Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions that relate to our business and products. If you don’t find an answer to your question below, please contact us and we’ll do our best to answer you in a prompt manner.

Where and how to get our products

All of our products are available direct to you, the consumer.

You can currently buy them:

Our focus is to serve premium quality fermented food to the people of Tasmania. By selling direct to you we are able to stay small and sustainable.

Questions about our Membership Program

How long do I have to be a member for?

We have a minimum membership period of 3 months.

You can change your membership preferences (for more or less product) at any stage after the first month.

When will I receive my first box?

We deliver to your home or workplace on the fourth Friday of the month.

  • If you joined on or before the 20th day of the month you will receive your first box in the same month that you joined.
  • If you joined from the 21st onwards you’ll get your first box the following month.

At this point in time we only deliver once per month.

Can I choose what goes into it?

At this point in time we can’t support custom orders.

Our #1 priority is to source seasonally, locally and organically. This focus limits our product offerings.

If we plan to include something that’s “really different” and may not appeal to all members, we’ll send out a survey the week before delivery day so that you can opt in or out it.

How many varieties are included?

Every small box will include at least 2 varieties.

Every large box will include at least 3 varieties.

Depending on what’s seasonally available we may include more options. We’ll always strive to strike a nice balance between consistency and seasonal variation so that you’re neither bored from monotony or suffering from tastebud overload!

Will the amount of product in my box vary?

Yes… a little

While our target volume is 1400 grams for the small boxes and 2800 grams for the large, we reserve the right to vary the amount of product-weight you receive in your monthly box.

Here are a few examples:

  • You may get less product volume in a month where we include things like Miso, Shio Koji, Misozuke, or a Hot Sauce.
  • You will also get more product volume when we're doing simpler ferments with cheaper ingredient costs. Things like simple Pickles, Krauts and probiotic beverages.

If we plan something with a significant variation to the regular volume you receive we’ll let you know in advance and give you the chance to opt in or out.

Why does the spicy option cost more?

We charge a few dollars more for the spicy box because:

  • The ingredient costs are higher (organic ginger can cost as much as $50/kg!)
  • There is a lot more labour involved in the making of the spicy stuff. Try hand peeling fresh garlic and ginger and you’ll get a sense of how time consuming it can be. 😊

FYI – We also charge more for our spicy products at our market stall.

Will my ferments stay cool if I’m not home to receive them?

Absolutely!

Every member will receive an allocation of 2 coolers. On your first delivery you’ll get a cooler full of refrigerated ferments along with a frozen ice block.

When we return one month later we will collect:

  • Your original cooler,
  • the original ice block,
  • and any clean jars you're finished with.

When you get back home you'll have an alternate cooler with delicious ferments waiting for you!

Do you recycle jars?

Yes!

Jar recycling is one of the best things about the membership program that we weren’t able to do when selling wholesale.

Please wash your jars and place them back in your ferment cooler for collection.

How will I be charged?

Your credit or debit card will be auto–magically charged every month that you’re subscribed. The charge will occur every month on the same day you joined the membership.

How do I pause or cancel my subscription?

If you're heading away for a few months, or want to stop your subscription just contact us and we’ll sort it out.

I'd like to suggest some improvements, how can I do that?

We'd love to hear of any ideas you've got! Please contact us with your offerings.

We're always looking for ways to improve the products we make and reduce our environmental footprint.

General questions about Fermentation

Why is this strange fermented stuff good for me?

Fermented vegetable products such as Sauerkraut and Kimchi are jam packed with beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria are often called Probiotics. These little microorganisms live in your gut and are an essential part of your overall health and vitality. They assist in the breakdown of food and assimilation of nutrients into the body.

By actively consuming probiotics on a regular basis you are ensuring that you are well equipped to get the most out of what you put in your mouth. The modern human being is actually lacking these essential probiotics in most cases due to a significant increase in junk foods, sugar overconsumption and the regular intake of Antibiotics. When you take an Antibiotic to assist with an illness - while it may help with your cold or infection - it also destroys balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

We believe that the regular consumption of probiotic containing foods such as Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Miso are a vital part retaining optimal health in our modern world.

Is it dangerous to eat fermented vegetables?

While it may sound crazy and a little daunting at first, the truth of the matter is that fermented vegetables are one the safest foods you can eat!

USDA Professor of Food Science Fred Breidt, Jr has often been quoted as saying that:

"The scientific literature has never recorded a case of food poisoning involving raw vegetables that have been fermented properly." (source)

We take great care to ensure that our ferments are well cared for, are 100% safe and good for you.

My jar made a fizzing sound when I opened it. Is it still safe to eat?

Yes!

Due to the fact that these ferments contain living probiotics, that means that the product is still subject to small amounts of variation.

The probiotics in the jar produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct of their survival. So a little bit of fizz definitely won't hurt you and it will be proof that your probiotic packed product is indeed alive and thriving!

What is "Wild Fermented", and why is it important?

At Southern Wild - we utilize a traditional method of fermentation called "Wild Fermentation". This method is without a doubt one of the oldest man-made methods of preparing foods. In many respects it is just a naturally occurring process that humans have shaped into a taste and flavor wonder.

Wild Fermentation creates an environment wherein naturally occuring probiotic organisms like Lactobacilli and Yeast can thrive. If you've ever eaten Sourdough Bread in your life, that deliciously tangy and sour quality is derived from all that wild fermentation.

With our ferments - the friendly organisms are living in the air, and on the surface of the organic vegetables we ferment. By creating a salty environment for fermentation, these small yet highly beneficial organisms are able to grow. They make the food taste great and super-healthy!

Some fermented products such as Beer, or vegetable ferments produced by other manufacturers rely on the inoculation of specific types of microorganisms (such as Yeasts and/or Lactobacilli) in order to influence the growth of cultures. In the case of vegetable fermenters; one approach is to inoculate them with something like Lactobacillus Plantarum.

The primary reasons why we do not inoculate our sauerkrauts, kimchis and pickles with a particular probiotic is that by using a Wild Fermentation approach - we create a situation where the end product is (A) much tastier, and (B) much better for you. The Wild Fermentation ensures that a wider range of beneficial bacteria are present in the product and this greatly impacts upon the types of flavor that are possible. In relation to gut health - the goal is to create a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem of probiotic lifeforms which will facilitate optimal digestion and nutrient absorption for health. By inoculating a ferment with a monoculture you will not be able to get that full spectrum of intestinal flora.

I see shelf-stable sauerkraut in the supermarket, why do I need to refrigerate yours?

Our fermented products are alive with friendly bacteria. These little organisms are extremely beneficial for your gut and overall health.

Louis Pasteur's technique of Pasteurization does wonders for some shelf-stable food products; the downside of exposing food to high heat temperatures is that along with eliminating the bad bugs, it also removes the friendly organisms that we really need in order to keep a healthy ecosystem in the gut.

So if you see a Sauerkraut in a non refrigerated section of the store, it is more than likely pasteurised. It will still have some nutritional value, but it won't be anywhere near as good for you as our living ferments.

Your products are Organic, but why aren't they Certified?

Here in Tasmania, we're very lucky to have access to a cornucopia of fresh produce from local farmers who abide by organic farming principles.

The Australian Certified Organic Standard states in Section 3.5.1.9 that:

Multiple-ingredient products shall be constituted of a minimum of 95% certified organic ingredients, and not certified in conversion to organic ingredients, in order to be described as a “Certified Organic” product on the labelling.

In truth, our cabbage based ferments are constituted from 95% or greater Certified Organic ingredients. We are confident that we would qualify for certification, however the cost of obtaining and maintaining an organic certification on an annual basis would amount to several thousand dollars. We are a small business, and those costs would inevitably increase the price of our product. At this time we would rather make our ferments more affordable to people, which is a challenge in and of itself!. If you feel that having the assurance Certified Organic is more important as a consumer - then let us know about it, and we may just certify in the future!

How long are your products fermented?

We ferment our cabbage based products for a minimum of three weeks in the Summer, and up to 8 weeks in the colder months.

Out Tempeh takes about 36 hours to ferment.

We also make Miso, Shio Koji and hot sauces that have much longer fermentation times. Some of our Misos are several years old. The aging makes them extra tasty and they are still 100% safe.

Fermentation times vary depending upon the season. In hotter months the fermentation happens faster, and during the winter we need to let them ferment for a longer duration in order to get the desired results.

As your product is a living one - the process of fermentation never stops. By refrigerating the jar you will ensure that the process slows to a glacial pace, but it will continue to mature in the fridge too. Your ferment will still be very safe to eat for 6 months (or more) from the time of purchase, but the flavour will change and evolve in subtle ways during that time. This certainly keeps things exciting!

Can I make my own veggie ferments?

You most certainly can!

Vegetable ferments are a great way to empower yourself for good health and incredible flights of flavour. If you're looking for a good resource in which to learn the craft of fermentation - we highly recommend the books of the inimitable Sandor Katz. His breakthrough book Wild Fermentation provides everything you'll need to know in order to get started.

Will you teach me how to make it?

If you are interested in learning more about fermented foods we're open to teaching! A great way to learn is to wrangle together a group of friends then a workshop so we can teach you all in a communal learning environment. Contact us to arrange something.