food entrepreneurs helping hand
food vendors take
advantage of chamber kitchen
(November 2009) After years of running a health
food store, Cincinnati resident Jordan Aversman discovered that the
ancient way of preserving foods through lacto-fermentation was both
healthy and extremely popular. Because most people who buy these foods
have to order from west coast or northeastern companies, he realized
he could start his own local company and offer a product more readily
available and at a cheaper cost.
He had a problem, however; he needed a commercial kitchen to produce
his goods. When he signed up for a small business seminar, he was told
about Madison, Ind.s Ohio River Valley Food Venture, an incubator
kitchen for small food-related businesses.
In January, Aversman and his business partner, Jennifer DeMarco, started
regularly traveling to Madison to make fermented vegetables for their
new enterprise, Fabulous Ferments.
and Jennifer DeMarco
used Ohio River Valley
to start Fabulous
Since 2003, Ohio River Valley Food Venture, in the Venture
Out Business Center, has been helping food product entrepreneurs who
need commercial kitchen space and equipment. Many area food product
entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the facility to start up their
We have about 10 businesses currently using our facility on a
regular basis, said Helen Cope, building manager and an employee
of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, which owns and operates the
kitchen. They make everything from jams to soaps.
The kitchen has three large sections that include six ovens, a prep
area and broilers, deep fryers and stainless steel pots for boiling.
It also has large freezers, mixers, pallets for storage and even comes
equipped with hair nets and cleaning products.
Our facilities are Serve Safe approved by the Health Department
and FDA approved, said Cope. We have some businesses that
need a USDA inspector on hand while working, and that is no problem.
In addition to supplying equipment, clients are also advised to talk
to small business development counselors and are also given advice and
assistance in nutrition labeling and ph labeling.
Cope said the cost to buy the equipment and supplies for a commercial
kitchen is daunting for many small food businesses. The incubator kitchen
affords entrepreneurs the opportunity to get started.
The Ohio River Valley Food Venture has given us a great opportunity,
said Aversman. It allowed us to get on our feet.
Over the summer, Aversman and DeMarco planned to test their products
at local farmers markets to see how they would go. We found
they are very viable for marketing, said Aversman.
Since then, the company recently became USDA Certified Organic and has
worked to put products in retail stores throughout the region. We
are talking with a nationwide health food wholesaler to carry our products,
Fabulous Ferments sells a variety of popular lacto-fermented vegetables,
such as sauerkraut, Kimchi, Cortido, juniper caraway, Tsukemono and
curry kraut. Lactic acid fermentation in essence is the conversion of
sugars and starches in foods into lactic acid by a number of lactic-acid-producing
bacteria. It is an anaerobic process.
There is actually no dairy or dairy by-products used in Fabulous
Ferments products. Lactic acid gets its name from the Latin word for
milk, as the bacteria were first isolated from sour milk, said
Aversman. There are two kinds of lactic acid producing bacteria:
one adapted to milk and milk products and one adapted to plants. Lactic
acid producing bacteria are plentiful on healthy organically grown vegetables,
most notably cabbage.
For more information about the Ohio River
Valley Food Venture, call (812) 265-3135. For more information about
Fabulous Ferments, visit: www.FabulousFerments.com
Back to November 2009