New Traditions Blue Ridge Brinery
When Daniel Walker began what would become Blue Ridge Brinery two years ago with his girlfriend Jennifer Owings, he knew he had a unique and useful product to offer the Upstate community. “I wanted to do something I felt good about, and I wanted to be a part of the local movement to better health.”
It seems almost too good to believe: this miracle-in-a-jar fights cancer, aids digestion, clears skin, boosts immunity, sustains energy, balances cholesterol, reduces wrinkles, prevents heart attacks, strengthens bones...the list goes on.
These two aren’t peddling some newfangled health cure; in fact, there’s nothing new about this healing food at all.
Wrinkling your nose? Maybe it’s the name, hard and harsh. Maybe it’s the memories: a sad mop of translucent soggy cabbage from the grocery store’s shelf. Think again.
Stop by Daniel and Jen’s booth at the TD Saturday Market in Greenville and watch as customer after customer raves over the fresh varieties of raw sauerkraut and kimchi (the pickled Korean side dish). Both traditional and health-conscious consumers find common ground here, as Jen observes: “It’s so encouraging to hear the conversations between people that grew up eating sauerkraut sharing their memories alongside new folks just learning about the health benefits and trying new recipes.”
Because this stuff is good. Dang good—satisfying so many levels of taste and texture: salty, tangy, crisp and even a little complex. Piquant. Use it on a stirfry, with tapas, in chicken salad...or simply by the spoonful.
Daniel began making sauerkraut while working in a kitchen in California. “I just liked the way it tasted, and kept trying new flavor combinations.” He brought his recipes back home to Anderson, where he saw a market for raw fermented foods.
“We don’t use any preservatives. Just organic cabbage and other vegetables with Himalayan sea salt.”
That’s it. After ingredients are combined in ceramic crocks, lacto fermentation of the vegetables takes around four to six weeks to complete, and the healing properties continue to increase with time.
Because this stuff is good for you. Daniel and Jennifer personally benefit from the health benefits of raw fermentation’s vitamin content and probiotics. “I have acid reflux, and it’s amazing to see how eating a little each day has helped me,” Jennifer shares.
Daniel likes the products for their taste but also as a preventive. “When I feel a cold coming on, I just start eating spoonfuls. It’s loaded with vitamin C. It’s like the first line of defense with disease. And it makes an awesome grilled cheese.”
For now, the business is just the two of them. “We do it all, from chopping all the vegetables to designing the labels.” Because fermentation takes time, the industrious couple must work months ahead to keep up with demand. And there’s always a new recipe to try.
“I have so many ideas, and just can’t get the time to do them all. We want to make a kraut using medicinal herbs—we’ve been doing a lot of research on that lately—and I really would like to offer beet kvass. It’s a fermented beet drink that is so beneficial and purifying it’s been shown to detoxify the body of radiation after cancer treatments.”
“We take for granted how important food is in our lives.”
The sour with the sweet.
Blue Ridge Brinery