We Love Your Dogs, Too!

Last Sunday (8/28), we had our annual Dog Days of Summer event – and it was a hit! We asked some of you to tell us about how important your dogs are to you.  The responses were sweet reminders of the critical roles dogs play in our lives. Here at HOPE Farmers Market we like to find ways to bring the community together by putting things we have in common in the spotlight and celebrating what we love – this time it was our pups!

We asked those who brought their dogs along to share the following: 1) A specific time in their life when their dogs helped them, 2) How their dogs provided support, and 3) What about their dogs they were most grateful for. Some responses got pretty personal, so we’ve summarized them and kept them anonymous.

1) IMG_2721  For many, their canine friend is their protector, and “he/she is always there for me.” When we are lonely, sad, or going through though times, they are there. One person even said, “she knew something was wrong and helped me,” referring to a time in her life when she was battling depression. For another, his dog played an important role in helping him through divorce and said his dog, “makes me feel useful and gives me good energy.” Dogs also serve as motivation and inspiration. Some expressed that their pet gets them out of the house, keeps them healthy, and helps them be more active. “He makes me laugh and I want to be like my dog,” said another. At times when we can’t help ourselves, dogs are there as inspiration and motivation. For most of us, its a daily thing – “she is a constant stream of help everyday.”

2) Dogs support us in many ways, most of them simple. “He loves me,” one dog owner said. “She hangs out next to me,” said another. Our dogs don’t judge us and they love us unconditionally. Many appreciate the comfort and companionship pets provide, and for others it’s actual physical support that matters a lot too. “I had to take care of her, so she IMG_2740gave me a sense of purpose.” Having a sense of purpose because of their dogs was something several dog owners expressed. “She gives me attention and makes me feel happy,” said another. A woman told us her dog knew she was pregnant! Whether it’s having someone to cuddle with or just someone to hang out with, our dogs support us like no other.

3) The HOPE community was most grateful for what we value most in each other as people too. “She is my friend no matter what,” and “Simply her existence,” were some responses. One man said he was most grateful for the protection his dog provided during an attempted robbery. Another said her dog is funny and she appreciates that the most. And we can really relate to this one – “I am most grateful for her cuddles!”

There is no question why we say dogs are our best friends. Celebrating them together brings us together! Thank you to everyone who participated. When we share what we love, that love only grows.

What other parts of your life would you like to celebrate with the community? Leave a comment or let us know on our social media. The coming weeks will be filled with more events to help us grow together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wunder­ful Brewings Over At Wunder­-Pilz Kombucha

Have you been by Wunder-Pilz for some of Austin’s finest kombucha? If not, you’re definitely going to want to stop by for some this coming weekend! Come and say hello to Bill Nadalini, Dallas native turned Austinite, and founder of Wunder-Pilz. I caught up with Bill at HOPE FM recently and he turned out to be a plethora of information on the trendy beverage that everyone in Austin seems to love.

If you’re from Massachusetts like the handsome young devil writing this blog post, you may be thinking to yourself: Kombucha? What is that? Sounds sorta Asian. If so, you’re partially correct! Kombucha is actually a misappropriation of two Japanese words, says Bill. Kombu, which translates to sea kelp, and cha, meaning tea. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been fortunate enough in my twenty-four years of life to never have come across a sea-kelp flavored drink (Sorry if you haven’t been as lucky). For all of you Austinites and other hip people who have boarded the Kombucha train long ago, you may be thinking this is old news. What’s special about kombucha from Wunder-pilz, you ask? Well calm down! Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

Despite the fact that kombucha has nothing to do with sea kelp, one thing that does translate correctly is the tea part. Kombucha is aerobically fermented tea, which has proven health benefits due to its probiotics and acetic acid content. When one ferments tea with sugar, yeast breaks down the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Acetobacteria (that’s healthy bacteria!) then processes alcohol, which turns into acetic acid, and is believed to be therapeutic for your liver. Bill revealed to me that the  probiotics in kombucha are good for digestion because they can withstand acids in the stomach, as opposed to those found in yogurt, which usually cannot. All together, this makes for a super healthy small and large intestine. (Yay, colons!)

Another, more accurate translation, can be found in the name Wunder-pilz. The name comes from the German words wunder (miracle) and pilz (mushroom). “I chose the name because it’s fun to say,” says Bill bluntly. Wunder-pilz got started when a friend turned Bill onto kombucha back in 2009. At first, he wasn’t into it. Not much for sweet beverages, Bill prefers fully fermented, drier, drinks. The one thing Bill did enjoy about the kombucha, however, was how he felt afterwards. There’s no doubt about it, the probiotics in kombucha really do sit well with your stomach.

So Bill played around with brewing kombucha himself using different kinds of tea until he created something that satisfied his taste buds. As his brewing continued, he started making larger and larger batches until the surplus he had been giving out to friends led him to selling it out of a friend’s food trailer. From there, Bill started leasing some space at the commercial kitchen in what used to be The Daily Juice Café in Hyde Park. Eventually he moved Wunder-Pilz to its own space in a warehouse in Southwest Austin. Three years later, Wunder-pilz can be found in a couple of dozen locations in Austin, and now in Pflugerville and San Marcos.  The product we are able to enjoy today is exactly what Bill set out to make: a drier, less-sugary kombucha that still has plenty of flavor and health benefits.  This is truly what sets Wunder-pilz apart from the rest, which to me all taste like soda.

Another awesome fact about Wunder-Pilz is that they use all organic ingredients. Bill says that his ideology behind Wunder-Pilz’s expansion is something we can all get down with: being a conscientious entity in the market every step of the way.  It’s about sustainability combined with practicality, and questioning how the choices he makes are affecting the environment and the community. To maintain this balance, Bill keeps in mind the idea of  keeping a small footprint, something he has been very successful in doing. Wunder-pilz is sold exclusively on tap, and will only be available in canned form when they release their new probiotic drink. At HOPE, Bill serves kombucha either through unique re-usable bottles, bottles customers bring themselves, or in plant-based cups, which can be composted. Wunder-Pilz also prides themselves on the fact that they compost all of their organic waste material. All in all this makes for what Bill describes as a slower, yet stronger growth in the community.

Bill has been at HOPE for 5 years now, and has kept coming for that strong community and family vibe. I agree when Bill says that from the managers to the vendors, HOPE never fails to bring a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.  So next weekend be sure to get yourself a refreshing glass of Wunder-pilz or cool off with a kombucha popsicle! Feel free to sample different flavors, which Bill tends to switch up every week. My go-to is the green tea-lemon-ginger-pricklypear. It’s a perfect balance of sour, tangy, and gingery-spice: perfect for washing down some tacos or fresh tamales.

—-

Hey!

I’m Stephen. Environmental activist, world traveller, and strong proponent of the local food movement! I started volunteering at HOPE in January, and have loved every minute of it. When I’m not at HOPE, I’m most likely eating, cooking, or doing some form of exercise. (And binge-watching shows on Netflix in between, of course) I’ll be writing more of these blog posts in the future, so I hope you liked it. Thanks for reading!

First Annual HOPE ECO Fair

Here at the HOPE Farmer’s Market, we value our local community.  We think it is important for Austin to stay clean and green while having fun!   At our market we practice eco-conscious efforts such as; providing a platform for local and sustainable business endeavors, reducing waste, advocating for bike riders, and hosting events like our first annual HOPE ECO Fair!

The idea of the ECO Fair came about during an event meeting. The team was discussing ways to promote sustainable businesses in town while encouraging our community to get involved with “greening” Austin.  Greening practices around town include Permablitx ATX/ Earth Repair Corp implementing food forests at Festival Beach among dozens of other places.

Photo: Festival Beach Food Forest Facebook Page

The practices include the most environmentally car repair shop in the world, Green Earth Automotive. They also range from personal rain harvesting implementations to local guides to green events to alternative education models!

 

Photo Credit: VARU Photography

Here in Austin, we have a wide range of opportunities that support sustainability.  We wanted to use our farmer’s market as a way to facilitate the dialogue between the community and these great organizations. We decided to invite “eco-conscious” organizations to set up informational booths and educational lectures on stage.

Photo Credit: VARU Photography 

We had a great turnout of organizations that were involved with the ECO Fair on December 13th.  The organizations included Myco AllianceAustin ECOnetworkAustin Permaculture GuildEarth Repair CorpWhole Life Learning CenterGreen Earth AutomotiveHarvested Rain Solutions, and Permablitz ATX.

Photo Credit: VARU Photography

We were very pleased to host these organizations that are making such large strides to keep Austin green.

At the fair the lectures were on the topics of; myco-remediation, the use of fungi to remediate chemical ridden areas (oil spills, landfills, etc.), an alternative education model for all ages encouraging people to learn about ecology and permaculture on a personal level (Whole Life Learning Center), a center that is being created for research and implementation of permaculture solutions  (Earth Repair Corp), and ECO networks that work hard to engage the community in green events here in Austin (Austin Permaculture Guild and Austin ECOnetwork).

 

Photo Credit: VARU Photography

On top of a day or information we had musicians, Madeline (from the Ramblers) and Michael Garfield, and we made seed balls in the HOPE Kids Tent!

Photo Credit: VARU Photography

The HOPE ECO Fair was so successful that we can’t wait to have the next one in the spring!

First Annual Mexico Day, Recap!

For the first time ever, the HOPE Farmers Market formally highlighted Austin’s sister-city connection with Saltillo, Mexico!

On May 5, we hosted this first-ever “Mexico Day” celebration, in conjunction with the Austin Sister-Cities program to acknowledge the international relationship at the place that best exemplifies it all–Plaza Saltillo! Upon its beginnings, the Plaza was actually inaugurated by a visiting delegation from Saltillo, Mexico, for which it was named. The City of Saltillo even donated the ornate traditional Saltillo benches you see at the Plaza every Sunday!

To contribute to this special day, we hosted 3 vendors from both Saltillo & Monterrey that showcased products like jams, candies, nut butters & sauces, thus connecting with food artisans in cities just 6 hours away! As we’ve mentioned before here on our blog, we aim to support our regional food system, which doesn’t necessarily end at 50 miles, 100 miles, or even at the border. We also hosted an incredible 9-person choir from Saltillo, who sang in traditional Mexican dress, and was accompanied by local Mariachi band, Mariachi Los Toros. How fitting for the day before Cinco de Mayo!

We can’t wait for another chance to host these fantastic vendors, artists & musicians again and hope that by doing so, we can all encourage everyone to look beyond borders and further this sister-city relationship. Stay tuned for more…

And for highlights of Mexico Day, be sure to take a peak at our Photo Recap here!

 

 

Event Recap: Tree Party Volunteer Day at Plaza Saltillo

Re-Activating Plaza Saltillo

Since relocating in March 2013 HOPE FM has focused on re-activating historic Plaza Saltillo through a weekly market at Plaza Saltillo and encouraging re-involvement and re-investment in the space. Over the last eight months many improvements have been made to the space because of the increased activity at Plaza Saltillo:

  • Parks and Recreation Department put down some fresh paint, installed a new irrigation system and replaced missing bricks and broken tiles on the fountain.
  • CapMetro installed additional bike parking stations on the north side of the plaza for all of you two wheeled commuters.
  • ATX Music Office donated the adorable red umbrellas you see in front of the stage and sponsored a monthly music series with a wide range of local bands from gammy-award winning musicians of Money Chicha, big groups like Mariachi Relampago and even Lucas Miller, the singing zoologists for kids!
  • Through the support of the Austin Parks Foundation HOPE Farmers Market was able to purchase and install permanent storage doors and, soon, we will have five more HUGE market umbrellas to sit under and enjoy your brunch!

Tree Party

On October 19th HOPE Farmers Market, with support from TreeFolks and Austin Parks Foundation, hosted a Tree Party Volunteer Day at Plaza Saltillo. With the help of 25 volunteers lead by Austin Neal, master gardener and board member of Treefolks, we accomplished a lot! We weeded and mulched all of the planters around Plaza Saltillo and learned how to plant and care for seven new native trees.

Not only did we get a lot done but it was great to bring together lots of people from the Plaza’s present and past. We had student volunteers from one of our favorite UT organizations, Gamma Beta Phi, who got their hands dirty removing invasive nut sedge and spreading lots of beautiful mulch around all of the beautiful native plants. We were also joined by Ilse Frank from Studio Balcones who designed and installed all of the landscaping at Plaza Saltillo through a Keep Austin Beautiful grant in 2009. And what is Saturday in Austin without breakfast tacos? We grabbed tacos for volunteers from Tamale House East whose owners were instrumental in getting Plaza Saltillo built through their work with Olé México!

We had so much fun we’ll surely do it again but for the time being just keep enjoying the space we call home every Sunday from 11-3!

Mark Your Calendars: Fall at HOPE FM!

We love this time of year. It might still be hot in Austin but the sun is a little lower and the leaves are getting ready to make their yearly leap. Students are back in school and we’re looking forward to lots of excuses to gather friends and family around food, music and art!

Here is what we have planned over the coming months at the market. Lots to see, do, taste and listen to so mark your calendars and we will see you Sunday at Plaza Saltillo.

September 22nd: East Side County Fair  Bobbing for veggies, face painting, petting zoo and awesome live music! Check out pictures from last year here.

September 29th: MEAT FEST! Celebrate all things MEAT at HOPE FM with special deals from farmers and chefs on their meatiest products. The Seedling Truck will be serving some snout to tail fair, Windy Hill Farm will be offering sales and who knows what else!

October 19th: Tree Party!  Come help us beautify Plaza Saltillo with compost, mulch and trees! This will be a great day to give back to your community and learn a little bit about tree care. Sponsored by Tree Folks, Treehouse and Austin Parks Foundation.

 October 20th: Food Day & HOPE FM’s 4th Birthday! We will be having a really fun market to kick off Food Day and we’ll eat some cake to celebrate Mon’s 4th Birthday!

November 17th: 2nd Annual  Formula-3- Legged Race  Do you have what it takes to challenge the market managers!?

November 16th – 17th & 23rd – 24th: East Austin Studio Tour  Grab brunch and check out our bumper crop of artists before you head out to see all of the incredible art produced in studios all around the East Side.

November  & December: Holiday  Markets  HOPE FM is your One Stop Shop for all your holidays needs! From the food on your table to the gifts you give, the HOPE FM has artisan goods that give back to our community and come with some of that unique Austin style!