Behind the Food: Firefly Kitchens
Full Circle works with the best farmers, ranchers and artisan producers in the industry to source only top-quality organic produce and other all-natural foods for our members. This week, we’re taking a deeper look at a Seattle-based company that crafts organic fermented foods.
In January 2010, Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage started Firefly Kitchens in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle with the desire to create and grow a great company that people would consider a go-to resource for healthy, fermented foods. The founders wanted to share their passion and belief in the benefits of traditionally made fermented produce. And from 80 pounds of shredded cabbage per month in 2010 to nearly 10,000 pounds of shredded cabbage per month in 2015, that’s just what they did.
Today, Firefly ferments the way it’s been done for thousands of years: no sugar, no vinegar and no heat, and only the best organic vegetables and high quality sea salt.
One of Firefly Kitchens’ main goals is to educate people about fermented foods. Loaded with probiotics, enzymes, fiber and vitamin C, kraut has many healing benefits and is very well known for it’s digestive support. The bottom line is that there are actually more nutrients in kraut after it’s been fermented and it significantly aids digestion. But for all it’s wonderful benefits, it is often misunderstood. “What do I do with it?” people ask. So Firefly took its kraut to the streets. Firefly teaches cooking classes at its Ballard kitchen and regularly speaks at libraries, schools and other health events about the benefits of fermented foods.
Every time they get a chance to talk about food they inspire people to “think kraut of the box.”
The Firefly Kitchens Team
Firefly’s part-time crew of nine is integral to the entire product line, most of which is jarred by hand. Many members of the team have been around since the beginning, when shredding 80 pounds of cabbage seemed like a lot. In fact, positive energy and a healthy working environment are why many people believe the kraut is so darn good.
Firefly Kitchens and Full Circle
Firefly never compromises on quality or takes shortcuts and focuses on the community, sourcing organic vegetables as locally as possible. The company’s dedication to quality food with strong community ties makes it a perfect Full Circle partner.
“Growing up in Juneau, I remember how difficult it was to get fresh produce throughout the year,” says Julie O’Brien, cofounder of Firefly Kitchens. “I am thrilled that our fermented foods are able to bring the freshness of local, organic produce to the great north and other cities around the northwest through the amazing farm-to-table program that Full Circle has created.”
Firefly’s new cookbook, Fresh & Fermented, is loaded with tips on how to incorporate fermented foods into everyday recipes like smoothies, hummus, salads and even desserts. Plus, it has an abundance of health information as well as a step-by-step guide to home kraut making, including the award winning Firefly Kimchi, Yin Yang Carrots and Ruby Red Kraut.