Got milk? How about local, organic, low temp pasteurized milk from a co-op? How about local eggs, yogurts and kombucha (we’ve even got one named after us). If you eat vegan, gluten free or any alternative diet you will come to think of this department as heaven. Here you’ll find local tempeh, tofu, and veggie burgers. There is bulk tofu, alternative meats, gluten free bread, even ready-to-bake vegan cookie dough.
Take your time in our frozen aisle – this is where some of the best deals are. It’s a great way to stock you freezer with local, organic, co-op products. We don’t have a ton of space so you know this is as well-vetted a selection that you will find anywhere in town. We stock this section based on your feedback so you can be sure this is the best there is to offer. It’s also a great place to experiment with gluten free breads, Tiny Pies or alternative ice creams.
Many thanks to Siete Family Foods founder, Veronica Garza for answering our questions about their business.
1. Why did you start Siete Family Foods?
Siete was formed when my family and I embarked on a health journey that included exercising together and adopting a low-inflammation, grain free diet, to help alleviate the autoimmune conditions I had been experiencing. As a Mexican-American, I grew up eating tortillas on a daily basis, and I have many wonderful memories of visiting my grandmother, always being welcomed with a batch of homemade flour tortillas. Eating gluten free and grain free meant that all tortillas were literally off the table for my family and me. While this may seem trivial, it wasn’t for us. In a way it felt like we were excluded from a part of our culture that we loved, being able to partake in delicious Mexican food. To fill this “tortilla void,” I experimented in the kitchen and developed a tortilla that we could eat. Over the next few years I modified the recipe numerous times, producing the first product we put to market, a grain free, gluten free, almond flour tortilla. I made them on weekends for many years, sharing them with my family and friends. In 2014 my family and I decided that we wanted to share our tortillas with more people outside of our circle of family and friends, so we found a buyer (Wheatsville!) for our products and started a business.
2. What makes your chips and tortillas different from others on the market?
We make grain free Mexican-American food, utilizing nutrient dense, real food ingredients as much as possible. Our tortillas are currently made with ingredients such as almonds, coconut flour, cassava, chia seeds, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Our tortilla chips are made with cassava and coconut flour and cooked in avocado oil. All of our products have been created because they filled a void either in our own diets or for our core consumers. We sell products that we love to eat and hope that our customers feel the same way.
3. Are Siete Tortillas and Chips vegan? Non-GMO? paleo-friendly?
At Siete we try to make products that are as inclusive as possible. We’ve designed our products to allow people with a variety of diets, dietary restrictions, and backgrounds to gather around the table to enjoy Mexican-American foods. Currently, all of our products are gluten free, grain free, vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly and verified by the non-GMO Project.
4. How do you choose your ingredients?
With all of our products, taste and quality are paramount. We care about what we put in our bodies and, because of that, we’ve gone to great lengths to scrutinize and carefully select every ingredient that goes into our products. I personally oversee all of our product development and spend the majority of my time testing the perfect combination of ingredients and finding the best partners to source ingredients from, all to offer our customers products we can be extremely proud of.
5. Can you tell us the story about Siete getting started with Wheatsville?
After years of making an almond flour tortilla for friends and family out of my kitchen in Laredo, Texas, we decided to turn a recipe into a business. In 2014, I made a batch of tortillas, put them in a ziplock bag, and drive from Laredo to Austin to approach the buyer at Wheatsville Food Co-op. The grocery buyer loved them and asked how soon they could start selling them. We had no business, no brand name, and no idea how to start a food business. My mother, brother (Miguel), and I joined forces and within a couple of months had our first product on the shelves. We started off by renting space at a commercial kitchen in Austin, driving up from Laredo every weekend to make tortillas by hand and then deliver them to Wheatsville. Since then the rest of my family members have come onboard to help move Siete along on its mission to becoming a healthy Mexican American food brand.
6. What’s is your favorite thing about Wheatsville?
Before starting Siete Family Foods we had zero experience in the food industry. Wheatsville was instrumental in helping us get our start. Knowing we were just getting started as a business, the buyer provided guidance on many of the steps we had to take to get our products on the shelf. We love the warm, welcoming feel we get when walking into Wheatsville as customers and now as vendors/partners that have the privilege of selling our products to their customers.
Total Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 12 (12 latkes)
This tasty latke variation can be enjoyed with applesauce, chipotle sour cream, horseradish sauce, smoked fish and more!
2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
1 cup shredded parsnips
3 scallions, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1⁄3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 cup apple, peeled and minced
Peel the sweet potato and parsnip and shred using a grater or food processor. Wrap the shredded sweet potato and parsnip in a few paper towels and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
In a large bowl, mix the sweet potato and parsnip with the scallions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom and come up the sides at least a quarter of an inch. When the oil is hot, scoop about 1/4 cup of latke mixture into the pan and slightly flatten. Repeat until the pan is full but not crowded. Brown the latkes on each side 3-4 minutes.
Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels when done. While the latkes are cooking, stir together the sour cream and minced apple.
Serve the apple sour cream on top of the warm latkes.
Bulk & Chill Coordinator Chris Moore interviews Rhianna Miller of Mill-King
How long has Mill-King been a dairy farm; has the farm always been in the family?
Our family, the Millers, have owned and operated a dairy since 1941. Today’s operation is owned by Billy Miller (2nd generation) and Craig Miller (3rd generation). In 1941 Arnold and Minnie Miller moved into the Crawford area and started milking cows. They would sell the milk and cream at the farm or at the small general store in Crawford. Their small dairy that grew over time, and they then began selling their milk to a co-op as that became a more popular model of selling milk for dairy farmers.
Their son, Billy Miller, worked with his father on the farm, and later bought out his father out of the farm when his father retired. Billy and his wife, Shorty, operated the dairy on the family’s home place for many years. They grew the size of the dairy and also bought more land in the area. In 1993, they built a new dairy facility about a mile from the home place.
In 2004 Craig, Billy and Shorty’s youngest son, came home after graduating college to work on the family farm. Craig’s wife, Rhianna, began working for the family farm in 2008. In 2010, it was apparent that continuing to dairy in a conventional manner was not a viable option for the farm. The family started to explore alternative dairy options.
Spurred by Rhianna’s allergy to milk, the family looked at making raw milk cheese and selling raw milk. From that the family farm began to change. All of our practices changed to promote an unadulterated dairy product. We are passionate about our cows and getting their natural, wholesome milk to consumers.
How long have you been on the shelves at Wheatsville and what are some of your favorite products at the co-op?
We have been on the shelves in Wheatsville since 2012. We love the cheese department and we love getting to try all of the other local farmers cheese. My second favorite department is produce. We love being able to get the freshest produce from our fellow local farmers. Nothing tastes better than veggies straight out of the field, and the Wheatsville produce department never disappoints.
Are there other local vendors that use your milk in their products? If so who are they?
We are proud to have so many local vendors that use our milk. We make a base for Lick Ice Cream with our milk and cream. There are numerous coffee shops that use our milk like Houndstooth, Caffe Medici, and Cuvee. Numerous restaurants in Austin like Barley Swine, Elizabeth Street Cafe, and Bouldin Creek Cafe. Local frozen artisans like Spun Ice Cream also use Mill-King.
Do you have anything new coming out?
We are working on a yogurt that should come out later in 2017.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share with our patrons?
We love making mac and cheese with a variety of cheeses and fresh veggies thrown in.
Seasonal Mac and Cheese
5-6 oz bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 Cup flour
2 1/2 Cups Mill-King Whole Milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp ground mustard
ground black pepper to taste
8 oz grated cheese (our favorite is Brazos Valley Gouda and White Cheddar)
Your favorite seasonal veggies. (for example spinach, varieties of squash, artichoke, asparagus, peas, etc)
- Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Drain well and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter until melted with the garlic and onions. Add in mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- To make the cheese sauce, add the butter to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden and fragrant but not burned, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken. Whisk in the salt, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cheese until completely melted and smooth. (If necessary, you can return the pan to low heat to melt the cheeses.) Return the drained pasta to the pot.
- Mix in the cooked bacon and mushrooms, the cheese sauce and the seasonal veggies. (If necessary partly steam veggies) Stir everything together gently until well combined. Spread the mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish.
- Bake for 15-2o minutes or until the top is light golden and the cheese is bubbling. Serve warm and top with reserved cooked bacon pieces, if desired.
Photos by Jo Ann Santangelo
Vital Farm Folks Interview by Chris Moore, Chill & Bulk Coordinator
How long has Vital Farms been farming, and what sets your standards apart from other farmers’?
Vital Farms was started in 2007 by our founder Matt O’Hayer and his wife, Catherine. They purchased a small farm in South Austin and began tending a flock of 20 hens, believing that there was a better way to produce eggs, sustainably and humanely. As the company grew, we began working together with small family farms to pioneer the Pasture-Raised standard here in the US, providing a minimum of 108 sq ft of green, organically maintained pasture for each and every hen. We’ve been Certified Humane since 2010, and even helped Humane Farm Animal Care develop the Pasture-Raised standard for egg laying hens.
How long has Vital Farms been on Wheatsville’s shelves?
Wheatsville Food Co-op was one of our very first retail partners here in Austin. Our partnership goes way back to 2008, and is very special to us. We are grateful to Wheatsville for believing in our mission early on.
Vital Farms produce different types of eggs. Is there one that is better than the rest? What makes them all different?
Pasture-Raised is the gold standard for eggs, and all of the eggs we produce reflects our passion for treating our hens humanely and bringing the very best eggs to market. Every single one of our hens are Certified Humane, Raised and Handled, and enjoy a standard of living that we believe all hens should have. They go outside every single day, and enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and 108 sq ft of green pasture each to roam and forage. The only difference in our organic brand and non-organic brand is in the supplemental feed we give our girls, to keep them healthy.
Vital farms has recently started to produce butter, what made you go in that direction?
We launched our butter in late 2015. We wanted to extend our Pasture-Raised farming standard to our other favorite Girls on Grass: cows!
What do you like most about Wheatsville Food Co-op?
Wheatsville is a great place to discover something new. There are so many great and innovative products coming out from mission-driven food companies that want to change the way we produce and consume food. We find ourselves in very good company at the co-op!
Is there anything new in the works at Vital Farms?
We’re always working on leading pasture-raised. We’ve got lots of exciting things in the works that we can’t wait to introduce to the world. Follow our Facebook and Instagram for the latest!
Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with our patrons?
Our Baked Eggs with Fine Herbs was recently featured in the Vital Times, our mini newsletter that is included with every carton of our eggs. It’s absolutely delicious, very easy to make, and takes no time at all! You can also find our other great recipes on our website: www.vitalfarms.com/recipes
Baked Eggs with Fine Herbs
3 Large Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Eggs
½ TBS Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Unsalted Butter
1 TBS Heavy Cream
1 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ TBS Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Finely chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped Sage
1 tsp chopped Rosemary
1 tsp chopped Thyme
salt and pepper to taste
• Set oven to Broil, and let heat for about 5 minutes. Place rack no higher than 6 inches from the burner.
• Take a shallow gratin dish, and place 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream in the dish. Place in oven and heat until the cream and butter start bubbling, about 5 minutes.
• Mix chopped herbs, garlic, and grated parmesan cheese together and set aside.
• Crack 3 eggs carefully into a small bowl, taking care not to puncture the yolk.
• Once the cream and butter are bubbling hot, remove the gratin dish from the oven and set on a trivet. Pour the eggs into the gratin dish and sprinkle with the herbed parmesan mixture until well covered. Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally all over.
• Place gratin dish back in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes. The dish should be done when the edges of the gratin and the garlic from the herb mixture are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 1-2 minutes, to cool and set the eggs.
• Enjoy with a slice of baguette or your favorite bread.
For more information about Vital Farms: http://www.vitalfarms.com
What was the origin of Kosmic Kombucha
Kosmic Kombucha is lovingly brewed in the heart of Austin by Omar and Mina Rios, who made their separate ways to UT back in the ’90s. Omar studied business administration and came from El Paso. Mina traveled even further to earn her degrees in education, as she hails from Maracaibo, Venezuela. After college, Mina pursued a career in math education, and Omar served as a paramedic. Thanks to their shared passion for yoga, it wasn’t long before the yoga community of Austin introduced them to kombucha. For years, they purchased home-brewed booch from a fellow yogi. When she decided not to brew her own tea anymore, Omar and Mina jumped in to fill the void—and in the summer of 2010, Kosmic Kombucha was born.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea with a rich history that began in China, where it has been celebrated for millennia as an “immortal health elixir.” The heart and soul of this living drink is a layered culture of yeast and bacteria (called the scoby) that grows on top of the tea throughout the fermentation process. After a short period, fermentation yields raw kombucha, a lightly effervescent tea with unmistakable notes of vinegar. The flavor of raw kombucha can range from tart to sweet—based on the amount of sugar fed to the culture, the duration of the fermentation process, and other factors that are tremendously interesting to those who brew the beverage and tremendously dull to those who simply enjoy it. The key takeaway for people who want to know what they’re putting into their bodies, however, is that raw kombucha is made with nothing but tea, water, sugar, and the all-important scoby.
Is kombucha good for you?
Skeptics doubt that kombucha is an “immortal health elixir” because it’s tough to find people who are celebrating their two thousandth birthdays. Okay, so maybe “immortal” is a bit hyperbolic. Nevertheless, kombucha contains beneficial acids, probiotics, antioxidants, and amino acids. Kombucha is claimed to promote digestive health, support liver function, and alkalize the body. Some proponents of the drink even believe that it may help fend off cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases, but you don’t have to verify any of the more grandiose claims to feel refreshed by a glass of kombucha after a bike ride or a long walk.
How are the flavors developed?
As Kosmic’s brewmistress, Mina goes through meticulous testing (and tasting!) procedures when developing new flavors with a variety of fresh, organic, and delicious ingredients. To help us celebrate our 40th birthday last year, Kosmic developed an exclusive flavor just for Wheatsville. It’s called “Wheatsville’s Pear of the Dog” and it’s got a prickly pear Mexican martini flavor that was named and flavor tested by the Wheatsville staff. With its beautiful dark pink color and refreshing flavor it’s a staff favorite!
photos by Kelly Stevens
We’ve been carrying Bola Pizza here at Wheatsville since July 2012. Jamie Bowers, co-owner of Bola Pizza with her partner Christian Bowers, talked to us about their business.
1. What inspired you to make pizza and how long did it take for your business to take off?
We started having pizza parties at our house when our friends started getting married and having kids. It was a good way to get people together. It was even more fun when Christian started inviting some food bloggers he knew. We were invited to do the Green Corn Project Fall Festival that year (2010) and that was our real start. We were invited to the Susutainable Food Center’s Downtown farmers market and started catering. Frozen pizzas were launched by persistent customer demand—thank you for the persistence!!! We weren’t sure about doing a frozen pizza at first because they’re not known to be very good. The frozen pizzas are still in the process of taking off. We are a super small company, but growing every year. This is probably the first year frozen pizzas are self sustaining.
2. What are some of your favorite things at Wheatsville?
We love the range of local products, especially eggs, cheese, fresh produce. I love to look through the personal and household sections. Wheatsville always has so many unique and beautiful things. I’m also addicted to the southern fried tofu!
3. Do you have anything new in the works that you would like to share with our patrons?
We are working on developing two new pizza flavors. We have also had requests for a frozen or refrigerated bread product that we are testing.
4. What is behind the name Bola and is there a story?
I got my first dog, Bola, from the Williamson county shelter when I was 19. I like to say we grew up together. I started making pizzas around the same time. Later, when I was in school at UT, I hosted pizza parties. My friends spoiled him feeding him the crusts (aka pizza bones). Years passed, then Christian and I decided to relaunch the pizza parties at our house. We used his special dough recipe and Bola was just as spoiled by our guests. Bola loved his pizza crusts and all the attention he would get at parties. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the founding of our pizza business, so we named it after him.
5. Is there is anything else you’’d like to share with our owners?
Christian came up with our three day cold fermented dough recipe because it tastes so good. I learned later from a nutritionist that it’s also very good for you. As the structure of the dough is developing, it is are also breaking down the gluten in the flour. So it’s much lower in gluten than a standard bread or pizza crust. The process also starts to break down the flour itself which allows your body to process the protein in it. Not being able to digest the wheat protein is what causes gluten intolerance. Flour quality is a big issue as well. We use King Arthur which has no bleach, no bromate and is non-GMO. King Arthur farmers are not allowed to spray Round Up on their crops as is standard practice with most of the wheat industry. We are committed to using the highest quality ingredients. Our other suppliers are: Andrew & Everett, Bel Gioso, Applegate, Niman Ranch, Kitchen Pride and organic crushed tomatoes from California.