For several years I have been brewing Kombucha tea in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. My first SCOBY( Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)  came from The Family Cow delivery service of PA, an amazing way to attain raw milk, cheese, produce, eggs, etc.

I found the directions for the tea on their website,

I kept my jar of tea originally above my refrigerator where I had used a digital thermometer to make sure the ambient temperature was at least 75. I am sure occasionally in the winter the temperature fell below 75 , but the scoby continued to thrive. The rhythm of KT( Kombucha Tea) making became a part of life on my farmette....sometimes 1 week, sometimes several weeks went by until I fed the culture sweet tea, and began the cycle again. Sometimes it was sour, sometimes sweet, at times fizzy, other times flat. I enjoyed the inconsistencies, embraced the culinary experiments with secondary fermentation, and just plain had fun sharing my scoby babies with my friends and my chickens.

Because I am always open to learning more about any and everything, even subjects I may feel I " know it all "  about.  I went to two  classes at  MENF ( Mother Earth News Fair) at 7 Springs Resort in the fall of 2016. Hanna Crumb taught 2 classes about Kombucha Tea. One on Saturday, the other on Sunday, and I attended both. She gave away samples of SCOBY  fruit leather that were fantastic. From that moment on, I was on a journey to do more with my scobies and KT recipes. I purchased the Big Book of Kombucha on Kindle, a new SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp , and I have been trying the plethora of ideas and flavorings ever since. I keep my "seedlines" separated, and the babies in separate hotels...some from KK ( Kombucha Kamp ) some from the original Family Cow, some from my  KK Green Tea and Honey line, and some from skin care uses, which can be reused and stored in the hotels.

Keeping these SCOBY cultures alive is challenging and fun. Before winter I wanted to assure that my new KK "babies"  were toasty warm and happy. I put my digital thermometer near my jar, which previously I kept under a cardboard box to hold in heat and prevent direct  light from entering. The temperature did not quite stay as warm as I had hoped. Then it came to me, there was an old wool LL Bean sweater that my children had outgrown  in a donation bag. I pulled it out , cut off the arms, and used a rubber band to hold it around the jar. The temperature remained consistently above 75! But I had at this time 3 batches going at I pulled another item out of the donation bag. An old cashmere scarf that had been washed and lost shape, but was excellent for wrapping around my jar. I placed it near my old wood burner, kept an eye on the temperature inside the scarf, and the jars  stayed warmer wrapped in the cashmere and the wool. The third jar got the old towel treatment, and is doing well, however, I do plan on finding another cashmere or wool item at a thrift store someday.



In February of 2017, my friend Tami Gingrow and I brainstormed and combined our varying fields of expertise to create “Yoga, Facials and Ferments”, a day retreat designed to relax, restore and renew!

The day begins with an invigorating yoga class which concludes with a Scoby masque during savasana! The ____________in the scoby fills the wrinkles in your skin.

Next we enjoy an edible facial bar. Tami being a shameless multi tasker has come up with a delicious and fun way of combining lunch and a spa day for groups. There are 3 courses and 3 steps to the facial using same, same but different ingredients in both.

We wrap up with Audra’s “Intro to Ferments” class in which she offers many tips for beginners to immediately start brewing their own kombucha tea, fermenting all kinds of vegies, and cultivating yogurt.

You of course get to sample many delicious creations. It is a day filled with laughter, delicious food and drink and the company of like minded people!

We love sharing our secrets for living a holistic, fun and well balanced life. Most importantly, we believe in community and we invite you to become a part of ours!! Join us for a retreat or class soon!!

I look forward to sharing more of my culinary fermentation exploits and organic farming tips at future retreats with Tami and Body In Balance Healing Center. Our Bodies stay in Balance many ways.... through activities, daily routines, healthy living and eating, and through  inspiration from others.      


Blessings to all who are also on this journey, and who are open to learn and love the connections between food, body movement activities, and the bacterial cultures that feed and nurture our bodies and minds.



Audra Cruder