Old school fermenter establishes product line at Midland Farmers Market

It started with an honest question. Why don’t we make healthy foods taste better?

It’s been a steady climb for Brad Fierro ever since. His fermented food line, Civil Ferments, can be found at select farmers markets and stores throughout Michigan, including the Midland Area Farmers Market.

Fierro got his start in fermented foods at home. For Fierro, a Type 1 diabetic, experimenting with fermented foods was a way to address his own health needs. Finding personal success, he started Civil Ferments to share the benefits of old-fashioned fermentation.

"Civil Ferments is hand-crafted traditional oak barrel-fermented food. We’re going back to how preserving food was originally done," Fierro says.

"We’re trying to revolutionize fermented foods to make them more attractive to eat, so that people reach for and prefer them rather than doing it just because it’s healthy."

Fierro began experimenting with fermented foods in his kitchen in 2012. The business was established just two years later. Renting kitchen space at Allen Market Place in Lansing, he began selling his products at the farmers market there. He’s since expanded his reach across Michigan with hopes to soon grow into several out-of-state markets within the Great Lakes region.

His first product was a beet kvass, a traditionally Slavic and Baltic beverage but instead made with beets. He soon began developing sauerkrauts; Civil Ferments' website lists cabbeetàge, curtido, sweet, and Ethiopian as some of the sauerkraut varieties.

New products include a savoy kimchi, a take on the Korean dish and a line of shrubs, or drinking vinegars.

Civil Ferments came to the Midland Area Farmers Market after Fierro’s wife spotted a call for fermented food vendors on the market’s Facebook page.

"The Midland community has been awesome," Fierro says. "It’s been unlike many other markets we serve. It seems like the whole city comes out. You can see all of your neighbors."

Visit Civil Ferments online to learn more about their products and where to find them.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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