Organic farm in Manor ripped apart by storm, works to rebuild

Tecolote Farm barn damaged (KXAN/Kylie McGivern)
Tecolote Farm barn damaged (KXAN Photo/Kylie McGivern)

MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — More than 24 hours after storms hit Central Texas, we’re still getting a handle on the full extent of the damage. Tecolote Farm, an organic farm in Manor, is working to rebuild after suffering what owners estimate was a $130,000 hit from straight line winds.

Spend a minute with Katie Pitre and you’ll realize she hardly has a minute to spare after the recent storm.

“You can see there’s crops planted and we’ve got a greenhouse full of seedlings that we would be planting this week, were we not picking up scrap metal and making piles of live oak,” Pitre told KXAN. “Every hour we’re finding more things that were broken.”

Powerful winds ripped the roof off the farm’s barn, plus a solar array that was less than a year old.

“If it was fall or winter time I could sit around and sigh a little bit, but this time of year you don’t even have the time to sigh,” Katie’s husband David said. “Spring and summer is 99 percent of your crops.”

David and Katie have been delivering fresh vegetables to Austinites for 24 years, but Feb. 19 now has its own flavor.

“Everybody maybe gets one of these once in your life and it’s our turn,” Pitre said. A storm, that like nearly utility poles, has left the Pitre’s working to set themselves right.

“It’s pretty terrifying. It felt like our whole house was going to be lifted up.”

Now, it’s neighbors and friends helping lift them up. “I think in farming you just become hardened to the fact that troubles are going to happen and you have to keep going,” Pitre said. “This is a huge one and it comes at a hard time for us.”

Monday was supposed to mark Tecolote Farm’s first harvest for Farmhouse Delivery, which delivers seasonal produce right to your home. KXAN reached out to the company directly to learn how it was impacted. Because Farmhouse Delivery works with a network of farms, it was able to shift in light of the storm.

Tecolote Farm says to help, people can buy locally and join the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to receive weekly deliveries of organic vegetables. For information on which farmers markets Tecolote Farm attends, restaurants that support the farm and ways to financially assist the farm, check out the farm’s website. 

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