Category: Local food

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar

The People of Austin Embracing Eastern-Based Cuisines

By: Ross Milvenan and David Lopez

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar is now the hottest restaurant in Austin, according to Eater Austin.

Traditionally, Tex-Mex and barbecue have dominated Austin cuisine, but the success of new restaurants offering more eastern-based cuisines show the people of Austin’s shifting culinary needs and desire for authentic dining experiences. The recent success of Kula Sushi and Ramen Tatsu-ya displays this shifting appetite.

Kula Sushi brings freshness and flair to Austin sushi

Kula Sushi opened its first location in Irvine, California in 2009. Since then, they have opened 13 locations across the United States. The Austin location was opened in May, and has been the most popular location despite being in its early stages.

“Everyday we are busy,” said Joyce Rivera, head server at Kula. “We have regular customers that come three to four times a week. They just can not get enough.”

The Kula Revolving Sushi Bar Logo  Photo: kulausa.com

The Kula Revolving Sushi Bar Logo
Photo: kulausa.com

Austin is currently the 16th most healthy city in the United States, according to Forbes.com. Kula’s success could be partially due to the emphasis they put on healthy ingredients. Kula proudly states that they are part of the “food revolution”, aiming to provide natural, organic and additive-free food.

It has been our fundamental principle to prioritize customer’s health over anything,” according to Kula’s website. “We are proud to say that all foods are served fresh and safe at our restaurants.”

“Everything you see here is fresh,” Rivera said. “We don’t use any chemicals or imitation crab or shrimp … It’s all real.”

Rivera also said she believes one of the reasons Kula has been so successful is because the people of Austin now want uniqueness in their dining experience. Kula serves “kaiten-zushi”, or rotating sushi, on a conveyor belt that wraps around the restaurant.

“People in Austin are always looking for something different,” Rivera said. “Kula is different from even other sushi places … We are very unique.”

Each seat has access to the two levels of the conveyor belt, the ordering panel and the Bikkura Pon game.  Photo: Kula Revolving Sushi Bar/Facebook

Each seat has access to the two levels of the conveyor belt, the ordering panel and the Bikkura Pon game.
Photo: Kula Revolving Sushi Bar/Facebook

Kula offers food in a way that may be unique in Austin, but in no way unique in Japan. In fact, “Kaiten-zushi” is a subset of Japanese cuisine common throughout Japan. Kula aims to give an authentic Japanese dining experience and believes this element allow customers to have an experience that they will not find in other places in Austin.

“We have a Kula culture,” Rivera said. “We want people to enjoy the Japanese environment … We want them to feel like they are in a Japanese sushi bar.”

Local Ramen restaurant gives authentic Japanese experience with every slurp

Ramen Tatsu-ya has recently been named one of the 12 best new restaurants in America, according to eater.com. Ramen Tatsu-ya is another restaurant offering eastern-based cuisine in Austin that has become very popular, even having a long line out the door on most nights.

However, founder Tatsu Aikawa was initially unsure of how an exclusively ramen restaurant could do in a Austin market dominated by Tex-Mex and barbecue.

The Ramen Tatsu-ya Logo.  Photo: ramen-tatsuya.com

The Ramen Tatsu-ya Logo.
Photo: ramen-tatsuya.com

“When we opened Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin in 2012, we were the first ramen shop in the city, and we didn’t want to Americanize it,” Aikawa told Bon Appétit magazine. “Austin’s preconception of ramen was ‘Oh, the packet stuff?’”

However, in due part to a Austin market that was lacking in eastern-based cuisine options, Ramen Tatsu-ya began to generate a lot of buzz and popularity.

“The business is beyond our expectations. We were thinking like a hundred bowls for lunch and dinner. We’re doing two to three hundred at dinner,” said Aikawa in an interview with eateraustin.com.

Aikawa also wanted to give the people of Austin an authentic eastern-cuisine. Aikawa said when he started the restaurant there was a definite need for ramen in Austin and he wanted to help expand the people of Austin’s global palate.

“We want to educate people on what ramen truly is,” Aikawa wrote on ramen-tatsuya.com. “It’s the soul food of Japan.”

The “Ol’ Skool”, one of the seven bowls of ramen on the Tatsu-ya menu.  Photo: ramen-tatsuya.com

The “Ol’ Skool”, one of the seven bowls of ramen on the Tatsu-ya menu.
Photo: ramen-tatsuya.com

The Asian population in Austin is also growing. Currently, the percentage is just under 7% of the population, but this population is doubling every ten years, according to austintexas.gov. As Austin continues to diversify, it is likely that more and more people will crave cuisine that gives them a sense of sentimentality to their original roots.

Aikawa believes one of the best parts of cities offering dishes from across the world is the impact that these dishes can have on people.

Anywhere you go in the world, there’s a certain dish that evokes an emotional or nostalgic response,” Aikawa said.

What’s next?

Both Kula Sushi and Ramen Tatsu-ya have plans of expanding into other cities in the near future. Hopefully, other cities are as willing as Austin is to embrace these eastern-based cuisines and enjoy an authentic Japanese dining experience.

 

Sushi Graphic

Ian’s Giving Garden

Video by Alessandra Rey and Sydney Rubin

 

Written by Michaella Marshall and Sydney Rubin

When Ian McKenna was eight years old, he began building gardens.

He was inspired by a story his sister Addison told him one day after school.  

A girl began to cry one day in Addison’s first-grade class. The girl came from a low-income family and could not afford Christmas presents. She told Addison that Santa would never visit her home because she thought he hates poor people. The story upset McKenna, so he decided to take action.

“I decided to do something about that,” McKenna said.

At 5 a.m. on Christmas morning that year, McKenna and his family visited the girl in Addison’s class. They brought food and presents, which caused a flood of emotions from the girl’s parents. It was a reaction McKenna will never forget, a reaction that made him think about what else he could do to help others.

That’s when McKenna found out that many students at his elementary school only ate when the school provided a free meal. Ian decided to to build his own garden to grow produce and feed the hungry.

“I’m growing gardens to help feed people who can’t afford fresh and healthy meals,” McKenna said.

McKenna, who is now in eighth grade, has constructed four “Ian’s Giving Gardens” over the years. He currently houses gardens at Sunset Valley Elementary, Oakhill Elementary School, the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring center and his own home.

“Ian is an extremely thoughtful kid,”, Ian’s mother Sarah McKenna said. “He named his first garden his ‘Hacienda Garden’ and planted foods that are found in Hispanic dishes because he knew that the majority of the students at the school are Hispanic. For the garden he is planting today, he chose produce that is colorful because he said he wanted to help the preschoolers to learn their colors and for them to be excited.”

The garden at Sunset Valley has made its way into the elementary school’s curriculum. Emily Bush, the principal at Sunset Valley, is impressed with how many people in the community benefit from Ian’s Giving Gardens.

The produce from the gardens is sent to families in need, local farmer’s markets and food shelters across the city.

“We’re blown away with how much produce it’s yielding,” Bush said. “He’s been able to provide a whole dinner for the homeless.”

Students at Sunset Valley use the plants in the garden for research in science classes. Being able to go outside to the garden and look at the plants provides a great hands-on experience for the kids.

“It has had a major impact on the students,” Bush said.

The school has even created its own garden committee, including parents, faculty and other community members.

McKenna’s favorite plants to grow are scorpion peppers, Carolina reaper peppers, fruits and potatoes.

“Picking potatoes are like a scavenger hunt,” McKenna said. “Time to search.”

McKenna dreams of studying meteorology and astronautical engineering to help with his gardens in the future. He hopes to one day plant gardens across the U.S. and eventually around the world. His dream spot to grow a garden is Africa.


Photos by Michaella Marshall

By the numbers

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Infographics by Bella Tommey

At Wishes and Dishes, Hope is Served

By: Kate Bartick, Julia Bernstein, Anthony Green

Legos, dinosaurs and Disney are among 7-year-old Owen Sirmons’ favorite things, and this past March, Owen had the opportunity to experience his favorite things up close and in person. Thanks to the efforts of Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas, Owen, who has a rare genetic condition called Escobar Syndrome and scoliosis, was able to go to Legoland, Universal Studios and Disney World in Florida.

“He is the most adorable, creative, smart, funny, compassionate, strong, amazing little guy and I couldn’t think of a better person to get this Make-A-Wish experience. He loved every second of it,” said Erica Sirmons, Owen’s mother.

According to Sirmons, Owen’s favorite part of the trip was going to the Jurassic Park-themed area of Universal Studios.

“He got to have his picture taken with a raptor and that to him was like the best thing ever,” Sirmons said.

Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas is an organization dedicated to granting wishes to children, such as Owen, who are diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Fulfilling wishes would not be possible without the fundraising efforts of Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas and its supporters in the community.

According to Kathryn Draper, director of special events for Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas, there are two different types of events that raise funds for the organization. The first are internal events, which are put on by Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas.

“We fund them, we market them and we coordinate them,” Draper said. “Our biggest internal fundraiser is Over the Edge. The first 200 individuals who raise the minimum of $1,500 will get to rappel down the W Austin. That is this June 11 and 12.”

External events, which are hosted by outside entities, are the second way Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas makes money. Draper said the organization relies heavily on external events, such as Wishes and Dishes. Wishes and Dishes is an event fundraiser held for the past two years in which people buy tickets to dine on meals from around the world and participate in a silent auction with proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas. Early estimates put funds raised from this year’s Wishes and Dishes at $52,000.

The funds raised from both internal and external events go a long way in helping Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas grant wishes.

 

 

According to Draper, since the inception of Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas in 1984, the chapter has granted over 4,200 wishes, with a milestone of 238 wishes granted this past year.

“We’ve never granted that many wishes before which is great for us because we are starting to reach our goal of reaching every eligible child in our territory,” Draper said. “This year we are set to grant 260 wishes which is even better and it can only go up from there.”

According to Draper, the average wish costs approximately $5,000 but for top-tier wishes, such as international wishes and celebrity wishes, the cost can be a little bit more.

As for the most popular wish, a trip to Disney World is number one.

“Disney World makes up over half of all of our wishes. Our kids get to stay at a great place called Give Kids the World,” Draper said. “It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and they get some very special treatment at Disney World.”

The ability to grant wishes for children and teens dealing with life-threatening illnesses leaves a remarkable impact on all persons involved in the wish experience.

Estela Bonacci, a Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas board member and organizer of the Wishes and Dishes event, said having the opportunity to actually meet the children and their families is what drew her to the organization.

“It truly puts perspective in your life and shows you where your priorities should be and it’s just a very rewarding, I can’t even describe it, experience. You really get a connection with the children, the siblings, the parents. It’s an amazing journey,” Bonacci said.

Draper said she believes one of the most rewarding parts about working for the organization is “hearing how much hope, strength, and joy [they’ve] brought not only the child, but the whole family.”

Sirmons said, for her, the best part of the wish experience was that Owen was celebrated by every person they met, whether the family was on the airplane traveling to Florida or at Give Kids the World or Disney World.

“The whole experience celebrated Owen every step of the way,” Sirmons said. “That, to me, was priceless.”

makeawish

 

Johnson’s Backyard Garden: Keeping Austin Fresh

Filmed and Edited by: Alejandra Martinez, Kristen Hubby and Taylor Villarreal

Photos by: Alejandra Martinez, Kristen Hubby, Taylor Villarreal

Infographics by: Marysabel Cardozo

Story by: Taylor Villarreal and Marysabel Cardozo

 

Twelve years ago, a man named Brenton Johnson converted his family’s backyard garden in Austin’s East Side into a million dollar business.

“Pretty soon I was growing more produce than our family could eat, so I started selling at the Austin Farmers’ Market,” Johnson said in an interview with Find Farm Credit. “We didn’t even know what to charge the first time we were there.”

Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Backyard Garden, who formerly served as the Program Administrator for the Water Conservation Field Services Program in Austin, and says he has always believed that “human energy consumption practices need some serious reconsideration.”

Inspired by a Japanese farm that fed its’ community through a prepaid service, Johnson set out to kickstart one of Texas’ first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations: Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

A CSA operation gives members of a community direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers. They are also often referred to as personalized box subscriptions.

To Johnson, CSA’s are “a relationship between the farmer and its customers. And essentially, the customers share in the risk of the farm by prepaying for a portion of the harvest.”

When you become a member of a CSA, you are purchasing a “share” of the crops. JBG offers CSA memberships in over ten major cities and suburbs across Texas. Austin members can pick up their food at one of 24 locations throughout the greater Austin area, and new pick-up sites are being added as needed.

“Through my work with JBG, I have aimed to strike a balance between these challenges and the resource-consuming aspects of food production,” Johnson says on his LinkedIn biography. “I continue to strive for constant improvement and community involvement through the most earth-friendly, biodynamic-conscious, organic farming methods.”

To date, JBG employs 20 workers, feeds over 1,000 consumers and grosses over $1 million in sales annually. The farm welcomes volunteers five days out of the week at either of their two locations, The Garfield Farm, where all of their produce is grown, or the Hergotz Packing Shed (better known as “The Barn”). A half-day of volunteering gets the workers one CSA share of seasonal vegetables.

Lyndsie Decologero, a Post Production Manager, started at JBG three years ago as a volunteer at Garfield Farms where she planted and picked produce to be transported to The Barn. From there she was promoted to manage accounts with wholesale retailers, such as Wheatsville Co-Op and Whole Foods Market.

“My first day volunteering we were harvesting sweet potatoes and digging through the soil. By the end of the day I had dirt crammed so far into my fingernails,” Delcologero recalled. “It was such an amazing experience because people really don’t realize just how much work goes behind getting their food to the table. It was truly an amazing and inspiring moment for me, and I hope more people start to learn about what it means to buy locally and organically.”

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UT Microfarm: Sustainable Vegetables by Students for Students

By: Julia Bernstein, J.D. Harris, and Jessica Jones

The UT Microfarm table located in the West Mall plaza on campus last Monday afternoon.

The UT Microfarm table located in the West Mall plaza on campus last Monday afternoon.

Fast food restaurants dominate the University of Texas area. Whether it’s on campus itself or right across Guadalupe, it’s not difficult to eat poorly while in college. A healthy alternative is now available every Monday afternoon on the West Mall plaza right in the heart of campus.

This Microfarm is the first of its kind on the University of Texas. They rotate crops throughout the year so there is always something fresh and in season to try. In the current season of winter, greens and root vegetables are most easily grown and available. As spring and summer approaches, a greater variety of fruits and vegetables will be up for sale.

This practice of sustainable farming is not information solely kept by the farm’s staff. The farm hosts open workdays every Thursday and Sunday. With no RSVP or experience required, this allows anyone to work as a volunteer and learn about the farming practices used at the UT Mircrofarm.

Candice Lu, a UT student, spent a Thursday afternoon at the farm with her Greek life leadership class giving back to the community. The Microfarm staff focuses on educating volunteers on the practices that takes place on the farm in order to grow sustainable crops.

“I think it’s important that we came out here today because living in a big city where we sometimes don’t even have an easy way to recycle, it’s very informative to find out about all these different processes especially composting,” Lu said.

The UT microfarm has a goal to “grow food for our local community, while creating and facilitating a number of opportunities pursuing innovation, education, sustainable systems, and interdisciplinary collaboration,” as stated by their website. This is what gives the farm its unique mission- not only to grow organic and sustainable crops, but to educate the surrounding community about these processes as well.

“We hope to connect the community to their food by emphasizing what is in season, including giving out recipe cards using in season produce,” Mircrofarm co-director Stephanie Hamborsky said. “This really draws people in and shows them that it is not difficult to eat seasonally and to buy local.”

Hamborsky also mentions water conversation and healthy soil structure through composting as key factors when it comes to sustainable farming. These are the two processes that are usually taught to volunteers in hopes that they will take this knowledge and make it better known amongst the community.

The UT Microfarm also works closely with the University Food & Housing Services (UFHS). According to Hamborsky, when the farm produces large quantities of vegetables, they sell them to UFHS. This partnership not only benefits the Microfarm, but also allows locally grown produce to be made more widely available to students on campus.

Kinsolving Food Service General Manager, Christine Jenner, believes that this partnership is one of the things that makes UT’s food service an educational experience. Locally grown produce is not only used in food preparation for the Kinsolving Dining Hall, but it’s also available in a fresh produce section within Kin’s Market, a small store right inside the doors of the residence hall.

“At a University as big as ours, attempting to feed tens of thousands of people a day, the fact that we can have locally grown options really sets us apart,” Jenner said. “My goal for Kinsolving is to move toward all of our produce being locally grown, and we are helping the cause with our own mini garden on the patio outside the dining hall.”

The Microfarm doesn’t seek to be profitable. As a grant-based program through the university, the goal is not to make money. Community outreach and education prevail as the number one goal for the Mircrofarm.

“I would encourage everyone to come out to volunteer on work days and gain a deeper connection with the food you eat,” Hamborsky said.

**NOTE: To learn more about the UT Microfarm, visit their website at: https://utmicrofarm.wordpress.com/


Map of Organic Grocery Stores & Farmers Markets in Austin, Texas

UT Microfarm

The Wurst Festival in Texas

It was the best of times, it was the wurst of times at this year’s 52nd annual Wurstfest, a celebration of all things German.

A group of friends joins in with the rest of the crowd by holding their cups in the air to make a toast while singing along to the traditional “Ein Prosit” song. Photo by: Erin MacInerney

A group of friends joins in with the rest of the crowd by holding their cups in the air to make a toast while singing along to the traditional “Ein Prosit” song. Photo by: Erin MacInerney

By: Morgan Bridges, Erin Griffin, Erin MacInerney, Jamie Pross

(Click to listen to the Chardon Polka Band perform live in the Stelzenplatz Biergarten at Wurstfest)

(Click to watch a first-person view of the festival)

NEW BRAUNFELS- Sprechen sie fun? Hint: say yes!

Don’t worry, you needn’t speak German to enjoy the revelry of Wurstfest, the 10-day salute to sausage.

But if you really want to delve into the culture that makes up this Oktoberfest- inspired event, knowing a few phrases will help you to fit in among the lederhosen clad festival-goers.

The small town of New Braunfels, Texas welcomes over 100,000 visitors to the festival each November.

Wurstfest Lingo-FinalThe smell of kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), strudel, schnitzel, and other dishes you may have a hard time pronouncing, waft throughout the tents of the festival grounds.

For people like Sammi Guerrero, Wurstfest is an annual family tradition.

“I have been going every year since I was born,” says Guerrero. “My whole family goes at least three days out of the ten days it is held each year.”

Guerrero’s 21-year streak (or 22 if you count the time she was still in her mother’s belly) is nothing compared to her father, Roland, who has been going every year since the early 1970’s.

Roland’s father, Larry Guerrero, has been joining the family for as long as he can remember. Larry may use a walker but the minute Grammy Award-winning polka artist Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra start playing, Guerrero can’t help but get up and dance.

“Everyone loves my grandpa and when they see him dancing, they can’t help but join,” says Sammi Guerrero. “I love getting to come with him each year and watch him make people smile.”

One of the Guerrero’s favorite parts of the festival is sharing a pitcher of German lager. Roland recounts when a pitcher of beer was a dollar compared to the now almost 30 dollar pitchers being sold.

While grandpa dances to the polka music, the rest of the family heads to the biergarten, part of the newly renovated Stelzenplatz hall.

With more than 30 craft beers from all over the nation and a few specialty German beers, Wurstfest is known for drinking.

Guests make it a point to collect as many plastic beer pitchers as they can down, and that crashing sound you just heard? It was a pyramid of pitchers stacked up falling to the ground, a common sight among the beer hall.

Despite the vast alcohol consumption, Wurstfest Associations members make sure that the fest is centered around good family fun.

Another important part of the festival are the traditional German clothes, lederhosen worn by men and dirndl’s worn by women.

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Click here to learn more about the history of Wurstfest

 

“A lot of people want to be dressed up for the event,” says Paula Kater, owner of the Kuckuck’s Nest in Fredericksburg, Texas. “Every year, sales pick up and people want to get more and more into it. Even the younger generations want to dress up.”

Kater emphasizes that the outfits she dresses her customers in are not costumes, but authentic clothing of her heritage.

“Every one is an original straight from Germany,” says Kater.

Kater was impressed to find such a large German influence in the Texas Hill Country when she arrived here from Ludwigshafen, Germany 15 years ago.

She travels all over the nation providing outfits for people attending Okterberfest events but says Wurstfest has always been her favorite.

“Wurstfest is one of the biggest,” says Kater. “It is the elite of all of them, even the ones up north.”

Lederhosen & Dirndl-Final

 

(A supplementary video from Wurstfest. How to sing one of the favorite songs, Ein Prosit!)

 

 

20th Annual Book Festival Draws All Ages


By Lucy Chen and Katherine Recatto

Thousands of people attended the 20th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival this past weekend in downtown Austin. A six-block stretch of white tents filled with a plethora of books, authors and book lovers proved that while audio books and eBooks have been on the rise, the affinity for printed books is still alive and well.

With the rapid increase in the use of technology, people have been turning to electronic books and audio books. The usage of electronic books soared up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010 according to a study done by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank.

The report then noted the significant slow down of the usage of e-books with a six percent increase of adults who read an e-book in the past year in between 2011 and 2012. A five percent increase occurred in the following year.

The center conducted another research that discovered the percentage of people who read a print book in the past year and compared it to the statistics of people who read an e-book in the same time frame. While the number of people who read a printed book dropped from 71 percent to 65 percent in 2012, confirming the prediction that e-books is taking away print readership, the four percent rise to 69 percent in 2014 showed that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between the two sets of statistics.

Kathryn Sickuhr, a researcher and staff writer at the Pew Research Center, said, “Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow.”

Marion Rocco, a children’s literature professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that the benefit of printed books lies in their accessibility.

“A paper book is always free to borrow from the library,” Rocco said, “ While it may be free to borrow an ebook as well, it is not free if one needs to purchase an ereader or computer of some kind.”

The onset of the ebook revolution does not signal the demise of the printed book.

Sweet New Law for Texas Honey Producers

September is National Honey Month and Texas bees are celebrating a new state law that will lighten the regulations placed on small scale beekeepers.

Round Rock Honey drives from hive to hive in style with their decorated van and personalized license plate. The family-owned and operated business not only produces the purest of wildflower honey but also educates future beekeepers and the general public.

Round Rock Honey drives from hive to hive in style with their decorated van and personalized license plate. The family-owned and operated business not only produces the purest of wildflower honey but also educates future beekeepers and the general public. Photo by: Erin MacInerney

By: Morgan Bridges, Erin Griffin, Erin MacInerney, Jamie Pross

To bee or not to bee, won’t be a question anymore for bee hobbyists producing under 200 gallons of honey annually. The new Texas statute means they will be exempt from costly state health licensing requirements other larger manufacturers face.

The queen bee of honey, Hayden Wolf, thinks this will increase honey production around the state. As the 2015 American Honey Princess, Wolf represents Texas all around the nation advocating the importance of bees in keeping our ecosystem humming perfectly.

“This new law helps my family and I because we have always wanted to sell our honey,” Wolf says. “It’s a great opportunity for beekeepers.”

The 19-year-old manages 12 hives with her parents in East Texas but does not produce enough honey or have the time to make a business out of it.

The new law would allow beekeepers like Wolf and her family to sell their honey directly to consumers at farmers markets or small venues as long as proper labeling distinguishes their product from those bottled in inspection facilities.

Bee enthusiasts say the warm Texas climate is a haven for raising honey bees.  Many keepers from Northern states bring their hives to Texas during the winter months.

“It’s a lot easier than getting a pet,” Wolf says. “You don’t even have to take them on a leash and walk them everyday!”

If you are concerned with getting the proper vitamin bee from your honey, don’t let that adorable bear-shaped bottle at the supermarket fool you.

Pollen studies conducted by Professor Vaughn M. Bryant of Texas A&M University found that over 75 percent of honey sold at large chain stores and restaurants had the pollen removed making it impossible to trace the legitimate source or ingredients.

Take a look at a jar of honey and you might find ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners. What you won’t see on the label are antibiotics, heavy metals and other harsh chemicals that could have contaminated the honey throughout the process.

These honey bunches of lies make it easier for manufacturers to cut costs and extend shelf life consequently removing the health benefits completely

The honey sold at co-ops, farmers markets and “natural stores” yielded the full, expected amounts of pollen.

The new law encourages sales of local honey which means a higher chance of consuming 100 percent, organic honey without the cheap additives.

“There are many benefits of honey and if you are not getting the pure product, you might not be getting those benefits,” Wolf says. “The best way to know you are actually getting the best honey is to know your beekeeper personally and ask them questions.”

Texas ranks sixth in the nation for honey production, but our bees still face major threats of disease, negative effects of pesticide use and global warming.

“It’s a fairly simply hobby but it has become harder to keep our bees alive in the past years. Now we have to check the hives every two to three weeks,” Wolf says. “It used to be easier in the old days.”

Mystery syndromes not fully understood such as Colony Collapse Disorder have created quite a buzz in the last decade. Annual bee colony losses averaged around 42 percent this past year according to a study conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America.

“It is important we try to keep them alive, to keep ourselves alive,” says Melanie Brown, Founder of BEEVO, The University of Texas’ Beekeeping Society. “Bees pollinate a lot of our crops and without them, we would have a serious shortage of food.”

About 80 percent of the food on grocery store shelves are there thanks to bees according to the International Bee Research Association.

Brown says the BEEVO club has a substantial following since initiating this last spring.
The goal of the society is to engage students, faculty, and staff in urban beekeeping as part of an effort towards sustainable pollinator populations.

“I’m more passionate about the environmental impacts of beekeeping but there are a lot of people on campus who are just super into beekeeping,” Brown says. “I am happy they now have an outlet to share their knowledge.”

 

Bee Story-8

 

Queen visits Whataburger and it was a drag

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UT student, Tyler Grant participated in this year’s UT drag competition and performed to the hit single, “Long John Blues.”

 

By Erin Spencer, Jessica Garcia, and Raisa Tillis

Austin,TX-Early Saturday morning on April 11, 2015 in the West Campus area of the University of Texas, Tyler Grant, a public health junior was denied service at Whataburger after a night of hanging with friends.

Grant, who identifies as gender queer, left a drag show with some friends and went to a Whataburger restaurant to get a bite to eat and enjoy great company.

When Grant arrived to Whataburger, the police officer at the door immediately turned him away and told him he couldn’t enter because of the outfit he was wearing.

Grant had on cheetah print lingerie with five layers of panty hose and some thigh pads.

The police officer told him that his outfit wasn’t appropriate for entering the establishment.

After Grant questioned the police officer, the officer then went to get the manager who was working the nightshift to discuss the situation with her.

“I don’t think my outfit had anything to do with why I couldn’t get inside of Whataburger,” said Grant. “I realized he didn’t let me in because he realized I wasn’t a women, I got really really pissed.”

Grant said that at first he couldn’t go inside Whataburger because he didn’t have shoes on, but when the officer told him to put them on and he heard his voice things went south from there.

Later that night, Grant got on Facebook and made a post about the incident that occurred at Whataburger, expressing his frustration and disappointment with Whataburger and the office on duty.

Wilfrido Rodriguez, a member of the Delta Lambda Phi and one of Grant’s friends, was shocked when he saw what happened to Grant early that morning at Whataburger.

“It really made me frustrated with Whataburger just because the fact that they were judging him based on clothing made me really mad,” said Rodriguez. “The fact that the police officer neglected him after he found out he was a guy hurt me to see that he had to have this experience happen to him.”

After hours of responses from family and friends, Grant’s video went viral all over Facebook.

The next day Grant went back to Whataburger to talk to the same manager about why he felt discriminated when he was denied service early Saturday morning.

Thinking he may get the truth this time around, the manager still stuck with the same answer she gave him before. She wouldn’t let him in because of his clothing.

Austin has a nondiscrimination ordinance that prevents public accommodations from discriminating against individuals based on gender identity.

Grant went to Student Legal Services for advice on possible legal action for this incident.

He recently met with the city of Austin this week to file the official complaint against Whataburger. He said that it went well and Whataburger would be notified within 10 days of the investigation. Although there isn’t any punishment for breaking the nondiscrimination ordinance, Grant just wants them to know that what they did was wrong and hurtful.

 

Beer Culture A-Brewin’ on Campus

Will Craven, a sophomore at the University of Texas, is a member of the Texas Brewing Society.

University of Texas sophomore Will Craven rises early on a drizzly Sunday morning to initiate the fermentation of his specialty home-brewed India pale ale. Even before achieving the two-to-four week fermentation process, the beer solution takes nearly half a day to prepare.

For folks like James Sutton, drinking a run-of-the-mill beer is simply not satisfying enough.

Sutton, president and founder of Future Brewers Club at the University of Texas at Austin, is a beer enthusiast who eschews the likes of Bud Lite and talks excitedly about lagers the names of which few have probably ever heard of, much less tasted.

“Both my parents are craft beer drinkers,” Sutton said. “I grew up with my dad drinking Saint Arnold, and that just being in the fridge all the time and not thinking anything of it.”

Saint Arnold is a craft brewery in Houston, just one of many that Sutton frequents on a regular basis. Many of the best craft breweries in the state are here in Austin, according to Sutton.

“We’re really lucky that we live in Austin and we live in 2015, because there’s a ton of craft beer everywhere,” Sutton said. “You can find good stuff anywhere. Try anything from Austin Beerworks, 512 or Real Ale.”

 

 

While brewing your own beer combines a bit of creativity and a bunch of complex chemistry, Sutton insists that the club is really just a vehicle to bring beer buffs together.

“You definitely don’t need any homebrew experience to come or to enjoy it,” Sutton said. “I, at least, try to stay away from the more technical side of beers. I just want people to come and learn some and not be overwhelmed.”

The crux of the club is simple, but Sutton himself knows the complexities of brewing and hopes to have a career in it someday.

“I’ve worked at a couple breweries in the past and it’s extremely rewarding to see a product out at a bar or a grocery store,” Sutton said. “You could see a bottle out on the floor at HEB and think, ‘Hey, I might have picked up that bottle at some point.’”

“This is what I want to do. I don’t know about the rest of my life, but after I graduate I definitely want to work in a brewery. It’s fun.”

Working at a craft brewery is not so much of an oddity anymore, either. According to the Washington Post, there are now over 4,500 of them in the United States, and sales from craft breweries constitute 14.3 percent of the $100 billion beer market.

Sutton, like many craft brewers, is a chemistry major, and attests to the importance that science plays in brewing.

“Brewing is a science,” Sutton said. “Brewing is an art. It’s a lot of complex chemistry that maybe we don’t understand. But a lot of it is understood and it’s helping everyone make better beer every day.”

But after some prodding, the process was revealed to be not so difficult.

“Really, there are only four ingredients: barley, water, yeast and hops,” Sutton said. “Boil the barley in the water, which breaks it down into simple sugars. Boil some hops in there for bitterness and aroma. Transfer it, cool it down. Add yeast, and it’s basically a chemical reaction in which simple sugars are converted into alcohol and CO2.”

 

 

Sutton’s club was started just last year, but the membership has already grown substantially.

“At orientation, they tell you all you need [to start a student organization] is three friends and 10 dollars,” Sutton said. “I was like, ‘Hey I totally have three friends.’ Twenty people showed up at the first meeting. It was hard to get it started, but rewarding.”

The members of the club have varying levels of interest in brewing their own beer, though seemingly none are as enthusiastic as Sutton.  He claims that you get out what you put into it.

“It’s kind of like any hobby,” Sutton said. “You can spend as little as you want and do as little as you want or you can spend as much as you want and do as much as you want. It’s not that hard if you want to do it. The hardest part is getting out and doing it.”

In the end, Sutton said, craft brewing is all about being the right mix.

“Brewing is 25 percent janitor, 25 percent chef, 25 percent chemist and 25 percent dude who drinks beer.”

Interested in brewing? Sutton tells us how.

 

Sutton, chemistry student and president of the University of Texas’ Future Brewers Club, shares some brewing basics and what his new student organization is all about (though that you could’ve guessed), all over a glass (or two) of his own home-brewed beer.