Ritual Chocolate - Robbie and Anna

Ritual Chocolate: Handcrafting Small-Batch Bean-to-Bar Chocolate the Old-Fashioned Way

Ritual Chocolate - Robbie and AnnaIn 2008, Anna Davies and Robbie Stout met and fell in love in Boulder, Colorado. As young romantics, they looked for ways to express their new love. One of the old standbys—chocolate—failed them, since back then, it was nearly impossible to find Colorado-crafted fine chocolate. They bonded in a quest to remedy that problem. And in 2010, Ritual Chocolate was born. Robbie and Anna set up the business to handcraft small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate using classic European techniques and vintage equipment, while adding modern American twists.

Once they’d decided to make chocolate, they dove right in and started educating themselves by reading old chocolatier books, scouring the Internet, and experimenting like crazy. Their education included a trip to Costa Rica and Panama to visit cacao farms. After learning the basics, they bought and built some equipment and began making dark decadence. Continue reading Ritual Chocolate: Handcrafting Small-Batch Bean-to-Bar Chocolate the Old-Fashioned Way

Elizabeth and her little helpers in the kitchen

Meet Elizabeth Bretko of Uber Herbal

Elizabeth and her little helpers in the Uber Herbal kitchenAccording to Merriam-Webster, “Uber” is a German word that means “to an extreme or excessive degree” (that’s right, it doesn’t mean a car service worth $70 billion), and the word “herbal” refers to “a book about plants especially with reference to their medicinal properties.” As Elizabeth Bretko, the owner of Uber Herbal in Grants Pass, Oregon, explains, “Herbal refers to something that really tells the story of the plant. It’s like the collected folklore.”

Elizabeth opened Uber Herbal in 2012, selling her herbal concoctions at the local farmers market. Then, in April 2015, she opened a tea shop, tea bar, and production kitchen in downtown Grants Pass after a successful Kickstarter campaign. At Uber Herbal, a small, but growing operation, Elizabeth wears every hat. Continue reading Meet Elizabeth Bretko of Uber Herbal

Nick - Strongwater Bitters and Shrubs

Strongwater: Crafting Organic Bitters and Shrubs in Denver, Colorado

Nick - Strongwater Bitters and ShrubsStrongwater Spirits & Botanicals, founded in 2015 in Denver, Colorado, crafts and sells organic bitters and shrubs. Bitters are created by soaking barks, berries, roots, and flowers in alcohol. Add the resulting liquid to vodka, gin, whiskey, or other spirits to create tasty cocktails; or to sparkling water to flavor lunchtime refreshment; or take it straight up to aide with digestion. Shrubs date back to colonial times and are made with fruit-infused vinegar and a sweetener—most often sugar, but Strongwater uses raw Colorado honey and organic apple cider vinegar—and were traditionally a way to preserve the fruits of summer.

Strongwater offers Turmeric, Chocolate Vanilla, Spicy Lemon Ginger, Wildflower, and Orange Licorice bitters, while their shrub flavors include: Blueberry & Mint, Cherry & Thyme, Ginger & Pear, Peach & Rose, and Persimmon & Lavender. Yum! Continue reading Strongwater: Crafting Organic Bitters and Shrubs in Denver, Colorado

Josh from The Coffee Ride

The Coffee Ride: Delivering Single-Origin, Direct-Trade Coffee by Bike

Josh from The Coffee RideJosh Crane is a cyclist and coffee enthusiast who, while in the midst of applying to medical school, did an about-face and decided instead to become a coffee roaster with a twist: He delivers almost all of the coffee he roasts in a bike trailer. His company is The Coffee Ride and it was founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2015.

Josh started the company because he wanted to share his love of coffee with others and create a business model in which, as he explains it, “Everyone wins, from the farmers to the consumers.” When Josh first started roasting coffee, he made it for friends at work “because they only brought in terrible coffee,” he says. It turned out that his bike commute to work and making coffee for his colleagues were the two best parts of his day. That’s when he decided to combine these two sources of happiness and “do it for the rest of my life.” It wasn’t long before Josh sold his car to buy a coffee roaster.  Continue reading The Coffee Ride: Delivering Single-Origin, Direct-Trade Coffee by Bike

Marcus McCauley and his son fermented cabbage

Fermenting, Farming, and Family: Meet Marcus McCauley of Picaflor and McCauley Family Farm

Marcus McCauley and his son fermenting kimchiMarcus McCauley named his brand Picaflor, the Spanish word for hummingbird. This flittering, pointy-nosed pollinator is believed to represent playfulness, enjoyment of life, resiliency, and in some cultures a bridge between the past and the future because of its unique ability to fly both backwards and forward. Given Picaflor’s origins and Marcus’s intentions, the hummingbird seems an apt mascot. Picaflor, which crafts and sells fermented hot sauces and pepper flakes, was born from a fortuitous event on Marcus’ farm.

As the story goes, a local farmer approached Marcus and said, “I’ve got a ton of peppers. If you can do something with them, you can have them.” Marcus recalls that there were at least 2,000 pounds of peppers. He accepted the bounty and the challenge, and started fermenting and experimenting. Before long, his garage was filled with overflowing, bubbling buckets of fermenting deliciousness. The first hot sauce he crafted was a sriracha that immediately gained a dedicated local following of his friends and family. He was now the hot sauce guy, and there was no turning back. Continue reading Fermenting, Farming, and Family: Meet Marcus McCauley of Picaflor and McCauley Family Farm

Meet Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey: Authors, Educators, and Fermentation Evangelists

Kirsten & Christopher ShockeyKirsten Shockey and her husband Christopher are the founders and co-owners of Ferment Works, a fermentation education company in Oregon. Their goals at Ferment Works are to help people learn to ferment, teach them how to create great flavors, and (most importantly) help them feel comfortable enough to do it at home alone or with friends and family.

Kirsten and Christopher live on a 40-acre farm in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. As homesteaders, they’ve raised and homeschooled four children, grown fruit trees and gardens, nurtured animals, and fermented thousands of pounds of vegetables and other plants. Kirsten and Christopher work, write books, and teach classes and workshops together. They’re also working to build an online community gathering space for those who are passionate about fermentation. Continue reading Meet Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey: Authors, Educators, and Fermentation Evangelists

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for the Hatcher in your Life

Looking for creative Mother’s Day gift ideas that allow you to shop your conscience? What do kits for growing mushrooms and making cheese, tools for fermenting, books for inspired living, organic honey-sweetened chocolate, decadent face cream, and pollinator-friendly seed bombs have in common? You’ll find them all in the Hatch Lab shop.

We have seven great Mother’s Day gifts in our shop. Each one is unique, high-quality, and made with care by expert artisans from Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado, and Wisconsin who all prioritize the health of humans and the planet. Continue reading Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for the Hatcher in your Life

Jimm Stack

100th Monkey Mushroom Farm: Spreading Fungal Enthusiasm and Combatting Mycophobia One Mushroom Kit at a Time

Jimm Stack and mushroomsJimm Stack, who co-founded 100th Monkey Mushrooms, has a crystal-clear memory of the moment he decided to take the leap of faith to become a mushroom farmer. He chose to leave behind his 15-year career as a schoolteacher—the stability, the safety net, set holidays, and health insurance—and take a leap into an unknown entrepreneurial abyss. At that moment, though he had some trepidation, he also had a strong sense that the leap was necessary and that something was there to catch him. That something turned out to be an intricate web of mushroom mycelium.

At 100th Monkey, Jimm wears many hats. He’s a scientist, a carpenter, a businessman, a salesman, a marketer, a video editor, and obviously a dedicated mushroom farmer, fungi fanatic, and evangelist. Jimm explains his fungal enthusiasm: “For some reason, I’m drawn to the fungal kingdom. It’s everywhere, but you’ll never get to the bottom of it and you could spend your whole life trying to figure it out.” Jimm’s interest in growing mushrooms was sparked by listening to talks by Paul Stamets, mushroom-growing guru and author of several books, including Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. From Stamets’s talks, Jimm began to understand the potential of the fungal kingdom for food and medicine, and even for things like soil remediation and the purification of dirty water. Jimm wanted in, and he eventually journeyed to Washington State to study under Stamets before launching 100th Monkey. Continue reading 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm: Spreading Fungal Enthusiasm and Combatting Mycophobia One Mushroom Kit at a Time

Karen and Jim at Plantables

Plantables: Seeding Opportunity, Growing Pollinator-Friendly Flowers and Herbs, and Building a Triple Bottom Line Business

Karen and Jim at Plantables - Growing Pollinator-Friendly Flowers and HerbsJim Schreiber was a special-education teacher for 23 years before he retired to start Plantables with his biology professor wife Karen Klyczek in 2013. Based in Hudson, Wisconsin, Plantables is a manufacturing business—but that’s just part of the story. The company’s products were developed with two things in mind: the needs of his former students and the needs of the environment. Jim and his team are tackling social and environmental issues with a successful business model and unique pollinator-friendly products.

As a special-ed teacher, Jim worked with K–12 children with moderate to severe physical and cognitive disabilities. In that role, he worked to prepare his students for employment after graduation. Unfortunately, employment proved elusive and none of his students landed jobs; this unmet need provided the spark that grew into Plantables. Continue reading Plantables: Seeding Opportunity, Growing Pollinator-Friendly Flowers and Herbs, and Building a Triple Bottom Line Business

Sara Berchoz @Peter McEwen

Roost Books: Bringing Cooking, Creativity, Nature, Beauty, and Upliftedness Into Our Lives

Sara Berchoz @Peter McEwenShambhala Publications was founded in 1969 in Berkeley, California, by Samuel Bercholz. From the start, Sam’s vision was to create a publishing house that focused on bringing “an enlightened approach to every aspect of life”; religion and philosophy were key components of the Shambhala publishing program. Then, in 2012, Sam’s daughter Sara Bercholz launched a new lifestyle imprint: Roost Books. While Roost Books focuses on different topics, the vision of encouraging an enlightened approach to life remains the same.

Continue reading Roost Books: Bringing Cooking, Creativity, Nature, Beauty, and Upliftedness Into Our Lives