About Us

Byron Wheeler

OUR RECIPES

While our fresh produce is mainly from Somerset, our recipes and food preservation techniques are a mixture of traditional and classic ideas, combined with some more contemporary and international approaches. We’re including some Japanese and Nordic style pickles together with a cultured Salvadoran slaw, a Thai curry and, of course, a Korean kimchi. And, we’re making a quick pickle recipe synonymous with the Riviera and using an Italian method of preserving mushrooms in olive oil. We’re not striving to exactly copy the original versions of these recipes, instead, we’re focusing on our own authenticity and creating something delicious

Over the last year, or so, we’ve been developing lots of different recipes and collaborating with fermentation experts and food production specialists. In the future, we’ll be introducing new recipes that will be developed in partnership with high-profile chefs.



Cultivated at Worminster Farm

COLLABORATIONS & BESPOKE 

Alongside our own recipes, we also collaborate with restaurants and bars to create other high-quality ferments, pickles and drinking vinegars, amongst other things.

Most ferments and pickles are relatively simple recipes but they do require certain things that not everyone has easy access to. This can be anything from suitable fermentation vessels and PH readers (and daily monitoring) to a space with a consistent 16 degrees, not to mention the time (typically 3-4 weeks for each ferment) and the know-how when it comes to managing probiotics.

We want more people to enjoy preserved foods, especially creative ingredient combinations and unique ferments. All of our recipes are available in large containers designed for the hospitality world and we would be happy to discuss new collaborations. 

We can also offer expertise on a wide range of related subjects - from different preservation techniques to guidance on how various ingredients react to fermentation and create new flavour profiles.

Please email info@worminsterfarm.com to discuss any white label project ideas or an exclusive recipe for your own business.

CULTIVATED AT WORMINSTER FARM

Over the two years, we’ve created two extensive ‘no-dig’ gardens at the farm where we’re growing specialist vegetables, fruits and herbs – including a large number of rare cultivars. Our aim is to convert everything that we grow into something delicious and perhaps a little unusual. As the seasons change, so will our menus, although, we will also have some perennial signature recipes. 

We’re aiming to grow great quality ingredients - grown for flavour, rather than yield or uniformity - that we will harvest in peak condition and immediately transfer to the kitchen, minimising the loss of nutrients or natural sweetness. This will also mean that we’ll achieve zero mileage by the time these ingredients arrive in our kitchen.  No packaging will be needed, and we'll be able to avoid unnecessary wastage. 

It’s not going to be possible to grow all our ingredients at the farm, especially in the first year, but when we do source other ingredients we will always aim to use local sources and diligently check the provenance and quality.

We’ve built a specialist kitchen and fermentation room at the farm which means that our chefs can observe the vegetable and fruit growing around them and work alongside the garden team to ensure that they are harvested in peak condition.

CULTJAR combines vegetable and fruit growing with a creative kitchen, our health and the environment. 

For more on the farm visit the website and instagram.

OUR TEAM

Byron Wheeler is the head chef at CULTJAR and Worminster Farm. He’s a vastly experienced chef, having worked with Alistair Little, universally acknowledged as the godfather of modern British cuisine, and built-up experience working at top restaurants in Bristol and more recently taught at the Waitrose cookery schools. He’s also our neighbour and has his own farm. He’s lucky to enjoy a blissful 20-minute walk to work.

Thom Eagle is our project consultant. He’s a chef, writer and one the UK’s leading voices on fermentation, formerly of Littleduck in Dalston and now based in Kent. He has presented at the Oxford Symposium of Food & Cookery, writes the psychogastronomy tinyletter, and contributes to At The Table, Pit and Market Life magazines, the Wine Zine, MOB Kitchen and the Vittles newsletter. His first book First, Catch was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year and won the Debut Food Book at the Fortnum and Mason’s Awards; his second, Summer’s Lease, came out in June. https://thomeagle.com/

Joe Fox – has garnered brilliant experience as a chef having worked in some top kitchens in London and the South West. He’s now turned his skills to horticulture and is responsible for everything that we grow at the farm, underlining the strong link between gardens and the kitchen. Due to his background Joe knows exactly what top quality produce looks like and that our kitchen will only expect the best seasonal ingredients. 

Will Heaton-Livingstone @willgrow – was the farm manager at Hugh F-W’s River Cottage for over ten years and now runs www.willgrow.co.uk Will has been instrumental in helping us reintroduce farming activity at Worminster  – everything from the new production gardens to our livestock management.

Kate Simpson – oversees our social media, digital strategy and provides essential advice for our retail projects. www.somersalt.com


HEALTH BENEFITS

Fermentation is found throughout human cultures. Hundreds of medical and scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods help people stay healthy. Microscopic organisms - our ancestors and allies - transform food and extend its usefulness. Sandor KatzGlobal authority on fermenting & author of a number of books on the subject.

When most people hear about vegetable ferments they immediately associate them with the health benefits, but this is often also accompanied by a little reluctance, perhaps associated with the unknown or even past experiences with excessive sourness. Or, holding one's metaphoric nose and trying to think about all the good things that a ferment can do for you. It's definitely the case that there are lots of profoundly healthy ferments out there but a great many of them, in our view, are perhaps too focused on what the constituent ingredients can do for your health and wellbeing. Or, perhaps it is all about what they have excluded or particular restrictions linked to dietary preferences or requirements. 

The probiotics found in fermented foods have often been associated with improvements in digestion, immunity, weight loss, sleep patterns, mental health, and many other aspects of health, and are an excellent addition to everyone's diet. 

While there are many health benefits associated with the style of food that we are developing, there are also as many positive benefits for our wider food system and environment, but our ultimate aim is to focus on the taste and enjoyment of the recipes that we create, everything else is a happy coincidence! 

I’m a huge meat lover and have been fortunate to enjoy a wide range of luxurious and even exotic foods, but I do find that a more balanced diet and eating more vegetables makes me feel a lot better - in many different ways. Unlike many other fermenters, I’ve not personally experienced any health issues and do not have any dietary restrictions that have led me to this subject. That said, I am 100% confident of the benefits. Of course, everything has to be done in moderation. I now eat fermented foods everyday and can definitely feel a positive difference. Peter, CULTJAR founder

OTHER GREAT JARS

Alongside our own jars, we are planning to source other great jars from around the world. This might be tuna in oil from Sicily, butter beans from the Ebro valley, the fertile “garden” of Spain, the best peanut butter from Australia, artisanal peppers from the South of France, rose harissa from Tunisia and even the odd iconic British jar like Marmite. 

OTHER FERMENTS

We are surrounded by other well-known fermented foods, seasonings and drinks that we might not even realise are fermented. Just take a look inside your cupboard or fridge? Do you have chocolate; sourdough bread; cheese; yoghurt; salami; miso; tempeh; natto; vinegar; soy; rice wine; chilli sauces; beer; wine; cider; tea; coffee; ginger beer; kefir; kombucha; sake; kvass; to mention just some. All of these are fermented foods! In the future, we are also planning to extend our range to include many of these delicious foods alongside our pickles and ferments. 

We also think that our recipes partner particularly well with Natural wines. Here’s some of our favourite wine shops; 

Les Caves

Dynamic Vines

Uncharted Wines

Selected Grapes

Head over to our Stories to read more about how our ferments and pickles partner with Natural Wines. 

It’s no surprise to me that some of the foods and drinks that I enjoy the most are fermented. Peter 

#cultjar SHARE & WIN

Each month we give away a £50 voucher to the person that shares the best examples of how to enjoy their CULTJAR or the reuse of the empty jars.



WORKSHOPS

Fermentation and pickling is not difficult or complex and there’s nothing secretive about our methods or recipes. Once you know the basics, it's easy to get hooked and you’ll soon find yourself creating your own kimchi or fermenting rhubarb. All you need is a suitable vessel and time. 

We want more people to appreciate the pleasures of the crock. We regularly host workshops and day courses at the farm. See this link for further details.

We’re also pleased to arrange bespoke talks and demonstrations across the country for small and large groups. Email us for more information.

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS

We are proud to partner with and donate to each of these three brilliant organisations;

Slow Food

Slow Food

Refettorio Felix


Refettorio Felix

Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go

OUR NAME

It probably doesn’t need explaining but so that you are aware, the CULT in the name refers to lots of different things like cultivate/d, cultivars, horticulture, agriculture, culture/d (the biological not the social reference) and certainly not an extremist group but perhaps a little bit of a link to people who like the style of foods that we are developing.

It’s also interesting to listen to the way different people pronounce the word!

OUR FUTURE PLANS

We hope to open a small shop and café restaurant that will showcase our range of preserved foods (alongside many other delicious fermented foods!) together with wonderfully fresh ingredients from our farm. And, as we grow, we plan to increase the growing areas at the farm so that we continue to do our bit for the environment while also ensuring that we use the best quality ingredients.