This weeks edition of #farmerfridays showcases Dave and Carly Dougherty from Food and Ferments. We absolutely love their new twists on old-world favorites like curry sauerkraut, ginger beets, and specialty pickles, as well as their delightful line of fermented tonics and drinks! (If you have never tasted their blueberry-lavender kombucha on a hot summer day, you are missing out on a slice of heaven, I tell ya!) Read on to hear all about their adventures in food fermentation...
SVHC: How long have you been producing in Cortland County?
F&F: For three years.
SVHC: Growing food and producing food products cannot be an easy task to take on, why engage this type of lifestyle?
F&F: We love making fermented foods and drinks because we feel good about the products we make while helping our community live healthier lives by providing them with healthy foods to eat. Fermentation is a fun mix of science and art, which keeps us engaged in the process and always learning new things! A rewarding part of our work is partnering with local farmers in Cortland County to grow the vegetables for our ferments and getting new varieties of vegetables that work well for fermenting--like that kind of cabbage that ferments into a great kraut or what varieties of cucumber makes the best sour pickles!
SVHC: What products or goods do you make or grow?
F&F: We produce a lots of different flavors of Sauerkrauts, as well as Beet Kvass (a detoxifying beet pickle tonic, great for taking shots of before a workout, or as a digestion aid), and Kombucha, a probiotic fizzy, fermented tea in flavors like Blueberry-Lavender and Ginger-Pear. Almost all of our products are fermented and and packed with probitoics (good bacteria for your gut!), which are great for digestion and immunity.
SVHC: What has been your biggest joy as a local producer?
F&F: It's been a joy making human connections in the local food community. Whether it's working with our local farming friends, delivering orders to local retailers, or seeing our customers every weekend at the CNY Regional Farmers market in Syracuse. For us, it's the people that make the local food system so special. Eating is a social act! We spend a lot of time behind the scenes, working in our kitchen creating our products, so it's always nice to get out and connect with the people who grow the vegetables and eat the products that we create!
SVHC: What has been your greatest challenge as a local producer?
F&F: Sauerkraut can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months to ferment, so it can be a challenge to navigate supply and demand. We were thankful to be able to move to a second production location with more space in Cortland this year. We now have a large, temperature controlled "ferment cave" to keep all of our barrels of sauerkraut in while they ferment.
SVHC: If you could tell your community one thing, what would it be?
F&F: You matter! With a local food system you get to be a big fish in a small pond. Your purchases truly help small food businesses like ours make what we do possible. Thank you for all of your support.
SVHC: How can the community purchase your goods or connect with you?
F&F: You can purchase our products locally at Trinity Valley, The Local Food Market, Hollenbeck's Cider Mill, Reakes Country Goods, and Anderson's Farm Market. You can also purchase our products directly from us every Saturday at the CNY Regional Market in Syracuse NY (our stand is located in the C Shed). If you want to find out more or purchase products online, you can visit www.foodandferments.com, or check out our Facebook and Instragram for more behind the scenes info.