Probiotics

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.

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Aqua ViTea! All of their non-alcoholic Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from August 1st – 7th. 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 Naturo

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea

pathy, 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.

 

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! Our fountains have been flowing ever since!

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. And 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.

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Aqua ViTea! Their full line of local Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from August 2nd – 8th. 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.

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! Our fountains have been flowing ever since!

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. And 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!

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.

Here’s a look at their famous spinning cone column:

 

 

You’ll notice that Aqua ViTea Kombucha now bears theAlcohol 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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Long-Cultured Yogurt

Yogurt is the most popular fermented milk in the world. It is available in many forms and offers myriad health benefits. Long-cultured yogurt, which is allowed to ferment for 24 hours, has the added benefit of providing an increased amount beneficial bacteria (probiotics!) and amino acids while decreasing the lactose content of the milk. Making your own long-cultured yogurt is surprisingly simple, affordable, and you won’t need a lot of special equipment. All you’ll need to make your own yogurt incubator is a 5-gallon bucket (or similar vessel), an old-fashioned rubber hot water bottle, and a towel. Please note that the milk you use should not be ultra-pasteurized (UHT). Regular pasteurized milk works fine, but the UHT process kills the lovely enzymes and beneficial bacteria needed to make the yogurt magic happen. We love using whole milk from Kimball Brook Farm or Strafford Organic Dairy.

Spotlight on Garden of Life

We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on Garden of Life ! Their entire line of products are 30% off for member-owners this week, so if your New Year’s resolution involved boosting your wellness routine, it’s a great time to give them a try! Read on to learn more about their mission to empower extraordinary health!

The Science of Whole Food

Garden of Life is fanatical about food. This may not be the first thing that typically comes to mind for a company that makes vitamins, probiotics, and protein powders, but Garden of Life is different that way. When they set out to create a line of products, they challenged themselves to consider what “good stuff” present in the highest quality foods are typically missing in our diets. Which of these foods have the greatest potential to impact and empower extraordinary health?

Clean is Healthy

As fanatical as they are about what goes into their products, they are equally diligent about what to keep out of them.  This means no synthetic chemicals, no GMOs, just true, whole, traceable ingredients. If it’s not found in real food, they don’t want it in their supplements. Their philosophy is to slow it down, make it by hand, grow it in rich organic non-GMO soil with enough sun, air, water and time for it to be its best. Harvest it when ready. Treat it with care. Turn it into a power-packed nutritious food supplement.

The Lebaron Farm in Utah grows, harvests, juices, and dries the greens for the Perfect Food Raw products.

Traceability

Garden of Life aims for their product ingredients to be traceable all the way back to the seed. This means knowing where each and every one of their products comes from, how it’s grown, where it’s grown, and by whom. They believe in having strong personal relationships with their growers and ensuring that the farmers and farm workers that grow the products are well compensated and well cared for. Click here to read all about the farms that grow ingredients for Garden of Life products.

Fourth-generation family farmers growing organic cranberries in Massachusetts for Garden of Life

Certifications

There is a great deal of noise in the marketplace today that makes it difficult to find the clean truth. Independent, unbiased, third-party certification and verification provides the best option for that assurance. However, to attain Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified status, every ingredient must be traced back to its origin, which means tracing back to organic crops and family farms and also how and where it’s manufactured. Developing a fully traceable raw material supply chain is a massive, complex undertaking—especially considering some formulas could have over 100 different ingredients!

It’s no easy task, but it’s totally worth it. Garden of Life is committed to producing Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified supplements. They also use unbiased third parties such as Vegan.org, NSF, Kosher and Informed-Choice whenever possible.

Sustainability

Garden of Life is also a Certified B Corps! They are deeply committed to energy efficient and sustainable practices including LEED Gold Certified facilities, use of renewable energy, recycled bottles, recyclable packaging, and soy-based inks. Click here to read more about the sustainability initiatives at Garden of Life.

© Copyright 2020 - Middlebury Food Co-op