100 mile bike rides and we really liked the way our body felt. It was clear that we needed to invent this bar that could only be described as EPIC.

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Austin Simply Fit Resolution Challenge

To increase fitness in the new year, Austin Simply Fit launched a 10-week Resolution Challenge. The challenge runs Monday, January 13 through Monday, March 23.

Participants of the challenge receive weekly private workout sessions with one of Austin Simply Fit’s certified personal trainers. During these sessions participantsl knock out personalized 30-minute workouts, set weekly goals and work through challenges. In addition to the private sessions, each participant will also have unlimited access to Austin Simply Fit’s small group sessions available at both their north and south locations.

This year Dana Tomlin, Wheatsville’s Fresh Manager, will be taking the Austin Simply Fit 10 Week Resolution Challenge. Throughout the process Dana will be blogging about her progress, favorite meals and snacks and other ways she has stays committed to her fitness resolution.

Of course, it takes more than exercise to get back into shape so Austin Simply Fit and  Wheatsville Food Co-op have teamed up to offer each participant gift cards redeemable for healthy meals, snacks and drinks throughout the program. Visit or call (512) 923-2348 to sign up!

Week 1 Update

Week 2 Update

Week 3 Update

Week 4 Update

Week 5 Update

Week 6 Update

Week 7 Update

Week 8 Update

Week 9 Update

Week 10 Final Update

About Austin Simply Fit:  Austin Simply Fit is a private personal training facility located in Austin, Texas and staffed by highly-motivated personal trainers, fitness experts, and yoga instructors. Unlike other personal fitness training programs, Austin Simply Fit provides individualized personal 30 minute training sessions which are tailor-made to fit the needs of each client. Austin Simply Fit personal trainers work 1-on-1 with each client and create a variety of workout and exercise programs that help each client achieve their fitness goals. For more information about Austin Simply Fit visit