Between June and November, the crew at Alaska Seeds of Change chopped, diced, and fermented 80 vats of fresh Alaska produce to make a full-line of fermented vegetable products. The end result: more than 150 cases of kimchi and kraut to sell through the winter. Plus a lot of learning.
Seeds took over production of Evies Brinery products from founder Evie Witten a couple of years ago, and 2021 was the first year of full production, resulting in 3 times as much product as in 2020.
Drake King and Rebecca Knapp led the production efforts this year, with Drake (Head Chef/Production Manager) taking the lead on recipes and Rebecca (Kitchen Manager) supporting with logistics and admin. Drake had been well-trained on the recipes and the process of making the products but had a lot to learn about coordinating: with farmers, for kitchen time, and networking to increase sales channels.
Nearly all the produce used in production is Alaska grown, sourced from APU’s Spring Creek Farm, Grow North Farm, or Arctic Harvest Deliveries – as well as grown onsite in Seeds hydroponic greenhouse, or Seeds’ outside garden areas.
Rebecca’s favorite: Curry Lime Cauliflower.
Close second: Kale Carrot Cumin Kraut with hickory salt (a recipe update this year!)
Drake’s favorite: Alaska Kimchi.
“It’s the first Kimchi I ever tried. It’s really good with salmon.”
Seeds’ apprenticeship program works with young people on job skills, life skills, and personal development goals in a mental health-aware, trauma-informed environment. Drake was one of the program’s earliest participants, and now as a Skills Development Specialist, he says he’s still learning alongside the younger apprentices. For instance, he is researching and developing a knife-safety training after a minor injury.
The goal for next year, now that the production routine is more ingrained, is to standardize processes, write everything down, and focus on learning opportunities for apprentices in food production.
On a personal level, Drake says being involved with Evies has peaked his interests in producing his own food.
Drake’s family is from Tyonek. He didn’t grow up with a strong focus on his Alaska Native heritage, but now, he’s interested in learning more. And he wants the learning to go both ways: he’d like to teach food fermentation classes in the village some day.
Evies Brinery products are available at:
Roaming Root (Fairbanks)
Thru Arctic Harvest Deliveries
Three Bears (Coming soon!)