Our story

Our story

Julie O’Brien & Richard Climenhage


Julie’s Story

Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Julie spent her childhood harvesting fresh seafood, picking ripe berries, foraging for wild greens and learning everything she could from her parents and community members about the local food system. While growing up, planning nutritious meals around seasonal abundance and nourishment for the body was a way of life.

Julie’s love for food, nourishing others and sharing the abundance the local food system stuck with her when she moved to Seattle to start a family.  In 2008 Julie received her Nutritional Therapy certification and during the course was introduced to the impacts of fermented foods on the health and wellness of the whole body.

For Julie, the potential to combine her love for good food and cooking with the ability to nourish and heal unleashed a spark of creativity and turned her into a fermentation junkie.  For years things were fermenting on the counters of her kitchen and friends encouraged her to make larger batches so they could reap the benefits. While trying to decide on the best way to work with people and share this new passion, she joined forces with her partner, Richard Climenhage, to start Firefly Kitchens.

Julie’s gift is a passion for sharing what she knows about innovative ways to prepare food: delicious dishes that foster physical heath and sustainable ways of eating. She is a food lover and activist, eager to bring friends and fun to the table for meals of plenty. She welcomes you to the Firefly Kitchens community.

Richard’s Story

Richard was introduced to Julie when they were both trying to purchase all the grass fed beef bones available from a local Seattle farmer. Both were eager to get their hands on the nutrient rich bones for making bone broth and quickly discovered we had a common goal to create more nutrient rich and nourishing foods for our friends and families. After the first acquaintance they met up at a Weston A. Price conference where had the chance to learn from some industry experts who pioneered the holistic food movement with the popularization of foods like bone broths and fermented vegetables.

Richard had been spending a considerable amount of our time preparing and feeding nutrient rich healing foods to family and friends and truly believed they made a difference to his overall wellness. He and Julie entertained the possibility of sharing this knowledge and amazing food to a wider audience. Their common desire to help improve the livelihood and wellness of others through food and nutritional education became the foundation of the business partnership.

Following a model set up by Three Stone Hearth, a community supported kitchen in Berkeley, CA Julie and Richard went into business as Firefly Kitchens. The goal was to productize these nutrient dense foods, making them available at the local farmers markets and Co-Ops and eventually at some larger organic grocers. The desire then, and now, is to provide nutrient dense, naturally fermented foods to a broad base of consumers and to make the healthy lifestyle that these foods promote more available to today’s everyday consumer.