Where does your passion for food come from?
My background in farming and enthusiasm for fermentation led me to create a business that supports the organic farmers in the region while producing incredibly healing and delicious fermented sauerkrauts and pickles for the community.
Tell us about your culinary journey.
My first batch of sauerkraut was the result of an abundance of cabbage and I thought, “I like sauerkraut, I’ll try it.” That was the first time I had tasted raw, sauerkraut and I ate 2 gallons in 2 weeks! After that, the more I learned about the incredible health benefits of fermented foods the more enthusiastic I became. I love to cook and make things that taste good and are also healthy, and the fermentation process adds an exciting challenge and amazing secret weapon in the fight for flavor. I studied food systems and science, and sustainable agriculture at The Evergreen State College and have been experimenting at home and at OlyKraut for the last decade+ and it’s truly my pleasure to be selling something that I feel so good about and can stand behind 100%!
Where is your favorite place to eat?
After my own kitchen, I tend towards grocery store salad bars and then beyond that, I love the Chelsea Oyster Bar in Olympia, or Plum Bistro in Seattle. I was a vegetarian for about 25 years and have recently added in seafood but my vegetarian roots are deep.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We buy from organic farms in Washington and Oregon mostly. The things we can’t get locally, we order through Organically Grown Company, an organic produce distributor out of Oregon, who does a great job vetting their suppliers. We also buy some things through GloryBee, the Olympia Food Coop, and High Quality Organics.
Tell us about a new product you are working on.
Our seasonal product is Pickled Cranberries, and it is sweet and spicy and kind of a treat! We buy the cranberries from Starvation Alley Farm, the first organically certified cranberry farm in Washington State! We then add salt, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and they really taste like the festive season.
What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
Our four signature flavors, Original, Eastern European, Smoke & Kale, and Spicy Garlic sauerkrauts, along with the Sipping Brines in all of those flavors, as well as the Pickled Cranberries, and the Cranberry Brineade.
What are your goals for your business in the next year?
We hope to increase our presence around the Pacific Northwest and maybe get into Fred Meyer and QFC!!
What was your biggest challenge when starting out?
Distribution and cashflow, probably. Before we worked with commercial distributors, it was very challenging to coordinate all the logistics involved. We tried to partner with other businesses to share costs and fuel and that worked, but it took a lot of time. Also, we would get requests for products to places we just could not deliver, and that was challenging. The cash flow continues to be a challenge, mostly because we are growing again, and that always costs money.
What’s your favorite part of this food movement?
The fact that people care about health and sustainability along with the flavors! People are starting to ask about where ingredients come from and know the names of the farms in their food shed. It’s exciting and it’s great to see so many folks enthusiastic about good food.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love interacting with farmers all the time and being in touch with our agricultural system. I also love seeing our employees learn skills and grow in their jobs. I like how all the moving parts coordinate just enough to crank out a really great product and I like working with our crew to make that magic happen.