If you’ve never tasted fermented beverages, you’re in for a treat. “Wild at Heart” takes fermenting to heart by creating some delicious flavors. CEO Michelle Lopez-Dohrn is a proud Ojai girl who left the Valley at eighteen to pursue her dream earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology with a minor in botany. Chief Operating Officer, Mikhael Collins’ background is in medical science and the arts. The two of them fell in love over their mutual passion for fermented beverages and sustainability.

Michelle started the Food Co-Op when she returned to Ojai, and empowering people to preserve healthy foods evolved into fermenting in-season veggies and fruit that help aid in digestion and strengthen the immune system. They do this by hand-cutting all the raw foods with love and aging them, much like a fine wine, meticulously looked after for up to 28 days in glass vessels.

They are conscious about their company’s environmental footprint from beginning to end. They do this by sourcing from local organic farms within a 200-mile radius, starting from Ojai. They even do hyper-local pick-ups (less than 5 miles from where they live), which brings them great joy to support Ojai organic farmers They also started a bottle recycling incentive at their farmers markets and use all biodegradable sampling utensils made out of potato and corn. They use solar power for their mobile refrigeration and all food scraps are fed to their chickens which in turn feed their family.

Together, Michelle and Mikhael have brought to market everything from mustards and dressings, to hot sauces and salsas. Try their bio sodas, pickles or beet kvass. They’re not only good for you, it all tastes good, too.
Sample their offerings yourself when you visit Wild At Heart’s table at Taste of Ojai.

By: Ilona Saari

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