This is Part 1 of a two-part blog post. This first part was written the day after the event, when I was short on time. Please continue to scroll down and read through this brief section. There is an extensive follow-up blog post, complete with photos of the event, posted today, Oct. 25th.
I am in the process of editing photos from yesterday's event, and plan to blog about it in the next couple days...I just have to say, that the group of people I met yesterday...fermenters / exhibitors, festival goers, and wanna-be fermenters...were the happiest, healthiest group of people I have met in a long time. They must be onto something with all this fermenting.
A few attendees I talked to seemed to think fermentation is a "fad", but since humans have been controlling -- and enjoying -- the fermentation process for thousands of years, I think I can safely assume the fad is here to stay.
I am so inspired!
I have really been looking forward to this day. I finally get to sit down and share my Portland experience, where I gained new insights into fermenting from some very passionate people.
I didn't get a photo of Liz Crain, but she is a co-founder, and was the smiling face behind this desk when everyone arrived at the festival.
I'm going to to take you on a tour of the 2010 PDX Fermentation Festival, mostly through photos and some brief descriptions. I plan to expand on each one of these topics in the future, as I delve more deeply into them one by one. Because I was so inspired by the people and the foods at the Fermentation Festival, I now have Kefir mother and a jar of "Kraut Demo" Sauerkraut in my fridge, a jug of Kombucha fermenting on the counter (c'mon SCOBY!) and I have plans to make fermented peppers, (more) KimChi and what the heck, I might as well bake some sourdough rye bread while I'm at it, right? Anybody wanna share their sourdough starter with me?
Chris Musser, from Lost Arts Kitchen, with Heidi Nestler, who is prepping for the "Kraut Demo". Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of Chris demonstrating how to make Condiments. By the time her demo started the room was way too crowded!
George Winborn, co-founder of the Fermentation Festival, manning his "Kraut Demo" station.
I knew it was going to be fun when I learned there not only would be there be a very educational hands-on demonstration, but there were SAMPLES to take home too.
I was happy to see so many "young fermenters" in attendance, and they were all having fun learning, and eating plenty of samples too!
George, explaining the process of making Sauerkraut, with the help of 2 capable volunteers.
Volunteers took turns, pounding the Sauerkraut mixture (veggies + salt).
George brought jars so festival goers, like me, could take some Sauerkraut home!
Must be something to this fermenting stuff, because everyone in the room was so darn happy.
I didn't get to talk to Dan MacDonald, because he was quite busy the entire night...
...but I do know one thing...he sure made some delicious fermented radishes!
Her business card said "Peg Butler, Picklemaker". In the lower right-hand corner you'll see Sourdough Rye bread samples, which she made to go with her equally delicious Sour Pickles.
Linda and her helper were turning out several types of incredible non-dairy Kefir...
...including Goji Berry! As tasty as it was beautiful to look at.
Yes, I was able to talk Linda Swanson-Davies into sharing Kefir mother with me.
Thank you again Linda!!!
Sous chef Ed Ross and his KimChi. Be still my heart. I could eat this stuff all day.
I couldn't resist posting one more photo of biwa's KimChi.
Tierra Soul Urban Farmhouse handed out their Cortido (Latin American Sauerkraut) samples, along with the recipe, from "Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions". In one word? Addictive.
Yes, Fermented Salmon...
...such a perfect way to showcase the Pacific Northwest.
All of it, super tasty.
Anne Berblinger, from Gale's Meadow Farm, with her Fermented Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Peppers, and Garlic Cloves. Mama Mia!
Needless to say, this entire evening was a photographer's dream come true!
Rounding out the evening is the Picklopolis.com table...
David Barber, shown here at his Picklopolis table, is a key figure in Portland's pickling scene as well as a co-founder of the Fermentation Festival.
Regrettably, I didn't get a photo of the gals from Eva's Herbucha at their table, but I confess that I had to sneak back and nab a second sample of their Kombucha. Their ginger-y delight left me wanting more.
One other fermented food I didn't mention yet is Natto. I learned quite a bit about Natto from spending a few minutes with Heidi Nestler. Her enthusiasm for this traditional Japanese breakfast food is contagious. She very patiently explained Natto to me, even though it's really her husband's passion. Unfortunately her husband, Daisuke Fukushima, was unable to attend, due to a prior commitment, but you can learn more about all things natto on his fun website, nattoking.com.
I live in Seattle, but happily made the 360 mile round trip down & back in the same day. It was well worth it. I'm still dreaming about all the things I could be fermenting, and all the people I want to share the many nutritional benefits* of fermentation with.
Fermentation isn't new to me, but let's face it, how often do I get a chance to taste & enjoy, all in the same room, in the framework of 2 hours, artisan-made kefir (both dairy and non-dairy), pumpkin yogurt, (2 types of) kombucha, sauerkraut (both Latin American "Cortido" and classic-style), not to mention just-baked sourdough rye bread, fresh-churned butter, goat cheese chevre`, green jalapeno sauce, Kim Chi and fermented salmon? Oh, and then there was the astonishing array of fermented vegetables: green tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, and garlic cloves!
The people I met that night were my kind of folks. Passionate about what they do, and willing to take the time & effort necessary to achieve optimum results using high quality ingredients.
One thing to know: Fermentation and instant gratification do not really go hand-in-hand. Good things come to those who wait. Thank goodness when a craving hits me, I only have to go as far as my fridge, where I still have a large crock of last month's NYC-style Sour Dill Pickles. They will tide me over while I wait, somewhat impatiently, for all of my new projects to come to fruition.
As I was leaving the building, I couldn't help one last quick over-the-shoulder photo, this time of the Ecotrust. I could see the Fermentation Festival, in full swing, through the second-floor window, and I think I could smell a bit of garlic & brine wafting through the still night air.
It was such a beautiful day, and it turned into a perfect evening.
Ecotrust Building in Portland, Oct 2010
(For those who were waiting for this post, my apologies. I have been eager to write about last week's Fermentation Festival, but I've been busy, including spending yesterday out in the country, in rural Poulsbo, teaching students how to make Pear Chutney & Pumpkin Butter at the Farm Kitchen. It was just about as close to Heaven as I've been in awhile!)
*Links to interesting articles on health benefits of fermented foods: