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local producer: Shaktea Kombucha

Local Effervescence Shaktea Brews Kombucha for Mind, Body, & Soul Allison Gnade, Catalyst Editor

fairfield appears to be home to the calmest folks in the midwest. is it simply a selfselected citizenship focused on health and well-being – or is there more to it? it could be the meditation, it could be the eastward-facing homes… and it could be the local brew.

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haktea kombucha brewers jack, sister meghan, and mother Deb brew, bottle, label, organic-certify, and nurture every bottle of ‘buch they bring us. Between the three of them, they dream, produce, market, deliver, and make sure to drink kombucha every day. They love what they do – and it shows. I ask about what kind of response they get, and Deb smiles: “We’ll have people say, ‘I never liked kombucha, but I like yours!’ The [customer] response is really encouraging.” Why’s kombucha all the rage? “It sounds crazy,” Deb explains – about her daily kombucha drinking, “but I just feel better.” In college towns (including the home of the new “number one party school” – that’s us), they often hear it’s a good hangover cure. Feeling a little “off ” or like you might be coming down with something? Give it a shot. You might find you feel a little better – a settled stomach, even a cleaner, clearer mind. “People are becoming more aware of their health,” Meghan’s noticed, “and are making the correlation between what they’re eating and how they feel.” She continues: “I think food should be the primary medicine, in terms of prevention.”

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Jack adds what I’ve been hearing a lot recently: “They say your gut is your second mind or second brain.” What you put in there matters. Plus, it just tastes good. Their flavors are fresh and juicy: Grape Escape, Mango Tango, Strawberry Twist, Gingerale – their most popular – and more. “Ginger has a lot of great [health] properties on its own and goes well with kombucha too,” Jack explains. Skip the soda and opt for your local “healthy soda alternative.” It’s fun, it’s fizzy, and it’ll pick you right up. (And they’ve heard from a number of people that've used it to successfully kick their soda habits.) Where did this wonder drink come from? “Kombucha is thought to be from the Ural mountain area,” Meghan explains, where it was commonplace for “every Russian grandmother to have a jar brewing.” Fermented foods are currently making a comeback in America – in addition to the kombucha craze, kimchi, kvass, kefir, lacto-fermented vegetables (salt-brined rather than vinegar-brined), krauts, even sourdough bread (with lower gluten levels than yeasted breads, making it more digestible for the gluten-sensitive) are also experiencing a revival.

Catalyst January February 2014  
Catalyst January February 2014