The life maps that we draw for ourselves are often spare, and lacking details in the early years, and yet we tend to cling to the paths we’ve charted for ourselves. Those of us that find success, measuring that not only in financial stability but in personal fulfillment and a true happiness born of the love of the work, seem to be able to fall off the map a bit. For the founders of Hosta Hill, traveling through that unexplored territory - here be dragons - has allowed their small business to flourish and grow.
A degree in outdoor education probably isn’t on the list of things you would think necessary if you were interested in creating a small food company, but Abe Hunrichs might disagree. He might tell you that his biology studies paired with that degree offered him the unique insights that have helped him to combine small scale farming, cultured foods, and managing his small staff. Abe and his partner Maddie Elling have built Hosta Hill from a what-if idea to a robust, locally focused business. And they’ve held on to their belief that it can be done locally, and sustainably because that’s how they’re doing it!
From a small plot of land teeming with garlic and hot peppers to thousands of pounds of locally sourced produce, they have worked to make that what-if a reality. In 2017 when they realized they were on the verge of outgrowing their tiny, custom built 900 sq foot commercial kitchen it couldn’t have come at a better time. That’s right when the new space at Fire Cider was being built and we were looking for other like-minded, local businesses to share space with! We are thrilled to be able to offer Abe and Maddie the space to grow. Besides the additional elbow room in our production kitchen, they’ve been able to install a large commercial fridge - think pallet storage! - and there is lots of warehousing space for in-process ferments and equipment.
For a small local company whose products were born from a love of experimenting with the produce they could grow and acquire locally, they have developed a robust product line. Award-winning krauts, in flavors you might not expect but will come to love, kimchi, kraut tonics, and hot sauces may just be the start. Having the room to grow also means room to expand, and who knows what other fermented treats they’ll be able to dream up!
You can learn more about Abe, Maddie, and the incredible products they create at HostaHill.com
Maybe visit them at one of the Farmer’s Markets in the Berkshires or grab a jar at at a location near you! As you enjoy the burn of their hot sauce or the crunch of their kimchi contemplate that life map you’ve got and consider the possibility of exploring those uncharted regions. Maybe you could have a story like Abe and Maddie or their dog Oso, a street dog from southern Baja, California who found his way to an amazing couple and a sweet life in the Berkshire Hills because he wasn’t afraid of the unknown.
Photo by Jennifer Kron