Fire Cider Recipes

It's A Medicinal Tonic. It's A Cocktail Mixer. It's Both…and More!

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Zucchini and Basil Sautee

The Candida Diaries

Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces. Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces.

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy all the zucchini that’s super fresh right now.  And it’s really easy, just some time and a few ingredients and you’ve got a healthy delicious side dish or meal to go picnicking with!

Ingredients:

Zucchini

Onion

Butter and/or Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Basil

Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

Method:

Chop up some onion, I usually use about a 1 to 4 ratio of onion to zucchini.

Add the chopped onion, a few pinches of salt (go easy on the salt if you plan to add cheese to the finished dish, which I highly recommend!) and a healthy dose of butter and olive oil to a heavy bottom pan, the wider the pan the better.   You’ll start with a lot of fat in the pan to cook the onions and then when…

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Non Dairy Milk Alternatives

The Candida Diaries

Don’t get me wrong, I love cow’s milk in its many forms: cheese, creme fraiche, Ayelada!  And I’d say that when you consume cultured whole milk dairy, from cows, goats or sheep, that have been raised humanly on an organic diet optimal for each breed, dairy counts as health food, in proper amounts, of course!  Unfortunately, like many of us, I don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose, or milk sugars, present in raw dairy.  I’m ok with cultured cream or cheese but plain milk, no way!

Raw cow's milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA Raw cow’s milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA

So, what should you drink in place of dairy milk?  I used almond milk for a long time since I’m allergic to soy due to years of eating highly processed vegetarian soy products, consider yourself warned, those are not health foods!  Almond milk comes in conventional and organic varieties…

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Why And How We Trademarked Fire Cider

Holy wow, we have been totally overwhelmed and caught off guard by the response to our trademark over the last few days. There are only three of us and we don’t want to respond to anyone from a place of fear or anger.

We 100% hear your concerns! You want ‘fire cider’ available to everyone always and we agree with you! We trademarked the phrase with the intention of protecting our business from bigger players in the natural foods industry, not to persecute folks making home remedies and selling their remedies on a small scale. We sincerely apologize for the confusion and fear this has created. Currently, ‘fire cider’ is not a generic term as recognized by the USTPO. Fire Cider was not protected in any way before we registered it. That is why our application was accepted and our trademark granted.

So, what can we do? How can we safeguard the traditional use of the phrase fire cider, while at the same time protecting the businesses we have all worked to build? We need to consult with some professionals to figure out our options. We are all going to need to work together to make something positive happen. Please give us two weeks, til Feb 10th to give you a full update on what our all our options are and where we can go to resolve this in a positive way.

Thank you kindly, Amy, Dana and Brian

Dana explains where our recipe and name came from:  When I was a kid, my German grandmother kept a jar of honey with chopped up onion and garlic soaking in it on a sunny windowsill. This was administered to kids for coughs and colds. During allergy season, it was time for spoonfuls of freshly grated horseradish and tales of uncle Otto on the horse farm- how horseradish was the only thing that worked for his allergies when it was haying time. I could not stand fresh horseradish, so I decided to mix it in with the honey onion syrup to make it palatable. A few years later, a country doctor that my mom worked for, suggested that I eat raw local honey and apple cider vinegar as a tonic and allergy helper. I tried that for a while, but being a “more is more” kind of guy, I remembered the honey/onion/garlic/horseradish remedy and used that with my vinegar instead of just plain honey. I liked it and it helped!

Later in life I moved to Arizona, where I had citrus trees in my yard. I read that citrus bioflavinoids are good for allergies, and that they are water soluble, so I added those to my honey and vinegar tonic. My roommate called it ‘fire cider’, so I thought hey, cool, that’s what it is.  I started using ginger and hot peppers at some point because they are great.  Lastly, I started adding turmeric to my tonic because I was taking Ayurvedic medicine classes and Turmeric is the bomb.    I got the term ‘fire cider’ percolating through the herbalist underground,via a roommate, without attribution.

We started selling our Fire Cider at a small holiday festival in 2010 as a way to help pay the bills.  It was an immediate success, and people wanted more.  We soon realized that to do anything beyond selling a few bottles locally we’d have to make a lot of changes, as selling herbal remedies made in our home is in violation of numerous laws and regulations.  Having a good idea and a solid, original recipe is one thing, but building a business is an enormous undertaking.  When we took our business out of the small world of folk medicine and into the wider marketplace, we had to face a set of rules that is quite different than that of the village herbalist.  It took us much more time and money to get to the stage where we had a legally saleable product than we had ever imagined.  Business insurance, local, state and FDA regulations and inspections, taxes, purchasing a bar code and nutrition panel, lab testing, renting an office, rent and training costs at a certified commercial kitchen, the list goes on.  All of these steps must be done, must be paid for, and are only the minimum requirements, offering no benefit other than allowing us to legally start making our product.  We were full-time volunteers for 2 years, investing every last cent back into the growth of our business.  Early on, while giving out samples at a coop in Albany, we were approached by a trademark attorney.  He specializes in helping small-scale food and wellness businesses navigate and use the dense legal framework.  He was a huge fan of Fire Cider and asked several questions about our product, business and future plans.  He remarked that our product was unlike anything he’d ever heard of.  We were creating a new market, and we were perfect candidates for a trademark.

Trademarks are conferred by the federal government on names of products which are used in commerce.  Fire Cider is the name of our product, and without a trademark we were vulnerable to the attention of larger companies. We are not interested in suing anyone, especially herbalists working outside of the commercial marketplace.  The health food industry has a bright shiny image, but it is still an industry.  The Krafts, Pepsis and General Mills are out there and employ an army of people to hunt for new products and ideas.  Without a trademark, we would be subject to imitation or the very real possibility of a national company copying our brand name AND trademarking it themselves, thus putting our entire business and livelihood at risk.

After researching and discussing our options with our trademark attorney, we filed with the government.  The process of assigning a trademark involves, among other things, searching for previous or existing commercial uses.  When we started our business, we could find no other company making and selling a commercial product called Fire Cider.  The federal government could not find any either, and so we received our trademark like thousands of other business doing their due diligence to safeguard their work.  Our work being the national brand and the entirely new market for vinegar based health tonics we have created over the past 3 years.

When we first started selling our product, we did a lot of in person demos, festivals and markets.  Giving away free samples and engaging people was a very effective way to spread our message.  Between the three of us, we have given out over 250,000 samples in the past three years, 200 gallons of free samples in the past year alone.  Of the hundreds, and then hundreds of thousands of people we met, only a small fraction had ever heard of drinking vinegar for health.  In rural parts of New England maybe one person in twenty was familiar with this idea, in Boston and NYC, that number was more like one in a hundred.  Likewise, calling prospective coops and health food stores was met with almost unanimous confusion when describing our product.  There were perhaps 2 or 3 coops in northern Vermont where the idea was not completely foreign, and Fire Cider was comparable to a variety of traditional tonics local to the area.  In any event, we have spread our product far and wide, and for all of our thousands of customers, Fire Cider refers to a specific taste and our specific recipe.  That name, our brand name, is what a trademark is meant to protect.

Unfortunately, the protection afforded by a trademark is not without its costs.  As our attorney explained, holding a trademark means we must be vigilant as well.  As mentioned earlier, when we started our company we could find no one else selling a commercial product called Fire Cider.  One year ago, an online search turned up 4 “fire cider” products on Etsy alone.  Earlier this month, Etsy listed a total of eleven, and in the past week three more were added.  These recipes all varied broadly in ingredients, size, and cost.  This is detrimental to our brand, as it dilutes the image of quality and affordability which we have worked so hard to achieve.  It was also clear that new companies were entering the market, using the same name and our hard work to sell their product.  After again meeting with our attorney, we were urged to contact Etsy’s legal department.  We are not suing anyone, we don’t want to sue anyone, and we don’t have any plans to sue anyone. We are not chasing down herbalists, we are not demanding people change their recipe or ingredients, we are only asking those herbalists selling commercially to respect our name and trademark.  As a business we are a legal entity, and we have followed best business practices and the advice of the legal community.  We did not write the law,  but we ignore it at our peril.  We are asking all those who want to sell commercially to change the name within that commercial setting, that is all.

We realize that for some herbalists, the name we chose for our tonic is considered a generic term.  We arrived at our recipe and name organically, as described above.  We have spread this idea well beyond the herbal community and into the public at large.  Because of our years of hard work, when the general public talks about Fire Cider, they are referring to our brand.  The upside of this is that we are creating an entirely new market for vinegar tonics.  We are creating awareness for the incredible powers of natural remedies and whole foods medicine.  We are creating a rising tide of interest in this market, and it has and will continue to lift all boats.  Folks are certainly welcome to participate in enjoying this upswell.

It is our goal to spread the word about the power of whole foods and herbal medicine by making and promoting the highest quality product we can.

Sincerely,

Brian Huebner, Dana St. Pierre and Amy Huebner

Happy Halloween!

We have been having a lot of fun this season and hope you are too.  Have a spooky, funtastic Halloween!  And remember, sugar is the devil, candy is bad for you, hand out shots of Fire Cider instead!

Teen Wolf, Princess Tiny Feet (Venture Brothers, anyone?!) and Dana as Robert Plant taking the A train to Halloween central.  With a brown bag full of...Fire Cider of course!

Teen Wolf, Princess Tiny Feet (Venture Brothers, anyone?!) and Dana as Robert Plant taking the A train to Halloween central. With a brown bag full of…Fire Cider of course!

And here I am as a flamingo!

And here I am as a flamingo!

Don’t forget to sign up on our home page for our monthly newsletter discount!  This month, by popular demand, 1/2 gallons are on sale again!

Fire Cider T-Shirt Giveaway!

Yay!  The t-shirts are here!  The folks at Massive Graphics on North Street in Pittsfield did an amazing job and we think you’ll agree:

An apple a day!

An apple a day!

The back:  Here’s to Feelin’ Good All the Time

IMG_20130701_164952

We are giving away 100 of these awesome unisex shirts size s-xl made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycle plastic bottles, they are super soft and durable.  Check out our Facebook page for chances to win all month long!

Our neighbor showing off his new t-shirt, super cute!!

Our neighbor showing off his new t-shirt, super cute!!

Equipment UPgrade: All Stainless Steel, All The Time!

Dana and Brian cleaning our new stainless container so we can make our first big batch of Fire Cider!

Dana and Brian cleaning our new stainless container so we can make our first big batch of Fire Cider!

Brain, Dana and I are so happy to be finally upgrading all of our Fire Cider production equipment to stainless steel!  Pictured above is our new and improved stainless IBC- intermediate bulk container – which is in between a tanker truck and a 55 gallon barrel.  This 330 gallon container will be our new batch size, instead of using eight 55 gallon drums.  We are also getting a huge mixer, to blend in the honey,  that is basically a steel outboard engine.  Don’t worry, we won’t go boating with it.  I mean, probably not, we’re busy making Fire Cider!

There are 4 more IBC’s just like this one on their way from Nebraska.  Our plan is to fill them all this summer so we will have plenty of Fire Cider ready for the fall.  A BIG thank you to the Frankin County Community Development Corporation for getting us the loan we needed to upgrade our equipment.  Yup, that’s right, it’s not just an incubator kitchen, the CDC supports their members with all aspects of running a food business, how cool is that?

You may have noticed that once again, our labels look a little different.  Our printer, Creative Labels of Vermont (CLOVE), has been able to source the plain kraft paper that we started with.  It only took two years but it was worth it for fully recyclable, un-dyed paper.  We hope you like them too!

Lastly, yes, there will be free tee-shirt give aways on our Facebook page starting in just a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Seasonal Allergy Relief is Sweet and Local

The Candida Diaries

Spring is finally, really truly here and so are my allergies.  This is the cruel irony of spring, it’s so beautiful outside but after an hour run my eyes are itchy and watery and my sinus’s are starting to make my head hurt.  What’s a health conscious, outdoor loving Berkshireite to do?  Well the good news is that there are a whole bunch of natural remedies to choose from.  Everything from homeopathic remedies that you can purchase at the Health Food store on North Street to local bee pollen and honey by the tablespoonful.  Bee pollen, nettles and Dana’s allergy tincture have been working really well for me this year but I wanted to have more options to share with my clients.  I started doing some research and the list of natural, effective allergy remedies is so long, I started to get overwhelmed!  Then I got an email from one…

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