an adage which speaks to a radish kimchi

We are thrilled to feature this creative piece of poetry about our Daikon Kimchi from our kitchen team member Alex Hicks, an active writer and poet in the spoken word poetry community locally in the Berkshires. Thank you Alex!

an adage which speaks to a radish kimchi

by local poet Alex Hicks

time flows on
however it is a while seems
handmade, sealed up
praise culture –
(wild yeast)

all life
is motion
don’t you know
a mile dreams?

a knife’s spine’ll clean.
roots stripped –
prepped cabbage.

life bless this
onion –
this salt, weighed –
this radish

pass through space
an entryway or two
another door

clean hands, fresh gloves
chef knife
& a cutting board –

a story is a moment
an illustration or a photograph
(no lecture)

daikon kimchi
is an adventure in texture

celebrate life & may you find
what you’re seekin’ –

& if it is
that it’s your dietary choice
you should know that this kimchi is vegan.

in all things
slow down.
& if you’re unsure
of this ferment’s many uses
make a sandwich. make a rice dish.
pickle carrots or eggs
in this delicious
kimchi’s juices.


We love Community Supported Agriculture, and you should too!

Our garlic patch in 2017! We began the business as farmers and have evolved to working directly with regional organic farms to maintain our commitment to sustainable agriculture and local food.

Our garlic patch in 2017! We began the business as farmers and have evolved to working directly with regional organic farms to maintain our commitment to sustainable agriculture and local food.

As a business committed to supporting sustainable agriculture, Hosta Hill partners directly with local farms to produce the organic vegetables that go into our award winning sauerkrauts, kimchis, and hot sauces. In 2018, we proudly sourced almost $40,000 of produce directly from wholesale growers like Atlas Farm in Massachusetts and MX Morningstar Farm in New York State. Such partnerships allow us to use the purchasing power of our business to support farmer livelihoods in the region while accessing the highest quality, most nutritionally dense vegetables available for our ferments.

Along the same lines, we believe that Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is one of the best available options for individuals and families to source their food in a way that more directly supports sustainability and equity in local food systems. For those unfamiliar with the model (or those who might already be long-time advocates), we wanted to share why we think CSA is important and invite fans of Hosta Hill to consider joining a local CSA this season. Now is the time to sign up!

Community Supported Agriculture: what and why

In its traditional form, CSA enables customers, or ‘shareholders’, to more directly support farmers in their community by purchasing a ‘share’ at the start of the growing season. This share covers the cost of growing food for the entire season, which allows the farmer a higher level of economic security while eliminating the extra work of sales and marketing. Importantly, CSA members also share in the risk of farming by receiving food in the quantity and quality actually produced by the farm. This means that specific crops might be more or less abundant depending on the growing conditions of a particular season.

For farmers, the economic security provided by up-front purchase of CSA shares is important because the success of a growing season often relies on weather conditions beyond the control of farmers themselves.  A bad growing season can often put serious financial pressure on farmers (or put them out of business altogether, as farmers in the midwest are currently experiencing in heart-breaking ways). The CSA model can play an important role in relieving some of that strain while building a strong community support system for the farmers.

Some very high quality organic green cabbage and bok choy grown by Atlas Farm, one of our valued farm partners.

Some very high quality organic green cabbage and bok choy grown by Atlas Farm, one of our valued farm partners.

For shareholders, the CSA model can increase awareness of the realities farmers experience while also providing access to the highest quality, freshest food possible as it becomes available throughout the growing season. As is the case for farmers markets, the food provided through CSA is often harvested day of, making it fresher than anything available at the grocery store. Because pickup often occurs directly on-site and includes interaction with farmers themselves, CSA is also a great way to get to know the people and place responsible for your food.

CSA in Massachusetts, New York, and Beyond:
Here in Western Massachusetts we have an abundance of local farms to choose from when considering CSA, including Indian Line Farm, Woven Roots Farm, and Abode Farm CSA (who is currently fundraising for a new project!) - to name just a few.  For those of you in the region, Berkshire Grown is a great resource for finding farms throughout the state. And in New York’s Hudson Valley, the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition maintains an up-to-date listing of CSA farms operating through the region.

Wherever you are, there is a likely a local farm that would benefit from your support in whatever form you can provide it. Whether you choose to become a shareholder or a regular patron of the farm store, purchasing food directly from farmers is a great way to support food systems that are healthy for people and planet.

Abode Farm CSA in New Lebanon, New York offers ‘U PICK’ for shareholders as a way for members to pick their own flowers and produce.



We don’t know about you, but as the weather turns chilly we’re all about some tasty warming comfort food. These pierogis made with locally foraged wild mushrooms and our sauerkraut really hit the spot! Any meaty mushroom can be substituted for the Maitake (Hen of the Woods) pictured. The process is time consuming, so making a big batch to freeze is a great choice. Note: While still delicious, heating our sauerkraut kills those gut healthy bacteria so be sure to serve with a little extra raw on the side if you want to maintain the probiotic benefits.



  • 1 onion

  • 2 cups warm mashed potatoes and celeriac

  • 1 cup grated smoked cheddar

  • 1 shallot

  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Sour cream

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 cup Hosta Hill sauerkraut

  • 1/2 lb wild mushrooms


  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature



To make the dough:

  1. Mix together the flour and salt. Add the egg to the flour and combine. The dough will be dry at this stage. Work in the sour cream and soft butter until the dough comes together in a slightly rough, slightly sticky ball.

  2. Using just your fingertips, knead and fold the dough without adding additional flour until the dough becomes less sticky but still quite moist.

  3. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, or up to 48 hours.

To make the filling:

  1. Sauté shallot and onion in skillet until caramelized and set aside. Combine the warm mashed potato/celeriac mixture, cheese, and caramelized onion/shallot. Stir and mash until the cheese is melted and the filling is cool to the touch. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

To fill the pierogi:

  1. Roll half the dough 1/8" thick. Use a 2" round cutter to cut circles of dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Save the scraps; these can be snipped into small pieces and added to simmering soups.

  2. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling on each round of dough. Gently fold the dough over, forming a pocket around the filling. Pinch the edges of the pierogi to seal.

  3. At this point the pierogi can be frozen for up to 6 weeks, or refrigerated overnight.

To serve

  1. Heat butter in a skillet and sauté mushrooms until thoroughly cooked and slightly browned. Turn heat to low, add sauerkraut and cook until warm. Set aside.

  2. Add pierogi to large stockpot of boiling salted water. Only cook about 10 pierogi at a time, so that they have room to float without sticking. When the pierogi float, they're done. The time will vary depending of if they are fresh or frozen. When they float, take them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and briefly sauté in a generous amount of butter until browned.

  3. Serve with mushroom mixture and sour cream. Enjoy!

Education Opportunities - Workshops, demos, and more!

Education Opportunities - Workshops, demos, and more!

Workshop participants chop cabbage during a vegetable fermentation workshop at Honest Weight Food Cooperative in Albany, New York. 

Workshop participants chop cabbage during a vegetable fermentation workshop at Honest Weight Food Cooperative in Albany, New York. 

As a part of our commitment to sharing vegetable fermentation with our local and regional community, we're offering workshops and demonstrations throughout the summer and fall! Here is our current schedule of events, offered in partnership with cooperatives, libraries, and other educational centers in the region.

Please note that registration is required for some of the events, so be sure to follow the link for details.

8-5-2018 - Workshop - Austerlitz Historical Society, Austerlitz, NY (with Berkshire Ferments)

8-18-2018 - Brattleboro Food Co-op, Brattleboro, VT 

8-29-2018 Fermented Vegetables and the Gut Microbiome - a collaboration between Hosta Hill and The Nutrition Center - Greenfields Market, Greenfield, MA - Check back soon for details!

10-13-2018  - Workshop at the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA - Check back for registration details

Interested in collaborating with us on a workshop, demonstration, or event? Reach out to Mark Phillips at

Happy workshop participants at Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, New York 

Happy workshop participants at Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, New York 



Full of rich savory flavors, this curry bowl is both satisfying and nutritious. Creamy coconut milk and bright citrus are a great combination with the spice of our Curry Kraut.



  • 1 package cubed firm tofu

  • 1 cup black rice

  • 1 zucchini

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 1 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tbsp turmeric

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 lime

  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Cilantro for garnish




1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In a small pot or rice cooker combine 2 cups water, 1 cup of black rice, and 1 tsp salt. Cook covered on low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender.  

3. While rice is cooking, add 1 tbsp coconut oil to a skillet and lightly sauté garlic, zucchini, and tofu over medium heat. Add coconut milk and spices and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Finish with lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside. 

4. Remove outer leaves from the cauliflower. Carefully trim stem end, leaving core intact so florets are still attached. Turn cauliflower head core side down; using a chef knife or large serrated knife and cut cauliflower vertically into four 1- to 1 1/4- inch-thick "steaks"

5. In an extra-large oven-going skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add cauliflower steaks; cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on both sides, turning once halfway through cooking time. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven; roast, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower from skillet; keep warm.

6. Assemble cooked rice, tofu curry, and cauliflower pieces in bowls with Hosta Hill Curry Kraut in the bowl or on the side. Garnish with cilantro. Serve and enjoy! 



This colorful and nutritious salad is perfect for those summer days when it’s just too hot to turn on the stove! The creamy sesame avocado dressing is a perfect balance for our tangy Daikon Kimchi. Try substituting whatever seasonal veggies you have available!


  • 1 can butter beans

  • 1 bunch asparagus

  • 1 cup sliced red cabbage

  • 1 zucchini cut into ribbons

  • 1 cup sliced radishes

  • ½ cup Hosta Hill Daikon Kimchi

  • Cured egg yolk shavings (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sesame Avocado Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • ¼ cup lemon juice

  • 1/8 tsp honey or maple syrup

  • 1 tsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • ½ cup water

For Dressing: Add all ingredients in a blender or a food processor. Process and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a little more water, if you prefer it to be a little thinner. Taste for lemon and salt, and add more, if preferred.



  1. In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Season with 2 tablespoons coarse salt, and add asparagus; boil until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness). 2. Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Cut into bite size pieces.

  2. In a large bowl, combine vegetables, beans, and Daikon Kimchi.

  3. Before serving, mix with avocado dressing until coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cured egg yolk (optional)

Changes in 2018

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If you've been a follower of Hosta Hill you may know that from the start, we have been dedicated to farming multiple acres of mixed vegetables for our ferments at Hosta Hill. Growing and sourcing quality ingredients for our products is the basis of our vision for a local food economy.

This 2018 season is shaping up to be a little bit different!

To start, we are taking the year off from growing the typical array of vegetables for our ferments. Though we couldn't help ourselves and have a crop of garlic planted for a fall harvest (and for Scape kraut of course). While being involved deeply in the growing for our ingredients is close to our hearts, we consciously chose to take the season off for big changes ahead: 

The major news being that Abe and I are anticipating the arrival of a baby in June and are looking forward to prioritizing time for our growing family!

And, along with our own family, Hosta Hill is also expanding! You may have noticed on some of our labels it says 'Produced in Pittsfield, MA. That's right, we are in the process of shifting all operations to a new facility in Pittsfield! The facility is owned by the local company Fire Cider, and they have graciously invited us to share space with them. This new move and increased space will allow for some serious ease of expansion in production and distribution. For the past 4 years we have been operating out of our Kickstarter fueled (THANK YOU!) and increasingly confined kitchen space in West Stockbridge (less then 900 square feet, oy!). The new kitchen space is about 3,500 square feet--and that's just the kitchen. Other features in the building are a 14x36' walk-in refrigeration unit (a grower/food processor's juiciest dream), an actual space for packing online orders and shipping, a loading dock, and generally lots of flat, hard ground for moving stuff around (think barrels of ferments, pallet bins of vegetables). 

You may be wondering, well where are all the vegetables going to come from? We have many talented growers between the Hudson and Pioneer Valley and we will be utilizing them. MX Morningstar Farm and Winter Moon Roots will be supplying the majority of our daikon radish. Atlas Farm and Red Fire Farm will be supplying our red, green and napa cabbage, as well as onions and carrots. We'll be supplying the majority of our garlic and hot peppers. Working together with local food system partners is just as close to our hearts as growing is, and still a part of our Field to Ferment vision.
We are excited for these growth opportunities and new chapters, and we are so grateful to our dear customers (that's you!). We look forward to the coming season and continued connections in our community. 

~Maddie Elling
cofounder/cabbage patch parent

Maddie and Abe pictured with Berkshire ferment friends Michelle and Ted

Maddie and Abe pictured with Berkshire ferment friends Michelle and Ted



A twist on a classic, this delicious tempeh reuben is satisfying and full of rich flavor. The soy sauce adds a hint of umami, and our sauerkraut is the perfect compliment to the creamy avocado and dressing. This recipe can be make vegan or vegetarian with some simple substitutions.


  • 8 ounces tempeh

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

  • black pepper

  • 4 slices rye bread

  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter or earth balance

  • 1 cup Hosta Hill Sauerkraut

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 cup arugula (optional)

  • 2 slices swiss cheese (optional)



  • ¾ Cup Cashew Cream or Mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

  • 1-2 tablespoons ketchup

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickle + 1 tablespoon pickle juice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

  • salt + pepper



  1. Slice the tempeh in half lengthwise and then slice each piece in half to create 4 small, thin pieces.

  2. In a gallon size zip top bag, combine the tempeh, soy sauce, and pinch of black pepper. Seal the bag and gently toss to evenly coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes, flipping the bag around half way through.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the tempeh in batches and cook until golden crisp, about 3-5 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tempeh.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cashew cream or mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon juice, chopped pickles and pickle juice. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and pourable. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Keep stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  5. Spread butter or earth balance over each slice of bread and pan fry or broil until golden brown.

  6. Place the tempeh on the fried bread and then add all other toppings, finishing with the dressing.

  7. If adding cheese, leave the sandwich open faced and place the cheese on top. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

  8. Slice in half and enjoy!




Spicy, tangy, and satisfying, these black bean and avocado tacos are the perfect dinner for the warmer months. Great for parties or big families, you can set out all the prepared ingredients and let everyone make their own. Our Crimson Kraut makes a beautiful and delicious garnish!





  1. Toss black beans in a bowl with olive oil and lime juice, and salt to taste.

  2. Place all garnishes on a plate or plates so you will be ready to assemble.

  3. Heat a skillet on the stove (cast iron works well) on medium high heat and wait until it is fully heated before placing corn tortilla. Toast for 1-2 minutes, or until it starts to brown / char slightly. Take the tortilla out of the skillet, and carefully bend until it creates a taco shape. As it cools it will hold the shape and it will be easier to fill. Repeat with all tortillas.

  4. Fill with beans, avocados and top with Crimson Kraut and any other desired toppings.

  5. Enjoy!

Cold Noodles with Kimchi

Cold Noodles with Kimchi


This simple dish is quick to prepare, refreshing, and a great way to enjoy our Kimchi! The possibilities for delicious, fresh toppings are endless and a great way to use up scraps in the fridge. The sauce can be made ahead, and mixed with the noodles right before serving. 



  • 1 pound egg noodles

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash

  • 3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1-2 teaspoons Hosta Hill Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce (optional)

  • Hosta Hill Kimchi

  • Lime wedges

  • Sesame seeds

  • Julienne veggies for garnish (carrot, cucumber, cabbage and scallion)

  • Hard-boiled Eggs (optional)



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, and hot sauce (optional).

  3. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the dressing and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

  4. If serving immediately, portion the noodles out into bowls and top with Kimchi and other desired garnishes.

  5. Enjoy!

Farm to bottle: celebrating our local, fermented Hot Sauce

Our local, fermented jalapeño and garlic hot sauce!

Our local, fermented jalapeño and garlic hot sauce!

As we settle into this fall transition, we reflect with gratitude on another successful growing season in the Berkshires. This summer and fall, we've grown two varieties of cabbage, carrots, garlic, jalapeño and sweet red peppers, and various other storage crops for our own personal consumption. We've also continued to partner with local, sustainable farms in the region, which include: Atlas Farm in South Deerfield, MA; MX Morningstar Farm in Copake, NY; Winter Moon Roots in Hadley, MA; Red Fire Farm in Montague, MA; and Abode Farm in New Lebanon, NY. Thank you to all of our farmers! Your work is essential to building a thriving and sustainable local food economy, and we are so happy to be a part of what you do.  

And while many of our ferments combine ingredients from multiple farms (including our own), our hot sauce is the exception, prepared with jalapeños and garlic exclusively grown by us on farmland right near our kitchen in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This season we were blessed with an abundant pepper crop, and amazed at the flavor and spice of our jalapeños and sweet red peppers. And the jalapenos, of course, are the primary ingredient in our fermented hot sauce.

Our co-founder Maddie Elling processing peppers in the kitchen. 

After harvesting, the jalapeños are processed in our kitchen and fermented with sea salt in the same way that we prepare our sauerkraut and kimchi: using the traditional lacto-fermentation method of combining vegetables, sea salt, and time. Part magic, part microbiology, the fermentation process enhances the flavor and probiotic content of our hot sauce, creating a flavourful, sour tang without the addition of vinegar.

This year, we are also experimenting with new hot sauce recipes. Many of you have seen our jalapeño hot sauce appear in both red and green varieties. This is the result of producing the same recipe with red, ripe jalapeños and green, fresh jalapeños. Moving forward, we are now experimenting with a distinct, additional recipe to differentiate the two colors in both appearance and taste, and to provide a milder variety for those who prefer a hot sauce with less fire. Stay tuned!

And so keep an eye out for our hot sauce at select retail locations and various farmer's markets in the region, including Berkshire Grown in Great Barrington and Williamstown, MA; Basilica Farm and Flea in Hudson, NY; the Shindy at Shire City Sanctuary in Pittsfield, MA; and GBAM, the GB Arts Market in Great Barrington, MA. Locally grown and naturally fermented, we see our hot sauce as a celebration of local agriculture and the community of farmers, retailers, and customers that makes what we do possible. 

At work in the garlic patch this summer: this garlic also produces the garlic scapes used in our Scape Kraut!

Summertime Eatin'

Summer is the best time to hang outside and eat. One place we love is The Bistro Box in Sheffield, MA. They are known for their tasty sandwiches and delectable seasonal sides like spring fries with wild ramp pesto, balsamic mushrooms and monterey chèvre. Pictured below is their Roadside Rueben, featuring our Crimson Kraut. Something I might have to replicate for lunch one of these days..

  • Turkey
  • Swiss
  • Crimson Kraut (as much as you'd like!)
  • Russian Dressing
  • Thick Cut Rye


Dinner With Friends

 It's that time of year, the days are shorter, you have to force yourself out of the house to socialize, but it's important, and rewarding!

Below I share a recipe for a Choucroute Garni, an Alsatian recipe a friend prepared for us a few weeks ago. Choucroute Garni is composed of various meats and potatoes simmered together on a bed of Sauerkraut. It's absolutely delicious, especially with Riesling and friends around a big table.

Choucroute Garni

  • 3 pounds of sauerkraut, washed
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Big chunk of salt pork, soaked in water to remove excess salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-pound piece smoked pork loin (not ready-to-eat)
  • 12 frankfurters, 6 knockwurst, or other hearty sausages
  • 1 pre-cooked Polish kielbasa
  • 12 potatoes
  • Mustard


Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Put washed sauerkraut in a stockpot with chicken stock. If you like, use beer or white wine for part of the liquid. Add a big chunk of soaked salt pork, garlic cloves, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Put frankfurters or knockwurst and kielbasa in with the sauerkraut for the last 20 minutes to heat through.

Roast smoked pork loin the oven about 25 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 170ºF. Boil potatoes in their jackets separately, then peel.

When it comes time to assemble the dish, drain the sauerkraut and mound it in the center of a big platter. Slice the pork loin and arrange around the sauerkraut. Garnish with sliced kielbasa and salt pork, whole frankfurters or knockwurst, and peeled potatoes. Serve with hot mustard, such as a Düsseldorf or German-type mustard, or French Dijon.

6 servings
Recipe credit James Beard Foundation

April showers bring...lots of events!

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Market season is upon us! That means farmers market, craft fairs, all sorts of events! We’ll be at a handful of farmers markets this summer and also some one-off events. Read on to see what's happening this month...

The past week we started the Tuesday Market in Northampton which we’ll be attending every-other week (April 26th-on)

This weekend we will be Sampling and selling at the New England Veg Fest. That's Sunday, May 1st from 11-5pm. The event is at the DCU center in Worcester and it will be featuring 100% vegan food. There will be all sorts of food samplings, demos, speakers, as well as full-menu offerings from restaurants and bakeries.

Mothers day weekend The Great Barrington Farmers Market opens! Located in downtown Great Barrington and featuring 25+ vendors selling spring vegetables and fruits, seedlings, maple syrup, honey, breads, grains, and of course facto-fermented vegetables and tempeh! That same weekend we will also be in Hudson, May 7th and 8th, at the inaugural spring iteration of Basilica Farm & Flea full of independent makers, collectors and farmers! Thats a full weekend of good food and craft!

Saturday, May 21st we will be in NY state again at the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo The event is 10-6pm and will host a range of artisans from crafts, to collectors to food producers. Also, the Hullabaloo will be teaming up with Radio Woodstock 10.01 Craft Brew Boogaloo featuring 75 craft breweries pouring 150 kinds of brew, local farm-to-table food, live music, games and more! The craft Brew Boogaloo runs 1pm-6pm, and both events are separate, however, Boogaloo admission allows for entry into the Hullabaloo. Got it? Hope to see you there!

ThinkFOOD Conference at Bard College

Looking for something interesting to do this weekend? Bard College at Simon's Rock is putting on its 3rd annual ThinkFOOD Conference April 9th from 10:00am to 3:00pm in the Kellogg Music Center. This years theme is Berkshire Foodways, and will look inward at Berkshire County to define the "what, how and where" of food in our region

We are excited to be part of a panel titled "Grown/Made in the Berkshires" and we'll debate "what is Berkshire food?" Panelists include Alana Chernila (author of The Homemade Pantry, The Homemade Kitchen, and her blog, Eating from the Ground Up), Richard Bourdon (owner of Berkshire Mountain Bakery, and featured in Michael Pollan's documentary series, Cooked.) And yours truly, Maddie Elling (co-creator and maker at Hosta Hill)

The day will also include a locally sourced lunch, and poster presentation from Bard college students in the "Foodways" course and a second panel, "Feeding the Berkshires" which will answer the question: "What networks have been established to distribute food produced in the Berkshires" 

The event will surely inspire reflection upon the food scene of the Berkshires. Help us spread the word and we hope to see you there!

Valley Veg Fest!

This weekend we'll be at the Valley Veg Fest. Now in its 3rd year this event will feature passionate speakers, veg friendly food vendors, products and non-profits dedicated to healthy living, animal rights and environmental advocacy. 

We'll be there in good company with other fellow farmers and food producers like Kitchen Garden Farm, Artisan Beverage Coop, Red Fire Farm, and Fungi Ally to name a few. 

Whether your a vegan or carnivore there will be something interesting or tasty for everyone, come out and support your local makers!

The event is Saturday April 2nd, from 10am-4pm at the J.F.K. Middle School in Northampton, Ma.

In-store demos!

in the next few weeks we will be out and about demo-ing at stores in the Berkshires, Boston, and even over the boarder in New York state. Demos are a fun way for us to get out and meet our customers that we might not come across at markets. This gives them the chance to try a Hosta Hill product they might be curious about. See below for a schedule of dates for the coming weeks!

This upcoming Friday, March 25th we'll be in Boston at Cambridge Naturals from 12-3:30pm and then we'll head up the street to Pemberton Farms, 5-7pm. 

On March 31st we'll be at BOTH Guidos stores in the Berkshires for their Thank you thursday (TuT) event; tastings and deep discounts! We'll be in the great Barrington store from 10-2pm and then Pittsfield, 2-5pm. Our ferments will be on sale just that one day, so make sure to stop in and stock up!

April 16th we'll be headed over the boarder to the Chatham Real Food Coop for a tasting of all our ferments, 11-2pm.

Is there a store in your area that you'd like to see us do a tasting at? Let us know!


Seeding onions!

Last week we got to work in our unheated hoop house, seeding onions! This means planting onions seeds into trays of soil. From here they will grow and mature in mini onion plants and be ready to plant out by mid April. The seeds we planted are called Pontiac, they are a nice long term storage onion which we can store through the winter for extended season processing.

The other variety of onion we will be planting out is called Ailsa Craig. This is a popular fresh eating onion, that we'll use throughout the summer for our ferments. This year we are not going to be growing this variety by seed but instead buying in "sets" which we'll receive in April as mini onion plants ready to go into the ground. The idea with buying the sets is we may have larger summer onions, ealrier. Which will come in handy for our summer vegetable ferment processing!

onion sets, ready to go into the ground!

onion sets, ready to go into the ground!

Food Adventures

A few weeks ago I got invited to vist the 1st and 2nd graders at Muddy Brook Elementary in Great Barrington. They have a after school program called Food Adventures, spear-headed by the Nutrition Center. The plan was to talk about fermented foods, make sauerkraut and sample our sauerkraut. 

I talked a bit about Hosta Hill, who we are, what we make and how we make it. The kids we're inquisitive, commenting how they've seen our sauerkraut, they've eaten our kimchi and how its so smelly! After talking the kids got chopping (with the plastic lettuce knives of course). They all worked attentively, eager to process the cabbage in their own style. Once chopped we put everyones cabbage together into a big mixing bowl and they sprinkled it with salt. Then came the mixing, each kid got their hands in there mixing and mashing the cabbage until it was flimsy and wilted, just what we want!

While we let the cabbage sit to wilt a little longer we had a little sample of Hosta Hill Sauerkraut and Crimson Kraut. To my surprised most of the kids dove into their little bowls, gobbling it up. After a good cultured snack the kids took turns packing the sauerkraut into jars. The packed jars would stay in the classroom to ferment for a few weeks and then the kids would get to taste their communal sauerkraut. 

Working with them made me realize what a wonderful project this is for children! They can partake in the energizing act of chopping, salting and mixing the cabbage. Then they get to watch the fermenting contents transform right in front of their eyes! Bubbling away, with the colors of the vegetables melding right before you. its a safe, cheap and easy project. And also a fun way to eat your vegetables! 

Below is a kid friendly recipe for Sauerkraut.

  • 1 medium head of cabbage, red or green or both (it should be about 3 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon of sea salt
  1. chop cabbage into strips
  2. Put in large bowl and sprinkle with the salt
  3. Mix the cabbage and salt, giving it a good massage
  4. Let the cabbage sit for 10-15 minutes. This allows more liquid to be drawn out from the cabbage
  5. Pack into wide mouth jars leaving about an inch for headspace.
  6. Cap tightly and store to ferment in a cool area in your kitchen.
  7. Keep an eye on your Kraut and taste after 1 week. If you want it more soured let it continue to ferment. If you like how it tastes pop it in the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process.
  • Tips:
  • Use any mix of vegetables: carrots, radish, turnips! Endless possibilities.
  • Add spices or herbs. Don't over-do it! about 1-2 tsp/ 3 lb veg. Mix these in at the same time as the salt.
  • Keep an eye on the lid of your jar. You may see the lid bulging, thats perfectly normal and means the contents fermenting, sugars are being eaten, lactic-acid is forming in turn building pressure. I recommend you crack the lid open over the sink, since it might leak a little. After relieving some pressure, cap tightly and return to ferment. Do this again if needed.
  • See the previous blog post on ways for the whole family to enjoy fermented foods in every meal!!