The short answer: We were drinking with a few friends and decided to make pickles. A few weeks later, the fermented pickles were amazingly tangy, sour and flavorful. They were unlike any pickles we had ever tasted in the grocery store!
Yi Wah bought a tent and started selling at a farmers market! Soon, Caitlin was home from college and Yi Wah asked his little sister to help out at the farmers market...
The medium answer: Growing up, Number 1 Mom made a home cooked dinner every night. Her meals always ended with a big salad and dinner had plenty of vegetables, often cooked with traditional Chinese fermented ingredients. We've always eaten a lot of vegetables. We've always loved funky, sour foods. Our mom taught us to cook good food with quality ingredients and to share it with our community. We've taken a similar approach to making pickled and fermented foods.
As Number 1 Sons grew, we added products and markets each year. We started with cucumber pickles in 2012, and started making sauerkraut later that year. The next year, we started making kimchi. A few years later, we started making kombucha and sweet pickles. The year after, it was hot sauce!
We follow the seasons so we can buy vegetables directly from farms that we know and like. When we can no longer buy domestic pickling cucumbers directly from our farm, we switch to locally grown daikon radishes! Every fall, we make our fermented Chili Bear hot sauce with hundreds of pounds of local chili peppers.
We love farmers markets and selling directly to our customers. Markets are a great place for community-centric food commerce. We're proud to serve 50,000+ customers every year in DC, MD and VA.