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.

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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!

Keepin’ It Real- and Simple! At Leaven Breads.

If you’re looking for fresh baked bread and delightful english muffins, Leaven Breads will be your one-stop-shop at HOPE Farmers Market this next weekend. Come by and say hello to Wimberley native Pete McDonald, who is an engineering student at ACC and owner of Leaven Breads.

Leaven Breads got started following an injury about a year ago, when Pete was looking for a suitable  hobby to keep him occupied indoors. Luckily for us, he stumbled upon bread making. He was initially intrigued due to it’s simplicity: one can simply take three ingredients- flour, water, and salt- and create something that is not only food, but delicious! This fundamental characteristic is something that Pete has strived for since beginning his bread making journey, and is even the company’s slogan: “As Simple As Bread Can Be”. In the early stages, Pete set out to create a loaf that could stand on it’s own without anything else, which he says he’s done with his country loaf. After trying it myself, it’s no wonder why it’s a crowd favorite.  You wouldn’t know his attitude towards bread is simple after trying it’s fluffiness and texture.

Pete says that what he really loves about bread making is that in order to create something that looks and tastes good, you have to know your bread. And knowing your bread comes through great trial and error, as Pete humbly admits. It may sound simple, but the process of turning three ingredients into the delicious bread we get to eat today can get complicated. This is because due to the yeast used, bread is alive, which is another aspect that fascinates Pete about his hobby.

So why the name Leaven Breads? Making the leaven is the most important part of the bread making process, and is the step which is necessary for bread to rise. (If you’ve ever had matzo, you’ve tried an unleavened bread). And something Pete prides himself on is that his bread is naturally leavened with yeast he makes at home, as opposed to using dry active yeast, the ingredient commonly used in store bought bread. Pete says dry active yeast is used because it’s quick, but what you save in time you pay for in quality. (We’re looking at you, Wonder bread!) Because Pete’s bread is naturally leavened, it’s healthier and more easily digestible, allowing for your stomach to better absorb enzymes.

Leaven Breads has been at HOPE for 8 months, and Pete enjoys the market for the same reasons I do: the laidback atmosphere, live music, those familiar friendly faces, and that real sense of community. He doesn’t see himself leaving us anytime soon (whew!) but does have ideas for the future. Like many small businesses that start out of home, Pete says getting his own kitchen would allow him to pursue more long term goals, like getting his bread into restaurants. Always looking for improvement, he says he wants to get better while exploring new ingredients and flavors, as well as introducing baguettes and a few surprises into his growing selection. Ideally, Pete aims to get his own bakery and employ special needs workers, having known individuals with special needs for much of his life. Pete sees bread making as an all inclusive activity, and can be a great way to empower those with special needs.

If you don’t get to Leaven Breads on Sundays, you can find Pete at the Wimberley Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays from 3-6, on the Leaven Breads Faceook page, or purchase his delicacies at www.bountifulsprout.com.

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!

There’s so many markets to choose from in Austin, but I keep coming back to this one. The vibe is relaxing and welcoming. As soon as I arrive, I know I’ll be having some great coffee, whether it is cold brew or fresh and hot. Usually I’ll stroll around before deciding whether I’m in the mood for lunch or just a pastry (sometimes it’s both). Once I’ve got some food in my belly, I can peruse the produce and other vendors while taking in the live music.

I feel lucky to live near this awesome market. Coffee, food, friendly beautiful eclectic people and so much more all in one place. Hope Farmers Market was recently named one of the best markets, and I am not the least bit surprised.

Whether you’re looking to socialize stock up on supplies for the week or trying to find that unique gift, the Hope Farmers Market is always there for you on Sunday.

About Valerie: 

About four years ago, I left my small cozy hometown in deep south Texas to come live in this weird ever-growing musical city that is Austin. I love the greenbelts, playing bocce at any park, and all the delicious food options. It’s not normal for me to go a day without photographing my dog Connie or anything else that inspires me. I’m always seeking to gain more knowledge about community events and organizing while photographing as many intriguing people in Austin as I can.

See all of Valerie’s photographs below! 

Yard to Market Co-op

Yard to Market Co-op!

Hello market-goers!

Do you love homegrown, fresh veggies and herbs? Are you a fan of clean and sustainable agriculture? Do you support local producers?

If you do, then you need to hear about Yard to Market Co-op!

In 2013, a group of seven gardeners realized that if they all work together they could provide far more produce variety and volume to their community. Teamwork makes the dream work! The co-op’s mission is to increase access for gardeners in Austin. There are so many home gardeners that feel locked out of the produce market, and Yard to Market strives to give them an outlet. Whether you have a single pot of herbs or a flourishing garden of produce, this is your place. Yard to Market is open for gardeners of all experience levels, with all different kinds of crops. The leadership will make sure you know all the codes and regulations. Plus, you get to be a part of a pretty awesome group of green thumbs.

One of Yard to Market’s founding farming pioneers and the current farm stand manager is Annelies Lottmann. Annelies used to be a big shot lawyer in Manhattan, think The Good Wife but more hardcore. But the litigation just wasn’t cutting it. She constantly dreamed about escaping and becoming a farmer. Thankfully for us, she made her dream a reality! Annelies built a course on growing and selling food in central Texas, has an extensive garden of her own, and is an advocate for cleaner, healthier agricultural and eating. So yeah, she’s pretty cool.

This summer Yard to Market partnered with the HOPE Farmer’s Market and combined their food stands. Annelies is there every Sunday ready to sell your veggies and herbs for you! Since the partnership was formed, you no longer need to be a co-op member to sell your fresh goodies at HOPE. ANYONE can bring their homegrown produce to sold.

So – basically – we all get to do the fun part and then Yard to Market happily takes care of the rest!

This project is great for so many reasons: being local, growing community, educating consumers about healthy eating, providing clean produce, and breaking down barriers for gardner’s looking to enter a market are only a few! I encourage everyone to go by the stand each Sunday at the HOPE Farmers Market and show your support by picking up some homegrown goods! It’s a win-win-win-win situation, guys!

If you’d like to know more check out their Website or just come by any Sunday from 11:00 – 3:00 at Plaza Saltillo!

 

Hello!

I’m Brooke, the author of the blog you’ve just read. The blog you just read is unfortunately my last with the HOPE Farmer’s Market. I’ve actually been back at school for a few weeks now and miss the market every Sunday! I feel lucky to have been able to get to know so many of you  and know that HOPE is a special place. I can’t wait to visit and I know that the market will only continue to grow!

 

 

Lamba Royal Indian Food

Bringing Mumbai to your Market

I am so excited to tell everyone about Lamba’s Royal Indian Food because they are an amazing family and business! It was the most fun interview of the summer, and that’s saying something with all of HOPE’s great vendors!

Garrima and her husband met stateside though both are originally from India. They first lived in California, then in Houston before settling in their current home here in Austin (it took them awhile to find the best city in America). As a young adult Garrima studied history, then attended medical school in India. Afterwards, she started working in the hotel industry, followed by Estee Lauder. A Jill of all trades! So, how does a history buff who is also a medically trained businesswoman enter into the food business?

Well… it started with a dream Gurpreet Lamba – Garrima’s husband – had for his family.

It was Gurpreet who really encouraged Garrima that she could have a great business making and selling home-style Indian food to hungry Austinites. Even with all of Austin’s world famous eateries, food trucks, and restaurants, Gurpreet noticed that ATX was missing something: domestic-style Indian deliciousness.

Because of her husband’s confidence and encouragement, Garrima bravely stepped into uncharted territory and began building recipes. Garrima says they use a lot of recipes from her grandmother, but that Gurpreet and her father-in-law are excellent cooks as well. She noted that no one in the family ever had any professional cooking training, but that it’s a “passion that comes from within, you can’t really teach that.” The Lamba’s don’t use any books or formal templates. In fact, they never measure their seasonings in teaspoons. They measure via tastebud! See, for me, that’s pretty impressive because I have to read instructions when pouring cereal!

Garrima was so kind as to make a typical Indian meal for me at her home and y’all… it was delish. I’m not sure how she has time to make such great food and raise three boys at the same time! Luckily, the boys are extremely sweet, but still, that’s skill my friend. Thankfully, she has her father-in-law and husband to help out with the cooking.

And they are cooking! Lamba’s first market was ours, the HOPE Farmer’s Market, but now they attend over 10 markets, including all of the Austin markets! Garrima says she loves doing markets because she loves to see her customer’s face light up.

“Seeing people like your food makes you want to cook more and more food for them!”

I’ve tasted quite a lot of Lamba’s food and it’s always awesome. It’s not the same as restaurant Indian food. It feels and tastes much more authentic and homemade… because it is! They offer lots of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options so all of your diet needs can be met. Health-wise, Indian spices are famous for their anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting properties, so you know you’re getting an extra bang for your buck with Lamba’s Indian.

In the end, these guys are really some of the sweetest people I’ve met and that shows through in their food. So if you want to get a taste for yourself, be sure to check them out at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from 11:00 – 3:00 every Sunday or at any other Austin market!

 

Hello!

I’m Brooke, the author of the blog you’ve just read. Working with the HOPE Farmer’s Market has been so great, but unfortunately I will have to leave HOPE to finish my last semester at Baylor University this fall. I will graduate with a major in political science and a minor in poverty studies and social justice. When I’m not blogging, my days are full of studying for the GRE and applications. I know I’m super exciting this summer, right? But every blog, I’ll let you guys know something a bit more interesting about myself and this week’s fact is:

I have one half lab, half sharpie mix dog named Lucy!

Clementine & Co. Jewelry: Simplicity at its Finest

Meet Emily: The Brains and Beauty behind Clementine & Co. Jewelry

Emily is – first are foremost – an artist. With a writer and a carpenter as parents, artistry has been a part of her life since she was a kid. Her childhood memories are full of creation. For example, she remembers her mother taking her to a bead shop on Martha’s Vineyard where she grew up and they spent hours making their own bead creations.

Although Emily was initially more interested in drawing (particularly illustrating children’s books), she gradually found that her passion was in jewelry and metalwork. She enrolled in a botanical themed class at the Penland School of Crafts, which really solidified her talent and passion for jewelry. From there, she started selling her creations at markets on Martha’s Vineyard.

But, you know, no one can resist that Austin charm, right?

So, after a road trip to Austin with her sister, Emily fell in love with the place (like so many do). In 2011, she was able to move to Austin permanently and is currently a proud East Austinite.

“I love where I live because there are so many people who are both creative and motivated. It’s rare to find so many people with both qualities in a community!”

Of course, Clementine & Co. came to Austin with Emily. Lucky for us!

As far as the actual products go, I really do love her designs. They are clean and simple. Timeless. Each piece is handmade by Emily, so each piece is unique to itself. Style-wise there are a lot of natural elements to the jewelry: leaves, feathers, and even seeds are common elements. All the silver is recycled and Emily tries to find suppliers that are ethical and restrict chemical usage. So, basically, once again, your products from the Market are going to be a lot better for you than others!

You guys should definitely take a look at her stuff. It’s beautiful and it really will last the rest of your life, which is a lot more than you can say for the usual Forever 21 or Target buys we all make!

If you want to see and hear more about Emily’s work, check out the links below OR just come see her at the HOPE Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 11:00 – 3:00 at Plaza Saltillo!

Website                                               Facebook                                                         Twitter

 

Hello!

I’m Brooke, the author of the blog you’ve just read. Working with the HOPE Farmer’s Market has been so great, but unfortunately I will have to leave HOPE to finish my last semester at Baylor University this fall. I will graduate with a major in political science and a minor in poverty studies and social justice. When I’m not blogging, my days are full of studying for the GRE and applications. I know I’m super exciting this summer, right? But every blog, I’ll let you guys know something a bit more interesting about myself and this week’s fact is:

One time, I zip lined through the rainforest in Costa Rica. It was pretty great.

West China Tea Company

Meet The Tea Master

If you have any interest or appreciation for tea at all, you can’t miss the West China Tea booth this Sunday. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea with the founder So-han Fan, and I was beyond impressed. Seriously, he knows everything about tea, particularly Chinese tea.

So-han – though born in New Orleans and raised in Houston – has Chinese roots and speaks it fluently. So, when he traveled to China for the first time in 2010 to study fresh water biology, he was able to build strong and lasting relationships with Chinese farmers.

“On weekends we would go out and meet farmers and share tea with them. In China, business practice is a lot different than here in the U.S. Here, you set a meeting, argue figures or stats, and formally ask about a business future. But in China, you don’t ‘do business’. You make friends and then friends help each other out. In Chinese, this is called building Guangxi and without it, you won’t have a strong or trusting business relationship”.

Literally hundreds, if not thousands of cups of tea later, So-han was able to handpick the finest teas from the most remote corners of China. And, because he was so excited and willing to get to know so many Chinese farmers (sometimes hitchhiking to reach them), he has all these crazy connections that no other tea dealer has.

Although So-han’s trips to China ignited his business West China Tea Company, he had actually been a tea connoisseur for over seven years before that. His obsession started in college and has only grown and expanded since.

But now more about the tea itself…

All of West China Tea Company’s teas are strictly farm direct. That means you have a 100% guarantee that your product is natural, non-GMO, and free of pesticides. Being farm direct also affects the taste. So-han compares his tea to the specialized flavor of a single malt scotch. Both have a unique and concentrated taste defined by the unique location the drink is from.

The health benefits of tea are essentially infinite. Literally ANY symptom you may have has a tea that can help. If you’re curious about what types of teas could benefit your personal needs, stop by the market and So-han will hook you up. As a biologist, he is always sure not to make any health claims that haven’t been backed up by western science as well.

In fact, So-han has a running study with Mr. Natural in which he observes the drop in blood sugar in diabetics after drinking a pot of West China Tea. Results show that levels dropped for 2/3 of all participants and every participant decided to purchase some tea for themselves. Eventually, one man told So-han that because of his tea, he was able to stop taking insulin altogether. That’s pretty badass if you ask me.

So, to sum this up: if you enjoy tea, if you want to improve your health, or if you want to hear a good travel story, go visit So-han at West China Tea Company at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from 11:00 – 3:00 every Sunday! Also, check out his links below to learn more!

Website

Facebook

 

Hello!

I’m Brooke, the author of the blog you’ve just read. Working with the HOPE Farmer’s Market has been so great, but unfortunately I will have to leave HOPE to finish my last semester at Baylor University this fall. I will graduate with a major in political science and a minor in poverty studies and social justice. When I’m not blogging, my days are full of studying for the GRE and applications. I know I’m super exciting this summer, right? But every blog, I’ll let you guys know something a bit more interesting about myself and this week’s fact is:

I once swung my feet off of 300ft cliffs that delved into the Atlantic. It was great.