In the quiet northern Victorian suburb of Coburg, with pristine white brick and a timber desk, lies the quiet yet booming business of Pat’s Veg. A relatively new company, specialising in organic handmade cultured vegetables, they feature a simple yet effective business model: create beautiful and sustainable fermented foods in the hope to give both great taste and good health. And that is exactly what Pat has done.
Who is Pat?
Pat himself is a blue-eyed bright young gentleman, with big dreams. Roughly 10 years ago Pat started eating fermented foods. Years later, Pat started making fermented vegetables, selling them at small markets before finding their home in Coburg. Although he may not like to admit it, Pat’s beautiful mum also helps out at the store, welcoming everyone with open arms and a big smile.
When we arrived on the day Pat and his team were covered in bright purple beetroot peelings. They’d spent all morning peeling and cutting fresh organic beetroot. Out the back was a ginormous pile of fresh organic cabbages growing over my head, which were going to be chopped that evening. Even more outstanding, all the produce had been picked and collected that morning. Pat said himself that there’s something special about watching the farmers pick the product right out of the ground under the sunrise. Not only that, but deliberately not over picking produce allows for greater sustainability, something which Pat is very fond of. The harvest is then taken back to his own kitchen in Coburg, where the laborious task of chopping and peeling begins for the day.
Simplicity at its best. Pat uses 100% organic vegetables and Australian sea salt to ferment his vegetables. Similarly all his products are prepared on site, with a fair bit of peeling done with his own two hands. At the moment Pat stocks four fermented jars; Caraway, Beetroot, Kim Chi and Fennel. We were lucky enough to try two of his products, Beetroot and Kim Chi. Although Pat described it as the “furthest thing from Kim Chi”, his Kim Chi has a saltiness and bitterness, which is balanced with the sweetness of fermented carrots. Similarly his Beetroot, which not surprisingly is his most popular product, has a lovely balance of sweet and salty to add to any meal.
It is very important not to cook Pat’s Veg because you’ll end up killing all the beautiful bacteria. Our advice: eat it straight out of the jar, add to meals, add to salads or check out our recipe using Pat’s Veg (coming soon).
Waste not, want not. Sustainability is another thing we love about Pat’s Veg. And that’s just what he’s doing with an up-coming product of fermented “brine”. Although the produce will have a much prettier name soon, the brine can be described as a leftover liquid at the end of the fermentation process. The end product is a rich, bright and nutritious liquid that can be used as a dressing or drunk (in small amounts as Pat would recommend). Food and Agriculture Organization. Bacterial Fermentations. [Internet] Food and Agriculture Organization; US. [cited 2015 June 21.] Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e10.htm
Wild vs. controlled fermentation
Fermentation is the process of converting natural sugars in food to acids, gases or alcohol without oxygen or in an anaerobic environment.Zanteson L. Fermented foods bubble with benefits. Environmental Nutrition. 2013 2013/10//:7 In commercial environments, fermented foods are created using prepacked micro-biotic yeast. The perks is that each time the product is made, the fermented vegetables will taste exactly the same, delicious as the next. The fermented food product will only take 3 to 4 weeks to fully ferment. However the microbiota within the package, tends to be the only one that grows.
Wild fermentation allows the food and salt to produce their own lactic acid bacteria. Salt added binds to the water in the food and draws it out, preventing the growth of unwanted food spoiling bacteria. It also allows for the ideal acidic environment for the lactic acid to grow. Food and Agriculture Organization. Bacterial Fermentations.[Internet] Food and Agriculture Organization; US. [cited 2015 June 21.] Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e10.htm This also allows for a more diverse range of our friendly friends to grow. And as we know, the greater diversity of microbiota within the gut, the greater the health benefits. Of course this does mean that your product may not taste the same every time. However this is not essentially a bad thing. Think about it. Every time you open a fresh jar of fermented organic vegetables, you have no idea what you’re going to get. It’s a culinary dream. Not to mention a digestive dream too.
Benefits of fermented foods
Fermented foods can contain an array of beneficial probiotics that have been shown to improve digestive health including intolerance.Zanteson L. Fermented foods bubble with benefits. Environmental Nutrition. 2013 2013/10//:7 Recent research has associated fermented foods, such as Kim Chi, with an array of health benefits including: reducing obesity, reducing constipation, promoting colorectal health and even improving immunity.Park Kun-Young, Jeong Ji-Kang, Lee Young-Eun, and Daily James W. III. Health benefits of Kim Chi. Journal of Medicinal Food. January 2014, 17(1): 6-20. doi:10.1089/jmf.2013.3083 Fermented foods help promote a friendly gut environment for bacteria to thrive. This all makes sense because our previous research has shown just how influential our gut bacteria is on our health, beyond the digestive system.
Pat himself said that after he started eating fermented foods, he found his health to improve dramatically, particularly his digestive health. It is for this reason that Pat is so passionate about his produce and his foods. Although he acknowledged that he is no doctor, he is more than happy to chat with you about any concerns you have when trying fermented vegetables.
To celebrate the end of exams The Nutrition Press have teamed up with Pat’s Veg to bring you a fabulous giveaway! Up for grabs are 3 x $30 multi-packs from Pat’s Veg!!!
To enter, simply like The Nutrition Press on Facebook and share this post for your chance to win! Competition closes 26/06/15 at midnight. Please remember to set the audience of your shared post to Public. Pat’s Veg prize packs are limited to Victorian entrants only.
Disclosure: Pat’s Veg kindly provided us with a tour and information of his outlet free of charge. Samples of Pat’s Veg were provided free of charge. The Nutrition Press has no family or undisclosed relationships with Pat’s Veg.
References [ + ]
|1.||⇪||Food and Agriculture Organization. Bacterial Fermentations. [Internet] Food and Agriculture Organization; US. [cited 2015 June 21.] Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e10.htm|
|2.||⇪ab||Zanteson L. Fermented foods bubble with benefits. Environmental Nutrition. 2013 2013/10//:7|
|3.||⇪||Food and Agriculture Organization. Bacterial Fermentations.[Internet] Food and Agriculture Organization; US. [cited 2015 June 21.] Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e10.htm|
|4.||⇪||Park Kun-Young, Jeong Ji-Kang, Lee Young-Eun, and Daily James W. III. Health benefits of Kim Chi. Journal of Medicinal Food. January 2014, 17(1): 6-20. doi:10.1089/jmf.2013.3083|