Cooking up dreams

Commercial kitchen gives
food entrepreneurs helping hand

Area food vendors take
advantage of chamber kitchen

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(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.

Jordan Aversman and Jennifer DeMarco

Photo provided

Jordan Aversman
and Jennifer DeMarco
used Ohio River Valley
Food Venture’s
commercial kitchen
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 businesses.
“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,” said Aversman.
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 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta