Three years ago Ben, creator of Ben’s Beets, and a friend were eager to produce their first batch of beet wine. They set up a small juicing station and juiced for hours with one small home juicer…
At the time, Ben was on a winemaking kick. While in a brew store, he stumbled upon a small paperback entitled Home Winemaking. Inside were recipes to make delicious (or not so delicious) brews out of grapes, berries, watermelon, garlic, and other nontraditional items. He became comfortable making wine out of just about anything. Some of his wine successes were: a white and red grape wine, pumpkin, carrot hop, and apple. It seemed fitting to use his favorite vegetable, the beet. Who wouldn’t love to sip a glass of wine with such rich color?
The two friends left the kitchen that night with a carboy filled with 4 ½ gallons of beet solution. The intent was to juice about a ½ gallon more to reduce the headspace.
After a week the busy boys realized that they might have lost their window of opportunity. The wine could have oxidized and left them with a vinegar product. They both had zero waste policies, so they left the carboy in my room to continue to ferment. Months later we siphoned off a small amount to taste. By the glory of my taste buds, it was definitely vinegar, but it tasted superb.
At first we didn’t have much of a use for the product. “What does one do with 5 gallons of vinegar?” we thought. Months later we became exposed to some eating habits that seemed progressive when compared to the majority of our national diet. These were habits that focused eating “slow” food; food from the earth. Emphasized in this lifestyle was the consumption of fermented foods that were probiotic. These bacteria-rich foods allowed for healthy digestion and the establishment/reestablishment of healthy gut flora.
We began making tonics and salad dressings. We gave it away for people to try. The results from our consumers were positive. People loved the mellow flavor with nutty undertones. Our product was a true “happy mistake”; the kind of mishap that my art teacher taught me how to fix at the ripe age of 6.
During years two and three, Ben made 45 gallons on a small commercial scale. Restaurants, small food stores, and private sales have been enough to fund his hobby and taste buds, but not a business.
During year four we are enthusiastic about our opportunities to learn and grow. This is the year we begin working under our own farm name, Gadabout Farm. Over the last year we have established a great customer base with restaurants, schools, and small food stores. We both realize how fortunate we are to be in this current situation with an opportunity to fulfill our shared passions and values. This season will give us a chance to put a face behind food and show others that food doesn’t need to come from a national distributing company, major grocery store, or a “mega-sized” farm. Ben and I (Kaitlyn) plan to grow 2 acres of organic vegetables, raise 500 ducks, and make 400-500 gallons of beet vinegar. This triage of focuses will allow us to diversify our products and market throughout the entire year.
This kickstarter will affect our entire farm, by making a more viable system. Funds from this posting will only go towards the betterment of the vinegar product and production.
Our goals for vinegar in 2012 are:
-To increase storage capacity through purchasing large bulk tanks for secondary fermentation.
-To rework our label design and print them with a professional printing company.
- To increase our potential juicing output through purchasing a large commercial juicer.
- To create long-term storage for our reserves.
We thank you for your support and interest in our passions. We are excited to share this new wealth of knowledge and to continue to learn each day.
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