Meet the Hat and the Heart.
Bradley Ottmers was born and raised on this land. He learned how to drive his first tractor at age 5 and began his farmers market sales career at age 13. Following in his parents' footsteps, he is a proud sixth generation farmer and German Texan with roots dating to the founding of Fredericksburg and the original settlers of our own Gillespie County.
A graduate of Fredericksburg High School, Bradley was heavily involved in 4H and FFA, showing turkeys for 10 years and placing at the top in the most prestigious stock show arenas in the state. He serves as an advisor to current 4H-ers today.
After his own adventures and varied experiences as a professional welder, fence builder, electrician's assistant, and semi-driver, he has returned to continue the tradition of family farming. Bradley is the farm's resident mechanic, builder, welder, veterinarian, etymologist, meteorologist, soil scientist, and heavy lifter. He is proud to use his varied skills on this family land and to continue and expand the generational legacy and business from his parents.
Katherine Tanner is a proud 7th generation Texan with roots dating back to Stephen F. Austin's original 300 settlers of Texas. Her 5th great grandfather was one of the first appointed Texas Rangers and her 3rd great grandfather was among the founders of Stonewall, Texas: the nearest town to our farm today.
Katherine was born in Austin and raised in Fredericksburg. She has a degree in International Studies and Political Science from Southwestern University and a masters of science in Geopolitics and Security from Royal Holloway University fo London.
After 10 years of living and working in Austria, Germany, Turkey and England, she clicked her heals and said, "there's no place like home." After returning to her beloved Hill County she couldn't imagine her life any different and looks forward to honoring the German Texan heritage she shares with Bradley as they grow with the farm in the years to come.
The rest of the team.
J.W. Ottmers, better known as Opa, is the man that started it all here at the farm. It is through his lifelong teaching, stubborn dedication, unparalleled resilience, and unmatched work ethic that Bradley strives to apply the lessons he has learned from his father and the wisdom passed down from the generations before. J.W. was raised on a farm between Albert and Stonewall, Texas as the youngest of 3 children and started the farm we have today in 1970 first as a turkey farm, then vegetables for wholesale grocery and then finally a vegetable farm (with chickens!) focused on variety for farmer's market customers and local chefs.
Marion Klenksiek Ottmers, better known as Oma, is the female strength, wisdom, and backbone that holds this all together. The word "farmer's wife" is never to be used once you meet this incredible woman. She is a 5th generation farmer who literally was in the field before she took her first steps, shadowing her father on their family farm in Grape Town, near Luckenbach, Texas as the youngest of 6 children. Chances are, the eggs you buy from us were gathered, graded, and carefully placed in the carton by Oma's hands.
Gary Ottmers is the third son of the five Ottmers children. After growing up on this farm, he served as an electrician's mate on the USS Midway and the USS Tripoli before returning home to Fredericksburg to work as a professional electrician. He still works in his field of expertise full time but also is the familiar face you will usually see at Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio.
Tyler Friederich was born and raised on ranches near Fredericksburg, TX. He and his wife Hannah, along with their almost 2 year old son David raise meat rabbits and are passionate about sustainable food sources. They have spearheaded a pilot program for our local 4H to raise and show rabbits. When Tyler isn't working hard on the farm, you can usually find him enjoying lunch breaks on the creek or ponds fishing up a storm. Y'all can follow him and his fishing adventures @opportune_fishing on instagram.
Macey Ritchie was born in Georgetown, TX and raised in Johnson City. She is a high school student at LBJ High School and loves the outdoors. She is spending her summer working part time at the farm and part time at a local feed store. We are very proud of her recent award for achieving the highest GPA in agriculture in her class. Macey loves learning about all aspects of a farming/ranching operation and is always willing to get out there and get the job done with a can do attitude.
Daniel Pologe hails from Milwaukee, WI and is a new resident of Austin, TX. After a two year service in the Peace Corps to Moldova, he spent three years in Seattle as a staff member for the Seattle Farmers' Market. He also worked for Rotary First Harvest, a nonprofit connecting farmers, truckers and volunteers to tackle hunger relief with surplus produce. You'll see Daniel as a familiar face at our Austin location Farmers Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
With every new generation comes new progress. It is forever our goal to grow the food that nourishes our neighbors. We use organic and sustainable practices in the field and the pasture and are always experimenting with new more regenerative methods of farming.
We believe in taking care of the microbes in our soil that create more nutrient rich habitats for more resilient plants. We rotate our crops and leave growing terraces fallow for up to 4 years at a time to rest. We cultivate and grow a wide variety of plants to ensure we have those plants reintroduce the nutrients (like nitrogen) that different plants may have taken away. We also add incredible organic matter to feed our soil microbes like Texas gulf fish remains (after that beautiful cut of fillet is removed for your special dinner, our soil enjoys the benefits of the rest of the wild caught specimens), a mixture of mulches, dried leaves from the fall, and our own compost. No conventional or harsh chemicals here.
We have future goals of experimenting and eventually transitioning to a no till operation where we will, after many generations of horse drawn and gas powered tillers and tractors, build a healthier soil over time. We also have future goals of rain water catchment off our 6,000 square foot turkey barn to wash all the produce and provide drinking water for all of our animals and ourselves.
It is with generational wisdom and strength that we forge into the future of farming together. Bradley, as a sixth generation farmer, and Katherine, as a 5th generation entrepreneur, rely heavily on their family's past lessons in their daily lives.