“It’s just been so fun to connect with people at the markets and really root into the community.”
Sarah Archer, of Serotonin Ferments, starting fermenting 15 years ago in Northern California when a friend first taught her. It was a step deeper into holistic health as she was a doula for a long time and had, “always been into alternative health and healing your body through food, herbs, and things like that.” About 5 years ago, while still living in Mendocino County, California, she decided to, “turn this hobby and passion into a business and started sharing krauts and kimchis with friends,” from whom she got a lot of encouragement.
Sarah was in Northern California for a while, but when her kids’ father moved to Asheville, she decided to follow so everyone could still be together. Plus, she was from Virginia and was used to living in the south. Asheville has similar culture to Northern California, so it wasn’t really culture shock to move. In fact, Sarah found herself, “welcomed with open arms.” Since Asheville is such a big foodie town with so many growers and food producers, it really supported Sarah to continue her fermenting business here with a flare of the Bay Area tastes and culture: “Even though there’s a lot of local fermenters, there weren’t any at the markets when I first moved here. I feel like I came at the right time...It’s just been so fun to connect with people at the markets and really root into the community by sourcing organic cabbage and other organic vegetables with farmers I meet at markets and just reaching out to the broader community. That’s been most of the people I know and have meet since I’ve been here. I feel really fortunate to have that kind of crew as the people I call my friends now.”
Sarah love’s participating in farmers markets around Asheville and how they draw people into interacting with their health, where their food comes from, and ideas to create something of their own - it’s totally a two way street of mutual learning for Sarah. That is Sarah’s favorite part of her work, when she has a deeper conversation with someone about food as medicine and someone’s interest becomes peaked around fermented foods or she hears a story from a customer about how fermented foods have changed their life. Sarah has also enjoyed the opportunity to teach classes about fermented foods (most recently at Shiloh Community Garden) and finds that very rewarding and motivating.
Sarah spoke to the most challenging part of being a maker that many other small business owners feel too: “So you make this thing and you love doing it, but then you want to have your small business and you have to put on like ten different hats in that running of the small business like bookkeeping, marketing, and all the little pieces that you’re responsible for.” Fortunately, she sees and appreciates the support of small businesses from Asheville and organizations like ASAP who connect eaters to makers. Sarah is certainly rising to the challenge.
Visit Sarah at WATM or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.