Jenn Brown, left, with Foraged & Found Production Manager Ciarra Perro. Courtesy Foraged & Found
While working as a chef on yachts traveling the Inside Passage, Jenn Brown discovered edible aquatic plants, mushrooms, and other Alaskan foods that aren’t renowned like crab, halibut, and salmon. She began incorporating those ingredients into familiar favorites like salsa and pesto. When Brown sold some of her experimental goods at the Ketchikan Blueberry Festival in 2017, the products were a hit and local retailers inquired about carrying the items in their store. That sparked a business idea for Brown, and she spent an off season building a business plan for Foraged & Found.
Foraged & Found now has staple product lines including salsa fortified with bull kelp, sea asparagus pesto, bull kelp pickles, and kelp pasta sauce. Brown continues to experiment and some of those products, like blueberry barbecue sauce, salmonberry vinaigrette, and fiddlehead chimichurri, are offered on a limited release. “We just have fun with it when we can,” Brown says.
Brown also had environmental and economic sustainability in mind when she started Foraged & Found. The company collaborates with the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to safeguard against pulling too much biomass from the environment. Some kelp harvest is done by fishermen, which provides an opportunity to diversify their income. And the processing is done in an old canning factory in Ketchikan, which provides locals with jobs not tied to seasonal tourism.
For Brown, the core of the business is centered on sharing her love for southeast Alaska. “I love southeast Alaska so much. Being out there, sitting down in the middle of a forest and picking things is really fun for me,” she says. “For me, it’s kind of a way to take that experience and turn it into something I can share.”
Learn more online at foragednfound.com.