How did it all start?
The idea started with the launch of the business back in September 2018. As I was researching the traditional, authentic recipe, truly healthy and delicious KImchi that resonates with the story of my family and hometown, I kept going back to thinking "If I could just show people these traditional Korean clay pots, people will understand what the true Kimchi and Korean fermentation.
So I waited until I could find a location with a big garden where I could house these pots safely. And that happened in July 2020.
What about the garden?
The back of the garden will be dedicated to Doks. It will require work to raise the ground level higher and straight. Due to the soil condition and Dutch climate, I won't be burying the Doks into the ground. So I am considering a few wood + brick structures around these big pots to keep them from extensive rain and sun.
5 more garden beds will be added. Many seeds, sprouts, and plants have been donated to the garden already.
A chicken coop will be built along with a beehive. There will be several compost bins and rainwater collectors.
It is open to the public no matter what. Everyone is welcomed to enjoy it, tend the vegetable gardens, tend the chickens, fillup the compost bins, and so on.
When will the chickens arrive?
Nic who has quickly become 1 of the regular customers has offered to build the chicken coop with her partner Raymond.
Raymond is highly skilled in carpentry, gardening, all-around sustainability work, and then some.
They brought 4 young hens from an organic farm in Assendelft called 'White Ranch'. Unfortunately soon after their arrival at Grand Moon Palace, 2 of the youngest chicks passed away.
While I was saddened by these passing, I am also encouraged to learn more about how to raise chicks better and healthier.
Soon my partner and I will get 2 more chicks, a different breed as well to join the coop, making the hen family a little bit more diverse.
AS of the 18th June, these pots and dishes have arrived in Rotterdam Port and Customs.
Keeping and rearranging
The arrival of 100+ pots and kitchenware was dramatic enough but the hard didn't end there.
Just figuring out where to put all the boxes while some were unpacked and put away or out on certain places to display, still, I had 100 boxes to place in a good place but not in a way of other workshops, events, and customer visits.
When did the idea bloom?
By September 2020, the garden was cleaned up. The soil was raked through, removing a lot of waste that had been thrown there for years.
And the team of Four Bent Corners began shooting the video. Since then a lot of decisions were made fast.
On November 29th, 2020, Kickstarter was launched to raise the fund required for bringing the pots.
What is this pot 'Onggi' about?
Traditional Korea clay pots 'Onggi' (small ones) or 'Dok' (big ones), 'Dok ah ri' ''Hang ah ri' (more umbrella names) is the ancient tool used as refrigeration, fermentation, pickling, and other storage purposes. It is believed to keep insects, bad mold, harmful fungi and etc.
The traditional method took its current shape about 2500 years ago and is still used at homes to this day.
The science research (in Korean unfortunately) discovered that Korean Doks contain the molecular level of air pockets that allow CO2 to be released, creating air circulation and humidity controle.
That ideal environment also allows Kimchi and its microorganisms to 'breath' for years. Soy paste blocks to transform into naturally fermented soy sauce and soy paste.
Who's making these Doks and Onggis?
There are now a small number of government-certified craftsman remained in Korea sadly. After long research and conversations involving people back in Korea, I decided to work with Hwang (Family name) ChoongGhil craftsman from Yesan, Choongcheung Province.
Once we have made all transactions and shipping has initiated, I will add more detailed information on his work, history, and philosophy.
A lot already.
Strawberries, Raspberries, Hostas, beans, green peas, Palmkools, Pumpkins, Squash, Radish, Beets, and so on.
It is the first year for the cleaned soil and the garden beds. They have a lot of healthy compost in the base, and good clean soil on top now.
But many gardeners and farmers advised me that I will have to see how the first year goes with easy plants to see what works and not.
So we will begin with a lot of strawberries this spring and see how the other plants grow during the summer.
Arrived and well!
On the 30th of June, A giant wooden box (230cm x 230 x 230) filled with 100+ fermentation pots and traditional kitchen wares arrived at House of Fermentation. Although the local logistic company has made the day extremely challenging and overwhelmingly upsetting, my partner and I managed to get the pots directly from the massive truck, box by box after my partner broke through the wood box.
I needed to take a few days to actually process what I had to deal with on that day. As much as I was overjoyed with the fact that those pots were finally here after nearly 2 months of waiting, but also to be told practically 'F*** off' from the logistic company, I fell pretty crushed.
Nevertheless, they are here. Things got changed and moved along fast again.