Harvest Roots is opening a kombucha taproom in Avondale: 7 reasons we’re over the moon about it

Harvest Roots is moving to Birmingham!
Pete Halupka and Lindsey Whiteaker celebrating the announcement of their big move to Birmingham. Photo supplied

Harvest Roots is moving to Birmingham and opening up the city’s first-ever kombucha taproom. It’s gonna be right next to Tropicaleo in Avondale by sometime in late Spring 2020.

We’re super-excited to see this Mentone-born business thriving and expanding, so we reached out to Pete Halupka to find out all the details.

1—Harvest Roots is a small biz that’s passionate about fermentation

Founded back in 2012 by Pete Halupka and Lindsay Whiteaker, Harvest Roots got its start as a small farm. Here’s what Pete had to say about their trajectory:

“At the time, Lindsay was fermenting kraut and kombucha for our farmers market table. Our customers wanted ferments way more than kale. About three or four years ago, we committed fully to fermentation.

Now we produce kombucha, kraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables and sell them across Alabama. 

Even though we’re connected to nature and the soil, we aren’t farmers anymore. We don’t act like farmers, because real farmers’ jobs are incredibly challenging.

However, we do have incredible connections with our farmers. In fact, we’ve sourced over 75,000 pounds of local produce since 2015. Their produce is the bedrock of our company.”

2—You can find Harvest Roots products all over Birmingham, across North Central Alabama and throughout the Southeast

If Pete and Lindsay look familiar, you’ve probably seen them at Pepper Place or seen their products pretty much all over town.

In Birmingham alone, you’ll find them in at least two dozen locations. Here are just a few:

Them Roots Kettle Sour is a collaboration between Harvest Roots and TrimTab
What happens when you cross a kombucha maker with a brewery? Them Roots Kettle Sou, of course. A collaboration between Harvest Roots and TrimTab. Photo supplied

3—Harvest Roots has deep roots in Birmingham

Birmingham Breadworks is one of many places that carries Harvest Roots kombucha
Dropping off a delivery at Birmingham Breadworks. Photo supplied

Here’s what Pete had to say:

“We’ve built our core audience at Pepper Place since 2014. Birmingham is the majority of our sales. Lindsay and I have lived and grown up around the city, and Lindsay went to UAB.

Even when we lived in beautiful Mentone, AL, we always considered Birmingham our urban home. It’s full of great food, beer, friends and family.”

4—The idea of a taproom for kombucha and other non-alcoholic options was a no-brainer for Harvest Roots

Harvest Roots elderberry and lemongrass kombucha keg
What’s that? An elderberry and lemongrass keg, of course. Designated driving never tasted so good. Photo supplied

Pete credits inspiration from elsewhere for the idea:

“Folks have been doing it on the West coast, so we’re definitely not the first! 

Right now, the idea is that the taproom will be a reflection of the things we love most, community and Alabama ecology. We joke that our space will feel like a natural history museum with kimchi dusted popcorn.

We love community in all forms—from the microbial community in action fermenting our products to the community found in our Southern forests and our human community across Birmingham—and we want our space to be a reflection of this. 

All are welcome. Welcome to our home.”

This is a giant scoby, which makes kombucha fermentation possible. Looks really weird, makes really good-tasting and healthy ‘booch.

5—Avondale Mills had everything Harvest Roots wanted in a location

The spot they’re moving into will have awesome neighbors. These are just a few:

Here’s what drew them to the area, according to Pete:

“In early 2018, we began our search. If our count is right, we looked at 22 spaces in Birmingham over nearly a year and a half. The Avondale Mills spot beside Tropicaleo was the final spot we looked at, after we had lost a little bit of hope.

It’s far superior to anything we thought we’d get. We’re simply elated at all aspects of the space—the neighbors, the traffic, the frontage, the interior. We had to make no compromises.”

6—Harvest Roots is all about community

When I asked Pete what they’re most looking forward to with their new location, he replied:

“Hands down we are most excited about building community. For Lindsay and I, community is what has allowed us to grow, to continue running Harvest Roots. It is what our business is about.

We believe deeply in communing, with food, and with fermented anything and everything. We want all to be welcome in our space. We want to share the labors of our love!”

7—Fermented foods taste good, and they’re good for you

Harvest Roots pickle pour
PIckles . . . yummy. Photo supplied

I asked Pete “why fermented foods?”

“All the time, we field the question of ‘Why the heck do folks eat or drink fermented foods like krauts, kimchi or kombucha?’

For us? The first reason you eat fermented foods is because they taste good.

On top of that, theyre’ incredibly nutritious and probiotic, and provide those happy little microbes and bacteria that make our digestion happy. The science is there, too. This isn’t just made up stuff. We’re learning more about the gut and brain connection every day.

When we talk about sour foods like sauerkraut, we’re not talking about vinegar pickling. Vinegar is a pasteurizing agent and a fine Southern pickling technique.

What we’re talking about is our great grand parents food storage in the cellar. Salt, vegetables, and time. This is a raw technique that preserves the natural cultures of bacteria that sour and preserve the vegetables!”

Cold kombucha bottles from Harvest Roots
Cold bottles of kombucha. Photo supplied

If you want to follow Harvest Roots’ amazing journey, find them here:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Website
  • Look for them in Avondale on 4th Avenue South next to Tropicaleo in late Spring / Early Summer 2020!

Now we want to hear from you, Birmingham: tell us, what’s your favorite Harvest Roots product?

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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