You know what I really love?
I love being in the garden, noticing some juicy kale buds that are just about to bloom, and plucking them at their sweetest for a batch of kimchi.
I love *using* the cilantro that went to seed because — at that point — it’s fresh, green coriander seed for gosh-sakes, and it makes turnip pickles taste delicious.
Curious Farm Sauerkrauts, Kimchi, and Pickles — the company — came from our garden. I began to explore the world of vegetable fermentation because I wanted to find a way to preserve the bounty and save as much fresh flavor and nutrition as possible. Though I’ve always had to supplement my efforts with organic produce grown nearby because of our garden’s small size, all of the recipe ideas and so much of the deliciousness came from our own muddy, hard work out there.
In trying to make Curious Farm viable, I tried to make the company bigger. I tried to make more sauerkraut, sell more, do more… until I felt too broken to wander out in my own garden. I know many people think that getting your products into grocery stores is the sign of success. But maybe it’s not? Or maybe it’s just not the right way for Curious Farm to grow.
So here I am this week… I am weeding and prepping the soil for our garden here, and I am surveying Curious Farm at large. In the last two years…
With the help of our amazing and devoted customers, Curious Farm turned a profit in late 2012.
My husband David built a commercial food processing facility, on site here, that is licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
We participated in two joyful years at the Beaverton Farmers Market. [Thank you, everyone. We will miss you this year.]
We successfully placed customer-favorite products into some great grocery stores.
I’ve taught dozens of wonderful students how to ferment vegetables safely and confidently.
I produced some amazing kimchi, sauerkrauts, and pickles. Curious Farm products are different from anything on the market regionally. We use an extra-long fermentation cycle that lets the vegetables’ flavors shine.
You were brave, hungry, honest, and mostly loved it all.
Sadly, though, my health and family suffered from my 90-hour work weeks. Curious Farm — the company — may have turned a profit, but we haven’t been able to bring a dime of it into our family yet or to afford help. We hoped to do that this year if I could just work a little harder and if we could just get a little bigger.
You know what? I can’t do it.
I’m almost 50. I love my husband. I love my 8-year-old daughter. Our elder mothers need extra care now, too. And I never, ever want to be too tired to wander out into the garden to discover the sweetest kale buds.
But I’m not going to give up. We’re just going to slow down, get smaller, and see what happens. Here’s the plan:
Curious Farm won’t be at the Beaverton Farmer’s Market this year, but you can buy whatever sauerkrauts, kimchi and pickles we have direct from our farm in the NW Portland/Cedar Mill/Beaverton/Bethany area. Just look at our Available Now page to see what’s lively and delicious and ready right now.
Curious Farm Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut, Leek-Horseradish Sauerkraut, and Nettle Sauerkraut will be available at Food Front Co-op in NW Portland, beginning in May 2013. I’ll be there doing demos much more frequently, and I can’t wait to see you there.
There will be more classes at Curious Farm. I love teaching *you* how to celebrate the seasons by fermenting vegetables. The classes are joyful and empowering.
Not so bad… yeah?
Need some sauerkraut or kimchi? Just let me know. I’ll have pickles here later in the summer.