I was a 20-something west bound type. Weird to say it all is starting to blur together already. But it was a significant time, me in Oregon on my youthful voyage. I ended up on a farm named Myrtle Glen east of Coos Bay. It is an impressive, awe inspiring place that still sticks with me today.
I weeded chard, harvested kale too low on the stalk (like a cabbage), harvested strawberries - the whole sha-bang. But I vividly remember my relationship to plants that existed without my labor. I was ingesting Samual Thayer's Nature's Harvest. Sorrel tasted like warheads in the woods. Mullein looked like that plant mom had in her yard and "Cowboy toilet paper". Dandelion needed way less maintenance than swiss chard. I began to make entire salads for our big farm dinners entirely of foraged components.
I have this thing where I like to eat. The freer and wilder the better, hence my passion about foraging. It's like a big, little secret, a communique with few listeners (though I hate exclusivity and like free knowledge therefore...). In fact, just yesterday I was helping our older friends purchase an RV. The salesperson and I walked back to the store side by side shooting the shit. Yaupon holly graced either side of the door we were about to walk in to. I had heard he was a salesman in training so I said, "Hey bud, see this plant? Here is one you can strike up a conversation with..." But seriously, I don't like that people don't want those apples like I do. Demystify.
Speaking from a personal perspective (Pete), I feel like kombucha is a really great, rather simply maintained culture that is a great vehicle for experiments. We aren't super into delineating labor and tasks for some reason but Lindsay definitely taught me how to make kombucha and, full disclosure, she heads up the fermenting of our kombucha for the most part. I usually dream up the recipes and sourcing based on season though that is not 100% of the time. I forage for kombucha because it employs these principles of terroir and wildness into a beverage where that is rarely navigated. I like to forage kombucha because it can be challenging to our audience, because I don't want to make things like other people.
Being an aquarius, I tend to want to add to a dialogue. If kombucha has a dialogue, my contribution is foraging eccentric, wild, abundant medicinal herbs and fruits. Not only do we make a ferment from these wild candidates, as fruit explorers we also hunt along the way, considering all plants and fruits and herbs for selection into our own orchard and/or garden. We will continue to collect wild genetics for propagation.
Sidenote: My ethereal, spiritual sentiment (Remember? I'm 20-something) is that that Diospyrus Virginiana tastes, looks and is so bountiful because of exactly where it germinated. Yes, that specimen could be further propagated. Yes, we do that. Yes, we will continue to do that (duh). But I'm speaking more of the magic of that wild apple seed in that particular location that chose to germinate. If I had a religion, it would be either bees or this genetic roll of the dice I'm speaking about.
When I say this last part, I want you to think about a dialogue. This dialogue has me and Lindsay and our business and our customers - that's all who is there. It's a performance - Why in the hell would we make boring kombucha?