April 11, 2012

Natural Foodie: Brewer hopes his kombucha will be your cup of tea

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Reid Emmerich attaches a label to a bottle of Urban Farm Fermentory Kombucha Culture at the company’s facility in Portland. The new line, featuring ginger, wild blueberry and oak barrel varieties, hits store shelves this week.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

The new line of Urban Farm Fermentory Kombucha Culture, featuring ginger, wild blueberry and oak barrel varieties, hits store shelves this week.

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LOOK FOR IT in locally owned health-food shops and neighborhood stores from Belfast to Wells. In Greater Portland, some of the shops stocking it include:

Aurora Provisions, Portland

Downeast Beverage, Portland

Lois' Natural Marketplace, Scarborough

Maine Beer & Beverage, Portland

Morning Glory Natural Foods, Brunswick

Rising Tide Co-op, Damariscotta

Rosemont Market, Portland and Yarmouth

Royal River Natural Foods, Freeport

West End Deli, Portland

Caitlin Christensen, manager at Rosemont Market on Brighton Avenue in Portland -- one of the retailers who've sold the test run of the product -- said the kombucha has been well-received by the shop's customers.

"We love it, and it sells really well," Christensen said. "We put a note on it to let people know it's local. We originally had it sitting next to the beer, and it didn't sell well. So we moved it over next to kombucha, and it's selling really well."

Christensen said the need for customers to be 21 or older to purchase it hasn't been an issue.

The fermented beverage is made with organic and fair-traded green tea, black tea and sugar.

While neither tea plants nor sugar cane grow in Maine, Emmerich and Cayer plan to source all other ingredients locally. Wild blueberries have been easy to source from Maine, but the pair is also hoping to source ginger locally. The spicy root is native to tropical areas of Asia. However, last summer, a few Maine farmers experimented with growing ginger in hothouses.

"We grew some ginger last year in our greenhouse," Cayer said. "And we've talked to farmers about growing some for us this year as well."

Urban Farm Fermentory Kombucha Culture retails for around $4 a bottle and is distributed to locally owned health food stores and neighborhood markets from Belfast to Wells.

Now that the state is allowing alcohol sales at farmers markets, Urban Farm Fermentory applied for a spot in the Portland markets, and hoped to sell its kombucha and hard cider there Wednesdays and Saturdays. Even though Urban Farm Fermentory is one of only two farms in Portland, it wasn't approved to participate in the market this year.

Despite being denied a spot at the Portland Farmers Market, Urban Farm Fermentory is pushing ahead with its plans to bring Maine-made kombucha to the people of the Pine Tree State.

"Our intention from the beginning was to provide local people with a local product," Emmerich said.


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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