Salt and Savour
I live in a very small town in far northern California. My wife and I moved here just over ten years ago to get away from the traffic and related stress of living in Los Angeles. Dunsmuir, California is a little slice of heaven. Surrounded by mountains, the Upper Sacramento River flows right through town. We were drawn here by the serenity and fantastic trout fishing, hiking, and related outdoor activities. Besides the beauty here, there’s just not much to offer as far as employment opportunities. Population here continues to decline. Most of the high school graduates move away for job opportunities. I’d just love to be a part of changing that, by not only growing the business to the point of being an employer, but also by showing people that it can be done here and that we can and should start businesses here. I want to be a contributor toward turning this town around and helping to make living here a viable option.
Salt and Savour makes traditionally fermented sauerkraut with several different flavor/spice combinations. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods is enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity due to the reported health benefits and to people discovering how incredibly flavorful it is (when done right). The business is approaching its third anniversary in July. I started the company on a shoestring budget and it has grown steadily. From July 2013 through the end of that year, revenue was about $1200. It was all I could do to produce 30-40 pints of sauerkraut per month. By the beginning of 2014, I had scraped together enough money to buy another fermentation tank and that upped production capacity enough to take on a sizeable farmers market. However, demand from that market was far more than I could meet with one tank and in July of 2014 I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Kiva Zip where I took a $5000 loan. This loan allowed my to quadruple production so revenues for 2014 were nearly $37,000. That’s quite a jump. Hard work and efficiency and additional retail customers (groceries) made our revenue for 2015 increase nearly 50% over 2014. We now have 16 retailers carrying our sauerkraut so we’re still barely keeping up. We actually turned a profit in 2015 and see that we’ll benefit from economy of scale with a higher volume of production.
I’ve been using a 30 year old food processor made by a company called Robot Coupe. The new one I will purchase is by the same company and should last just as long, yet it is a much larger capacity machine. I’m currently spending a lot of time quartering each cabbage before running each quarter through the machine. The new unit, the CL60 will cut an entire head of cabbage without quartering. This will save hours with each batch/each fermentation tank we fill, allowing us to double or triple the amount of sauerkraut we can have fermenting at any one time. The list price on the unit is $9,939 so it will use up the entire loan.