Freaks of the Week ~ Hosta Hill Farm

Freak of the Week is a frequent Thursday blog feature right here at where I conduct a virtual interview with a friend or acquaintance.  You are in for a treat this week!  Introducing Maddie Elling from a family of creatives in the heart of the Berkshire Community ~ My name is Maddie Elling.  My partner Abe Hunrichs and I have a small, yet thriving Tempeh and Sauerkraut/ Kimchi business.  I grew up in the Berkshires, traveled after high school, found myself, then gardening, then farming, fermenting and my love! Abe and I created Hosta Hill in the summer of 2011.  We are based in West Stockbridge.  You can contact us for more on where to find us.

How do you know Crispina?  Tell a story--how did we meet? When? Where? Who introduced you? I actually cannot remember exactly when I met Crispina!  My mom and her have been friends as long as I can remember, so I must've been a wee one when we actually met.  I may have heard more stories about all the cool things she has done/does rather than experienced first hand (so far!!).  Growing up we always had a few sacks of sweaters scraps from Crispina handy for when bouts of creativeness hit.

What is your current passion? Lately it's been smelling the flowers and looking for the moon. Turning people onto the wild world of fermented food and staying flexible!

Who/What has been most influential in your current work? I feel like I must say Sandor Katz.  He is of course a pioneer in the new age of DIY fermentation.  We were playing with recipes out of his book 'Wild Fermentation' when we came up with our buisness idea.  I must also mention, Abe, my partner of love and work.   He has been very inspiring and encouraging in a million ways!

Whats Keeps you on the path you have chosen? Not sure I can say I consciously chose this path, but either way knowing the fact that we're offering people a delicious and healing food is always very rewarding and keeps me moving forward with it.

Where do you find your inspiration/motivation? In fresh air & good quality food.  Seeing people smile helps too.

Aside from working how do you spend your time? Swimming and hanging with my dog, Oso.  Weeding and making food, and eating.

What is one of your transforming memories? When I realized that cultured food is alive, just like us!  I worked with a cheese maker for a year and part of my job was just turning the cheese every evening.  It took 3 minutes, and it was very important.  It felt like I was a babysitter to the cheese.  It's similar with the ferments and tempeh.  They are always evolving and in a way it's best to check in with them along their way.

Do you have a prized possession?  What is it? At the moment my Rosemary plant, its a year old and I'm hoping I can get it through many more winters!

Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience. I lived in Hawaii for a winter and there was a crazy black sand beach where everyone swam.  The water was beautiful and looked so welcoming and gentle, but when you got in to your ankles you realized how much power the water held.  After a few weeks of getting to know the water and getting thrown down a few times, I started to find the rhythm of the water.  It felt as though I was I could dance in the waves.  That felt magical.

What is your favorite color? Why? deep purple, it reminds me of plums.

What is your favorite destination? The ocean or a river on a hot day.

What is your goal for your next 12 months? To get the Hosta Hill commercial kitchen finished(!!!).  Get our products into stores and restaurants.  Grow, harvest and store as much of the raw ingredients for our products as we can.   Go backpacking, get to the ocean, stay calm and creative.

Tell about how your imagine the world might look like in 10 years. Oh that's an exciting and scary thing to think about!  I just hope we all still have trees and teeth and water.  As well as better gun control and more compassion for ourselves.

How are you seen in your community? What is your role? That's a good question!  Not too sure on how I'm viewed...I suppose I'm known as that girl who makes that bomb-ass kimchi and tempeh with that awesome guy, Abe.  My role is driving that little red car, you know the one, oh and pulling weeds.

Do you have an upcoming event or significant  happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting? When? Where? Details and contact info please. We are planning to have a kitchen ribbon-cutting gathering!  Come and meet us at a Farmers Market or contact us to find out more about that!