Seek North Kombucha

Seek North Kombucha co-founders Philippe Trinh (front) & Julian Lesser (back)

Seek North

Seek North Kombucha

Entrepreneur Credits Food Preservation Classes

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) offers resources and workshops for a community of life-learners, youth leaders, and entrepreneurs – connecting University resources to Extension professionals and communities across New York State. One of CCE’s more popular nutrition education programs is food preservation. This program attracts participants for hands-on experiences in an array of home-food preservation methods, from the boiling bath and pressure canning methods, to gelled products, pickling, drying, and freezing.

Back in 2014, we held these workshops here at the Ulster County Extension office in Kingston with our very own Master Food Preserver, Janie Greenwald. Little did we know that five years later we’d receive a note from the award-winning co-founders of Seek North Kombucha, Philippe Trinh and Julian Lesser, thanking Janie and Cornell Cooperative Extension for their experiences and the scientific “know-how” behind food preservation and fermentation.

Hi Janie, I was just reflecting on my introduction and journey with fermentation over the weekend... And I just wanted to say thank you for all the hands-on classes and workshops back in 2014! One day I was in your class just learning about fermentation and now my partner and I have a successful fermented beverage company, Seek North Kombucha. It's really amazing how the universe works and how a simple class and program got me deeper into fermentation. I can't thank you all enough for all the canning, fermenting, and preserving experiences and classes!

At the time, Philippe was interested in learning how to preserve leftover harvests from his home garden. Later, Philippe's partner Julian was diagnosed with Neurological Lyme Disease from a hiking trip where he was bit by an infected tick. After consuming many antibiotics, they turned to their fermentation skills learned through the fermentation program at Cornell Cooperative Extension in hopes of finding alternative relief. This led to Philippe’s experimentation with kombucha and the birth of Seek North.

Seek North can now be found at over 300 retailers online and across New York State, including Taste NY, a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension to promote food, beverages and gifts made by New York farmers, processors and artisans. In addition, Philippe and Julian have partnered with the Global Lyme Alliance, donating a portion of the proceeds to conquering Lyme Disease through research, education, and awareness.

Congratulations to both Philippe and Julian for turning their vision and search for better health into a successful (and delicious) Hudson Valley based company. For more information about their journey visit


Janie Greenwald
Nutrition Educator, Master Food Preserver
845-340-3990 ext. 326

Last updated February 7, 2020