It's actually been a year since we first started to have to process very large quantities of vegetables two times a year - once in Spring and once in Fall - to capture the seasonal produce available in our area. We put away our main ferments (Old timer, Curtido, Kimchi) twice a year so only now do we have a chance to change up our recipe, sourcing, textures, temperatures from the product we are STILL selling from June 2016. So now that we are in Fall 2016, we are really excited to have a better grounding, some more knowledge under our belts, and better equipment and storage like temperature control, better fridge, and different textures of Robot Coupe blades to make a better product. We also just have a different handle on ingredients, their profiles depending on time of year, or who to source the best produce from. It's all really exciting!
We always make our core three fermented vegetables but we also make small batch ferments throughout the year based on seasonal abundance to explore different fermentation techniques,, to remain in contact with how much we enjoy fermenting vegetables in the midst of constant marketing and deliveries and to keep our customers engaged with new flavors.
We are purchasing vegetables from growers in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia this Winter. We'll be putting away 12,000-14,000lbs of produce over the next month to two months that we will sell through May 15th, 2017. That will bring our 2016 totals of local vegetables sourcing to nearly 25,000lbs. We will be storing nearly 900 gallons of veggies from 14,000lbs of vegetables.
This Fall 2016 Processing goals are:
1. Do not get exhausted, exhaustion equals short cuts and short cuts equal only decent ferments at best.
2. Pay folks to come help get it DONE because duh.
3. More notes, more details, more temperature control, more notes, more notes. More notes.
4. Make the best ferments we've ever made. This includes better texture via new Robot Coupe blades. It also includes better control of temperatures with installation of mini splits on temperature read outs in each kitchen.
5. Don't run out of cooler space (always a problem) like we did in Spring 2016 and get the ferments in the fridge at the specified times we've designated for each Kraut (i.e. Old Timer is 5 weeks, Kimchi is 4 days) Luckily, we have a new, very large 27' Walk-in cooler for storage now. We also will keep our kitchen at 65 degrees for barrel aging.
6. Lindsay has been hard at work setting up an effective compost system for the huge amount of vegetable scrap we have. Thus far, we get Mildreds Meadows to pick up our uncooked scraps to feed their pigs. Convert it to pork...
It'll be fun. Ann Keener helps us so much. Joe does too and he's a local dude. We just want to keep getting better and better at this. Thanks for your support of Harvest Roots and we look forward to you eating this kraut.
- Pete Halupka