We began our "back-to-the-farm movement" in 1981, when we acquired our Milam county farm, outside of Gause, which is located one and one-half hours northeast of Austin. At that time we were in other careers (real estate and art), so the farming was a week-end adventure. We were also raising our three children and none of them wanted to be seen with a hoe in their hands!
By 1991, towards the end of the Texas "depression," we decided we might as well follow our dream full-time. The children were just about grown, and besides, what did we have to lose? Art prices had bottomed out and the real estate bust had turned Larry into a house remodeler. Thus we began farming the Milam county farm, growing cool weather crops (carrots, lettuce, broccoli, etc.) and hot weather crops (tomatoes -- lots of tomatoes! -- squash, cucumbers, etc) which we sold at a small farm stand on a street corner near our home. The reception from passersby was exciting. Although we had to explain the word "organic," all the customers understood "fresh"!
In 1992 we were able to buy, after much creative financing, the five acres and historic old house in East Austin, which, with the Gause farm, became Boggy Creek Farm, named after the creek/ditch across the street. (Many farms are named after creeks, it seems.) Surrounded by housing subdivisions, schools, and commercial enterprises, which had been built on land once part of the farm, our Austin farm became one of the few truly urban farms in the nation.
Today we intensively cultivate the urban farm and also our country farm. At the Gause farm, we grow our Early Girl tomato crop, potatoes, onions, hard squash, summer squash, and other items we need in abundance. Specialty and salad crops, okra, heirloom and cherry tomatoes, plus flowers, are grown in Austin.
While the majority of our produce is sold from our farm stand at the Austin farm, a good amount of summer produce is available at our neighborhood Whole Foods Market, which is located about three miles from the farm.
We are both native Texans: I was born in Goose Creek, now Baytown, near the Gulf of Mexico, grew up in San Antonio, came to UT Austin, and stayed. My early career was as an artist, painting and producing prints of still lifes, wildlife, and Texas landscapes. Larry was born in Galveston and lived the first part of his life in Gause, farming and running cows with his parents. He's the real farmer of the two of us; I clean up the details. After Vietnam, Larry came to Austin and had careers in television/electronics and real estate/remodeling. We both speak Spanish. It's curious how all the things we've been come together in this passion for farming! For farming in Texas requires a bit of mechanics as well as art, and it's certainly helpful to be bilingual.
Carol Ann, left. Larry, right.(Photo by Pamela Hornby)
Other photo credits on this page:
Photo of sign, Alex Labry; photo of Carol Ann arranging gold cherry tomatoes, Jen Reel.