When you meet Grant Collier, it’s immediately clear he is passionate about fermenting foods. It’s a perfect fit for him as he can simultaneously support the livelihoods of local farmers and the health of his community. His own personal health journey led to the development of Wild Earth Fermentation in 2015.
Upon graduating from college, Grant found himself experiencing poor gut health. Turning towards natural ways to deal with discomfort, Grant discovered the benefits of fermented foods to be beneficial to both his mind and body. He learned these foods are a strong boost and tool in a comprehensive approach to wellness. He states, “You have to cultivate a healthy environment for good bacteria to thrive.” Growing up, he ate healthily but fermented foods were never introduced to him at the dinner table. Therefore, he had to seek them out and learn how to make them on his own.
Grant describes the progression of his passion by stating, “Interest quickly turned to obsession upon learning how tasty, fun and satisfying it can be to add fermented foods to meals. They can provide freshness, acidity, and crunch!” In establishing Wild Earth Fermentation, Grant ensured their product line provides something for everyone, including a diverse variety of hot sauces, pickles, sauerkrauts, chow-chow, and kimchi! Right now they are working hard to deliver products full of seasonal produce grown in central Virginia.
For Grant, this endeavor is all about agriculture and small-scale farming remarking, “It’s the hardest and most important job I can think of. This is our way to contribute and be a part of the local food system.” They use local, naturally grown produce in their fermentations. Doug and Judy of Dragonfly Farm in Cumberland County have had a long-lasting production relationship and provide cabbage, bok choy, and hot peppers to Wild Earth. Grant and his wife Bri help to harvest at the farm when they can, adding to their knowledge of agriculture. John Bryant of Old Tavern Farm represents another growing partnership supplying such produce as cabbage, cucumbers, dill, and other veggies for kimchi.
In the past couple of years, Grant and Bri have begun using vegetables and herbs grown at their home in the Fulton neighborhood of Richmond. You can feel good knowing the produce they use in their fermented products is from sustainably-minded local farmers and even some vegetables from their own backyard!
Customers frequently return to the markets to report they can feel a difference in energy level, GI tract functioning, and even concentration abilities when they eat these foods on a regular basis. It’s an especially critical time to seek nourishment from our community of growers and Wild Earth Fermentation wants to help foster that relationship!