By Christopher Nyerges
The colorful array of bottled foods in the Jarring booth at the Highland Park Farmers Market was so appealing, I moved in closer to listen to proprietor Jeremiah Tash discussing his products with a customer.
“We make kombucha and we ferment various vegetables, including dishes like kimchi, sauerkrauts and everything else from carrots to beets to snap peas,” he said with a wave of his hand to his many products laid out on the table.
“Kombucha?” asked the middle-aged woman at his booth. “I’ve heard of it, but what is it?”
Tash, 38, smiled, and I sensed he has explained his products many times. “Kombucha,” he said, “begins with a tea into which we introduce a bacteria and yeast so it ferments into the kombucha.” He said that his kombucha is organic green tea-based and that the flavor is smoother than black tea and has more antioxidants.
“Kombucha is a powerful source of probiotics, which strengthen your microbiome, particularly in your stomach,” said Tash. “We are learning that most of your body’s hormones are secreted and regulated in your stomach, so this is important stuff. Low probiotic levels have been linked with issues like depression, anxiety and sleep-disorders. We are careful to design each flavor as a gourmet product: there’s no reason you can’t enjoy something that’s also beneficial.”
Tash also explained that his vegetables are fermented with lactobacillus, a probiotic bacteria that thrives in a high-salt environment. “Our veggies are fermented in the jar we sell them in, which means they are alive and full of probiotics when you open them!” said Tash enthusiastically, adding that fermented veggies are better for you than raw ones because fermentation breaks down enzymes and increases bioavailability.
I asked Tash how he got started on this path.
He told me that he’d been drinking kombucha for about a decade, when a friend gave him SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) used to ferment tea into kombucha. He found it easy and fun to produce and he quickly considered the business aspects.
Tash’s love for traveling to countries with strong food cultures, his willingness to try new cuisines and his work experience at a few restaurants around Los Angeles gave him a good understanding of the food scene and he decided he wanted to produce kombucha and fermented vegetable that were superior to what he found in the market. So after some extra study on the cultivation of the SCOBY, Tash had his Jarring business up and running by November of 2018.
Tash lives in Elysian Valley and can be found at farmers markets in Altadena, Atwater Village and Hollywood, as well as Highland Park. Find him online at www.jarringfoods.com or on Instagram @jarringfooods.
Christopher Nyerges is the author of many books and teaches self-reliance classes; see the class schedule at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com
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