We first fell in love with them at the farmer’s market, then we couldn’t stay away when they popped up in Union Market. Now, we feel pretty honored to carry the tasty pickles, krauts and creative ferments from the vats of Number One Sons. We took a moment to chat with Caitlin, one of the power players behind this brother-sister duo. See what she had to say about starting Number One Sons, learning along the way, and the benefits of eating ferments!
When you first decided to start your business, how did you define what your business would be?
We grew very organically. We tried things and figured out what stuck. For us that eventually led to a farmers market business where we sell directly to our customers. Yi Wah and I love waking up at 5AM to go load a van, drive to the market, and sell directly to our customers. There’s nothing like touching every step in the process.
We work with a handful of vendors, like From the Farmer, and restaurants that we believe are similarly minded and attract fermented food loving customers.
Tell us about a day in the life at Number 1 Sons?
Wash, peel and chop, brine. Once the veggies are in the barrel, we put a weight on top. Repeat!
What are some benefits of fermented foods not everyone may know about?
Beyond the probiotics, wild fermentation makes nutrients in the vegetables more readily available to the human body. Vitamin B-12 is a big one!
Greatest fermenting success?
Our Dilly Daikon! Because cucumber pickles aren’t widely available in the off-season winter months, we had been searching for a cucumber substitute over the winter months. We tried green beans. We tried cabbage hearts. And then, we tried daikon radish, a long white radish commonly associated with Japanese and Korean food. Whoa! The texture was similar to a cucumber, and it tasted so similar to our dill pickle.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Grow organically. Learn when to say no. Play to your strengths.
If you could start over, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. There have been moments that are painful — physically (pickle buckets are heavy!), mentally and emotionally — but learning and evolving has made us better. We know how we want to grow and improve because of our past goofs and learning experiences.
We didn’t go out and get a bank loan or look for investors. I get to work with my brother and best friend. I wouldn’t change any of that!
What is your favorite way to enjoy fermented goodies?
I do a bed of sauerkraut or kimchi with an egg over-easy on top every morning. If I’m getting fancy, I’ll throw the ferment into a potato onion hash. Or a #doublepickleparty with two types of ferments in my salad.