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The spice of life
Eliza Winne likes her life rural and her condiments spicy and natural.
A veteran of Nash’s Organic Produce for two years and its current farm store produce manager, within the past month, the 29-year-old has begun marketing her fermented vegetables under the brand name Getting Cultured.
“I primarily use Nash’s vegetables as much as possible and share label space in Nash’s Farm Store. I make fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kim chee — kim chee is to Korea what sauerkraut is to Germany,” Winne explained.
Brussels Kraut is a tangy blend of cabbage and Brussels sprouts;
Sequim Chi is a mildly spicy but zesty condiment, Winne said. Sweet & Spicy Carrots is a mixture of carrots, horseradish and hot peppers, making for a sweet and fiery combination. Culture Shock is a blend of green cabbage, carrots, daikon radishes, garlic, fresh turmeric, galangal, ginger and hot peppers.
“It’s medicine food, that one,” Winne laughed, noting eating it will cause a good sweat.
The condiments are sold in 16-ounce jars and are 100 percent natural and organic. They’re available at Nash’s Farm Store and The Red Rooster Grocery in Sequim, but Winne is looking to find a market niche in Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Chimacum. Because the vegetables are fermented and not canned with heat and pressure, they require refrigeration after opening and are meant to be eaten at room temperature.
“I’ve been making fermented vegetables for the past five years and I’ve been really creative,” Winne said. “Last year I made a lot of recipes, got feedback from the community on which ones were the best, and started with the recipes I wanted to sell. Nash has been so supportive — I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have without the support of the farm community.”
Winne is a one-woman manufacturer, from selecting the vegetables to sticking labels on the jars. She rents a commercial kitchen from Lamb Farms and has the capacity to ferment 30 gallons at a time but until demand picks up, she’s processing 15 gallons every two weeks.
The process is as follows: “I chop up the raw vegetables, weigh the ingredients and add the right proportion of sea salt. Then I mix and mash it with my hands — the salt brings the liquid out of the vegetables which turns into brine. I have six 5-gallon ceramic crocks and the mixture ferments at 65 degrees for three or four weeks before being jarred,” Winne said.
“Because the vegetables are fermented, its becoming a fad again to eat them because of the live probiotics released in the fermenting process,” Winne said.
She said she’s encouraged by the business — in its rollout week Winne sold a case of Sequim Chi.
“I want to grow as the business grows. I’d definitely love to expand my product line and I have a sourdough starter I’d like to begin selling,” she said.