Food-o-File

Remember When Dairy brings to life memories of old-fashioned milk products while Tecolote Farm struggles to survive

Some friends and I made a great discovery at the Downtown Farmers' Market a couple of Saturdays ago and spent the following week calling and e-mailing one another about how much we all loved it. Although each of us bought a variety of food items at the market, we all went home with a half-gallon of fresh buttermilk ($3.75) from the booth of Remember When Dairy. Mark and DeOnna Ganske operate the dairy near Yantis, Texas, and make the long trek to Austin every weekend to sell their exemplary milk products to an appreciative local clientele. The Ganskes own one of only three grade A cow's milk dairies in Texas licensed to sell low-temperature pasteurized cow's milk products. Their Jersey and Jersey-Holstein cows are not treated with any artificial hormones, rBGH, rBST, or antibiotics and are fed 90% grass. The Remember When product line includes whole and skim milk, buttermilk, cream, butter, and a line of fruit smoothies. Ganske says some of his products are available at both local farmers' markets, Peoples Pharmacy, Wheatsville Co-op, and perhaps in Central Market within the next few weeks. My friends and I can vouch for the butter and buttermilk. We are all bakers at heart and spent an entire week regaling each other with stories of tall, feather-light biscuits (see the recipe below); tender, savory corn bread; and delicate chocolate and Italian cream cakes made with that marvelous buttermilk. I'm so besotted with the old-fashioned goodness of the buttermilk that I was inspired to replicate one of my grandparents' favorite treats – a glass of cold, tangy buttermilk with corn bread crumbled in it. One caveat to farmers' market shoppers – the Remember When folks sell out early... The other important discovery I made on that market visit was not nearly as pleasant. A conversation with Tecolote Farm (16301 Decker Lake Rd., 276-7008) co-owner Katie Pitre revealed that the future of their 15-year-old organic farm enterprise is in serious peril due to the loss of water. The Pitres have farmed near Manor since 1993, and in all that time, their water well has never failed, no matter how severe the drought conditions. This summer, however, they're without well water, and the only thing that has changed in their area is that two municipal water districts and Travis County have drilled large, high-capacity wells across the road from the farm. The Pitres are struggling to finish out the summer growing season to feed their family and others who subscribe to their community supported agriculture operation, but without a working water well, their future beyond this summer is uncertain. The Pitres are reaching out to farm customers and the local media to focus attention on this issue. See "Well of Controversy," News, for more coverage.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Remember When Dairy, Austin Farmers' Market, DeOnna Ganske, Tecolote Farm

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