On a Monday morning in late January, as the sun was burning up the frost around Will and Shoshauna Routley’s farm in Abbotsford, B.C., Will loaded their truck with a couple of kegs and a keg fridge. During the previous five months, they had been building their new business, which culminated in that day. Will was heading out to deliver some Healthy Hooch kombucha.
“It’s a full ma-and-pa operation. We both called this past season our last. The two of us have been full gas on setting up this new business,” said Will, still using cycling phrases such as “full gas” even in his new role an entrepreneur and kombucha brewer. The polka dot jersey and stage winner of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California had raced the past three years with the Circuit Sport continental project – Optum and now Rally Cycling. Shoshauna rode for Hagens Berman/Supermint in her final year as a pro. In August, with the help of family, they converted the barn on their two-acre property into a place to ferment tea.
“Our shop looks like a tiny microbrewery,” Will said. “It’s the same equipment and similar process. You’re taking something and fermenting it, which completely changes the flavour. Then you’re fine-tuning it with little additives like fruit juices or herbs.” In keeping with the craft brewery connection, soon after that first delivery day, Healthy Hooch was available as a guest tap at Trading Post Brewing in Fort Langley.
Even though the new hooch is the focus for Will and Shoshauna, they still might return to cycling. Will said that if they are able to develop a marketing budget, they’d like to put some of it to youth or women’s cycling.
Their recipe is something from Spain – where they had lived and trained – that they’ve Canadianized with maple syrup. “Salads were our thing during our stay in Girona,” Shoshauna said. “We would train during the day and come up with delicious recipes. We picked up fresh veggies from the market a couple times a week and searched for new and interesting things to try. We definitely didn’t shy away from Catalan delicacies, such as shrimp with their heads still attached and caragol [snails]. Girona gem ensalada is one recipe from our arsenal that we developed in Girona. We loved it there and made sure to take it home with us.”
⅓ cup raw, halved walnuts
⅓ cup raw, halved pecans
⅓ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup maple syrup (liquid honey works as well)
½ tsp salt
½ lb. strawberries, quartered
½ cucumber, chopped
40 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 small to medium head red leaf lettuce, chopped
5 large Italian kale leaves, deveined and thinly chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp roasted sesame oil goat cheese
1. Start by making candied nuts. In a pan at medium heat, roast dry nuts and sesame seeds while stirring continuously for seven minutes until roasted and brown.
2. Set heat to low, and then stir in maple syrup and salt until the syrup has a crystallized, sticky consistency. Do not let the sugars burn, which can happen quickly.
3. Let pan cool in the fridge.
4. Chop the fruits and vegetables. For presentation, layer kale and lettuce on a longer serving platter, and then distribute all the colourful veggies evenly. Finish with strawberries.
5. Crumble desired amount of goat cheese.
6. Break apart candied nuts and distribute evenly.
7. In a sealable container, combine soy sauce, honey, water and sesame oil. Seal and shake vigorously. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad.
8. Do not toss. No one likes a limp salad.
9. Bon appetite.