When most parents tell their children they have a nutritious snack to try, the options don’t usually elicit shouts of joy. Luckily for Jared and his kids, his imagination won out when he figured out how to make nutritious popsicles.
And it didn’t stop there. After mastering the art of fermenting probiotic cultures for those frozen delights, he moved on to other fermented (and tasty) items. Today, if you follow him through the kitchen at OKC’s Urban Agrarian, he’s almost like an energetic museum docent when he describes all of the little scientific treats he’s come up with.
His creative probiotic journey has resulted in sodas, kombucha, and granola to go along with the popsicles.
“The sodas have been a great way to get the word out about probiotics to a larger audience,” says Jared.
He says that he’s not so much trying to push a miracle food or a diet as he is an awareness of how food interacts with our bodies. The body needs probiotics, or healthy bacteria, and Jared has been trying to come up with as many useful (and enjoyable) ways as possible for people to add those good bacteria to their guts.
Jared says he even has plans for beauty products. “I’m just continuing to build the brand, and I want to change the way people look at foods. The foods we eat now—they’re all dead. I want to bring foods to life. Even the granola. It’s all fermented. Most granola that says ‘probiotic’ just has a bit of yogurt thrown in, but everything in this has been fermented. There’s nothing like it on the market.”
By adding good bacteria to people’s food, Jared believes that the improved digestion that comes along with it can benefit everyone, no matter what their lifestyle or general diet. Aside from stressing the health benefits, though, he simply wants to be known as the guy who makes stuff that tastes good. “If people want to be healthy, that’s great, but I want people to enjoy the sodas, too,” he says.
Jared spends about half of every week in the Urban Agrarian kitchen creating and packaging his products. In the walk-in refrigerator there are various sizes of containers at different stages of fermentation, and his excitement is palpable showing off each product. It’s like a science fair where all the projects involve tasty results. There’s even a fermented coffee: “If you want a Frappuccino-type drink, this could be a great replacement for the sweetener or cream you might add to it, and you get all the benefits of the probiotics in the fermented coffee,” Jared says.
All of the products are available online at jaredspropops.com, and you can also pick up some of the items at Urban Agrarian in the Farmer’s Market District. The website provides a membership and delivery service where you can sign up for monthly shipments of sodas (an impressive list of flavors, by the way—hibiscus, ginger ale, sarsaparilla, etc.), popsicles, granola (fun options including Coffee Berry, Green Tea Blueberry, or Tropical), kombucha (you can go with a more sweet entry-level version or a traditional variety with some bite to it), or a sampler of a bunch of different items. Each of the subscription options is $50 per month.
Even if you don’t sign up, there’s a wealth of information on the website about Jared’s story, the processes he uses to create his products, and digestive health in general.