probiotic foods

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!

Kimchi Pancakes

If you’re new to kimchi, these crispy fritters are the perfect gateway to discovering the salty, spicy, somewhat sweet and tangy flavors that this traditional Korean ferment has to offer. They’re simple to pull together with just a handful of ingredients and you’ll find Sunja’s kimchi in our weekly sale from March 19th – 25th, along with a few other pre-and probiotic-packed foods to keep your gut happy. 

Spotlight on GT’s Living Foods

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on GT’s Living Foods. All of GT’s effervescent probiotic products are 20% off for member-owners from February 27th – March 4th. Read on to learn more about this family-owned business that was the first to bring Kombucha to U.S. store shelves 25 years ago!

Founder and Owner GT Dave

Raised by parents practicing Eastern philosophy, GT Dave adopted a spiritual view of the world from a very young age. Gifted a Himalayan Mother SCOBY in the early ‘90s, the Daves were intrigued by Kombucha’s ancient healing properties and decided to brew their own batches of the fizzy, fermented tea.

In late 1994, GT’s mom, Laraine, was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. When she healed, Laraine shared with doctors that she had been drinking a very pungent, homemade tea. That tea was GT’s Kombucha.

Inspired by his mom’s experience, it became GT’s mission to make his Kombucha accessible for everyone, everywhere. At only 15, he began bottling his brew in the kitchen of his parents’ Southern California home and became the first to put Kombucha on shelves in the U.S.

According to GT Dave, “we’ve stayed true to the authentic brewing process of this sacred elixir for over 20 years. Our #1 selling Kombucha is raw, organic, naturally effervescent, and handcrafted in small batches – always cultured, never compromised.”

Now, under the new name of GT’s Living Foods, they’re proud to remain a family-owned & operated company. As they continue to embrace their innovative spirit, Mother Nature remains their main source of inspiration.

They began making Kombucha based on the belief that it could touch people’s lives and make the world a better place. With that in mind, GT’s now offers over 30 kombucha flavors and several varieties of CocoYo dairy-free fermented coconut yogurt.

Looking for fun new ways to enjoy your Kombucha? Click here for great recipes!



Pomegranate Ginger Carrot Salad

This bright, refreshing winter fruit salad features fruits that are in-season during the winter months and couldn’t be simpler to toss together.  The pickled ginger carrots from Real Pickles lend a healthy probiotic boost and when combined with the antioxidants from the pomegranate and the Vitamin C from the citrus, this salad packs an immune-boosting punch well suited for the winter months. The pomegranates are also featured in the weekly sale from November 23rd – 28th, so it’s a great time to give this salad a try!

Spotlight on Real Pickles

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on a worker-owned cooperative aiming to change the food system by making pickles – Real Pickles! All of their probiotic-packed products are 20% off for member-owners this week! Read on to learn more about what makes this co-op beyond worthy of the spotlight:


The Real Pickles story begins in 1999 when Dan Rosenberg attended a traditional pickling workshop during a NOFA conference. Armed with this new skill, he began pickling locally-grown vegetables as a way to preserve the harvest so that he could continue eating locally during the winter months. He was further inspired by the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, a researcher who traveled the world in the 1920s and 30s studying the diets of indigenous peoples, finding that those eating traditional diets including fermented foods enjoyed a high level of health completely unknown in industrialized societies.

After two years of experimenting with recipes and honing the craft, Dan was ready to launch the business. From the very beginning, he prioritized local/regional food and organic agriculture. Real Pickles would buy its organic vegetables only from Northeast organic farms and sell its products only within the Northeast. A year later, the business began operating out of the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center in Greenfield, MA, a business incubator kitchen created to boost the local agricultural economy by providing a venue for making value-added foods with local farm ingredients. Dan was soon joined by Addie Rose Holland and the business began to grow.

Dan Rosenberg and Addie Rose Holland

By 2009, Real Pickles had outgrown the incubator kitchen and was ready to settle into their own home. They purchased a century-old industrial building in Greenfield, MA and transformed it into a solar-powered, energy-efficient, organic pickling facility. The move allowed for a significant expansion, tripling their purchases from local farms in the years to follow. Their success demonstrates that there is a real and growing demand for raw, fermented vegetables and that consumers value a business as deeply committed to social responsibility.

In 2013, with a goal of preserving their social mission for the long term and with the help of a successful community investment campaign, Real Pickles took the exciting step of transitioning their business to a worker co-operative. They are proud to join the ranks of other co-operatives that are supporting local ownership, workplace democracy, and contributing to the co-operative economy!

Want to learn more about the farmers in our region that supply Real Pickles with fresh, organic veggies? Click HERE!

To learn more about the health benefits of fermented foods, click HERE.


Lacto-fermented Ramps

We’re celebrating gut health this week at the Co-op and our weekly sale from May 18th – 24th offers lots of gut-healthy foods to bring balance to the microbiome within! Another economical option is to try making your own probiotic veggies at home. It’s much simpler than you might think and provides a great way to preserve the harvest of seasonal veggies without the hassle of canning or blanching/freezing.  This kind of pickling is different from traditional vinegar pickling in that you’re not using vinegar or heating the mixture, thus preserving the natural cultures and rich enzymes present in the vegetables. All fruits and vegetables have beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus on the surface. In an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, these bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid, which inhibits harmful bacteria and acts as a preservative. You’ll need one special piece of equipment called a “Perfect Pickler”. This handy little gadget turns any canning jar into a lacto-fermenting machine without the much larger investment for a ceramic fermentation crock. You can find one online at and it will pay for itself after just a few batches.  A quick google search of “canning jar fermentation lids” pulls up lots of similar options.

Lacto-fermented vegetables pack a healthy punch of probiotics (at a cost well below most supplements and ready-to-eat lacto-fermented foods on retail shelves) to heal and maintain a healthy gut. These beneficial microorganisms help our bodies perform myriad functions including digestion, detoxification, nutrient absorption, and immune system response.  Plus, they happen to taste amazing! This particular recipe is for lacto-fermented ramps, but feel free to sub in any veggies you have in abundance. Chunky veggies do best if they are chopped up or shredded into smaller bits of relatively uniform size. Get creative with the combinations! Just remember to use non-chlorinated water and non-iodized salt. Chlorine and iodine will both deter the beautiful chemistry that must take place for successful lacto-fermentation. Instead, choose distilled water or spring water.  Kosher salt makes a great option, or check out the “Real Salt” we sell in our bulk department. It’s unrefined, non-iodized, and contains over 70 minerals!