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Posts by Chris Moore

Local Vendor Spotlight: Margarita’s Tortilla Factory

Interview with Sonia Grizzle by Chris Moore, Chill & Bulk Coordinator

1. How long have you been in business and why tortillas and tamales?

We have been making organic flour tortillas and non-GMO corn tortillas & tamales since January 1997.Why tortillas & tamales? I grew up eating home cooked meals accompanied by hand made flour or corn tortillas. My mother, Micaela, taught me even at the young age of 7, to make flour & corn tortillas. When I married, I continued in that tradition. After my second child was born, I looked for an easier way and bought the first commercial flour tortillas. I don’t remember the brand, because at the store, all tortillas look the same when you read the ingredients. And they all taste and smell the same. From there on, my thought was, “I can’t believe people actually eat these tortillas! because the tortillas tasted like cardboard and smelled terrible!” So I set out to make the first true “homemade” tortilla. I went to local natural foods stores and presented my tortillas.

2. As a small business how hard was it for you to source organic and non-GMO ingredients?

Sourcing organic and verified non-GMO ingredients from Texas has been difficult. Our organic materials come from Colorado and verified non-GMO corn comes from California. There is one Texas organic corn producer and they sell their corn to an international corn processor, limiting their local sourcing.

3. We know that you run a family business but what does that mean on the labor side of your business?

 We are truly a family run business. My children have grown knowing every aspect of the business, from production to delivering the product, to doing demos. However, we would not be able to produce these products without the help and dedication of our employees.

4. Do you have a favorite product that you produce and or recipe?

To me, there are certain foods that can only be eaten with flour or corn tortillas. For example, red meats and soups, to me, go best with corn tortillas. My favorite food are beef fajitas. I enjoy eating them with Margarita’s stone ground corn tortillas accompanied with roasted onions, tomatoes and serrano peppers. Flour tortillas taste best with guisados, like carne guisada. On our website,, we have recipes that my three children have enjoyed over the years. These are simple recipes yet they are so delicious. As a child, I was fascinated by how my mother and father created a fabulous meal with simple ingredients. With my family, I continue the tradition of home cooking all the meals. I enjoy staying true to my roots, my heritage. I enjoy watching the expressions of my family and friends as they eat the food I have prepared. Good food is to be shared. It brings joy and happiness to everyone present.

5. Do you have anything new in the works?

Austin is a great place to live and do business. There are thousands of tourist visiting our city and discovering our products and wishing our products were available in their local grocery store. Our company is going through a transition. We are slowly growing into the national spotlight. As our products become available statewide and even nationwide, we will strive in making the cleanest product possible, still adhering to the basic family recipe, without preservatives or additives. It brings me great joy that Margarita’s tortillas and tamales will be enjoyed by many more people.


Local Vendor Spotlight: Jeremiah Cunningham’s World’s Best Eggs

1. How long have you had the farm and what made you choose to farm chickens and eggs?

 Our founder, Jeremiah Cunningham, started his first large-scale flock of chickens in 2005. Like most sustainable farmers, we had to bootstrap our way to get started. We knew that if we were going to make it in this industry we had better start with what we knew best - eggs. Organic, pasture-raised eggs weren’t on grocery store shelves at that time, so it was an exciting time to start a pasture-based chicken farm. 

Jeremiah was always quick to point out that “World’s Best Eggs” isn’t a brag - it’s a classification. He always reminded folks that they too could raise the world’s best eggs if they raised chickens on grass, bugs, and organic feed, with plenty of space and sunshine. Part of our mission at Coyote Creek is to teach others about organic farming and backyard chicken ventures.
2. When you first started out how hard was it for you to source organic materials for your feed?

When we started producing World’s Best Eggs in 2005, there wasn’t an organic feed mill in the southern United States. Sourcing organic feed was a difficult task. Since then, one of our primary goals as the only organic feed mill in Texas is to provide a market for Texas-grown organic grains and to support the conversion of acreage from chemically-intensive conventional agriculture to sustainable organic agriculture.  We are committed to Texas farmers, both grain farmers that utilize Texas farmland to provide the ingredients for our non-GMO and certified organic feeds, and to Texas farmers and ranchers who raise animals in the most considerate way possible - humanely, on pasture, with organic feed, and as part of a healthy ecosystem.  As we have grown, we have been successful in converting 8,000 acres of farmland into organic grain production to meet our farm’s needs and the needs of all of the local, organic farmers!
3. How do your farming practices differ from conventional/ cage free farming?

To start, the happiness and welfare of our birds is our #1 priority.  Our chickens live entirely outdoors where they are able to fully express natural behaviors such as scratching in the dirt for bugs, taking dust baths to stay clean, and stretching their wings in the sun.  Our hens are provided with a variety of environmental enrichments such as roosts and perches, shade covers, protection from predation, patio misters on warm days, and safe and ergonomic housing.  Their houses are moved weekly to fresh pastures.  

In addition to our hens’ wild diet, we mill organic feed for them daily on-site at the farm.  Our feed is USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, and it never contains herbicides, pesticides, animal by-products, hormones, or pharmaceuticals.  Because the hens forage in the pasture all day, about 30% of their diet comes from green plants and insects.  This makes our eggs extremely nutrient-dense, higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in cholesterol than eggs produced in confined conditions.

At Coyote Creek Farm, we adhere to the most stringent animal welfare standards and  have been instrumental in establishing some of the animal welfare standards adopted by current agencies. Our farm is recognized as one of the highest rated organic egg farms in the U.S. by the Cornucopia Institute.
4. What are some of your favorite products at Wheatsville?

Late July Tortilla Chips, Dewberry Hill Chicken, the produce section (yes, all of it), Ruta Maya Dark Roast Coffee, Jaime’s Red Salsa, Margarita’s tortillas, Bubbie’s Sauerkraut, Theo’s Chocolate Bars… 
5. Do you have a favorite way to cook eggs or a favorite recipe?
It’s hard to choose just one favorite egg dish! We love pickled red beets eggs, breakfast tacos, and homemade eggnog, but Tortilla Española is sure to please everyone!

Tortilla Española

3⁄4 cup olive oil
1 lb potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 eggs
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 10” skillet.  Add potatoes and onions and cook until potatoes are soft but not brown.  Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Season with salt & pepper.  Add potatoes and onions with a slotted spoon to beaten eggs while reserving oil in pan.  Cover and refrigerate for l hour.  

3. Heat 2 Tbs. reserved oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add egg and potato mixture, spreading evenly in the pan. Cook uncovered on low heat until the sides have set and the middle is beginning to set.

4. Gently slide a spatula along edges and underneath tortilla to loosen.  Place a large plate over pan and quickly turn plate and pan over so tortilla falls onto plate. Add 1 tsp. reserved oil to pan, slide tortilla back in (uncooked side down), carefully tuck in sides with a fork, and continue to cook until eggs are just set, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature.
6. Is there anything new in the works for Coyote Creek?

Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm will soon be expanding into the South!  We have recently purchased property in Georgia, and will be opening an organic feed mill and pastured egg farm there. It will follow the same model as our Elgin, TX farm and mill, and will provide organic eggs and animal feed to a new community!
Thanks to the following folks for answering our questions:
Cameron Molberg, General Manager/CEO
Jenny Myers, Farm Manager
Emily Erickson, Community Relations & Sales Manager
Rob Cunningham, Owner

Learn more at:


Local Vendor Spotlight: Casa Brasil

Joel Shuler has been roasting coffee in Austin since 2007. He was happy to share some facts and philosophy about the coffee business.

Why did you decide to directly import coffee?
With the standard business model of grower to broker to exporter to importer to roaster, a lot of quality is lost and growers often do not receive the true value they deserve for their product. Since I lived in Brazil as a kid and knew the culture and language, I decided that I would bypass the middlemen and buy directly from the growers. Over the years we have developed a partnership with some of the best growers in Brazil where we pay set prices for their best coffees and offer fully transparency. In exchange Casa Brasil gets right of first refusal on their best coffees. I love coffee and I love Brazil. It was bound to happen!
What is your favorite coffee that you produce?
I love our Bossa Blend and I love exploring the different estate “microlot” coffees. The Bossa is old faithful, smooth and milk chocolate. The microlot estate coffees allow me to have fun by tasting different regions, coffee varieties, and processing methods. 
Is there anything new in the works for Casa Brasil coffee?

We have developed a great relationship with Associação dos Produtores do Alto da Serra (APAS), a small Fair Trade association in the hills of southern Minas Gerais. They are a group of around 50 families that are dedicated to producing incredible coffees, and they are located in one of the best regions in Brazil for quality coffee product. Great people producing great coffee that we are proud to bring to Wheatsville. I am headed there this Friday to make our final lot selections from this harvest.

What is different about your coffee from other coffees?
I think what makes us unique is that we buy coffee directly from growers. We taste hundreds of coffee each harvest and pick out the best lots to bring to Austin. Coffee is traditionally based on commodity pricing, which has little to do with a grower’s cost of production or the price that the coffee is price of sale here in the US. Rather than be subject to commodity market oscillations, we pay set prices based on quality that are far above commodity and fair trade prices. This is a win-win for both growers and coffee lovers. The growers are rewarded for producing high quality coffee, and they know year in and year out the price they will receive. Generally this means they are more likely to take extended quality measures since they know they will receive more. From the consumer side, in offering them these prices as well as complete transparency throughout the supply chain, we gain right of first refusal on their coffees. That means that Casa Brasil has first pick on some of the best coffees from Brazil every harvest. 

Here in Austin we roast fresh-to-order in small batches, tasting every single batch of coffee we roast.  We are constantly tweaking our roast curves, chasing the perfect roast for each coffee. Coffee is a seed - an embryo and endosperm - and like any living thing it is constantly reacting to the environment around it. To do coffee well, it takes a lot of attention to detail at all points along the chain.

What are your favorite things about Wheatsville Co-op?
The Frito Pie, definitely, and the huge selection of local products and refills on my Dr. Bronner’s. But most of all the atmosphere. I have been a member for almost 10 years now and the constant has been friendly people that care. When we decided to start our direct trade coffee model, Wheatsville was the very first place that took on our coffee and has supported us ever since. You don’t forget that kind of support.


Easy to Fix Frozen Pizza

Need a quick dinner after work or school? Wheatsville has a great selection of frozen pizzas just waiting for you to grab and take home.

From local artisan Bola Pizza to family sized pizzas from Home Run Inn and Against the Grain, we have the quick meal for you.

Need gluten free? We have a personal sized pizza with crust entirely made out out of cauliflower by Absolutely Gluten Free.

You can also find a multitude of additional toppings and add-ons all around the store including vegan and traditional Parmesan, pepperoni and every kind of delicious veggie.


Local Vendor Focus: Pogue Mahone Pickles

Featured vendor for the month of June is local pickle producer Pogue Mahone. These delicious crisp local pickles have some pretty cool flavor profiles such as habanero ginger, serrano lime and Texas sweet heat along with traditional styles like bread and butter and garlic dill. All the available varieties of Pogue Mahone can be found at both Wheatsville locations in the refrigerated departments.I had a Q&A with owner Sam Addison and wanted to share it with you.

Chris: How long have you been selling pickles at the farmers market/ Wheatsville?

Sam: We began selling at farmers markets 3 years ago. Wheatsville on Guadalupe was one of our very first retail accounts. I can still remember our very first delivery and pickle sampling event. We were pretty nervous .

Chris: What are some of your favorite things at WV?

Sam: I love the produce and meat departments most of all. I can find the same produce and meats that we buy or trade pickles for at the farmers market which is really great. I do a lot of cooking and Wheatsville gives me a hard location where I can find these local goods any day of the week.

Chris: Which is your favorite flavor of pickle?

Sam: Thats tough, but if i could only have one for the rest of my life it would be our classic Fresh Dill & Garlic flavor. I am eating a lot of our Texas Sweet Heat pickles right now though, they are so perfect with BBQ and burgers.

Chris: Do you have anything new in the works for Pogue Mahone?

Sam: We do indeed. Up until now it has been pretty top secret but here we go... In the coming months we will be using our pickles and brine to make an awesome Dill Pickle Bloody Mary Mix as well as a “Pickled” Whole Grain Mustard.

Chris: What made you decide to do pickles?

Sam: My mom and both grandmothers made pickles while I was growing up and I just really enjoyed the whole process. When we didn’t have homemade pickles around we would buy the Claussen pickles from the cold section of the store. I just always felt that we could do cold pack pickles better than what was available so I dedicated over a decade to perfecting the recipe before offering them to the public. I am happy with where we are right now and look forward to the future of Pogue Mahone Pickles.

More notable info about Pogue Mahone Pickles:

  • Our fresh cucumbers go from vine to pickle jar in under 48 hours. We only hold our pickles for 10 days before selling to give them maximum crunch and deliciousness.
  • We were named winner in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 National Good Food Awards, becoming the only pickle company in America to win three times.
  • You can find our pickles in the cold dairy section of the store.
  • Wheatsville now offers our premium dill pickles by the pound on the Salad Bar for customers looking to buy a lot or just sample them.
  • Pogue Mahone is gaelic for “kiss my arse”. We were given our name by my Irish brother-in-law who said that our pickles (un-named at the time) were the best damned pickles he had ever had and anyone who disagreed could pogue mahone. A name was born.

Cage Free Eggs

Almost all the eggs at the co-op come from both small and large local farms. Our selection includes some unique varieties such as soy free and certified organic, but one thing all our eggs have in common is that they are all cage free. This can mean different things depending on the farmer. Some chickens are out ranging in the fields all day or some run around within a fence around each coop. With many of the local farms, we’ve had the great opportunity to personally go see for ourselves how the farms are run and how happy the chickens are.

Jeremiah Cunninghams Worlds Best Eggs
As this farm first started out, they found that sourcing organic feed was not only expensive but hard to find in Texas. They decided to make their own organic feed right at the farm. Within just a few years they saw that the feed was in much higher demand then their eggs and the feed mill became the main source of income. The feed has done so well that the farm is looking to expand by building an additional organic feed mill in Georgia.

Fruitful Hill Farm
This farm goes beyond free range with the practice of actually moving the chicken coops on a regular basis to ensure a healthy diet of fresh grass and bugs. With wonderfully dark rich yolks, these eggs sell out fast. We get fresh deliveries every Tuesday, right from the farm.

H&J Ranch
This small farm run by Henry and Joan only sell their eggs at their farm and at Wheatsville. We have been selling their eggs since 2007 and we take back their styrofoam egg cartons so that the farmers can wash them and reuse them. Don’t forget to bring back your cartons.

Cage Free Bulk Eggs
Cage free bulk eggs are a relatively new addition to the egg selection at Wheatsville. These eggs are sourced from cage free farms all over Texas from a locally operated food service provider. We get a lot of question about how we can sell these eggs so cheap. Well first of all, a certain amount goes into packaging and labels so when you take that aspect away your are just paying for the egg itself and not the brand. One of the great things about bulk eggs is that sometimes you just need one or two eggs for a recipe and not a whole dozen. Now you can just get how many you need.

Our egg selection is sourced as locally as possible and sometimes, due to the weather conditions, we can’t get enough when the hens aren’t laying as much. Rest assured that we will continue to strive to have an ethical egg selection at all times and are always looking for a stronger connection with our local Texas farmers.


Local Vendor Spotlight: Buddha’s Brew Kombucha

Wheatsville has been carrying Buddha’s Brew locally made organic kombucha since August of 2009. In the beginning, Buddha’s Brew made a few traditional flavors— original, grape and blueberry. Over the years they have developed many new combinations and seasonal offerings such as Peach-Mint, Tangerine Sea Salt and Hop’D.

I had a short Q&A with Kimberley and John-Paxton, the owners of Buddha’s Brew.

How long have you guys been in business? We started at the Farmers Market in 2006 and then we moved to our current commercial kitchen in 2007.

Which is your favorite flavor of kombucha?
My current favorite is Basil Honey Ginger, right now it’s a seasonal but soon it’ll be a regular flavor in our regular jars! My other favorite is Peach-Mint, it’s delicious, the fresh mint and peach pop so well with our kombucha tea. 

What is your favorite thing to purchase at Wheatsville? South Austin People (SoAP), Skull & Cakebones, Happy Hemp, Love Bean and Good Seed are a few examples of our favorite things to get at Wheatsville. Also enjoy just browsing the aisles seeing what’s new, enjoying a sandwich for lunch and checking out other alive foods! 

Why did you start making kombucha? I was introduced to kombucha through a close friend. I began drinking it daily and loved how it made my body feel. Then all of a sudden the national brand changed their recipe as they expanded and I didn’t feel the same after drinking a bottle. It was then I decided to brew my own traditional kombucha. Once my friends had a taste, they kept asking for more and a business was born.
Additional info: Buddha’s Brew Kombucha’s mission is to brew the most probiotically powerful kombucha on Planet Earth and have a blast doing it. With our process each batch is carefully fermented to have an exceptionally high count of traditional kombucha probiotics. Offering kombucha that is both alive and delicious is very important to our entire Buddha’s Brew team! 

Wheatsville is proud to have Buddha’s Brew Kombucha on our shelves and we’re very happy to have a successful relationship with such nice people!


Local Vendor Profile: Mediterranean Chef (Grandma’s Humus)

Nikki Kaya, the chef owner of The Mediterranean LLC, emigrated from Istanbul in 1995 after studying Chemical Engineering and working in both Swiss and American nutritional analysis laboratories. Then she began her career in the food industry, working up to Food Service Director for corporate accounts, while simultaneously enrolled in French culinary education. She now brings authentic Old World Mediterranean cuisine to your table.
Grandma’s Humus has been around Austin about nine years, and for the first three years it was Nikki herself delivering to all the locations around town. As demand grew, she was able to open a restaurant in North Central Austin and expand on her ability to provide excellent Mediterranean cuisine all over town. She doesn’t deliver in person anymore, but she is still one of our favorite people!

When I asked Nikki if she intends to develop more varieties of hummus, she said she does not deviate from Grandma’s original recipe and has no plans to, either. The taste and texture is on point and it pairs perfectly with so many things. One of our favorites is to dip baby carrots in their hummus. The sweet crunch of the carrots is wonderfully enhanced by the smooth, garlicky hummus yum. People who normally won’t eat raw veggies will enjoy eating them with this hummus!

At the restaurant their kitchen is open, so while you eat you can watch them make many gallons of hummus. As well as making delicious food, Mediterranean Chef is also concerned with the environment. They guarantee that everything in the kitchen is recycled, reused, or composted and they make a monthly donation to Ecology Action.

At Wheatsville, we love Mediterranean Chef because they are always willing to participate in promotions and Grandma’s Humus is always one of our top sellers. We are more than happy to feature Grandma’s Humus as one of our Super Awesome One Day Deals during Owner Appreciation Days on Sunday, October 19, when it will be on sale for $3, a $1.99 savings!