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We’ve been on the edge of our seats for the opening of Harvest Roots Kombucha Taproom in Avondale ever since we first heard they were coming in September 2019. Now, one year later, they’re opening their doors Saturday, September 26, and everyone’s welcome to stop by from 1-6PM. Alternatively, visit their website to reserve a spot for October 3.
Meet Lindsay and Pete, the faces behind the ferments
I first met Lindsay Whiteaker years ago out by a pond where we watched a mutual friend try, fairly unsuccessfully, to get into a kayak. As we giggled over his lack of gracefulness, she told me about all the fermented things she made.
I knew what kombucha was, and even got to try some that they had brought later that evening, but the whole fermenting thing was new and a little unknown back then.
Fast-forward to now and I’m so excited she and Pete Halupka, her biz partner and husband, get to share their delicious kombucha and tasty ferments with the rest of us.
The two met back in middle school in the tiny town of Harvest, Alabama, up in the northwestern part of Madison County. For many years, they were friends, but as they pursued their own dreams, they developed parallel passions in food and farming.
Not only did they end up naming their biz after the town of Harvest, but the two started a farm after college before shifting into full-time fermenting in 2015.
Whiteaker first became obsessed with fermenting while she was at UAB, studying anthropology with a focus on food and culture. In her little studio apartment, she made her own kombucha and ginger beer. Then when she and Halupka started the farm, it was natural to make sauerkraut and kombucha to sell on the side of the table.
Much to their surprise, they discovered there not only was there a niche for ferments, but the pair were better at making ferments than growing things.
Harvest Roots Kombucha is delicious
At the taproom, you’ll be able to drink delicious kombucha (seriously, it’s so light and refreshing with none of the syrupy or vinegary taste store-bought kombuchas often have). Right now, they distribute across Alabama and plan to distribute to other places across the Southeast.
Harvest Roots’ fermented foods are crisp and flavorful
One of the best parts of being able to go behind the scenes to get a sneak peek at an opening like this is the chance to taste all the yummy things.
According to Halupka,
“The pickling is our artisan food product. This is for front-of-the-taproom sales, period. This is something we labor over, we take good care of. If there’s something we can do to increase the quality, we do it, and we increase the price.”
In the photo above, on the left, are TrimTab bourbon barrell-aged habanero pepper pickles. These pickles are made with salt and naturally-occurring bacteria—no vinegar, and man, are they flavorful.
I already reserved my VIP spot just so my husband and I can go back on October 3 to buy some of these pickles. According to Halupka, they only make about 1000 pounds of pickles a year, and I don’t want to miss out. I really want to try one on an egg salad sandwich. Yum.
There’s also dill pickle sauerkraut, red cabbage kraut and kimchi.
What to expect at Harvest Roots Kombucha Taproom
They’ll have a small plates menu and a—currently—non-alcoholic taproom, though that could change over time. Think of a bed of Alabama purple peas with a serving of kimchi on the side, with a tasty cold glass of kombucha, and you get the idea. Or a cheese and pickle plate.
“Now we’re gonna take that menu we’ve developed and deploy almost like a pop-up in our space. We’re gonna be open one time a week, on Saturdays, for a while.”Lindsay Whiteaker
Here’s some of what’ll be available, and all of it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans:
- vegetable ferments
- kombucha, including growlers
- featured items such as kimchi-dusted popcorn (yum)
- kombucha slushies
They plan to release a new menu every quarter along with a new local art show, featuring Alabama food and artists.
Head out Sept. 26 between 1-6 or save your VIP spot now for Oct. 3
VIP slots for Saturday, September 26 are sold out, but they’ve opened up some for Saturday, October 3 which you can reserve here. And, you can drop by on the 26th between 1-6PM.
Location: 4420 4th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222 (right between Seasick Records and Tropicaleo in Avondale)