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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!

LET US MAKE YOU A MEAL

As your schedule fills up and time becomes harder and harder to come by, let the co-op help! We’ve got loads of great options for meals on the go or low-prep meal solutions you can make at home in 30 minutes or less.

QUICK TO FIX
Who’s got time to marinate? We do! Flick on the burner and get cooking without the wait! Our butchers make all of our sausages, mixed burgers, marinades, and rubs right here in house. Packed in Fresh Seal vacuum-packs, these high quality proteins are perfect for a busy weeknight. Always humanely raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and sustainably caught. Just look for the GREEN Quick to Fix label in the Meat Department

HOT FOOD
HOT ROASTED Garlic Rosemary Chickens now available at both stores. Our chickens are fresh out of the oven all day long and are perfect for weeknight dinners - with leftovers! Always humanely raised and antibiotic-free. Pair with a hot side of organic brown rice and black beans for just $1.99, a green crunchy salad, or make your own mix with a rotating selection from our Hot Bar and Salad Bar.

READY to COOK VEGGIES
We’ve trimmed, chopped, dressed, and mixed a variety of fresh veggies (mostly organic) that just need a quick sauté or roasting in the oven. SO EASY! From seasoned cauliflower steaks, stir-fry mixes, or our own kale salad blend – we’ve got your veggies covered. Or, find a variety of pre-bagged one bowl wonders - salad mixes and slaws with dressing, or even snack boxes that include a choice of protein! DONE!

LUNCH TO GO
Order custom sandwiches and smoothies online, pay online, and just run in and pick-up with no wait at BOTH STORES! If you’ve only got 30 minutes – we’ll make sure you’re in and out in a hurry with just what you need.

SHOP ONLINE
You can also skip the whole store and order groceries online with Instacart! Perfect for hectic weeks at the office or home. Do you have an office fridge that needs to get stocked out with stuff you love? Instacart is the way to do it!

$5 DINNER THURSDAY
Join us for $5 DINNER EVERY THURSDAY 5-8pm / BOTH STORES. Our weekly menu always has a vegan and omnivore option - but on occasion we also have gluten-free nights! Fill up your plate or box and enjoy a meal on our patio or take it to go! Both patios now feature mister fans to help keep you cool in the summer AND we have a great selection of games perfect for every age.

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Local Farmer of the Month: Buena Tierra Farm

Steve Kramer and Carey Burkett have been farming for 23 years. For 15 years they’ve been farming  100 acres of fertile, high-iron, red sandy loam near Fredonia, Texas about 107 miles west of Austin.

A jack-of-all-trades, Steve taught himself how to farm. He and Carey incorporate their Do-It-Yourself spirit and solid values into everything they do on their land. They take great pride in the quality of the produce they provide for the community and it shows.

  • In April Buena Tierra Farms will be bringing spring items such as
  • Lacinato and Green Curly Kale
  • Red and Green Leaf Lettuces
  • Zucchini and Yellow Squash
  • Bunched Basil

We are proud to share the fruits of their labor with Wheatsville shoppers. Buena Tierra Farm is our favorite example of what hard work, integrity, and honesty can do for the local food community. Wheatsville Produce Coordinator Elias Valerio appreciates that Buena Tierra will not ship unless the produce is superior quality.

Brand Manager, Raquel Dadomo, shares her favorite uses of Buena Tierra Basil:

I am a huge fan of basil in general, but the Buena Tierra Basil is really extraordinary. Fresh, local and organic, it is lovingly hand bunched and ready to make you and your favorite basil recipe extremely happy.

The classic combo of basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella is a personal favorite of mine. I love to make cute little appetizer stacks of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella drizzled with a flavorful cold-pressed olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

If I'm wanting something more substantial, I'll go with a grilled caprese sandwich on a fabulous Wheatsville Bakehouse Baguette. I lightly chop the basil and add some fresh garlic, olive oil and sea salt then just layer in with tomato and mozzarella slices and into the grilling pan. Both of these quick recipes are super easy, super delicious and super snazzy.

Be sure to check out the Buena Tierra Basil next time you stop by for a visit. Lift the lid on the Buena Tierra basil container and unleash an avalanche of deep rich basil aroma. It is the best. You and your stomach will be glad you did

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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.

Ingredients:
  • 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

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, buttery, and creamy.

USES:
Baking, roasting, and steaming.

Carnival Squash

FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, nutty, and buttery with a texture similar to sweet potatoes.

USES:
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

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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.

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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




Bartlett

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




Bosc

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








Concorde

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





Comice

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





Starkrimson

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




Tosca

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

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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
FUJ

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