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.
Edward Sanchez attended Fredericksburg High School the same time as Bradley and immediately launched a chef career. Working his way through the ranks he honed and contributed his culinary skills to highly acclaimed restaurants including Sway, Lamberts, Perla's, Clark's, Elizabeth Street in Austin plus Cabernet Grill and Crossroads Steak House in Frederickburg. He is our right hand man and applies many of the process once used in the kitchen on the farm. He is also a top advisor on new plant varieties and chef relations. His father owns a successful landscaping company in Fredericksburg and Edward brings that long instilled work ethic and love of the outdoors to our team.
Ada was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, and moved to Austin when she was 18 to attend St. Edward's University where she graduated with a degree in Psychology while working at the farmers' markets slinging coffee. After college, Ada moved to Jerusalem where she got a master's degree in Nonprofit Management. There, she cultivated an intense interest in local foodways and sustainable agriculture. For the past 7 or so years she's worked at farms in Austin, including Johnson's Backyard Garden where she was the CSA and Marketing Director. She recently started a meal prep club called Club Homemade which gets folks' prepped for a week of healthy eating featuring locally sourced ingredients. Ada now lives in the Fredericksburg area and helps out weekly on the farm, doing everything from planting to harvesting to special projects and post harvest design.
Faith was our Spring 2020 intern and didn't leave! Faith was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. She has always enjoyed the outdoors and working with her hands. Her passion for sustainable food, fiber, and small business has led her to pursue a Small/Organic Farmer certificate and an associate’s degree in Business Management through Palo Alto College. Faith’s dream is to one day open a small farm that focuses on restoring soil health and work with her husband as he explores the world of orchard management and food forest design.
Carley was born Beaumont, TX. She earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Horticulture from Texas State University. A true plantsman, her passion extends to all things insects. With experience in greenhouse management she was also a server at Dai Due in Austin, where she learned a true appreciation for high quality, ethically and locally sources food. She is a huge asset to harvest and wholesale accounts but is always willing to jump on any project that improves our operations.
Megan Winfrey was raised in Fredericksburg, TX and now lives in Llano. Megan earned a BA in Media Arts & Journalism with a minor in photo communications from Saint Edwards University before managing some of the finest restaurants in Austin. Her proudest experience was serving as the general manager of the historic steakhouse Jefferey's. With so much experience in the foodie world, Megan is our wholesale customer liaison delivering directly to the most incredible chefs in central Texas. She also has a vintage clothing business you should checkout: Loyal Vintage.
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.
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.
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.