Producers: Firefly Kitchens
Located in: Seattle
Supplying PCC since: 2011
Supplies PCC with: Robust fermented raw organic vegetables, including probiotic-rich salsa, sauerkrauts and kimchi, delightful served with a variety of dishes. Learn more about probiotics and how they help digestion and immunity.
A commitment to local agriculture: When seasonally available, Firefly Kitchens sources all of its organic produce (cabbage, carrots, onions, beets, peppers and more) from local growers, including Nash's Organic Produce in Sequim, Wash. and Full Circle in Carnation, Wash.
Traditional methods: All Firefly Kitchens products are created through traditional fermentation methods, are completely raw, and are naturally preserved without heat or preservatives. The result is colorful jars packed with natural enzymes and probiotics (not to mention abundant flavor!).
A lifetime of abundance
Firefly Kitchens co-owners Julie O'Brien and Richard Climenhage share a longtime interest in nutrient-rich, healing foods, and in finding creative ways to nourish loved ones and their community alike for greater wellness.
O'Brien grew up in Juneau, Alaska harvesting fresh seafood, picking berries and foraging for wild greens before going on to run her own marketing and branding business and later, to study nutritional therapy. Climenhage worked in the tech industry before his work at Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen in Berkeley, Calif., sparked an interest in fermented foods.
The duo met while both trying to purchase all the grass-fed beef bones available from a local Seattle farmer to make rich, nourishing broth. They discovered a common goal to create nutritious foods for friends and family and pondered how they might join forces to offer something new and delicious.
In 2010 they launched Firefly Kitchens, following a model set up by Three Stone Hearth. Their goal: to produce nutrient-dense, naturally fermented foods and distribute via local farmers markets, co-ops and organic grocers. They produce a vibrant, robust variety of sauerkraut, kimchi, salsa and pickled vegetables bursting with flavor, natural enzymes and probiotics that have developed a cult following.
"Our foods are made the old-fashioned way, with organic ingredients and a slowed-down production time. The result is a delicious product that is very dense in nutrients. I am so happy when I hear customers share how great they feel when they incorporate our food into their daily lives," O'Brien said.
Their desire then, as now, is to make the healthy lifestyle that these healthful foods promote more available to today's everyday consumer. And they're off to a strong start: Firefly's Cortido sauerkraut — a blend of cabbage, onions, carrots, jalapenos, salt, oregano and red chili peppers — was among eight products honored (out of 900 entries) as part of the annual Good Food Awards, which recognizes exceptional certified organic and sustainably produced artisan products. In 2011 Firefly's Yin Yang Carrots also drew recognition in the same competition.
Says Firefly Kitchens: Eat your fermented foods straight out of the jar (with a clean spoon) or on your favorite sandwich, wrap, salad, baked potato, egg scramble, rice bowl, braised greens, rice and beans, and more. Julie O'Brien of Firefly Kitchens also recommends mashing kimchi with a hard-boiled egg to create a delicious schmear.
Aim for at least a tablespoon a day of fermented foods with your meal to help build digestive health while adding a vibrant flavor to your dish. To preserve the health benefits, natural enzymes, and lactobacilli, keep these foods refrigerated and enjoy them raw.