WEST STOCKBRIDGE — Hosta Hill, a Berkshires-based maker of lacto-fermented vegetables and unpasteurized tempeh, has been honored with a 2016 Good Food Award for its Gochu Curry Kraut, a variation on traditional sauerkraut featuring Indian and Korean influences.
The prize was presented Friday night at a ceremony at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco.
West Stockbridge residents Abe Hunrichs and Maddie Elling, who co-founded Hosta Hill in 2011, were unable to accept their award in person at this year's event. Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini delivered opening remarks and the winners — chosen from nearly 2000 entries — received their medals from renowned chef and activist Alice Waters and organics pioneer Nell Newman.
Hosta Hill won in the same category (Pickles) for its Kimchi at last year's ceremony.
"We're thrilled to be recognized for the second consecutive year by the Good Food Awards," Elling, a Berkshires native and graduate of Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington, said in the press release announcing the award. "We love that they say we 'celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced' because it acknowledges the complete method behind the meal. To have our handmade ferments, featuring sustainably grown ingredients from right here in the Berkshires, reach a national audience and be mentioned in the same sentence as so many of these other great companies is an incredible honor."
Hosta Hill's probiotic-packed products are available at more than 50 farm stands, grocery stores, cafés, restaurants, and wellness centers from the Berkshires to Boston.
Inspired by Sandor Ellix Katz's book, "Wild Fermentation" (Cheslea Green Publishing), and their past experiences in small-scale farming and artisan food production, co-founders Abe and Maddie quickly found an audience for their lacto-fermented vegetables and fresh-tasting unpasteurized tempeh.
A 2013 Kickstarter campaign funded a new commercial kitchen on the property next to Maddie's childhood home on Great Barrington Road and led to wider attention across the region.
On the verge of its 5th anniversary this year, Hosta Hill has become an integral part of Western Massachusetts' local food scene and a supporter of the area's organic farmers.
The Good Food Awards recognize top food and drink makers in five U.S. geographic regions and 13 culinary categories. Within every category, the five highest-scoring producers from each of the five regions (Central, East, North, South and West) are named Good Food Awards Finalists if they pass the vetting process. Winners are chosen by selecting the three highest-scoring Finalists from each region within each category.