The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Wade Lutz, who has been working at the Co-op as the Night Deli Lead for a year and a half. Wade’s pick this month is a little unique in that it is a product of his own creation.
Wade chose the Kraut Hammer deli sandwich, a glorious sounding concoction of roast beef, Swiss cheese, horseradish, house-made chipotle mayo, Bubbies Sauerkraut, caramelized onions, sprouts, and stone-ground mustard. Wade says he came up with the idea for this sandwich because he wanted something that featured kraut in the style typically found at a New York style delicatessen (or deli).
Deli food was spawned from a number of cultural traditions, including Jewish, Italian, and German cuisines. The local deli business model can best be described as the synthesis of a small neighborhood grocery store and a restaurant. Many are family-owned and specialize in providing fresh ingredients and an assortment of traditional family foods (mostly in the form of specialty salads, and sandwiches made using ethnic meats and cheeses).
Coming from a Jewish family with roots in Philadelphia, I definitely have fond childhood memories of deli sandwiches, bagels, and whitefish salad. The Moscow Food Co-op isn’t family owned but it is owned by all its members, and the great food that is consistently produced there builds upon the long history and tradition of the neighborhood delicatessen. This particular sandwich formulation has been a part of the Co-op’s permanent sandwich menu for about five months. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you definitely should.
The next staff person I spoke with this month was Marina Vanderkarr, who has been working at the co-op as a Cashier for just a week. However, don’t underestimate her recommendation because she is new; Marina was cheerful, quick to smile, and knew instantly that she wanted to recommend the GT’s Synergy Kombucha in the lavender flavor.
Marina says she loves this product mostly because it tastes great, but she says she also chooses it as her go-to natural energy boost, and says that it is especially great if she is feeling a little “run down”. She also loves that it contains gut-friendly probiotics, and the Synergy brand has less sugar than all of the competing kombucha products.
People have been drinking kombucha for hundreds of years all over the world. Although its origin is a bit unclear and muddled, it is believed to have been discovered in China sometime around 200 B.C., where it then spread to other parts of Asia, then to Russia, and soon the rest of Europe and beyond. It has been touted as a miracle remedy for cancer and an energizer for body and mind, and it has been said to sharpen reflexes, mental acuity, and eyesight, amongst many other claims. The reality is that most of these claims have not been scientifically proven, but most consumers believe that at the very least it provides a boost to energy and that the probiotic component aids in digestion and overall gut health.
GT’s company was born in 1995 in Beverly Hills, CA when Laraine Dave was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Laraine credits kombucha with helping to prevent her cancer from metastasizing and spreading, and for helping her to stay strong as she underwent surgery and chemotherapy to treat her cancer. Laraine’s teenage son GT was so amazed by how consuming kombucha had helped his mom with her cancer battle that he started handcrafting his own in his kitchen. GT didn’t start with a business plan or a desire to build a career from making kombucha, he just wanted to share this gift with anyone who might benefit from it. From humbly home-brewing kombucha that was hand-delivered to local health food stores, GT’s has grown into a large company that now distributes 17 varieties of kombucha throughout the United States.