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Fun with Fermentation 2012

What comes to mind when you think of fermented foods?  Perhaps it is that dusty old jar of sauerkraut you keep pushing around the pantry shelf.  After attending the Fun with Fermentation Festival last Saturday, I can tell you that the fermented foods of today are fresh, abundant and exciting.  With over a dozen local food and beverage producers in attendance, there was certainly some sauerkraut to be seen, (and tasted), and a whole lot more.

Held at the historic WOW Hall, the festival is hosted by Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance (WVSFA) and is a benefit for Food for Lane Countyand WVSFA.  What a great way to have fun and do good!

           After donating our cans of food and getting our hands stamped for admission, our first tasty tidbit was some of Cousin Jacks Steak and Ale Pasty.

  We got to chat with owner, Kim, who reminded us that the ale in their delicious pasty, courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing, is one of the oldest known fermented beverages!

Our next stop was at the Pickled Planet table where we tried one of their seasonal specialty blends, Blueberry Love Bomb.

 Fermented blueberries?  Yes.  This will take your next salad to new heights.

Moving on, we sipped some Love Potion #9 from Herbal Junction Elixirs, an intoxicating fermented herbal beverage with saw palmetto.

Love bombs, love potions, love is in the air… ah yes, Valentines Day is not far off!

One of the best things about events like this one, is discovering new things.  This happened when we came across the 8…9…Tempeh booth, formerly Magi Fungi.  This gluten free and soy free tempeh was amazing!  With garbanzo, black bean and quinoa varieties, it was versatile and delicious.  Unfortunately they don’t have retail packaging yet, but they do take direct orders.

           There were so many more good things, including Holy Cow tempeh sandwiches, Cafe Mam coffee, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Premrose Edibles Chocolates – (one of our favorites here at the Kiva), and Grateful Harvest Farms who make my personal favorite, Garlic Kraut.  The cabbage is crunchy, not soggy, and the garlic flavor is robust!  We also spent some time with the ladies of Mountain Rose Herbs and their loose tea leaves.

 Ever wondered what the difference between black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or any of the other varieties is?  It’s about the fermentation!

On our way out to pick up some Take Root Magazines, (winter issue now available at the Kiva), we ran into Molly of Mckenzie Mist Water.  While the water isn’t fermented, it is a necessity, and it’s also the best stuff out there.

 She was excited to tell us about her artesian well that provides so many of us with pure, unadulterated drinking water.

We made our way downstairs to find fermented beverages of the adult variety in abundance.  Ninkasi had brought their record player for the enjoyment of all.  Oakshire was there with four beers on tap and also Hop Valley.  We got a sneak peek at Falling Sky Brewery, opening soon!  We didn’t partake, except with our eyes, since we were working of course.  It was great to see all the craft brewers of our fine city together in one place!

           We came to the end of our fermented field trip, happy to have seen friendly faces and tasted so many vibrant flavors that come from so near us!


Kombucha Update

There has been a noticeable lack of kombucha in the drink coolers at the Kiva for a couple of weeks now.  On June 18th, the Whole Foods chain of grocery stores voluntarily recalled all kombucha products because of concerns that they might have alcohol contents in excess of the .5% allowed by law.  Subsequently, several major distributors and prominent kombucha manufactures such as GT’s Kombucha have stopped selling kombucha while independent testing is performed and brewing practices are refined to better comply with the law.  This issue is not a health risk – while living kombucha cultures may continue to produce alcohol in the bottle after bottling, the alcohol levels do not exceed 1%, meaning you would have to drink 10 to 14 glasses of kombucha to get the alcoholic effect of a single glass of wine!  The issue is one of labeling, as special permits and labels are required to sell and manufacture beverages containing more than .5% alcohol.  There has been no government recall of kombucha and any decisions to stop selling kombucha by distributors and manufacturers have been purely voluntary.

Local kombucha manufacturer Oak Barrel Kombucha is also absent from our shelves at the moment; this is not a direct result of the alcohol issue.  Oak Barrel is taking advantage of a momentary lull in large production orders to install 400 gallons of new oak barrels for fermentation, moving toward a larger batch production that will help make individual batches more consistent.  They are also working with fermentation experts to introduce practices such as oxygenating the batches and using other advanced techniques to suppress the formation of ethanol alcohol in their batches.  If kombucha ends up being more regulated than it currently is, Oak Barrel should be fine as the result of these new improvements!  Jason and Julia at Oak Barrel are convinced that these changes to their production process will not only result in a more consistent kombucha that is always below the legal limit of .5% alcohol, but they will also result in a better product in general.  If all goes well in the installation of the new oak vats and the implementation of these changes, Oak Barrel Kombucha should be back in the Kiva by the week of August 23rd – we can’t wait!

Click here to read a statement from UNFI, one of our distributors, regarding their decision to stop selling GT’s and other kombucha products for the time being.

Click here to read the statement from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regarding alcohol content in kombucha.

McKenzie River Organic Farm

The Kiva has long been a supporter of local farms.  When McKenzie River Organic Farm approached us a while back about carrying their delicious organic blueberries year round in our freezers, we jumped at the opportunity.  Today we carry other fresh produce from the farm as well as blueberries, when seasonally available. Local business liason Tom and produce buyer Lauren recently visited the farm, and they brought back some great pictures and information to share with you.

The McKenzie River Farm was originally planted in 1952. 16 years ago, when Douglass Moser and Carol Ach bought the farm, it was overran with blackberries. The blueberry bushes were untrimmed and overgrown. Since then these family farmers have made it into the beautiful and well cared for farm you can see today at 44382 McKenzie Highway. Between their farm and a neighboring plot that they rent they have around 5,000 blueberry bushes. Douglass died 3 years ago, but he was the driving force behind the farm and is responsible for much of its current momentum.

Left to Right: Sam, Carol and Jack

The farm is a true family run farm, owned and operated by Carol and her sons.  Today the day-to-day farm operations are overseen by Carol’s sons Jack and Sam. Every night they have their own farm-to-table as they sit down and eat their own food as a family. Not only is the farm certified organic, but they practice biodynamic methods of planting and harvesting as well.  Sustainability is important to the family, so they create compost from their cow manure and are working towards a closed system where waste is reused to satisfy all fertilizer and soil amendment needs.   Jack describes the farm operation succintly;

“We are organic rednecks growing organic food using biodynamic practices.”
Now that her sons are assuming control of the family business, Carol plans to start a school for farmers and dreams of founding a Farmers’ Retirement Home where old farmers can eat good food. Carol believes that traditional schooling methods cannot teach farming. Sitting at a desk under the wrong light will not get the job done. She envisions a school where farming is learned through practice out in the fields. Carol observed that farming is a very skilled activity, including knowledge not just of growing crops but of maintaining soil fertility and saving seeds.

McKenzie River Farm produces between 4-500 pounds of picked, cleaned and sorted blueberries a day during the season.
They also raise cows, chickens and pigs on the farm and sell farm products and their own fresh produce at their farm stand. They have grapes, figs, apples, pears, peaches and more! You can buy their local fresh salad greens year round at the stand, as well as pure blueberry juice (they bottle about 200 gallons of pure blueberry juice each year).
Their u-pick business has been increasing every year, and between u-pick, people buying berries at the farm stand and the three farmer’s markets they attend, over 70% of their total berry sales are accounted for. They sell at the Tuesday and Saturday Farmers’ Market in Eugene and the Friday Farmers’ Market in Springfield.  Repeat customers from as far away as Sisters and Roseburg come every year to their u-pick field!

Lauren in the U-Pick Field

We sell McKenzie River Farm organic blueberries frozen and dried in bulk year round and fresh in season (come on down and get ’em while they’re hot!)

As of today, we also have beets and turnips grown at McKenzie River Farm in our produce section.

McKenzie River Organic Farm Contact Information:

Address:  44382 McKenzie Highway, Leaburg, OR 97489
Phone:  541-896-3928

Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company

Grocery Department:  Cousin Jack’s Pasties

You may have seen these delicious local savory pastries at the Farmer’s Market where they are served hot or frozen.  The Kiva was the first store to carry the pasties, and we are proud to have been supporting this up and coming local company from the beginning.  Tom recently visited their production facilities here in Eugene to learn more about how the pasties are produced.

From Left to Right: Luz, Ben, Rebecca, David Clark and Kim Gibson

Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company was founded by Kim Gibson and David Clark in June of 2009.  The goal of the company is to provide a fast meal for their customers without forcing them to compromise their food values. To accomplish this, as Kim and David are sourcing ingredients, they shop as they would if they were buying food for their own table. They buy from the Farmer’s Market and local distributors as much as possible. All the vegetables used are organic and all meat is local and free range (or wild-caught in the case of the Pacific salmon).  Beef comes from Knee Deep Cattle Company and lamb comes from Anderson Ranches.

  Listen to David explain the ingredient sourcing for the Wild Mushroom Pasty in these video clips showing the production of a batch:

Cousin Jack’s has nine employees and the company has been steadily growing.  They produce between 550 and 850 pasties a day during production. 

Rebecca and Luz making Wild Mushroom Pasties

Look for these mouth-watering pasty varieties:  Wild Mushroom, Lamb and Pesto, Steak and Ale, Broccoli & Cheese, Cheeseburger, Egg & Sausage, Smoked Salmon and Seasonal Offerings (currently a creamy Leek and Onion).

Do you like Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company?  Visit them on Facebook and “like” them!

Kim and David Sampling the Pasties


Health and Beauty Department

Have you ever wondered where you can get a toner, cleanser, lotion or salve that is cruelty free, free of synthetic and toxic ingredients, and packaged in glass? Such products do exist!

Here at the Kiva, we sell a line of such products, from suki. Suki products are a great fit here. They appeal to our customers because they are free of synthetics of any kind (including genetically manipulated ingredients), free of petrochemicals, and free of synthetic fragrances (they use essential oils). Suki never tests on animals, and they are free of animal ingredients (with the exception of cruelty-free bee products).

Suki products are packaged in clear glass; though plastic may be cheaper, it is known to leach. The paper that suki uses is 100% recycled, printed with vegetable-based inks, and free of UV coatings which would make it unrecyclable. Suki products will also vary a bit in color, as the various crops of rose petals, mint, willow bark, lavender, rosemary, and other fine herbal ingredients are sourced from small organic farms.

So, we’ve covered what suki doesn’t use, and how they package the goods. Now let’s look at suki’s ingredients (by the way, as you’ve doubtless noticed, they charmingly insist on spelling their name with a lower-case “s”): suki’s vision is to provide a product line which is both completely natural and scientifically validated in its activity and potency. Their complex, targeted formulas consist of standardized botanical medicinal extracts and concentrates, liposomes, essential oils, and natural oils such as evening primrose and shea butter. Suki promises that everything used is 100% pure.

Further, their ingredients are not only food grade, but organic, biodynamic, and fairly traded. As if all of this weren’t enough, they handmake everything in small batches.

Please feel free to come and ask an employee to open the suki case so that you can sample a product or two! We expect you’ll appreciate the exceptional level of care and skill that has gone into the making of the suki line.

To visit suki’s website and learn more about them and their products, you can click here.


Hummingbird Wholesale

Grocery manager Tom, our liaison to local food producers, visited Hummingbird Wholesale today with our bulk buyer Zeke, our herb buyer Holly and our supplement buyer Sherrill. Hummingbird is a local distributor that has been providing outstanding products to each of these departments, and we wanted to see their operation up close.

Julie and Charlie Tilt bought

Julie and Charlie Tilt

Julie and Charlie Tilt bought Hummingbird Wholesale six years ago and the business has been growing and expanding ever since. They want to accomplish good things for “us” – Americans, people in general, sustainability, the environment – Hummingbird Wholesale wants to have a positive impact on the world.


Hummingbird uses reusable containers for many bulk goods and charges a deposit to ensure that the containers are returned to them and reused. One of the things that impressed Tom about his visit to Hummingbird was how little they threw away. They have figured out ways to reuse or recycle most of their waste. They have an 82% return rate on the plastic 3 gallon buckets that they deliver bulk nut butters and other products in.
Kristie going out for a local delivery.

Kristie going out for a local delivery.

Hummingbird uses bicycle delivery through Peddlers Express and their own bicycle delivery service for local deliveries. The only time that they use a vehicle to ship their product is when they need to move a 55 gallon drum of something. Other than that, it is zero-emissions human powered bicycle delivery!

Local Sourcing for Organic Staples:

Hummingbird has begun a program working with local farmers to produce organic and transitional to organic local beans, seeds, grains and other bulk staples. The Kiva currently carries organic local pumpkin seeds grown in Scio and distributed through Hummingbird. This winter, local beans and grains will be available as well. As an example of how Hummingbird is partnering with local farmers to both strengthen the local economy and provide a local source to minimize Hummingbird’s carbon footprint, let me quote from Hummingbird’s newsletter, Humming Words (January, 2010):

“Our 2009 crop of Local Organic Pumpkin Seeds grown in Scio, Oregon, is now in stock. These large dark-green seeds offer a potent, rich pumpkin seed flavor without a bitter aftertaste, and they look beautiful. In order to share with our farmer the risk of growing this crop, we purchased the original seeds from which our seeds were grown. We were able to get these original seeds at a lower cost than last year and we had a much better yield per acre this year, so we have been able to pay our farmer more for growing the seed, and also reduce our price from last years’ crop by $.24/lb.”

Sarah packaging dried apples.

Sarah packaging dried apples.

Hummingbird is so committed to localizing the economy that they have several times shared the risk with the local farmers by investing in a crop before it was planted. Hummingbird feels that food security is important, meaning that locally produced food is not only better for the planet but local food producers are directly accountable to the end consumers so the entire food processing structure is more transparent. For instance, Hummingbird was able to monitor the entire growing process for sourcing the seeds to processing them in the case of the local organic pumpkin seeds. Hummingbird tested the seeds after processing and they had zero detectable contaminants.

Visit Hummingbird Wholesale yourself! From 10 AM to 2 PM on Tuesday and Thursday Hummingbird is open to the public as a retail establishment.  Hummingbird Wholesale is located at 254 Lincoln Street in Eugene.  Get to know the people behind this great company yourself!

Julie shows Zeke the bulk liquids.

Julie shows Zeke the bulk liquids.

Local Egg Farmers

Dairy Post:  From the Farm to the Kiva

Brought to you by Emma Buckley, Kiva Dairy Department Manager

Anconda Duck Eggs in the nest at Rain Shadow El Rancho

We are proud to carry eggs from four local farms at the Kiva.  All of these eggs are from free-ranging chickens and ducks.  We recently visited all four farms to get to know the farmers and to make sure our customers are getting the best quality eggs they can get.

Lonsway Farms:

Fritz and his wife Beverly have had their farm for forty years, and they have raised chickens the entire time.  At first they were harvesting eggs for personal use, but have expanded the number of chickens they have on the farm to provide eggs for sale at local stores.  They have over 100 chickens, all of the Red Star breed.  Red Star chickens produce brown eggs.  They are fed diatomaceous earth to prevent worms internally and mites in the nest.  They are also fed fresh milk from the dairy, which they love!  Additional supplemental feed is yard scraps (grass clippings, weeds from the vegetable garden, etc.), wheat, and a pellet mix containing wheat, oats, barley, soy meal, corn gluten, limestone, salt, vitamins and minerals.  There are no chemicals or hormones in the pellet mix that the birds eat.  Of course, the chickens supplement their own diet by pecking around in the large fenced pastures that they have rotating access to.  The chickens always have access to the outside and spend most of their time out in the yard and pastures.  By rotating which pastures the chickens have access to, Fritz can ensure that there is always plenty of bugs and grass for the chickens to peck at.

Emma feeding the Red Star chickens at Lonsway Farms


Rain Shadow El Rancho
Joe and Karen Schueller started their farm in 2001 and have been raising chickens the entire time (as well as many other animals, check out their website to learn more!).  They raise many different breeds of chickens, including Rhode Island Reds, Black Sex-Links, Araucana and Barred Rock.
Barred Rock Rooster at Rain Shadow El Rancho

They also have Anconda, Moscovy and Pekin Ducks.  The chickens and ducks have year round rotating access to fenced grass pastures.  The ducks scavenge for the vast majority of their feed, but the chickens’ feed is supplemented by a layer pellet mix, oyster shells, and all the fallen fruit from the plum, apple, pear and cherry trees on the farm.  There are no chemicals or hormones in the layer pellet mix that the birds eat.

Muscovy Ducks in the pond at Rain Shadow El Rancho


Sweet Briar Farms

Keith and Petrene have been raising chickens at Sweet Briar Farms for six years.  They currently have 165 chickens.  They raise Black Star, Red Star, Araucana, Blue Andalusian, Cuckoo Moran and Barred Rock chicken breeds.

This guy runs the roost at Sweet Briar.  He followed us around the entire time, making sure we didn’t cause any trouble with his ladies!

Sweet Briar Farms is USDA certified and has a grant for brown power to reuse all the waste from the chickens and hogs to power the farm.  They supplement their chickens’ feed with flax seed, squash, garlic, carrots, kale, celery, seed blocks, corn and apple cider vinegar.  Of course, the chickens also eat insects and other small creepy crawlies when they are pecking around in their fenced pasture area.

Emma, Dorothy and a chicken at Sweet Briar
Turpen Family Farms
Pamela Turpen and Dylan the Dog

Pamela Turpen and her husband have been running this family farm for 17 years with their two daughters.  It is an entirely family run operation.  They currently have 900 chickens.  They raise many different kinds of chickens, including Golden Sex-Links, Araucana, Australorps , Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rock breeds.  The chickens always have access to outdoor pastures on their 72 acre property.  The chickens’ diet is supplemented with alfalfa pellets, ground whole corn, yard clippings that have never been fertilized or sprayed with pesticides, and a layer pellet containing corn, soybean meal, and vitamins and minerals.  The pellet does not contain hormones or antibiotics.  As always, chickens feed themselves with bugs and whatever else they can dig up while pecking around outside.

This Barred Rock chicken always lays her eggs in the feeder at Turpen Farms instead of the egg boxes!  She is very particular!