Turtle Mountain in the News
The fort collins magazine
Date Posted: Fall 2017
By: Lisa Blake
The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Posted: October 11, 2017
By: Sarah Ehrlich
Turtle Mountain Tea, 3 favorites that came together to make one amazing product!
Date Posted: 08/30/2016 | By: Courtney
Nurtured every step of the way, Natalie diSanto owner of Turtle Mountain Tea, gives each batch of her kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut the attention it deserves until it gets into her customers hands. Her passion for making the highest quality product is evident in her meticulous business practices. She is an extraordinary women with a unique product!
Us: You have a very unique name for your business. Where did you come up with the name Turtle Mountain Tea?
Natalie: I had a hell of a time coming up with a name for my business. It’s a lot of pressure and a long-lasting decision. After struggling and over-analyzing for weeks, I realized that my business has come to fruition because of my passion for what I make. I absolutely love each and every one of my products and think they are amazing. Then I thought to myself: Hey Nat, if you love Kombucha so much and that is already in the name, why don’t you name your company after the two other things that you love so much? And thus Turtle Mountain Kombucha was born. It is simply a combination of my three favorite things in life.
Us: What got you interested in making Kombucha?
Natalie: When I was still living back home in Philadelphia, I became horribly ill one winter. I had the flu three times, bronchitis twice, and strep throat twice. No matter what I did and how many doctors I saw I could not get healthy. I took all of their pills and listened to their professional advice and kept getting sick. Finally, after my third bout with the flu, I decided to take matters into my own hands and research what was really going on in my body. It was then that I learned about how crucial a body’s immune system is and how quickly antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria. I learned about probiotics and I learned about Kombucha and I ordered a SCOBY online and began brewing in my little apartment in Philadelphia. That spring I moved out here with my SCOBY and have been brewing Kombucha ever since and I haven’t gotten sick yet!
Us: Tell us about all the products you offer. What sets your products apart from others?
Natalie: Turtle Mountain makes Kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Each of our products is extremely small-batch (15-gallon maximum and we only have one of those!) and raw fermented by hand. No other company on the market can boast that each of their products is nurtured every step of the way. I brew each batch of tea for our Kombucha and inoculate it myself. We hand-chop every batch of our sauerkrauts and kimchis. I do not process anything, but just transfer the raw ferment directly into the containers which you can buy at local farmer’s markets and in local stores. I am with our ferments from the day that they are inoculated until the day that you take it home!
Us: Have there been any obstacles you have faced since starting Turtle Mountain Tea?
Natalie: Oh my yes! There have been hundreds of obstacles but there are obstacles on any path we choose in life. Opening a small business is far from easy and it takes a very determined person to make it work and a lot of sacrifices. However, I love what I do and I would never change my decision to push myself as hard as I can and see what comes of it.
Us: What have been some Turtle Mountain Tea’s greatest successes?
Natalie: I will always remember the day when I got an e-mail from the Food Co-Op saying that they wanted to carry my product. That was really surreal because I have always loved their shop and I know that they only carry truly wonderful products. It is an honor to be in their store!
We also recently got on tap in Denver at a local Kombucha Bar called American Cultures. It is a shop that sells only live Ferments and our Lavender Grape Kombucha is a hit!
Us: What’s your favorite part of the business?
Natalie: When strangers come up to me at the Farmer’s Markets and tell me that they love my products. It blows my mind to realize that people who don’t know me are enjoying what I make and it gives me the shivers and makes me so thankful. I can’t explain the gratitude and pride I feel in making someone happy and healthy.
Us: Do you have any future dreams for Turtle Mountain Tea?
Natalie: Our next step is to find a store-front here in town. We hope to open a brick and mortar Fermentation Station within the next two years!
Us: It sounds like you are very environmentally conscious especially when it comes to using recycled bottles for your products. Are there any other ways you strive to be environmentally conscious when running your business?
Natalie: I am always looking to save the planet! One of our employees has a wonderful garden and composts all of our veggie waste from the sauerkrauts and kimchi. We offer reward systems with our customers for returning any empty containers from our products. We have a system set up with a few local bars where they save their empty beer bottles for us to sanitize and we give them free Kombucha!
Us: How did you find Leapin’ Lizard Labels? How has it been? Is there anything we can do to further help you out?
Natalie: I love Leapin’ Lizards!! I found out about you guys while I was having a few drinks at Pateros Creek and chatting with some of your employees. I have been hooked ever since! People always compliment my labels and I never hesitate to send them your way! You guys have been with me since the beginning and Cody is a designing genius!
Us: Where can customers find your products?
Natalie: All over Northern Colorado! We now reach from Denver to Loveland to Estes Park to our roots right here in Fort Collins! We are available at every Northern Colorado Farmer’s Market this season and will be participating in a few Winter Markets as well. We also sell at a lot of local coffee shops, grocery stores, and bars. For exact information check our website: www.turtlemountaintea.com
BEHIND THE SCENES OF TURTLE MOUNTAIN TEA
March 22, 2016
by Claire & Dan
We enjoy Turtle Mountain Tea and love their different kombucha flavors, so naturally we were dying to learn more! The owner, Natalie Disanto was kind enough to give us the scoop!
Q: What started your love for kombucha and fermenting?
Natalie: I fell in love with Kombucha when I was nineteen years old. That winter, I caught the flu twice, had strep throat once, and bronchitis three times. I kept going to a doctor asking him to help me and no matter what sort of medications they gave me the sickness kept coming back and getting worse. Finally, I got fed up with listening to a stranger who wasn’t making any positive changes in my health. I conducted my own research and learned a lot. I began practicing herbalism and tea treatments. Through my love of tea, I learned about Kombucha- the miracle fermented tea! I started fermenting my own Kombucha and drinking it every day. After a month of my new holistic lifestyle, I was healed. I haven’t been sick since! The effects of Kombucha were so pronounced on my body that I decided to try making sauerkraut and kimchi as well. The triad of these these live, probiotic foods have changed my life in the most amazing way. I am so lucky to be able to share my passion and healthy lifestyle with others!
Q: What is your favorite flavor you have made so far?
Natalie: No matter how many times people ask me this question, I will never have an answer! I have created each of my flavors out of my own experimentation and trust of my pallet. I LOVE the “original” flavor, which is our Yerba Mate. Hawaiian Infusion is the first flavor I ever made, so I have a special love for that one as well. Apple Pie is amazing and compliments liquors very well if you choose to use it as a mixer (which I highly recommend). BasilBerry is probably my most unique flavor as it uses blackberries, blueberries, and opal basil. Ginger Green has the most health benefits with its’ heavy dosage of spirulina, cucumbers, eucalyptus, lime, and ginger. See what I mean? I love them all differently but equally! I am too proud a parent to pick favorites.
Q: Can you share your plans for the future?
Natalie: I plan to continue to do what I love as long as I have the support of my wonderful customers. This year, I am expanding into Loveland as well as some other neighboring cities in the Northern Colorado area. I am hiring a staff to run some farmer’s markets so Turtle Mountain can participate in multiple markets at once. I grow with my business and learn to manage and produce more as the need arises. It is my dream to build a brick and mortar Fermentation Station here in Fort Collins. We would serve Kombucha on tap and offer a variety of live, raw, and probiotic meals and snacks! I have a long way to go before that happens, but it is what I am working toward!
Q: What are the benefits of kombucha?
Natalie: Kombucha is a fermented tea. The drink begins as a simple mixture of organic (in our case, yerba maté) tea and sugar, then we add a S.C.O.B.Y. to the mix! S.C.O.B.Y. is an acronymn for Symbitoic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY kickstarts the fermentation. We let this process continue for about two weeks, which creates original kombucha. We call this our "Yerba Maté" flavor.
Kombucha originates from Ancient China, where is was regarded as the, "Elixer of Life." Even back then kombucha was recognized as the beneficial tea that it is.
Kombucha contains many active probiotics, which are beneficial to your digestive tract. Lactobacillus is the most popular of the probiotics. Lactobacillus helps your gut break down food more easily. While your body saves energy in digestion, it is able to concentrate fully upon other important systems such as your blood system, nervous system, and immune system.
Due to the acidity acheived during fermentation, kombucha helps to pull toxins from your body while replacing it with healthy probiotcs. It also helps to oxygenate your blood. As your blood is able to flow more efficently through your veins, nerve synapses happen at a quicker pace. With less toxins in your blood system, you are able to stay healthy. As kombucha rips toxins from your body, it purges them from your system, so it is important to drink plenty of water while consuming fermented teas and foods!
Kombucha is also PACKED FULL of Vitamin B, which has been proven to reduce stress while promoting happiness inside of your brain! It doesn't get better than a catalyst for both healthiness and happiness!
Q: Describe in three words your Farmers' Market experience.
Natalie: Inspiring. Humbling. Powerful.
Q: What is your favorite hangout in town? Why?
Natalie: Patero’s Creek! I love Patero’s because they make amazing beer and are always really creative with their “Outlaw” flavors. On Valentines Day this past year, they made a Chocolate Strawberry beer that is one of the best beers that I have ever tasted. They are very locally focused and were one of my first wholesale customers. The owner and employees are always friendly and funny and make me smile whenever I manage to carve time out of my hectic schedule for one of their rockin’ beers!
GET CULTURED IN KOMBUCHA!
May 29, 2017
LoHi — I knew I needed to try American Cultures, a North Denver Kombucha bar, from the moment it opened, on the corner of Tejon and 33rd. Kombucha is fermented, non-alcoholic beverage that is flavored with fruit juice or botanicals. It is rumored to have numerous health benefits associated with probiotic cultures, aiding in digestive health. Fermented on a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), it’s refreshing and low calorie, and a nice break from soda or tea. The flavor is tangy and its quite effervescent, and the drink takes flavor from the juices its combined with. It’s unique and unlike any other beverage.
I visited American Cultures Kombucha bar after work one afternoon. It’s a lovely, modern space filled with light on two sides. American Cultures features kombucha brewed all over the state, and I was anxious to try a flight of the more than 15 options they carried on tap.
We tried two flights to get maximum exposure to the lineup at American Cultures. First, we sipped the Mango Trubucha (brewed in Castle Rock, CO) was fruity and a bit tannic, like a mango black tea. This, and the other Trubucha flavor on tap tasted more tea-forward than their counterparts. We also tried the Mint Trubucha, which tasted botanical and deeply minty, with just a touch of watermelon flavor. It truly captured the essence of mint in a bright, effervescent drink. I followed this with the Rowdy Mermaid GingerGrass, brewed in Boulder. It was very spicy and fragrant, prominently featuring two spices I that absolutely adore.
We moved next to the Turtle Mountain Tea Rosemary kombucha, brewed in Fort Collins. This was a more traditionally, tangy flavored kombucha, a little bit smoky and cleansing. I thought I tasted just a smidge of white grape in there too!
American Cultures is always rotating their kegs of kombucha, so there are plenty of flavors to try. Flights are $7.00, and they also fill growlers from their extensive tap list. You will also find local products, kombucha ice cream floats, and breakfast items at American Cultures I recommend a visit – it was a rejuvenating after work experience that I found to be a fun change of pace from visiting a local brewery. Check em out!
For the Love of All That Is ‘Whole–y’: Food
Sept. 16, 2015
Next Wednesday the 23rd signifies the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, as we harvest and celebrate the fruits (veggies and whole grains) of our labor. With a healthy heaping of satire and a (whole) grain of salt, this week I ponder: What is the difference between Whole Foods and ‘whole–y’ foods? To this I respond: How much of your (soul’s) paycheck is spent after shopping!
At the Fort Collins Food Co–op, your favorite, friendly, natural grocery store, since 1972, we do our best to emphasize the local, hometown heroes who provide wholesome foods, liquid life elixirs, and other healing products we sell (as distinguished by the various blue ‘L’/product cards in bulk and produce). A fun Food Co-op fact: all this “local business” consists of more than 20% of our overall sales and upwards of 40% of what we as a Food Co–op purchase directly from the farmer/vendor.
When you choose to purchase Wisdom’s eggs and/or poultry, you are supporting a local family–owned and operated farm from Huxton, CO where chickens live in a “stress-free environment with full access to water that comes directly from our deep well [and are] given full access to the fresh air and sunshine of the great outdoors.”
When you select produce from Native Hill Farm, located in Laporte, you are supporting not only this fantastic farm that continues to offer the highest quality veggies, but you are also investing in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, which allows increased accessibility and affordability for individuals/families to obtain nutritious food.
When you decide to try Turtle Mountain kombucha/tea/kimchi, you are literally supporting your life with these probiotic products (from its Greek origins, bios meaning life and pro– meaning in support of). What’s more, you are supporting a woman–owned, Fort Collins startup that recycles beer bottles for all of its kombucha creations. Backing bacteria has never been more beneficial.
We, the foodies of the Food Co–op, exist as individuals with a mind of our own, choosing to share the profits and the losses in this cooperative investment in the heartfelt whole.
For the love of all that is ‘whole–y’, the next time you are fixin’ to go to Whole Foods, consider supporting our community’s organically homegrown shop and see for yourself what’s in store with our envisioned relocation (r)evolution!