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The Core of Sauerkraut Making

Have you ever wanted to know more about the inner workings of one of your favorite products at your local co-op? Yesterday, a few members of Common Market’s Marketing team had just that opportunity when we headed over to Sweet Farm’s kitchen in Frederick.

We spoke with Rachel Armistead, owner of The Sweet Farm, about their products and the process of making their beloved sauerkraut. We were able to witness the beginning stages of their Naked Kraut—a variety of sauerkraut without spices—on a typical “making day.”

The cabbage is washed and the outer leaves removed before it is cut and cored. “We save our cores,” Rachel told us, “to have as little waste as possible.” The cores actually get shredded into their Kim Chi, and Rachael says it is one of the reasons for the Kim Chi’s delicious, crunchy taste and texture. The cabbage is then shredded and put into the mixer. In other sauerkraut flavors, the mixer combines the shredded cabbage and the spices to ensure a nice, rounded flavor. The mixer also bruises the cabbage, which Rachel said, “gets the juices flowing and helps create the brine you need to ferment.” Once the container is full, it is weighed down with the juices and brine to begin fermenting. “Most of our krauts are fermented for eight weeks, which is more of a traditional, European kraut,” Rachel said, “but it does depend on the flavor.”

Did you know they also provide the sauerkraut for the Frederick Oktoberfest? “For the last three years, we have made all the sauerkraut they serve there,” Rachel said. “Oktoberfest is a good event for us, and we love being a part of the actual event by making the sauerkraut.”

In addition to sauerkraut, they also make ginger beer. With seasonal flavor offerings, there is a perfect ginger beer for every part of the year.

If you haven’t tried Sweet Farm’s products yet, you can find their sauerkraut in the fermented cooler across from perishables and the ginger beer tap in the bulk area.