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Meet Meg Chamberlain of Fermenti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meg Chamberlain.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My first encounter (because that is the only way to describe it) with vegetable fermentation-in my home, was on my off-grid homestead in Missouri. My husband, Lars and I had bought 20 acres out in the middle of nowhere MO and set up an off-grid homestead back in 2008. He built our 24 ft. octagonal cabin with hand tools, “upcycled materials” and we lived without power (other than 1 solar panel), indoor running water (for 4 years). But we did have an outhouse and solar power, grew 70% of our food and traded and bartered for the rest with our Amish and country neighbors. We turned a “hay field into a homestead” I like to always say. Anyhow, I digress.

On my journey to preserve the bounty of all our hard work (with being off the grid this was a challenge) and we were working 14-17 hours a day on cultivating our orchards and gardens. Of course, we tried hand-made solar dehydrators, canning/ pressure canning and salt curing. All were okay but were either labor intensive or cost prohibitive with resources. But one day, my husband Lars walked into the house with a few bags of cabbages and a metal shredder he got from an Amish friend down the road. So, he starts chopping this cabbage up and I didn’t pay much attention as I was skeptical. But he managed to fill an old crock we had. He left it covered with a towel in our pantry. I would walk past it every day and give it a wide berth, lol! But then a month or so later he pulled it out and declared “I’m gonna try it!” So, (after confirming with him that I had legal title to our land in case of his death- no joke!) He scraped off this top layer of discolored cabbage about 3 inches deep. (I later learned was due to oxidization and lack of brine coverage.) And commenced in eating this kraut he made. It was oddly chunky and tangy, it smelled ok but it was SO foreign to everything I knew, I remained hesitant. I actually refused to eat it for 3 weeks or so, lol! But then, as I watched the journey his body went on in the weeks that followed I was really intrigued. So, we then included home-made kraut into our diets from time to time. This then turned into a solid kimchi addiction though.

It would be a few years later, that I was reinvigorated in my interested of kraut and the fermentation of food in general, by several friends who were taking it to a more fun and foodie angle. I then saw this pantry staple as less of a boring side and more of a creative outlet for flavor fusion and exploration! There is a fusion here of Science, Food and Art and its Fermentation = and it’s delicious! I was able to do some experimenting and found that I was able to cut my food budget (40%), increase the nutritional value of my food, limit food waste/scraps. With the introduction of fermented foods into my diet regularly, I also noticed a benefit for my waistline too! All my friends kept bugging me as to why I wasn’t selling my ferments so, one day I said to myself “ why not!?”
This creative “Why Not?” was the precipice for starting Fermenti. LLC. (I had started teaching fermentation myself already before then informally) but this push to start Fermenti. was, as I saw it, an opportunity within my community to stand up for something that I feel strongly about. I have seen it become a positive force in numerous lives and within my community. It is such a simple and attainable solution, to the food waste and food preservation issue, as well as, an extension for increasing nutritional value and cutting food budgets all while bringing incredible flavor and accessibility to your table.

This has been all a labor of love and commitment to being the change I wish to see, quite literally. Public demand and support have been our driving source of forwarding momentum. I think people have been waiting for this. We not only sell fermented foods but fermented seasonings and fermentation kits (we ship!) but we teach fermentation classes too! We are even working on a YouTube channel coming soon! Check out on our website www.fermenti.biz. We have also started our own Fermenti. Mountain Farm! 11 acres where we also plan to locally produce most of the vegetables, fruits and herbs we ferment and sell, have a space to teach classes and even have a small local goods general store! This is a change I wish to see in my community and I think that food security is at the heart of it. I am not secure in my food resources till you are in yours. That’s why Fermenti. LLC is again hosting the Annual Fall Fermenting Festival of Marshall, NC! This event benefits the Beacon of Hope Services & Food Pantry’ building fund. You can follow all of our fermenting fun on Facebook and Instagram as @fermenti.foods.

Has it been a smooth road?
Our biggest challenge has been keeping up with demand! We are excited to be starting our Asheville 2018 Farmers Market Schedule in April and will also be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC on April 28th-29th! We are now in 10 store locations, we ship and we are now in 3 restaurants in WNC! We have a great year ahead of us and lots of things happening behind the scenes to make a way for us to better accommodate our customers! So, my biggest obstacle is growing in a sustainable and approachable way. But thanks to our loyal customers, new customers and our love of all things fermented, we are making our way. I hope you join us on our journey by visiting us on Instagram and Facebook.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Fermenti provides living probiotic-rich fermented foods handcrafted in Marshall, NC. We specialize in fermented foods, beverages and seasonings as well as educational outreach! Our customer favorites are our salsa, hot sauce, lemons, ginger and turmeric pink kraut, beets with ginger, Sichuan carrots and garlic pickles!

The best part of Fermenti is we not only make the best-fermented foods in North Carolina, we also teach you how to! Our long-term mission, through community events, fundraising efforts, educational outreach and preservation of heritage through farming, we are also forging a culinary tourist destination here in WNC.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Meg Chamberlain

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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