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Brine of the Times

Genuine Grub is fermenting a revolution.

Genuine Grub's pickles

Genuine Grub's pickles 

 

What’s a pickle without its brine?

One made by Genuine Grub, a San Francisco–based company that claims to be the first to produce commercial pickles without brine or vinegar. Brine, says founder and fermentation maven Dan Fruin, takes up valuable space that should instead be reserved for pickles, while vinegar “is too acidic to promote the growth of healthy bacteria.”

The probiotic bacteria in his Spicy Pickled ’Cukes and Mint & Dill ’Cukes use apples as their food source, creating lactic acid fermentation in the process. Fruin, who was born in Korea and grew up in Cupertino, got the idea for Genuine Grub in business school. A full-time employee at a software company until just last January, he began exploring the possibility of making a “cleaner, healthier” kimchee, free of added sugar, preservatives, seafood—and even the name “kimchee.”

His first product, Spicy Pickled Cabbage, debuted in late 2013. Today, Genuine Grub’s Marin-made products can be found on shelves throughout the Bay Area. “It’s a really crowded segment,” Fruin says of the packed pickle market. “I’m trying to find my own niche.”

 

Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco

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