Local foodie friends throw a party to help David Pitre and Tecolote Farm, some sweet gift ideas, and more.

Local Farm Aid

Two years ago, when a deadly tornado did extensive damage to the historic house at a local organic farm, the outpouring of financial support from the Austin community was quick and amazingly generous. Now another hardworking area organic farmer is in need of assistance, and friends are coming to his aid. David Pitre, owner of Tecolote Farm near Manor, sustained serious injury to his right arm this summer, and proceeds of a benefit this weekend will go to offset his medical bills and increased farm labor costs. The party will take place on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 6pm at Tecolote Farm. It's titled "Sowing Seeds of Community: Keep Tecolote Farm Growing," and there are donation levels to fit every budget. In the spirit of barn raisings of old, there will be an afternoon of good fellowship, including live music and a silent auction of artisan items, plus great local food and drinks donated by supporters like Soup Peddler David Ansel, Jeffrey's chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas, the Shoreline Bar & Grill, Full Belly Bakery, Sweetish Hill, Texas French Bread, the Daily Juice, Live Oak Brewery, and others. Tickets to the fundraiser can be purchased this Saturday at the Westlake Farmers Market. For more information about event support levels, ticket sales, and a map to the farm, go to or call Rice Spann at 374-0966. If you can't attend but would like to help, checks may be mailed to the Tecolote Farm Emergency Fund, 2838 Pearl St., Austin, TX 78705. Keeping our area farmers in business is one of the best Christmas gifts each of us can give the entire community.

Sweet Ideas

One of the sweetest gift ideas to come across my desk in a while is the 2004 Sugar Artists of Austin calendar, produced by Jennifer Bartos of All in One Bakeshop (8566 Research, 371-3401, The beautiful calendar features the sweet creations of some of Austin's premier pastry chefs and wedding-cake decorators, such as Jimmy McMillan of the Driskill Hotel, Erin Hernandez of Barton Creek Country Club, Penny McConnell of Penny's Pastries, Tracey Iakovakis of Sweet Cakes Bakery, and Jeanette Pfertner of Miss Jeanette's Cakes. All in One offers one-stop shopping for all your baking, decorating, and candy-making needs, and you can grab a copy of the calendar while you're there. Another sweet idea comes from local confectioner Mary Perna, owner of Passionfood Truffles (441-3941, She enjoys decorative pastry arts and candy-making so much that she has decided to share her wealth of knowledge with holiday seminars in her newly remodeled home kitchen. We missed her cookie workshops, but there's still time to sign up for truffles: the Absolute this coming week or a Buch de Noel class the following week. Space is limited, so make reservations by phone or via the Web immediately.


In the off-with-our-heads department, in a recent review of Russell's Bakery & Coffee Shop (3339 Hancock, 419-7877) we mistakenly named Alan Kirkhart as a partner in that business. Let the record show that Russell Milner's business partner is now and has always been his wife, Gemma Milner. We regret the error... Jim and Monica McKinney of Main Street Grill and Monica's 701 in Georgetown proudly announce that they are the new parents of Jett Alexander McKinney, who was born on Monday, Nov. 24, the same day they opened Monica's 701. We can't begin to comprehend how busy they are or how little sleep they're getting... Roger Diaz of VIVO Cocina Texicana (2015 Manor Rd., 482-0300) will celebrate the contributions of more than 100 United Way volunteers with a party at his restaurant on Dec. 5 from 3 to 6pm after the United Way Day of Caring event.

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