MEET THE PRODUCER: EMMA-LOUISE FOLLOWS OF EAT LIVE
What's the link between Stormzy, Chopin and Cabbage? Answer: They're all loved by Emma-Louise Follows, who set up Eat Live selling kimchi, krauts and raw chocolates. She'll be trading with her ferments at the Enfield Food Festival on Sunday and hosting a kimchi making workshop too. Christine Smallwood caught up with her at one of her stockists, health food treasure trove, The Village Wholefood Store in Forty Hill, Enfield.
Emma-Louise Follows of Eat Live is a picture of good health and a calm yet sparkling advertisement for her business. When enthusing about the benefits of her raw and fermented foods, her manner is softly, softly. And that’s how she set up her company, Eat Live, by taking one small, yet focused step at a time.
“I want my customers to have an experience of wellness, health, healing and deliciousness when they have something that I’ve made,” says Emma. So, while producing her foods, she listens to music that she loves and puts her in the right state of mind. It can be Stormzy one day, perhaps Chopin the next.
Her entrepreneurial adventure started when she discovered how the consumption of unpasteurised food, “full of really good bacteria which repopulates your gut with lots of lovely live cultures,” put the spring back in her step. That bounce, along with a healthy immune system, had been missing since the birth of her second child, and she had become sick of popping courses of antibiotics. Her legal training insisted on thorough research, which led her to the benefits of fermented foods.
As fate would have it, the start of this personal discovery coincided with a family house swap in the health trend incubator of California. Up in the mountains, away from the LA smog, she spent a few months among people fizzing about fermentation, and, finding a wide choice of foods such as kimchi and kombucha, even in mainstream supermarkets.
But back home in Enfield, she couldn’t find anything for sale that she liked, so, made her own. Her ferments became popular with friends, the next step was selling at markets, and then at local shops. Jill at the Village Wholefood Store for example, has been a supportive stockist since those early days.
Eat Live’s elegant jars are more than attractive: “they’re tall and slim because the fermented veggies need to be beneath the brine, which is easier without a wide surface area.” Her labels are designed so that they can be easily removed and the jars recycled; she collects them from shops as she delivers new supplies.
Emma does (almost) everything for her small business: from wholesale ordering, checking legislation, cooking to delivering. Of course her husband lends a hand, and even her sons get roped in to help. Unsurprisingly, being the kids of an employment lawyer, they insist on fair pay but it’s unclear whether they prefer classical, or a grime beat while they’re working...
Click here for Emma- Louise's Hothouse Q and A - find out her earliest food memory and her guilty food pleasure!
Sign up to Emma's kimchi making workshop at her stall on Sunday 26th August at the Festival. Limited places so get there soon to avoid disappointment! Program line up here.
Meet Matthew Robinson - Head Grower of Forty Hall Farm's Market Garden - interview here!