Vegetable gardeners know that in addition to offering the ultimate in taste, fresh-from-the-garden produce gives you superior nutrients. Pick a ripe strawberry, and you have in hand good-for-you goodness, including essential probiotics. These naturally occurring living microorganisms or “good bacteria” enrich the chemistry in your intestinal system and ward off disease.
Chele Eades, co-creator of Wildly Fermented available at the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market every Saturday, has kicked things up a notch by fermenting fresh produce to create tasty products designed to nourish.
Probiotics, which means “for life,” are found in great abundance in the fermented foods Eades offers at the farmers market. “Fermented foods are some of the most powerful superfoods on the planet,” says Eades, founder of Energetic Existence and a certified gourmet raw food chef and healthy lifestyle coach. “Fermented foods are known to restore health to the digestive system, which is said to constitute 80 percent of your immune cells. They are a comprehensive anti-aging resource packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that re-balance intestinal flora.”
Stress, taking antibiotics and medications and eating processed foods are everyday actions that can impair digestion. “Fermented foods can boost the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which means better absorption of nutrients, and as a result less gas, bloating, inflammation, skin blemishes and illness. Energy, elevated mood and mental clarity increase,” says Eades who for five years worked in holistic oncology in Arizona educating cancer patients about the importance of food to health.
The benefits of fermented foods have been embraced by holistic physicians, who point to the human microbiome as the key to health. This consists of a population of more than 100 trillion microorganisms that live in the gut, mouth, skin and elsewhere in our bodies and are responsible for many key functions, including digestion, synthesizing vitamins and minerals and warding off harmful bacteria. “I ask people if they’ve fed their microbiome today?” says Eades. “Fermented foods give you a tasty way to do that.”
Eades became a certified raw foods chef in 2004 and in 2011 decided to share her passion for nourishing foods by opening Wildly Fermented. Drawing from traditional world cuisines and recipes she learned from her grandmas, Eades created a line of flavorful fermented foods, such as RyKraut, which people find tastier than regular sauerkraut, KymChi, CurTido (cabbage, carrot, red onion, lime, oregano and red pepper), Spiced Stars (carrot, ginger, cumin, yacón, parsley and orange juice), Brassica (purple cabbage and leeks), Gingered and Herb-ed cloves (garlic). A popular product containing some fermented ingredients is Zuchi dip, made with zucchini and fermented olives.
Eades uses mineral-rich Himalayan salt crystals in her products. Consume a quarter cup of fermented foods daily. Eat them raw in salads and on wraps, sandwiches, burritos, tacos, pizza, grilled fish, eggs, or simply eat them straight like you would fresh garden produce.
Visit Wildly Fermented Saturdays at the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market. Join Eades on January 24th at 10 am for a presentation on “Entree Salads” at the market.
Wildly Fermented - Saturday at the Orange Farmers Market
304 North Cypress St, Orange, CA 92866 / 714-397-4699
Julie Bawden-Davis is a garden writer and master gardener based in Old Towne Orange. She is the author of various garden books, including The Strawberry Story: How to Grow Great Berries Year-Around in Southern California. Reach her at Julie@JulieBawdenDavis.com