Wisconsin Couple Makes Homemade Sauerkraut
Owners of Spirit Creek Farm Bring Back Traditional Ways of Krauts
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The fermenting season is just wrapping up, and the farming season is about to get underway at Spirit Creek Farm.
“Sometimes with crazy ideas you either see stop signs or they fail to appear,” said Andrew Sauter Sargent, co-owner of Spirit Creek Farm. “Either I never saw these stop stops or they never appeared.”
It took just one book for Andrew to take a leap of faith.
While sauerkraut isn’t necessarily his favorite food, “I like sauerkraut, but I don’t think I like it a lot more than other people,” Andrew laughed.
He and his wife, Jennifer, started their own sauerkraut business eight years ago at their home in Cornucopia.
“When he came to me and said, ‘Let’s do a sauerkraut business,’ I said, ‘I don’t like sauerkraut, you know I don’t like sauerkraut,’” admitted Jennifer.
But it didn’t take long for her taste buds to change their minds.
“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really good. It’s crunchy, and it’s fresh,’” Jennifer said.
The ingredients are simple: cabbage, salt, and water.
“It’s a salad, in a sense,” explained Jennifer.
But the timing is an art.
From April through August, cabbage is grown on fields across the Midwest.
“Our kind of mission is to buy local first,” said Andrew.
Starting September 1, production begins at Spirit Creek Farm.
“You take a vegetable, you chop it up, you salt it, and pound it, and that brings out the liquid in the vegetable,” described Andrew.
The vegetables then ferment in barrels anywhere from two weeks to two months.
A step that sets it apart from other krauts.
“People will taste it and they’ll say, ‘There’s no vinegar in this?’ And that’s just what happens through the fermenting process, that flavor comes out,” Jennifer explained.
Thursday, the couple put the final stamps on the 2014 season.
“We make enough to last us to next August, basically,” said Andrew.
As they now begin growing for 2015, the couple is excited to continue satisfying their customers.
“I call them love letters, we get emails sometimes from people who are like, ‘This is the best,’” Jennifer laughed.
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