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, and although the responses were what we expected, they 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!



















HOPE Farmers Market Seasonal Smoothie Recipe

Smoothies are great because they allow you to use lots of different ingredients to make a tasty and nutrient filled beverage. They are also incredibly easy to prepare. For a basic smoothie, all you need is a cup of vegetables, a cup of fruits and a liquid to use as the base. There are lots of recipes available on the web and this website has a fun to use smoothie recipe tool.

Today’s green smoothie is bursting with flavour and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is made using:

HOPE (1)1/2 a cup of carrots – carrots are by far the best food source of vitamin A that there is. A medium sized carrot provides you with more than double the amount of vitamin A that you need per day. Vitamin A from plant foods is in the form of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in your body, thereby preventing diseases such as cancer.

Carrots are also great for your skin, vision and heart. They help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, protect your liver and boost your immunity. All in all, they are a very powerful vegetable!

1 frozen peach – using a frozen peach will help thicken up this smoothie, giving it more of a soup like consistency. To freeze your peach, simply peel off the skin, cut it into quarters or eighths and then place it in a container in your freezer for a few hours.

A medium sized peach provides you with 17% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. This vitamin is one of the most well-known and is responsible for a myriad of different functions in the body. It helps wounds heal, assists with iron absorption and is important for heart health.

The sugars found in peaches add a natural sweetness to this smoothie.

1 teaspoon of honey – talking about sweetness, a teaspoon of honey will help make the smoothie more palatable.

When eaten in moderation, honey has some great health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, which include phenols and flavonoids that could help lower blood pressure. It also helps to reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol whilst raising HDL (good) cholesterol.

1 cup of spinach – whenever possible, you should try and add a green vegetable to your smoothie. Greens are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet because they are full of vitamins and minerals. Indeed, spinach is one of the best sources of vitamin K that there is; a one cup serving provides you with 181% of your daily requirement. Vitamin K is important for bone health.

Spinach also enhances muscles, meaning you can exercise more efficiently after eating it. Also, since it is mainly made up of water, a one cup serving has only 30 calories!

1 cup of coconut water – coconut water is great for smoothies because it contains natural sugars. It is also rich in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that your body needs to keep your heart and brain healthy.

Using chilled coconut water will ensure that this smoothie is nice and cold when you drink it. If you don’t have coconut water, you can always just use plain water instead.

1 tablespoon of flax seeds – it’s always a good idea to add some type of nut or seed to your smoothies because they are rich in fiber and protein, both of which help make you feel full faster. This means that smoothies can be drunk for breakfast and will keep you feeling energised and satisfied.

Seeds are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, containing a large number of vitamins and minerals. Sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds can all be used in place of flax seeds.


To make this smoothie, add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until you get a smooth homogeneous liquid. It is important that you process the ingredients for at least half a minute so that all the ingredients are mixed well. If you want a thicker smoothie, simply throw in a few ice cubes and process until they are crushed.


Thanks to blog contributor Veronica Shah! Veronica runs the website healthsomeness.com and she’s a huge fan of local food & smoothies. 

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.



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.


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!

It’s a Merry Market, Ho Ho Hope!

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!



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!



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!