A Conversation with Dr. Yasmine Mason of Fermentation Farm

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fermentation farm interview with Yasmine Mason

There are a lots of normal people like you and I out there doing great things and if you’re looking to be inspired, there’s likely someone very close to you to be inspired by... and in this case, it’s the owner of an incredibly clever fermented food business in our neighboring city of Costa Mesa, California.  The owner of this passion project goes is a Chiropractor by the name Dr. Yasmine Mason... or Yas for short.  =)

Established 10 years ago, the fuel to Yas’s business, Fermentation Farm, was to promote the health benefits of fermented foods along with restoring the lost artistry behind fermentation.  Further, she offers fermentation classes to help anyone interested in learning not only the basics of fermentation but also the personal recipes she’d learn along the way..as well as the ones she sells there!  And because Melissa’s (our recent hire) other part-time job happens to be at Ferm Farm, we had the pleasure of learning about the market’s amazingness through an employees perspective and it didn’t take long for us to make our way out to Costa Mesa to experience the perspective of a patron.  

fermentation farm interview with Yasmine Mason

As anticipated, Fermentation Farm in our shoes is a true gem serving as an open kitchen space where their fermented products (i.e. Kombucha, bone broth, yogurt, kimchi, Jun, etc.) are made & sold regularly on the spot.  Sampling products is heavily encouraged and every employee seemed genuinely knowledgeable & excited in the art of fermentation.  It’s a great feeling to be in that space and after 15 minutes of sampling their products while learning heaps from our personal host, we couldn’t help but to feel substantially healthier.  And because we felt inspired by our short experience at FF along with the many cool things we’ve heard about Yas through Melissa, we’d decided to sit Yas down for a quick interview so that we can learn even more from the creative mind behind Ferm Farm.  

Fermentation at the ferm farm

Side Note:  Inspiration to us is everything, it’s practically the force that promotes life.  Hopefully after reading through the interview, you’ll feel inspired in one way or another from topics ranging from healthy food to manifestation and entrepreneurship.  Further, as with everything else we promote, keeping an open mind is quite helpful.  As you likely already know, there are many perspectives to everything and if a particular perspective doesn’t serve you, there’s no need to take it personal. To take it a step further, we encourage you to even go as far as appreciating it.  If we don’t appreciate differences within others, how could we expect the Universe to allow others to appreciate the differences we repress within us?   =)

Without further ado, we hope you’ll enjoy this conversation between Dr. Yasmine Mason & Melissa.

 Kombucha and Jun Bottlerefillable growlers for their Jun or Kombucha.

How did you get started? 

I started making fermented vegetables & fermented raw dairy yogurt around the time Dax was born. As chiropractors we don’t just help people with chiropractic, we also help them with nutrition. We have acupuncturists & massage therapists, it was kind of like a wellness place. I started reading more about fermented foods and how they really help with gut health, so I started making these for our patients that had issues. Then my kitchen got overrun by kombucha, yogurt, bone broth; everything just bubbling everywhere. So I was looking for a space that was kind of a commercial kitchen so that I could move everything out of my kitchen. And a place where if people wanted to come learn they could.

Then parents at my kids’ school were like “Oh I heard so and so said you're making kombucha; you're making fermented vegetables. I want to try bone broth; I want to try yogurt; they say that yogurt is the best thing ever, I want to try that! So then it was just more and more people were wanting it. This little 800 sq ft space here was Munchies Late Night Pizza. They were out of business and it was a commercial business so I just moved right in here. The rest is history. Now every time someone moves out we just take over their spot *laughs*

So your patients really saw a difference just from eating fermented vegetables and drinking the broth?

Yes. Probiotics. We always had probiotics that we sold at the chiropractic office. Standard process. I’ve done a lot more research since then on quality probiotics. And I think just in general there’s a consciousness now of people thinking like ‘Oh wow I don’t have to just take steroids; ‘cause that’s really the only thing they have in medicine that they have is to take anti-inflammatories like steroids drugs; like prednozone, and things like that to decrease gut inflammation.

Instead, adding things that decrease inflammation and taking out the things that are inflaming your gut in the first place.  

Yeah exactly, things that are causing the problem. But some people have long standing problems and there’s a lot of reasons why people have destroyed gut lining.

People are not paying attention to quality.  I wish every single factory farm would close on the planet & that we only had access to really high quality sustainable and good (meats).
You’re supposed to just have a few ounces of meat in a day. It’s okay to have a vegetarian meal, it’s okay to have a meal where you just have a big salad with vegetables and maybe just a little sliced egg on it or something you know. You don’t have to have steak three times a day.

Yeah and you also don’t have to eat an entire jar of Kimchi everyday.

Yeah, there’s this big fallacy like I gotta go overboard with everything all the time. Its like our mentality, like no, moderation with everything, especially with things like meat products.

What's your take on how health and psychology are connected?

Being a doctor a lot of stuff is based on research, right. And there’s a ton of research connecting the mind and the body. So I was just talking to someone who I’m helping with fertility. She’s had a couple miscarriages and she has a couple little polyps in her uterus. And the uterus is huge. Like territory wise it’s a lot of space and she has these three little teeny tiny polyps and the doctor is trying to convince her that that’s why she’s having miscarriages. And I’m like no, there’s just no way. There’s so much other space other than those tiny little three spots in the uterus where the egg can implant. There’s a lot of reasons to miscarry and that’s just not it. So they wanted to go in there and it would be a $5,000 surgery to & scrape these three little polyps off. I said do not do that because YOU can shrink them if you want. I think you can think about these little polyps and you can shrink them. So same kinda thing, you can heal your gut by thinking about it. But its probably not enough just to think about it. You’ve got to give your body the nutrients that are missing that caused the problem. So by dousing your body with the nutrient that it needs to heal and also focusing your mental energy on ‘this is going to heal because I'm taking in collagen now to heal these cracks & imagine those cracks in your gut lining. Every time you take a sip of that bone broth and every time you add the collagen, you’re thinking about it going through your gut lining and actually healing those little cracks… That for sure is hugely powerful. More powerful than just thinking about it and thinking ‘I wish they would heal I wish they would heal’ or just drinking bone broth and not having any consciousness about it. But combining the two is definitely the best way to go. So for her, she’s deficient in progesterone and that’s why she keeps miscarrying and those polyps are formed because of too much estrogen in her body which makes an imbalance; so adding progesterone into her body and thinking every time I put this progesterone cream on, these polyps are shrinking. That’s the way.

Yeah i think something interesting too is how fear is a really fast manifestor. So also worrying about miscarrying or not getting pregnant you’re putting it out there.

That self fulfilling prophecy.

The power of suggestion inside our own body from our own brain is huge. And there’s tons of research about that. Some people might think its whacky or woo woo but it’s true. Once you put the proper nutrition there and then you put the intention behind it, thats huge.

Every single cell in our body works because our brain is telling it what to do. And our hormones are telling it what to do and thats’ all stemming from everything up here… going down here. And you know that goes back to chiropractic philosophy “above, down, inside, out.” Your brain, down into your body, and then you’re healthy inside out. Right. Thats a little thing we say in chiropractic all the time. For it to be right, your stress levels have to be down, positive mental attitude, all that stuff. Everything you're thinking.. just imagine every cell in your body has the same brain that you have up here; they’re thinking the same thing. The thought process up here is creating all the thought process in every cell.

And Deepak Chopra has this whole thing for people who have say like a cancer in their body. He talks about eating properly and nutrition that sort of thing but also when you have time to sit down and think about how you want this cancer to go away. Another huge way to get cancer to go away is to up your white blood cell. Say we’re talking about like a cancerous mass like in breast tissue or prostate tissue or something like that. Then you want to think about your white blood cells like snow falling onto this black rock.. ‘Cause we say cancer is like a black rock. I don’t even know if they are really black; sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But you think about this hard thing, this mass, it’s impermeable and its hurting me and this (healing) snow (white blood cells).. If you can control your brain enough where you can get your white blood cells to act on that, then there’s a huge amount of power in your intention.

Fermentation Farm Kitch

So what do you feel as a business owner and just in life what your philosophy is?

We’ve had our chiropractic office for 20 years, so just have always had our professional lives, Derek & I … helping people. It just comes from a place of helping people. And you know when your intentions are pure and you really are there just for people then magical things happen. It’s like ‘oh gosh you’re so lucky that this happened.’ Derek and I don’t ever really think that’s luck… Winning the lottery is lucky. But the way your life turns out, that’s not really lucky it’s planning. We call it Pluck. Planned luck. So you become lucky when you plan to have it that way. So instead of lucky or you’re so lucky we say were plucky. Its kind of a silly thing. There’s a super old thing there was this Chiropractor that came and talked to us and gave us that idea of planning your luck. If you have a good plan and solid intentions and you stick it out and your there for people then you will be lucky. Or plucky.

Yeah which sounds like manifesting your own success.

Yeah. You’re manifesting it. I’m not lucky, it wasn’t lucky, I planned this. Did I plan to be this busy? And take this whole side of the building? I didn’t plan that. But I planned to help people. I made a space for people to be able to come, and learn, and be better, and do better, and get healthier. That’s it and I thought a couple people would come here and there .. *laughs*

My favorite podcast is “How I built this” on NPR, it’s excellent, it’s all these small businesses that became huge businesses and how they did it and it’s so inspiring as a small business owner because I hear so many things in their stories that are so similar; everyone kind of has to go through the same school of hard knocks a little bit. When you have a business that’s going from an idea, to a small business, huge. You know. Im talking about like Whole Foods look at how Whole Foods started and Amazon bought it for how many billions of dollars...started out as a little teeny tiny market and now look at it so many years later. And again, these things happen over 10, 20, 30 years. Who knows what will happen for us, we definitely want to open some other locations.

So what are your thoughts on clothing and how it affects health?

Well, I mean the textile industry has been known for hundreds of years on how toxic the process is to make textiles. So toxicity I think is a huge huge thing that most people don't know much about. It’s the same thing with skin care products. Most people don’t know a lot of those products have chemicals and you put it right onto your skin and it absorbs right into your body and it’s the same thing with clothes it’s right on your skin. If you’re not paying attention to all the different external chemicals, and toxins out there just going right into your body. It’s been revealed and proven.

Especially things like underwear! So close to your skin.

Yeah. *leans into phone* thank you for the underwear by the way! Derek loves it.

OK the last question is what are your three major influences in life?

Well, um, sheesh that’s hard. Well my mom’s French. Her and my grandmother probably helped me understand food. If my dad reads that he’s gonna be mad because he’s a chef. OK so, the foodie side of me comes my french side and my filipino side, my dad’s from the Philippines and he’s a chef and we raised our own pigs. I grew up on a pig farm, we raised our own meat sustainably, all organic, you know the whole nine yards. That’s in the 70s mind you. And my moms French and her mom and her grandma (my grandma and my great grandmother) they were super foodies and loved to cook so i learned french pastry making from them. Lots of baking from them. And then savory food probably from my dad. Just like the love of crafting of food, making it really beautiful, using really clean pure ingredients, making it really really good; that’s how my grandma and great grandma cooked and I loved learning with them how to make French food and then my dad being a chef. I love filipino food so we will have some soups and stuff in the soup and chili bar.

As far as business and fermentation influence, Sandor Katz because he’s the one whose books I started reading because really there wasn’t really any other books out there. He’s kind of known as the father of modern fermentation he kind of brought it back. He’s the reason we even have Fermentation Farm because he was bringing fermentation to people. It was helping him so much, he had some health challenges and started fermenting food and he was like everybody needs to know this! And he went on a one man mission around the country would set up shop anywhere anyone would listen. Teaching people how to make sauerkraut so they could make it for themselves at home.. So my whole idea about fermentation come from him. And I actually got to go to his house and do a week of fermenting in Tennessee in 2016. He takes 12 people to his house for a week and you learn all kinds of crazy stuff, he’s a really cool guy. He’s the one that really taught me pretty much everything I know and got me interested enough in having a little shop. He was like Sandor thinks we should all have it! I think we should all have it! SO then it kind of came from that. Just reading about him and his world travels. “The Art of Fermentation” was his second book & he went all around the world and saw all the cultures that are super super healthy and what fermented foods they eat and the ones who eat the most fermented foods are like the healthiest people. You know in french culture there’s a lot of fermentation. Cheese all the cheese is fermented, all raw, just really really important how the quality of the ingredients are. That all stems from my grandparents too.

Third, probably BJ Palmer is the son of DD Palmer and DD Palmer is the one who invented the profession of chiropractors. We love being chiropractors so much. It is just like the best thing on the planet to be a chiropractor. You can help people with nothing but your two hands. You can help them on such a major level and you don’t have to give them a drug .. I mean here (Ferm Farm) I gotta give them food, I gotta give them a supplement, but to be able to help people with literally just with your two hands; you can impact somebodies health just by touching them and doing some adjustments. And DD Palmer is the one who invented it and his son BJ Palmer is the one who really turned it into a profession. He started the first chiropractic school in Davenport, Iowa and then now we have 40,000 chiropractors just in California. And again it’s just one person saying ‘Hey, I think I’m onto something here and this is going to impact the health of billions of people down the road,” right…. Like Sandor Katz. these people started out really really small and were like ‘Hey I have an idea and this idea is going to impact billions of people down the road…”



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