Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is perhaps the best-known style of fermented vegetable in our country and also happens to be one of the simplest to make at home. The ingredient list is short, the steps are simple, and the margin for error is extremely low. In fact, famed fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz points out that the large population of lactic acid bacteria present in the ferment handily outcompete any incidental pathogenic bacteria, and the acidity that rapidly develops in fermented vegetables destroys any remaining pathogens. Lactic acid bacteria are present on cabbages and all other raw vegetables and they’re largely responsible for the magical transformation that takes place when you pack cabbage and salt together into a jar. 

Our ability to use microbes — fungi (yeasts) and bacteria — as a method of food preservation dates back to the dawn of recorded history. Prior to refrigeration, it was the only way, short of sun-drying, to preserve food. It is a process that is inextricably linked to our culture as human beings. It is, in large part, responsible for our survival as human beings as it allowed our earliest ancestors to preserve and store food to get through long winters and periods of famine.

Fermentation also makes our food more nutritious, more flavorful, and easier to digest. Fermented foods deliver a healthy dose of living probiotic bacteria and enzymes to our overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of our gut microbiome. Even though the practice of fermentation has been around for centuries, we are just beginning to understand, from a scientific point of view, why fermented foods are so important for our health. The forty-odd trillion microbes that live on and in our bodies allow us to digest food and produce key minerals that nourish us and protect us from disease. They guide the development of our bodies, are key to the healthy functioning of our immune systems, and influence our behavior. They even modulate the expression of our genes, bind with and remove toxins from our bodies, prevent or lessen the effects of food allergies, and communicate with the nervous system using some of the same neurochemicals that relay messages to the brain (the Gut-Brain Axis). They secrete a profound number of chemicals, many of which are the same chemicals used by our neurons to regulate our mood and signal appetite clues like hunger and fullness.

Our weekly sale from April 21st – 27th celebrates foods that promote gut health, so what better time to try whipping up a batch of your very own probiotic-packed sauerkraut? 

Injera (Ethiopian Flatbread)

Injera is a soft, thin pancake-like flatbread made from fermented teff batter. A staple food in Ethiopia, the bread is typically used for scooping stews, meat, and vegetables like Doro Wat, Gomen, and Kik Alicha (all three of which are featured on our blog this week!). Our weekly sale from April 7th – 13th celebrates the cuisine of Ethiopia and you’ll find Bob’s Red Mill teff flour featured in the sale, which is all you’ll need to make this traditional flatbread. Much like sourdough bread, injera is a product of fermentation, so while the steps and ingredients are simple, you’ll need to plan ahead by starting the fermentation of the batter 4 days before you’d like to prepare the injera. The resulting bread is naturally gluten-free and the fermentation process improves the digestibility and bioavailability of the nutrients present in the teff flour.

Spotlight on Sunja’s

We’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on Sunja’s this week!  This local business has been keeping our shelves stocked with authentic Korean kimchi since the early 1990s. In fact, their team tells us that our Co-op was one of their very first retail accounts! All of Sunja’s nutrient-dense, probiotic-packed products are 20% off for member-owners from March 17th – 23rd, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind this local woman-owned business carrying on the Korean kimchi-making tradition for Vermonters to enjoy:

The seed for Sunja’s Oriental Foods was first planted in 1993 when Sunja Hayden began offering cooking classes in her small Northfield, Vermont community. Participants couldn’t get enough of her healthy, delicious traditional Korean foods, which inspired Sunja to began producing food for a retail market. Another motivating force was her awareness of the fact that so many foods we consume contain unhealthy chemical additives and preservatives. Sunja understood the critical role of all-natural, preservative-free, non-GMO foods for health and wellness and wanted to share more of her traditional foods with her community. 

According to Sunja, “I started my company in 1993 because of my affection for healthy eating and my desire to serve my family and friends good, real, healthy food. My love for preparing delicious and healthy meals soon transformed into a desire to do the same for others. I believe in the importance of natural foods with live enzymes, which help the digestive process.”

Sunja making a batch of kimchi in the early days of launching her business.

Here at the Co-op, you’ll find a lineup of several varieties of Sunja’s kimchi. This traditional fermented Korean dish is typically served as a condiment at every meal and there are hundreds of varieties of Korean kimchi depending on regional and family preferences. Kimchi is raw, living food that is rich in flavor, high in nutritional value, and naturally fermented to create rich probiotics from the live beneficial bacteria present on the vegetables. The fermentation process also makes the nutrients in the vegetables more bioavailable and easily assimilated by our bodies. The end product offers a robust source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A, C, B1, and B2.  It also boasts a long list of potential health benefits including improved gut health, digestion, and immunity. 

Sunja’s kimchi is produced in Waterbury, VT, and the fresh vegetables are sourced locally whenever possible. Sunja is proud to support local farms and is very particular about how the produce is grown for her kimchi, specifying that her kimchi is made with the freshest vegetables and does not contain any preservatives, sugar, MSG, or additives of any kind. Sunja’s products are also naturally gluten-free and vegan and are third-party verified by the Non-GMO Project

 

Whether you’re new to eating kimchi or a seasoned pro, we think you’ll love the recipes on Sunja’s webpage! They’ll provide plenty of inspiration for ways to enjoy this Korean superfood!

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

This week’s  Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Aqua ViTea! All of their non-alcoholic Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from September 2nd – 8th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business with humble beginnings on a Salisbury Farm!

 

History

Aqua ViTea began in 2007 in the Salisbury, Vermont farmhouse of Jeff Weaber and Dr. Katina Martin, based on the naturopathic principle of “food as medicine.” Weaber and Martin had just relocated to Vermont after 9 years in Portland, Oregon, where Katina pursued medical degrees in Naturopathy, Midwifery, and Acupuncture and Jeff served as the brewer for The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. Honing the craft of fermentation at work and learning about functional foods and the governing role of the digestive system from Katina at home led Weaber to discover the wonders of Kombucha.

Aqua ViTea founder Jeff Weaber with his wife Katina Martin at their Salisbury home where they first began brewing kombucha

By 2007, he was selling his Kombucha to the happy crowds at the Middlebury Farmers Market under the Aqua ViTea brand and in 2008, he began bottling his product and selling wholesale to our Co-op and a handful of other local markets. By 2014, demand began to outpace production capacity, and plans to move Aqua ViTea’s production off the farm began to ferment. They first moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, VT, followed by yet another upgrade in 2017 to an even more impressive facility — the former home of Woodchuck Cider just off of Exchange Street in Middlebury. Today, the rapidly growing company is the largest Kombucha producer on the east coast and proudly brews low sugar, alcohol-free, organic kombucha with naturally abundant probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants, whose balanced blend of sparkling refreshment and bold flavor makes it the perfect substitute for juice or soda. 

Giant vats of kombucha brewing at Aqua ViTea’s state-of-the-art facility in Middlebury

As the business grew, Weaber called on Mike Kin, who was a close friend of Weaber’s in Oregon, and convinced him to move to Vermont with his family to become the company’s brewer. If you dig the artwork on Aqua ViTea’s packaging and materials as much as we do, you’ve got Mike to thank for these. He sketches each one by hand, creating the funky, colorful, amazing signature artwork that you see on all of AquaVitea’s products!

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea

 

Commitment to Authenticity

Many commercially available Kombucha brands have been found to contain significantly more sugar and alcohol than their labels disclose. Additionally, some large-scale Kombucha products are being manufactured in a lab setting, force carbonated, and even pasteurized, with the probiotic cultures added artificially as “ingredients” to the end product.

Aqua ViTea Kombucha has kid-friendly ingredients you can trust

Aqua ViTea, since day one, has shown a deep commitment to authenticity. This begins by sourcing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably sourced organic tea from Middlebury’s Stone Leaf Teahouse and organic cane sugar to feed the ferment. Their Kombucha is the product of a live, active fermentation, which allows the live cultures and enzymes to develop naturally and delivers the tangy effervescence that Kombucha drinkers love. They are one of only two kombucha makers in the country who have invested in a spinning cone column, which allows for the extraction and recovery of volatile compounds, including alcohol, without the need for excessive heat. And since the alcohol is removed at the end of fermentation, the active cultures can grow at their own pace, which results in authentic, delicious, and non-alcoholic Kombucha. They even employ an in-house microbiologist to analyze the safety and purity of their products.

Laura Smith from Aqua ViTea tells a tour group from Addison Central Teens about the cone extractor, which removes the alcohol from Aqua ViTea’s kombucha

 

After Glow

An exciting recent addition to the Aqua ViTea lineup is AfterGlow Hard Kombucha. This is a smooth, tasty alternative to beer and cider and a more natural option than spiked seltzers. It’s organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with only the finest sustainably sourced ingredients. While they do extract the alcohol from their traditional Kombucha, that alcohol is not used in creating AfterGlow. Instead, they let AfterGlow’s natural alcohol mature through fermentation and into the can – resulting in a mindfully made adult beverage.

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

This week’s  Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Aqua ViTea! All of their non-alcoholic Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from September 2nd – 8th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business with humble beginnings on a Salisbury Farm!

 

History

Aqua ViTea began in 2007 in the Salisbury, Vermont farmhouse of Jeff Weaber and Dr. Katina Martin, based on the naturopathic principle of “food as medicine.” Weaber and Martin had just relocated to Vermont after 9 years in Portland, Oregon, where Katina pursued medical degrees in Naturopathy, Midwifery, and Acupuncture and Jeff served as the brewer for The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. Honing the craft of fermentation at work and learning about functional foods and the governing role of the digestive system from Katina at home led Weaber to discover the wonders of Kombucha.

Aqua ViTea founder Jeff Weaber with his wife Katina Martin at their Salisbury home where they first began brewing kombucha

By 2007, he was selling his Kombucha to the happy crowds at the Middlebury Farmers Market under the Aqua ViTea brand and in 2008, he began bottling his product and selling wholesale to our Co-op and a handful of other local markets. By 2014, demand began to outpace production capacity, and plans to move Aqua ViTea’s production off the farm began to ferment. They first moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, VT, followed by yet another upgrade in 2017 to an even more impressive facility — the former home of Woodchuck Cider just off of Exchange Street in Middlebury. Today, the rapidly growing company is the largest Kombucha producer on the east coast and proudly brews low sugar, alcohol-free, organic kombucha with naturally abundant probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants, whose balanced blend of sparkling refreshment and bold flavor makes it the perfect substitute for juice or soda. 

Giant vats of kombucha brewing at Aqua ViTea’s state-of-the-art facility in Middlebury

As the business grew, Weaber called on Mike Kin, who was a close friend of Weaber’s in Oregon, and convinced him to move to Vermont with his family to become the company’s brewer. If you dig the artwork on Aqua ViTea’s packaging and materials as much as we do, you’ve got Mike to thank for these. He sketches each one by hand, creating the funky, colorful, amazing signature artwork that you see on all of AquaVitea’s products!

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea

 

Commitment to Authenticity

Many commercially available Kombucha brands have been found to contain significantly more sugar and alcohol than their labels disclose. Additionally, some large-scale Kombucha products are being manufactured in a lab setting, force carbonated, and even pasteurized, with the probiotic cultures added artificially as “ingredients” to the end product.

Aqua ViTea Kombucha has kid-friendly ingredients you can trust

Aqua ViTea, since day one, has shown a deep commitment to authenticity. This begins by sourcing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably sourced organic tea from Middlebury’s Stone Leaf Teahouse and organic cane sugar to feed the ferment. Their Kombucha is the product of a live, active fermentation, which allows the live cultures and enzymes to develop naturally and delivers the tangy effervescence that Kombucha drinkers love. They are one of only two kombucha makers in the country who have invested in a spinning cone column, which allows for the extraction and recovery of volatile compounds, including alcohol, without the need for excessive heat. And since the alcohol is removed at the end of fermentation, the active cultures can grow at their own pace, which results in authentic, delicious, and non-alcoholic Kombucha. They even employ an in-house microbiologist to analyze the safety and purity of their products.

Laura Smith from Aqua ViTea tells a tour group from Addison Central Teens about the cone extractor, which removes the alcohol from Aqua ViTea’s kombucha

 

After Glow

An exciting recent addition to the Aqua ViTea lineup is AfterGlow Hard Kombucha. This is a smooth, tasty alternative to beer and cider and a more natural option than spiked seltzers. It’s organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with only the finest sustainably sourced ingredients. While they do extract the alcohol from their traditional Kombucha, that alcohol is not used in creating AfterGlow. Instead, they let AfterGlow’s natural alcohol mature through fermentation and into the can – resulting in a mindfully made adult beverage.

 

 

 

 

Fiesta Roja Dog

While it’s tough to beat a classic hot dog with all the standard fixings, it can also be a lot of fun to merge a traditional hot dog with the flavors of other favorite comfort foods. With that in mind, we introduce you to the Fiesta Roja Dog, featuring the flavors of classic Latin American cuisine, including the namesake Fiesta Roja fermented curtido slaw made by our friends at Sobremesa and fresh tomatillo salsa made by our friends at Sonia’s Salsa. Our weekly sale from July 1st – 7th features Applegate Farms Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and Bakerly Brioche hotdog buns, so pick up a pack of each and give the Fiesta Roja dog a try! 

Kimchijeon (Kimchi Pancake)

According to Chef and food writer Samin Nosrat, who adapted this recipe, Young S. Kim’s golden kimchijeon are a revelation. Tart with pungent kimchi, the pancakes are both satisfyingly chewy and shatteringly crisp. Nosrat suggests serving it to a crowd as an appetizer or enjoying it on its own as a filling meal. You’ll find local Sunja’s kimchi featured in our weekly sale from April 22nd – 29th, so it’s a great time to experience this Korean comfort food!

Spotlight on Rhapsody Natural Foods

Rhapsody Natural Foods is basking in Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their fabulous fermented foods are 20% off for member-owners from April 22nd – 29th. Read on to learn more about this family-owned local business hailing from the heart of Cabot, VT, and their quest to bring you traditional plant-based foods produced in harmony with nature:

Sjon and Elysha Welters moved to the US from the Netherlands in 1983 with their 1-year-old daughter in tow in search of a place to build a homestead from which they could carve out a sustainable lifestyle. Their family eventually landed about a mile from Cabot Village in central Vermont and began setting down roots, raising their three children, and starting a business. 

Sjon Welters on the family homestead in Cabot, VT standing between the Rhapsody production facility and office

Their initial venture was a restaurant in Montpelier, which would serve as a test kitchen of sorts for the line of Rhapsody products that we know and love today. Their ultimate dream, however, was to be able to produce these foods on their homestead, cutting the commute and allowing the family to decrease their carbon footprint and dependency on imported food. The 2011 construction of a small production facility on their homestead allowed this dream to come to fruition, rooting the Welters family more deeply into the rural Vermont landscape where they were able to focus on improving the soil, maintaining their large vegetable gardens, and tending to the fruit trees and fields.

Sjon Welters in the Rhapsody production facility on the Welters family homestead

The Welters family is committed to producing foods that uphold their traditional value to nourish the health of their community. They understand that traditional foods can hold solutions to many modern-day problems. They are particularly passionate about fermented foods, which contain beneficial probiotic bacteria, are full of digestive enzymes that aid in digestion, support immunity, and help nutrients and minerals assimilate more easily. 

Rhapsody is committed to supporting a sustainable local economy by sourcing from local and regional producers as much as possible, buying organic, and minimally processed, clean ingredients, and avoiding all GMO foods. They are constantly seeking opportunities to collaborate with local farmers so that more of the ingredients in their products can be sourced closer to home. They experimented with growing rice on their homestead for 7 years, proving that rice production in Vermont is possible. They hope to someday be able to source the rice for their Koji (starter culture for their miso) locally. They are also hoping to find someone who is excited to grow organic natto soybeans locally as those are only available from a very limited number of suppliers. Rhapsody’s products are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers and their goal is not to only meet the organic standards but to exceed them, as the national standards of organic become less representative of the intention on which it was based. Additionally, in October of 2020, all of Rhapsody Natural Foods’ products became certified kosher.

Sjon Welters planting rice on the homestead

 

Presently, their three children and their families (7 grandchildren) live on the same property and support the business in their own unique ways, making it a true family affair. According to their webpage, the Welters family is “committed to running a sustainable business that supports a natural lifestyle where the days and weeks of our lives are engaging, dynamic, inspiring, challenging, and fulfilling. Production, sales, marketing, distribution, and bookkeeping are all divided up according to skillset and interest. We get it all done with a sense of purpose and satisfaction! In the face of the health, economic, and environmental crisis that our community, both local and global, faces today we are committed to actions that contribute to positive change. Our work towards meeting this challenge is in part by sharing our passion for high-quality fermented local food!”

 

 

Spotlight on Bubbies

We’re casting our Member Deals spotlight on a company that’s been making pickles the old-fashioned way for over 30 years – Bubbies! All of Bubbies naturally-fermented pickle products are 20% off for member-owners from March 25th – 31st. Read on to learn more about this company and its humble beginnings:

First founded in 1982 as a hobby project for Leigh Truex, whose presents to relatives and friends of her homemade dill pickles led to their encouragement that she produce the dill pickles commercially, Bubbies has since grown to become the leading brand of refrigerated dill and sweet pickles, sauerkraut, relish, and horseradish in natural food stores nationwide. Under Truex’s tutelage, the company produced delicious naturally-fermented dill pickles but struggled to gain a financial foothold, leading her to sell the struggling company in 1989 to John and Kathy Gray.

The Grays were former bankers and small business owners who breathed new life into the company, expanding the lineup beyond the signature dill pickles, and lending their business and financial acumen to truly build a brand. They rebranded the products to bring us the iconic prominent picture of Bubbie on the label, which they felt evoked what consumers who’d tried the product were saying about it. “Natural, old-world, bringing back the good feelings we had about our families and the home-cooked, wholesome experiences with something that tastes unique, refreshing, and distinctive.”

As John describes the Bubbie persona, “She’s the essence of the kindly Jewish grandmother who happens to be passionate about things like cooking and pickling. She stands for all Old World grannies who pamper their family with wonderful foods they’ve hand made using authentic ingredients and traditional recipes.” Bubbie’s worldly advice is evident in the company’s playful slogan: “Eat My Pickles. Wear Clean Underwear. Marry a Doctor.”

John credits Bubbies success in part to the relationships they’ve built with natural foods stores like our Co-op. “Without the independent grocer and their willingness to innovate—to try new things—and our loyal following of consumers who love our naturally-fermented, wholesome foods we wouldn’t be here today.” relates John.

John has always been a car guy and he always dreamed of having for Bubbies an eye-catching delivery vehicle that would be a “billboard on wheels!” In 1997, he purchased an old, beat-up Chevy delivery wagon at the Goodguys car show in Pleasanton, CA. After months in the shop (and a fresh coat of green paint, of course) the Bubbiemobile 1.0 was on the road, making deliveries all over California. Over the years, the Bubbiemobile has seen its fair share of repairs and facelifts. In 2015, it was completely rebuilt and restored inside and out to its current version. The Bubbiemobile is now an absolute showstopper! The Bubbiemobile can now be seen at car shows as well as global industry events like the Natural Products Expo East and West. Otherwise, look for the Bubbiemobile cruising down the 101 freeway in Ventura or hugging the turns of Pacific Coast Highway. If you see us, roll down your window and say hello…we may have a jar of Bubbies for you!

1953 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery Wagon

After a five-year bout with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Kathy passed away in July of 2011. She and John were the entire staff of Bubbies for over 15 years. Through all the anxiety of Bubbies early years, Kathy never lost hope or had any regrets about leaving the corporate world behind. She once said; “We have to succeed because I am never going back to work for the bank!” Her indomitable spirit touched everyone she knew, whether as a classroom Mom or as President of the Board of Hospice of San Joaquin. She is profoundly missed by her family, friends, and co-workers. Her legacy at Bubbies is seen every day in the way they do business.

Kathy Gray

According to John, “It is hard to believe that over 30 years have passed since my wife Kathy and I set off on our journey with Bubbie. Despite all the difficulties we faced and the challenges we met and overcame in the three decades since, neither of us ever regretted the adventure.”

Be sure to check out Bubbies website for an excellent collection of recipes using their delicious products! And don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Since he began tracking in 1995, John says that he’s received over 1,000 handwritten letters from loyal fans and he loves hearing from Bubbies fans on social media!

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

This week’s  Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Aqua ViTea! All of their non-alcoholic Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from September 3rd – 9th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business with humble beginnings on a Salisbury Farm!

 

History

In 2005, founder Jeff Weaber and his wife Katina Martin moved to Salisbury, Vermont from Portland, Oregon. Portland had been their home for nine years as Katina pursued medical degrees in Naturopathy, Midwifery, and Acupuncture. During those years, Jeff became a brewer for The Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. and was in the unique position of honing the craft of brewing and fermentation at work, while learning about functional foods and the governing role of the digestive system from Katina at home.

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea

While reading Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and diving into the research of the Weston A. Price foundation, Weaber was introduced to Kombucha. He began experimenting with home-brewed Kombucha and shared the surplus with friends. Weaber found himself amazed by its popularity with both the naturopathic and beer-drinking crowds. “I realized right away that I had found a way to do what I loved and sustain a healthy lifestyle,” says Weaber. The more I learned about the benefits of Kombucha, the more passionate I became about making it available to my community.

His commercial brewing operation began in the cellar of his Salisbury farm and by 2007, Weaber was selling his Kombucha to the happy crowds at the Middlebury Farmers Market under the Aqua ViTea brand. By 2008 he was bottling his product and selling wholesale to our Co-op and a handful of other local markets and, in 2009, our Co-op was proud to be the first co-op in the country to offer Kombucha on tap!

As the business grew, Weaber called on Mike Kin, who was a close friend of Weaber’s in Oregon, and convinced him to move to Vermont with his family to become the company’s brewer. If you dig the artwork on Aqua ViTea’s packaging and materials as much as we do, you’ve got Mike to thank for these. He sketches each one by hand, creating the funky, colorful, amazing signature artwork that you see on all of AquaVitea’s products!

By 2014, demand began to outpace production capacity, and plans to move Aqua ViTea’s production off the farm began to ferment. They first moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, VT, followed by yet another upgrade in 2017 to an even more impressive facility -the former home of Woodchuck Cider on Exchange Street in Middlebury. They now produce about 30,000 gallons a month and their line of bottled and draft kombuchas is distributed in 25 states!

Jeff Weaber & Mike Kin

Mission

According to Aqua ViTea’s website:

Our mission since the beginning has been to sustain and cultivate the core foundation of healthy, sustainable communities through a series of interrelated actions and principles.

We evaluate the environmental impact of our business decisions to remain mindful of how they will affect all aspects of living and life. We seek to source the finest quality ingredients and work with regional providers whenever feasible. We work to create opportunities not only for our team, but for you, that will make a positive difference in our and your food consumption, lifestyle choices, and career paths. We recognize and remind ourselves and you to acknowledge the responsibility to contribute and give back to the community.

Commitment to Authenticity

Controversy has been brewing in the Kombucha community surrounding the fact that many commercially available Kombucha brands have been found to contain significantly more sugar and more alcohol than their labels disclose. Additionally, some large-scale Kombucha products are being manufactured in a lab setting, force carbonated, and even pasteurized, with the probiotic cultures added artificially as “ingredients” to the end product.

Aqua ViTea, since day one, has shown a deep commitment to authenticity. This begins by sourcing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably-sourced organic tea from Middlebury’s Stone Leaf Teahouse and organic cane sugar to feed the ferment. Their Kombucha is the product of a live, active fermentation, which allows the live cultures and enzymes to develop naturally and delivers the tangy effervescence that Kombucha drinkers love.

Additionally, they are one of only two Kombucha makers in the U.S. to invest in a spinning cone column – a machine typically used in wine-making – which allows for the extraction and recovery of volatile compounds, including alcohol, without the need for excessive heat. And since the alcohol is removed at the end of fermentation, the active cultures can grow at their own pace, which results in authentic, delicious and non-alcoholic Kombucha. They even employ an in-house microbiologist to analyze the safety and purity of their products! Dr. Bill Yawney oversees their food safety standards and works in their state-of-the-art in-house lab to create standards for testing alcohol levels in Kombucha produced by Aqua ViTea and by other Kombucha producers. You can read more about that here.

The Famous Cone Extractor removing the alcohol from Aqua ViTea’s Kombucha

 

 

You’ll notice that Aqua ViTea Kombucha now bears the Alcohol Extracted Verified Seal, so you know what you’re getting (and not getting) when you drink their Kombucha.

 

 

Wonder where that alcohol is going after it’s extracted from Aqua ViTea Kombucha?

They send it right down the road to their friends at Appalachian Gap Distillery, where it is turned into a distinct and flavorful vodka known as Aqua Vodka. It’s the perfect blend of ancient tradition and modern technology! Click here to read all about it.

Also, an exciting new addition to the Aqua ViTea lineup is AfterGlow Hard Kombucha! This is a smooth, tasty alternative to beer and cider and a more natural option than spiked seltzers. It’s organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with only the finest sustainably-sourced ingredients. While they do extract the alcohol from their traditional Kombucha, that alcohol is not used in creating AfterGlow. Instead, they let AfterGlow’s natural alcohol mature through fermentation and into the can – resulting in a mindfully made adult beverage. Click here to read more about it.