If you’re looking for a history lesson of how farming and food lost its way, David Ehreth is the man to talk to. He can tell you all about how factories, preservatives, and fertilizers drove trends in food during and after WWII, and how artisanal methods were lost in favor of mass production. But Ehreth’s main focus goes back even further than that: the 1800’s, when corn vinegar pickling took over from traditional fermentation.
Ehreth is the founder and guru behind Sonoma Brinery, the producers of a true deli-style pickle, which uses natural lactic acid fermentation to pickle cucumbers, instead of vinegar. A former engineer, Ehreth knows all about the science behind how pickling works and what makes his pickles better. It’s a 5 to 10 day process, as opposed to the instant canning done by Big Pickle, but the final product makes it worthwhile. “It’s the way Jewish delis produced them in the 1800’s, and the result is better tasting, probiotic, and more complex,” he says.