Introducing: Ocean Kraut!

We’re so excited to share Ocean Kraut with you all! It’s our newest seasonal recipe to hit the shelves. We’ve been thinking about making this kraut for years and finally whipped up a batch earlier this summer. Ocean Kraut is a grounding medley of green cabbage, seaweed, burdock root, nettle and ginger.

It’s been a hot summer in the Gorge and we recently ventured to the Oregon coast for a few days of cooler temperatures. You know that magical feeling you get from a refreshing ocean breeze? That’s what we think of when we open a jar Ocean Kraut.

This is our first time using sea vegetables in Blue Bus kraut! We elected to use dried Wakame and Dulse seaweed in this recipe to bring you a little piece of the ocean. Dried nettles from Trout Lake, WA accompany the seaweed as are a nod to our home, the Columbia Gorge. Each spring we spend hours foraging for nettles to make krauts and kombucha. Dried burdock root and sliced ginger round out this tasty kraut. Sound familiar? Fans of our Spring Tonic Kraut will surely like Ocean Kraut.

Whether you’re a seaweed novice or a tried and true enthusiast, pick up a jar of Ocean Kraut and give it a try!

You can find Ocean Kraut in the Gorge (Farmstand, Rosaures, Hood River Farmers Market, the Blue Bus shop) and in Portland (Alberta Co-op and People's Co-op).

Cheers to good food.

Seasonal Bounty - Spring Tonic Kraut

Spring came in with a whistle in late April and everyone in the Columbia Gorge seemed to wake up in all its glory as we embarked on the seasonal shift. The hills slowly started melting and the earth started giving us treats to nibble on and concoct recipes with. This time of year always has me hankering for things to eat that are fresh, for food that has a snap to it, food that is green by nature. Thus, I would say, it is the perfect time of year to open up a jar of Blue Bus’ Spring Tonic Kraut!

Blue Bus adds in a seasonal kraut to the array of their other fab 5 krauts that are consistently on the menu, and the Spring Tonic is making it’s second go around this year. With wild harvested nettles, burdock root, and leeks, this kraut answers all of my spring foodie dreams. Nettles are a far superior herb that is rich in nutrients and vitamins that balance the liver, combat allergies, activate the metabolism, and generally tone the entire system. Early spring nettle tops are the crème de la crème for herbalists and chefs, as you harvest them within a short window of time. Burdock root is also a special cleansing herb that possesses a host of medicinal qualities. It is known for treating stagnation in the body after long cold winter’s as well as for its yummy snappy flavor.

Blue Bus’s Spring tonic kraut is consists of that favorite kraut flavor, with the addition of fresh. local bounty. This is the time to add fresh, tangy, crisp ingredients to your plate, and this kraut will answer what your body and taste buds are calling for.

Pick it up at the Blue Bus shop, the Hood River Farmer’s Market or select local grocers.

Cheers to Good Food.

Dear Farmers' Market, we love you.

Oh the wonderful rise of the Farmers' Market. Farmers' Markets have really come into their own over the last 10 years or so and thus have become a hub of community meet-ups in smalltowns, big cities, and all the places in between.

The real story behind farmer’s markets is a thing of beauty - when you see the behind the scenes journeys that all go into them. Farmer’s and artisans of all kinds wake up early to stack their vans with fresh picked fruits and veggies, the bakers pull their hand-shaped goodies out of the oven, and the Blue Bus team loads up their trusty Toyota truck with fermented veggies, kegs of kombucha, and (if you time it right) baskets of hand-picked mushrooms. They show up in the early morning sun, setting up booths to showcase all the treasures they have to share.

The rise of outdoor markets in the U.S. is a cultural shift back to the way it used to be before the mainstream large grocery store came onto the scene. It is a place for the community to connect, to support the local economy, and to have a visually enhancing experience while shopping for ingredients to cook with.

For Blue Bus, the market is a social day that puts a face to their infamous fermented foods and allows them to connect with customers directly. It is also a time to give life to their smaller batch creations. These are recipes that are made in micro quantities, and mostly only showcased on the table of the Farmer’s Market booths (they rarely make it to the grocery store shelves).

While being surrounded by their friends and fellow farmers at the market, Colin & Kristin attain new ingredients, chat small biz, and get to hear the stories of how others eat their kraut or even what healing properties have come from people's experiences eating it.

The Farmer’s Market is a consistent place to come together weekly in the lively months of the growing season. The importance of shopping locally goes beyond the amazing foods they have grown for us. It is also an act that spreads out as a cultural importance in growing community and swapping stories.

Check out Blue Bus Cultured Foods and all the other amazing farmers & artisans in Hood River every Saturday morning, from 9-1 across from Full Sail.

Cheers to Good Food.

We're FARMERS - Here's why

The roots of Blue Bus lay on the farm and within the raw ingredients used to create their jars of fermented magic. Colin, co-owner, of Blue Bus heads the growing operation in the hills above the Columbia Gorge on a farm owned by Ben Zimmerman. It is mostly a one-man operation, as he grows an array of various veggies that are eventually bound for the fermentation tanks. Colin grows food to provide fresh ingredients for their product, not only because that is what secures the consistency of taste, but also because he sees the larger importance of growing locally and creating a sustainable end product. To really get down to the nitty-gritty though, the truth is that Colin has a hunger for being outside, and working on the farm provides a way to connect to that important value of living with the seasons.

Colin’s favorite crop on their farm is the chilies that are grown for their cultured chili paste. As the summer heats up, the peppers evolve from green to red through all the shades in between -  purple, yellow, to orange. The cultured chili paste is then built from harvest to jar in the Blue Bus kitchen. It resembles a Thai chili paste that you would find in many Southeastern Asian restaurants' tables, but has an extra kick from that Pacific Northwest growing process. One jar of this splendid concoction can add pep to any daily meal.

The journey from farm to table is the real deal with Blue Bus Foods. The hands that grow the food make the food, because this is an important aspect in who they are as a small business. When you pick up a jar of kraut or chili paste or the many products in between, know that you are eating something grown under the sun and in the soil of the Columbia Gorge. There is something almost spiritual about eating when it comes to homegrown fermented foods.

You can find chili paste at the Blue Bus Shop, the Hood River Farmers' Market or select local grocers.

Welcome to the Blue Bus Blog!

When you are constantly on the journey of managing a business, the daily stories can sometimes get lost in the fray.  These stories are the ones that keep us forging (foraging!) through the thickets of every day to discover something new. We have decided that we are ready to share this narration with you, so welcome to the Blue Bus Blog!

The Blue Bus founders, Colin and Kristin (and their team) have long been on a quest to connect more with their community and with the land that they exist upon. Their ferments and concoctions are products of their innate desire to know how to dance with the seasons, to grow food, and to put together creations that are pure examples of the craft of food. They know the story of their products goes way beyond making a jar of kraut, but instead, there is a deeper history of microorganisms from soil all the way to food preservation.

Woven within this process of food growing and creation is the day to day of how we do it, why we do it, where we do it, and who we do it for and with. This blog is here to tell you these stories, talk food, community, small business building and to share with you the greater importance of connection with what we eat and who we support along the way. Join us!