On this week’s episode of Tent Talk, we spoke with Jennifer and Eric Halverson of JenEric Foods. Jennifer and Eric make jun (rhymes with fun!) kombucha and sell their delicious beverages at Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market in Orange, CA. In our conversation, Jennifer and Eric told us about what makes their kombucha special, how they turned their love of food and drink into a business, and what it’s like to work with their spouse. Do you have a dream brewing? Go for it!
Brewing an idea
Jennifer and Eric may not have a long history working in the food industry, but they sure do have a background in eating and drinking! For years, these self-proclaimed foodies have spent every spare moment on the prowl for new delicious bites. “Most of our fun things we do when we are traveling are finding restaurants and farmers markets and food related events to attend,” explained Eric.
The moment everything changed for them was when they visited the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in San Diego a couple years ago. Jennifer and Eric were instant converts to the craft beer movement, and it wasn’t long before they were brewing at home. After tackling IPAs, they moved on to meads. From there it was an easy transition into fermenting jun kombucha, which is made with green tea and honey instead of black tea and sugar.
A little while later, the ante was upped for Jennifer and Eric on yet another trip to San Diego. While walking through the Little Italy Mercato on a Saturday, they mused about maybe one day popping a tent of their own. As they strolled past the market info booth a flyer for the InTents Conference 2017 caught their eye. Their fate was sealed!
Wild California flavors
JenEric Foods jun kombucha is made with organic free trade green tea and Southern California honey. Rather than adding fruit to their brews, Jennifer and Eric allow the natural flavors in the honey to do the work. Depending on the season, JenEric jun kombucha features different local honeys. Sage blossom, orange blossom, and buckwheat are their original flavors, and eucalyptus, mesquite and dark sage are coming down the pike.
Although kombucha is becoming more main stream, many people are still unsure. Selling at the farmers’ market allows Jennifer and Eric to educate their shoppers and set the record straight on this fizzy beverage. “Kombucha doesn’t have to be gross!” says Jennifer. Some may not like kombucha that’s too vinegary or too sugary, but jun kombucha offers a smoother flavor profile.
Team work makes the dream work
Jennifer and Eric are still in the early phases of their kombucha adventure, but they always knew they wanted to start something themselves. “The desire to have a business together, that’s been a desire for a very long time,” said Jennifer. They are looking forward to eventually expanding JenEric Foods and one day transitioning into full-time self-employment.
Managing a business is hard and when you work with your spouse, it can be difficult to strike the right work/life balance. “You’re never off,” says Eric. But luckily they work well together and enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen. “We’re familiar with what each other’s strengths are, like ‘you’ll be good at this so can you take care of it?'” says Jennifer. “Also we meditate together every morning!”
Where can I listen to Jennifer & Eric’s full episode of Tent Talk?
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Do you have a farmers’ market question you’d like us to answer on air? Got an idea for a future episode topic? Is there someone you think we should interview? Please let us know!