Small Town Cultures Takes Big Steps | New
KEENE — After years of battling Crohn’s disease, Small Town Cultures owner Cori Deans researched and found a natural alternative to her long list of medications: fermented foods.
“I was taking these gnarly immunosuppressive drugs, along with antibiotics, along with steroids — just this gnarly cocktail of never feeling well on all these drugs,” Deans said.
“Basically the only thing they are looking for is to suppress your symptoms; they don’t actually care about your actual health – it’s just about making sure it’s not that painful…I’ve done this for a few years in the medical cycle, and it just doesn’t worked. Even though I didn’t feel bad at the time, I was still afraid of feeling bad.
“That’s no way to live.”
After starting the elimination diet — a diet of starving the bad bacteria in his gut and replacing them with good bacteria like the ones that exist in fermented foods — Deans not only eliminated all of his symptoms, but also his addiction. to medications.
“So even though you’re supposed to have Crohn’s disease your whole life, I don’t feel like I do,” she said.
And although the diet helped Deans, 41, improve her health, the original foods were unappetizing to her.
“When I did the elimination diet, I didn’t like the foods I was eating, but I did it out of necessity,” she said.
“Going forward, I started creating my own recipes and making things that I loved to eat and looked forward to eating.”
GET PRODUCT IN STORE
To share his recipes with more people who could benefit, Deans opened Small Town Cultures, a Keene-based company specializing in the production of probiotic-rich fermented raw foods, in 2018 – seven years after his Crohn’s diagnosis. .
“I was trying to buy the products I wanted and they just weren’t available in stores at the time,” she said.
“I’m a very picky eater, so I started making my own products and I was like, ‘Well, I have all these products, might as well see if I can sell them’ and the business grew from of the. “
IN NATIONAL CHANNELS
In just a few years of operation, Small Town Cultures has had a tremendous impact on popularizing fermented foods across the country.
Today, their products can be found in 400 outlets across the United States, including nearly 50 Whole Foods and 159 Fresh Markets.
Locally, some jars, including fermented jalapenos and red onions, can be found for sale at North Country Food Co-Op in Plattsburgh.
STARTED IN NO.CO.
But it all started in Keene.
“I took some samples to Cedar Run, our local specialty grocery store, and thought, ‘Can you pitch me as a local brand? Or would you consider it? and when they were trying the samples, they also shared them with another regional distributor who was walking around the store and they picked us up,” Deans said.
“So the distributor started integrating us and launching our products even before Cedar Run. Before we had retailers, we had a distributor, and that’s pretty much what happens with the business; we are always one step ahead of what we really should be.
But, with so much success so quickly, Deans’ business has now moved beyond the small town of Keene.
With the help of Point Positive, a Saranac Lake-based angel investment firm, Deans was able to purchase a 4,000 square foot warehouse on Tom Miller Road in Plattsburgh.
“Being in the North Country, located in the Adirondacks currently in Keene, New York, it’s hard to find the right building. That’s right,” she said.
“We just don’t have a lot of warehouse space, especially in Adirondack Park, we don’t have a lot of manufacturing facilities. So we’ve been looking for a long time and we’ve found our forever home in Plattsburgh, I’m really excited.
The new facility, she said, will provide them with more opportunities.
“One of the main attractions of this property is that you can drive a semi-trailer into a garage and we can just drop the pallet right into the back of the truck. We cannot bring semi-trailers into our facilities. current ones,” Deans said.
“We’re going to be able to get commercial-grade equipment where we couldn’t before in our factory…and we’re really going to be able to scale to be able to meet those goals of being able to fulfill orders from not just natural retailers, like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, but to those more organized conventional retailers.
Deans said they expect to be in the new location by early fall.
GET IT ON THE SHELVES
She also hopes her fermented food products will be sold at both Price Chopper and Hannaford in Plattsburgh so she can reach more people.
“We are a mission-based company that seeks to increase appeal and access to raw and fermented foods,” Deans said.
“We see Price Chopper and Hannaford as really our next step – kind of a really good partner for us. So once we move to Plattsburgh, we’ll try to knock on those doors a little bit harder, because if we’re not not where you shop, you are less likely to try to incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
“When you’re a small business, you just do what you have to do to take it to the next level, you get it…we just try to get it.”