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Produce News

Wheatsville wants to provide you the opportunity to eat a ‘rainbow on every plate’ for every meal. Well, this is where the rainbow begins. On any given day we have about 80% organic products but this department changes every single day. We source primarily from local distributors and farmers so when the crop is ready - they bring it in. You can see the constant stream of fresh goodness coming through our back door. Heck, you’ve probably had to pull around their truck looking for a parking spot.

Once those fresh vegetables come in, we carefully prep them so that not only do they look good on the shelf but they last longer in your fridge. We only buy fruits and vegetables that are seasonal. That means you’re not going to find watermelons in the winter. And we are constantly looking for ways to support local food cultivation. Now that we think about it, maybe our produce is the end of the rainbow!

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes

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.



Winter Squash Guide

It’s that time of the year, once the weather starts getting a little cooler, or at least out of the 100s here in Texas, that our winter squash season begins. They come in many shapes, sizes and varieties, too many to mention here. They also have many uses, from being used as decorations, to being  made into soups, pies, used as a pasta substitute or just roasted as a side dish.

  •  Acorn  Mild, slightly nutty flavor.
  •  Butternut  Very sweet flavor, a crowd favorite. 
  •  Spaghetti  No it doesn’t taste like pasta, but it’s very mild flavor and stringy texture makes it an excellent substitute for spaghetti.
  •  Delicata  Sweet nutty flavor that has a hint of corn.
  •  Kabocha Much like Acorn, sweet slightly nutty taste.
  •  Pie Pumpkins  Sweet flavorful, best squash to use to make pumpkin pies.

When picking your squash, try to find one that feels heavy for its size, and still has a nice stem attached. Stay away from squash that have any soft or moldy areas on the outer flesh.
If you are not going to use your squash right away store them in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight; the bottom of your pantry would be best in most homes.

Here’s a recipe for Walnut Cranberry stuffed Acorn squash that we will be selling in our produce departments. If you don’t have the time to prep these, come by and pick some up and just stick them into your ovens at home.

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 1 cup roughly chopped Walnuts
  • 1 cup dried or fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 to ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Honey (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°
2. Cut squash in half, try to make halves even as possible.
3. Place cut side up on baking dish.
4. In a large bowl combine all ingredients with a drizzle of honey if desired.
5. Divide mixture into all halves evenly.
5. Top each half with a tablespoon of butter
6. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes or until fork tender.
7. Remove and serve.

Easy Winter Squash Cooking Techniques

Squash is super easy to cook, delicious, and good for you, too! Pair with nuts, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, bacon, cheese, pretty much everything!

Roast It!

Squash is easy and delicious when roasted in the oven.

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces
  • Put squash in a pan or oven-safe skillet
  • Toss with a little olive oil.  You could add some herbs, spices, salt, pepper, etc
  • Throw it in the oven! Check for doneness by poking with a fork.  Use your nose and ears, too!  The kitchen should smell like nicely cooked veggies

Steam It!

  • Fill the bottom of a large pot with about 1” water. Insert your steaming basket. The water level should be below the steamer basket.
  • Heat water to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces. Put them into the steamer basket and cover the pot.
  • Test for doneness by poking with a fork. It should take about 30 minutes.

Squash Guide

Acorn Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Tender-firm, holds up when cooked. Versatile, mild flavor

USES: Baking, stuffing, mashing.

Butternut Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Sweet and slightly nutty.  Smooth texture, falls apart when cooked.
USES: Soups, purees, pies.

Butterkin Squash

Sweet, buttery, and creamy.

Baking, roasting, and steaming.

Carnival Squash

Sweet, nutty, and buttery with a texture similar to sweet potatoes.

Best roasted, but can be steamed or pureed.

Delicata Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, sweet; tastes like chestnuts, corn, and sweet potatoes. Edible skin.
USES: Sauté, bake, broil.

Hubbard Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Yellow flesh is moist.
USES: Generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut up small and steamed or sautéed: longer time baking in the oven is needed. Perfect for pies.

Kabocha Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Similar in sweetness and texture to a sweet  potato.
USES: Soups, curries, stir fry, salads.

Pie Pumpkin

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Mildly sweet. Creamy, rich texture
USES: Pies, custards, baked goods, curries, stews.

Red Kuri Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Chestnut-like flavor, mildly sweet. Dense texture holds up shape when cooked.
USES: soups, pilafs and gratins, baked goods, curries.

Spaghetti Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Stringy, spaghetti-like strands.  Not very sweet with a mild, versatile flavor.
USES: Baked and the strands separated, then mixed with tomato sauce, pesto, or your favorite pasta topping.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, honey sweet flavor. Dry, starchy flesh similar to a potato.
USES: Baking with cinnamon and butter


Local Vendor Spotlight: Johnson’s Backyard Garden

As part of Wheatsville’s BIG Direction, we work to grow relationships with local farmers, creating good local jobs and providing more local, sustainably grown food for our shoppers with the end result a happier, healthier Austin. One of our key partners in this endeavor is Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Owner Brenton Johnson started this farm in his tiny Holly Street backyard back in 2004. Now the farm sits on 186 acres just east of downtown right along the Colorado River. JBG vegetables are 100% organic, meaning no toxic compounds for you or your family.   During the height of the growing season, literally dozens of vegetables from JBG are available at Wheatsville seven days a week: sweet carrots, deep green heads of broccoli, bundles of greens of all kinds, beautiful, glossy zucchini and mounds of root vegetables are a treat for the eye and the taste buds. You can even pickup your CSA share at either of the Wheatsville locations, making a one-stop shopping experience. 

1. Why did you decide to farm in Austin?

I didn’t really decide to farm in Austin... it kind of happened by accident! While working for the government in Wyoming, I came to Austin on a business trip and immediately feel in love with the culture. When I was looking for a place to move, Austin seemed like the great fit! I moved to Austin, and so naturally my hobby moved with me--gardening. When I moved into a house on Holly Street, I started a garden and slowly started bringing my produce to the Downtown Farmers’ market to make a few extra bucks. This hobby got a little out of control, and over the course of a few years, gardening turned into farming, and our CSA was born.

2. What new produce items are you growing or planning to grow?

We love to try and grow new varieties.. it helps keep things interesting around here! This year, we planted over 100 pecan trees at the farm, over 100 Asian persimmons, as well as a lot of pears, figs, and pomegranates.We also planted some Muscadines– a grape variety that is native to the Southern U.S. In the Southeast (where I’m from), Muscadines are used to make wine, preserves, and even fresh juice. Because they’re a native species, they are really resilient and pest resistant. This year we also planted lots of new pepper varieties. This past summer season, we also tried a lot of new tomato varieties (and planted over 50,000 plants!), many of which made their way onto the Wheatsville shelves as well as the deli. We had a lot of success with some of the new cherry and slicing tomato varieties we tried out, and they will make their way into our crop plans for years to come.

3. What is your favorite produce that is in season in October?

Some of my October favorites include sweet potatoes, collards, okra, hot peppers.. maybe you can see a theme? I really like all the produce that lends itself well to Southern cooking. Right now, I’m battling a hot pepper addiction. This year, we went a little crazy with peppers and planted a ton of new varieties, many of which are Arc of Taste varieties that Slow Food International is working to promote and preserve for future generations. Some of these include Hinklehatz, Cherry Bomb, Beaver Dam, Jimmy Nardello (Anaheim), Wenk’s Yellow Hot, Sheepnose Pimento, and Texas Bird’s Eye Pequin. 

4. What are your biggest crops?

Our biggest crops are kale and carrots.

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

This is a hard one! We love Wheatsville for so many reasons, all stemming from the fact that you guys are one of our best customers. Your commitment to buying locally is like a huge hug from the Austin community—even in the hardest seasons, we know that you guys will be there to buy our produce and help get seasonal produce into hungry Austin mouths. We love that you guys are able to provide such a unique grocery-store experience on the store-front side (with amazing customer service), and then also provide such an enjoyable experience working with your produce buyers from the “back-end”. You are always willing to listen to our needs as farmers, and are always there as a reliable outlet for our produce--even helping us push produce that isn’t the most popular. We love that when we make deliveries or even stop in the store as customers, we always end up getting to sample fresh fruit. We also love that local agriculture makes the list of local causes you guys support (like your support of Farmshare Austin).. you truly put your money where your mouth is, and are constantly giving back to the Austin community. Last but certainly not least, we love that you guys host a CSA Pickup for us on Thursdays and Fridays.

Thanks to Ada Broussard, JBG’s CSA and Marketing Manager, who facilitated getting answers to our questions. Photos by David Scott Gordon.


Pear Guide

Green D’Anjou

Flavor: Sweetly mellow
Texture: smooth and juicy
Uses: eating out of hand, baking, poaching, and roasting

Red D’anjou

Flavor: Sweeter than a green D’anjou, mellow flavor
Texture: Smooth and juicy
Uses: Eating out of hand, baking, poaching, and roasting


Flavor: Sweet and mild with subtle citrus notes
Texture: When ripe (bright yellow color), smooth and extremely juicy
Uses: Ripe – Eating out of hand
Slightly green: pureeing, baking, or canning

Red Bartlett

Flavor: Really flavorful and sweet when ripe
Texture: Smooth and juicy
Uses: Ripe: Eating out of hand,
Slightly green: pureeing, baking, or canning


Flavor: Bold, with an earthy sweetness
Texture: Frm and crisp
Uses: Best for poaching and baking; also good eating out of hand


Flavor: Sweet with a hint of vanilla
Texture: Firm but not crisp texture
Uses: Baking, poaching, salads (doesn’t brown as quickly), Eating out of hand


Flavor: Mild and earthy
Texture: Smooth and luscious
Uses: Eating out of hand, poaching, pairing with cheese


Flavor: Mild and sweet, with a subtle floral aroma
Texture: Smooth and juicy
Uses: Eating out of hand, baked


Flavor: Sweet and juicy
Texture: Smooth and crisp
Uses: Eating out of hand, salads, poaching, baked


Apple Guide

As a shopper entering the produce aisle, you are hit with a staggering variety of colors, shapes, and sizes; it really is a beautiful thing. We are very fortunate, as variety is such a wonderful privilege to have. The majority of folks have a good idea of what they like and what they are looking for when they shop. In the spirit of fun and adventure, we have developed an apple guide to help usher you through some of the more common and popular varieties we carry at Wheatsville. You can match your preferences and needs with a different variety than your regular “go to” apple. Here they are in deliberately unbiased alphabetical order:


Color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. Tart/sweet flavor, with a hard/crisp texture. Great for snacking and baking.


This variety was introduced to the U.S. from Japan in the 1980s; currently, the U.S. produces more of this extremely popular apple. Fuji’s have a very sweet flavor with a hard/crisp texture. Excellent for snacking, baking, and salads.


Pinkish-orange stripes over a yellow background. Gala’s are sweet, with a delicate crisp texture. These have been one of the most popular apples at Wheatsville, and are primarily used for snacking and salads.


Golden color with a pinky blush. The flavor is sweet with subtle spicy notes and the texture is soft. They are great for baking or in salads.

Golden Delicious

Considered an all-purpose apple. Mellow sweet flavor with a delicate crispness. Great for snacking and baking. Really good for salads, as their flesh stays white longer than other apples.

Granny Smith

Green skin, with a really tart flavor. They have a hard/crisp texture. Great for salads and snacking. The apple for most pie bakers.


A relatively new and wildly popular apple; people frequently ask for these by name at the beginning of apple season. Excellent crisp texture with a juicy and sweet flavor. These are not as commonly cultivated as other apples (supply is lower but the demand is really high), which translates into a higher price.


These classic apples are deep red with a burst of golden/green around the stem and dappled gold "sparks". They are sweet/tart, crisp and juicy. Great for juicing and for snacking.

Pink Lady

Vibrantly colored pink skin. Firm and crisp flesh, with a fantastic tangy/tart flavor. These are my favorite apple for snacking. They also hold up really well when baked.

Of course, throughout the season we have other apple varieties (ambrosia, Jonagold, etc.) available, but this should be a good start at broadening your apple horizons. As always, please ask your friendly produce clerk for recommendations and samples.

Apple Recipes

Spiced Apple Bundt Cake

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes; 20 minutes active. Servings: 12

This nutty apple cake is perfect topped with a maple syrup glaze, too.

Pecan Filling Ingredients

1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp cinnamon

Cake Batter Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and diced tart apples


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 1. To make the pecan filling, mix together the pecans, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  • For the cake batter, whisk together the flours, sugars, salt, baking soda and spices in large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Fold in the diced apples.
  • 2. Grease the Bundt pan, spoon half the batter into the bottom of the pan, sprinkle evenly with the pecan filling and top with the remaining batter. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness and continue baking if needed. Let the cake cool in the pan before turning it out
  • Serving Suggestion

Perfect for a casual gathering, this cake is extra-special when glazed. Just mix together 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon each of maple syrup and apple juice (or milk) and drizzle it over the cooled cake. Top with chopped pecans if desired.

Gingered Beet and Apple Salad

Total Time: 30 minutes.  Servings: 6

A great recipe for beet fans and beet hesitaters alike.


1 pound beets, peeled
1 apple (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 pound carrots, peeled
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 Tbs apple cider
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Using the shredding blade of a food processor or a grater, shred the beets, apple, and carrots. Mix well with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate to let the flavors blend.
2. Try using other varieties of beets, like golden or chiogga beets,for an even more colorful salad.

Serving Suggestion

Pair this sweet vegetable slaw with salty or spicy dishes flavored with miso or tamari, or serve as a side to hot-and-sour soup or pork.


Driscoll Berries

UPDATE 9/9/16:

As of this week , Familias Unidas por La Justica has officially agreed to an election and negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement with Sakuma Bros Berry Farm and have called for an end of the boycott, and all boycott activities.

Here is the official statement:

Dear Supporters,

As of today we have officially agreed to an election and negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement with Sakuma Bros Berry Farm. Thanks to your tireless efforts we are entering into this next phase of our union’s development with hope and determination. At this time we are calling for an end of the boycott, and all boycott activities. Out of respect for the process and our memorandum of understanding with the company please do not contact past, present or potential customers, purchasers, sellers or users of products coming from Sakuma Bros Berry Farm to convey criticism of any and all aspects of Sakuma’s business and operations.

Please stay tuned at the Familias Unidas por La Justica Facebook page for updates.

Thank you,
Ramon Torres
Felimon Pineda

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