Kitchen Witch Bone Broth has enjoyed sustained growth since it was last featured in Edible Monterey Bay two years ago. The artisanal, small-batch bone broth purveyor has swelled from three employees—founders Magali Brecke, Missy Woolstenhlume and Rhiannon Henry—to 10, from producing 200 jars of broth a week to close to a thousand, and from a customer pick-up model to shelf presence in some 45 retail outlets as far north as Sonoma and as far south as Los Angeles.
But some things have—quite intentionally—stayed exactly the same. “It’s been a big theme for us to maintain the integrity we had when we were really small,” explains Brecke, who heads the kitchen and is the nutritional brains behind the operation. “We haven’t changed that much. It’s still a 24-hour simmer, the bones are all organic and from the best sources we can find, and it’s very hands-on and artisanal.”
Importantly, its gelatin-rich broths are still sold in glass jars—something the founders are not willing to change, even though it’s costlier and a deterrent to some distributors. For these reasons, Brecke says Kitchen Witch is one of only two bone-broth companies that packages in glass. (The other is owned by General Mills, she says.)
“We have sacrificed a lot to maintain that integrity,” she says. “We’d rather not make the broth than put it in plastic. We’ve always maintained that we’ll stay in glass because that’s what bone broth should be in. It’s a true, home-cooked health tonic that shouldn’t be compromised.” Kitchen Witch retailers across the Bay Area offer a dollar back on returned jars.
Earlier this year, Brecke spearheaded Kitchen Witch’s latest iteration of its high standards and ideals: a monthly five-day cleanse program. The “Reset Your Gut” cleanse, which offers 20 spots for participants each round, has sold out every month since launching in February. For $275, customers receive 15 jars of soup and five jars of bone broth—enough for three meals of soup each day and fortifying cups of bone broth in between.
“I developed this cleanse as a way to show people how they can use bone broth and how it can be versatile and part of your daily life,” says Brecke. “Also, it’s a dream come true for me that normal people out there in the world will take five days to stop eating their normal diet and stop eating, in general—maybe for the first time in their lives take a break from consuming all day.”
The soups are made with local, organic and seasonal vegetables and either chicken or turkey broth. All are pureed, which gives the body a break from the hard work of digestion. Designed to be anti-inflammatory, none of the soups contain any dairy, gluten, sugar, legumes or grains. They come in flavors like Turmeric-Ginger Carrot, Healing Greens, and Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic.
Unlike trendy juice cleanses, this cleanse is meant to satiate and nourish partakers: In a juice cleanse, explains Brecke, one only gets the liquid from the vegetables, but none of the fiber or nutrients. As a result, many people are constantly hungry, while suffering blood sugar spikes and crashes. Brecke’s filling soups, on the other hand, deliver fiber and carbohydrates from the vegetables, fats from coconut oil, and protein from the broth. The bone-broth boosts enjoyed in between soup meals provide another boost of protein, minerals and micronutrients. “You’re taking away any source of inflammation food-wise,” she says, “and by just doing that for five days your body sighs in relief.”
Brecke requests that customers also drink plenty of water and herbal teas throughout the cleanse. Those looking to crank it up a notch can also cut out caffeine and other toxins, although this typically makes the five-day period more challenging.
Kitchen Witch takes a survey of each month’s participants once they’ve completed the program, and have been hearing wonderful feedback. Many people use the cleanse to kick start a longer-lasting dietary change, lose weight healthily, address a health condition, or simply take a break from cooking.
“A lot of people say they felt nourished, light, clean and energized,” says Brecke. “That’s what we hear—that they feel super vibrant after doing the cleanse.” While the anti-inflammatory nature of the cleanse is great for those with inflammation-based health conditions, Brecke says inflammation is a part of modern life that affects nearly everyone. “Inflammation begins in the gut and this is a really tried and true way to take that down,” she adds.
Those interested in participating in a Kitchen Witch cleanse can visit kitchenwitchbroth.com/cleanse to learn about the current month’s program or email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about future months. Customers in the Santa Cruz area may pick up their cleanse package at Kitchen Witch’s headquarters (254 Potrero St., Santa Cruz) or pay a small delivery fee. Orders can also be shipped anywhere on the West Coast for a $30 fee.
Elizabeth Limbach is an award-winning journalist living in Santa Cruz, California. In this fruitful region and beyond, she finds the intersections of food, ag, health and the environment to be the most intriguing realms to write about. A bookworm and vegan foodie, the San Diego native has lived in Santa Cruz for a decade, relishing its redwood forests, fresh produce, delicious wines, and sparkling sea.