Story by Marshall Ward; photography by Sara Geidlinger
Cathy’s Kombucha is a small-batch kombucha brewery, making handcrafted, naturally carbonated beverages using an ancient recipe.
“We are known for our high-quality ingredients and traditional brew methods that are held to very high standards,” says Cathy Kelly, owner of Cathy’s Kombucha, located in Oakville.
Kelly is one of the women entrepreneurs to be showcased by the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market through March in celebration of Women’s History Month. Located in the main market building, Cathy’s Kombucha has earned a loyal following since they opened at the market eight years ago.
“We often hear people tell us it is the best kombucha they have ever had, which we strongly believe is due to our brew process,” she says. “We never dilute it, we never add artificial flavouring, and we only ferment in small glass jars to ensure there’s never a metal or harsh aftertaste.”
Kombucha is fermented tea, she explains: “We use a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), which is the living culture that some people refer to as the ‘mother’ culture, organic tea leaves and pure cane sugar to ferment a brew that is both delicious and beneficial for health.” Kelly says fermented foods are excellent for gut health, helping aid digestion and fill the body with probiotics. These benefits include reducing bloating, inflammation, and sugar cravings, while also boosting energy.
Cathy’s Kombucha comes in a variety of sparkly and tangy flavours, like ginger peach, mango, raspberry, lemon ginger, and Vinnie’s Choice, made with mixed berries.
“Vinnie’s Choice has been our best-seller since we started,” says Kelly. “It is named after my father, Vince, who suffered from bladder cancer. He was the sole reason I began to brew kombucha and this was his favourite flavour.”
Kelly says she is grateful for the lasting relationships she has made over the years at the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market. “It’s wonderful to meet many new people and hear their stories,” she says. “It’s also great to be alongside other family-run vendors that we have known for years, as it creates an amazing sense of community.”