|Address:|| 2230 James River Road
Scottsville, VA 24590
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There are no visiting hours for the farm but please see their Mercantile listing for store hours.
Farmstead Ferments is actually a farm and a business founded by Dawn Story. The farm is located in the Esmont area of southern Albemarle County. Nearby in Scottsville is where the business has its commercial kitchen, as well as a store called the Mercantile. Foodwaze has visited the farm and the store and compiled a detailed description of the entire business under the Details tab.
• What They Do: They grow a variety of produce including but not limited to cabbage, bok choy, collards, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. These are all used in their sauerkrauts and other fermented foods.
• Regenerative Practices: While not certified organic, they do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Instead they focus on building soil fertility through the use of biodynamic and regenerative organic practices that include crop rotations, cover cropping, row covers, and good old manual labor. They also incorporate permaculture design and use Korean Natural Farming methods
• Certifications: None currently. As always, Foodwaze emphasizes the practices of a farm, with or without certification. What should be most important to consumers are the Regenerative Practices described above.
Farmstead Ferments products are distributed to nearly 100 markets and restaurants, mostly in Virginia, but also into DC and Maryland. We do not list all of them, but suffice to say that many markets we do list carry Farmstead Ferments.
Definitely check out the listing for their Mercantile store under the Places tab.
Dawn Story grew up in Central Virginia and is a trained herbalist. She began making and selling fermented foods at the Forest Lakes Farmers Market in 2010.
She still has a passion for herbals, and runs a separate business selling herbal products called New Moon Natural.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A visit to the farm and discussion with the business owner.
• The use of other research about the business and its practices.
Farmstead Ferments is a farm and fermented foods business founded by Dawn Story. The farm is located in the Esmont area of southern Albemarle County. Nearby in Scottsville is where the business has its commercial kitchen, as well as a store called the Mercantile. Foodwaze has had a chance to visit with Story to learn first-hand about her operation.
Story is a trained herbalist who grew up in and around Albemarle County. She was selling her herbal products at the Forest Lakes Farmers Market in Charlottesville when she began making and selling fermented foods in 2010. It was in part due to the discussions she was having with her clients about a healthy diet during herbal health consultations. Also, as an avid gardener she was seeking ways to preserve her vegetables and did not like the idea of canning. Most important of all, she loved the taste of fermented foods!
The process of preserving foods through fermentation dates back thousands of years. Fermented foods are generally those that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. Fermented foods, especially those made with local, organically grown ingredients, are essential for helping rebalance or maintain a healthy gut flora. This is especially true in an age of modern industrial foods that are wreaking havoc on the gastrointestinal tract of humans, where most of our immune system is located.
The quick and positive response to Story’s products led to a growth trajectory in the business that now includes distribution to nearly one hundred markets and restaurants throughout Virginia, and even up into DC and Maryland. She opened Farmstead Ferments Mercantile in 2017. In addition to traditional sauerkrauts - which includes a huge variety, and several with limited seasonal ingredients - Farmstead Ferments makes other fermented foods such as water kefir, kraut juice, and pickled eggs. They also make salsa, barbecue sauce, chutneys, cultured condiments, fermented coffee and other fermented beverages such as mead. They sell brewing kits and starter cultures for do-it-yourselfers. And of course there are herbal teas, as well as perfumes, body products, and aromatherapy sprays that are all part of Story’s other business known as New Moon Naturals.
In addition to the health value of fermented foods themselves, what makes this business so noteworthy is the fact that Story and her team grow most of the ingredients on their own farm. They began on one farm in southern Albemarle County and moved in 2016 to a bigger property that’s closer to Scottsville, several miles west of town. They are renting land on the 30-acre property and have about 3-4 acres in production, where they grow a wide variety of crops for their ferments, such as cabbage, bok choy, collards, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. They also sell some of their poduce in the Mercantile.
While not certified organic, they do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Instead they focus on building soil fertility through the use of biodynamic and regenerative organic practices that include crop rotations, cover cropping, row covers, and good old manual labor. As an avid permaculturist, Story focuses on using the natural patterns of nature. She also uses Korean Natural Farming methods, one of which includes - appropriately - the use of fermented plant juice foliar sprays for fertility. What you will also find on their farm is a lot of biodiversity - plenty of hens scurrying around to fertilize the soil - and quite a few weeds. That’s because Story knows that many plants people consider a nuisance are actually medicinal edibles, like nettle, burdock root, and dandelion root. They wind up in several of her krauts. Not all ingredients are grown on their own farm. They also source from other local regenerative farms in the area.
As we mentioned, Farmstead Ferment products are sold at many businesses throughout the region, and used in several restaurants. Currently we do not list all of them due to the difficulty of keeping up. But it’s safe to say, that most of the markets we list, particularly around the Charlottesville area, do carry their products.
You can also find them at the list farmers markets.