The best businesses are built on conviction and passion. They don’t just pay the bills, they fuel the heart.
That’s how it is with Artisan Ferments, a business founded by Tom Pascal and his family.
While completing his degree in food and nutrition science, Tom realised the importance of good bacteria for gut health. Putting knowledge into practise, he began fermenting at home for family and friends.
At the time, there was no sauerkraut being made in the New England area where the family lived. Although he already had a quality control job in commercial food production, demand for Tom’s fermented food grew to the point where he opened his business in February 2018, bringing it to the Gold Coast when the family moved here early in 2020.
While most of the fermented food on the market is large-scale, heat-treated ferments, Artisan Ferments’ food is defined by its name. It’s a small family business making hand-crafted ferments and sauces using traditional techniques to ferment all of our delicious vegetables and sauces in a commercially approved home kitchen.
This business is about the best produce transformed naturally by centuries old techniques. Locally grown cabbage is shredded by hand with a mandolin, salt and extras such as caraway, beetroot or chilli are added, then the brew is left to ferment, before bottling ready for sale. Unlike heat-treated ferments, the ferment is still full of good ferment activity, so it should be refrigerated even before opening to maintain flavour balance.
“We love everything fermented…” Tom says, the range presently for sale online or at The Standard Food Company, Ferry Road Markets, including kimchi, sauerkraut, chilli sauce (made with an active ferment), relish, mustard, miso, Thai chilli and lime dipping sauce and a kombucha kit. He cites Vegan Kimchi as one of his bestsellers, its umami flavours derived from its combination of miso paste, shitake mushroom and dried seaweed.
“I love spreading the fermentation story,” Tom tells me. “People need to consume some fermented food or drink every day to maintain optimum gut health and a good mood.”
“There are lots of ways that you can do that: slather spoonfuls of kimchi on a burger, put sauerkraut on meat or eggs, use a bit of the fermented liquid through fresh salad instead of a dressing, kimchi in dumplings for a taste explosion or as a side, fermented mustard with sausages, add fermented foods as part of a wicked cheese platter or add them through soup for added zing – the depth of flavour is next level!
“You can’t beat the feeling you get when people taste your food and go ‘Wow!’” Tom tells us.
“I love making people’s day, doing something I believe in. This is real food, really good for you, really tasty.”