Ready, set, pickle! It’s time for the annual Fermentation Festival, where brewers, picklers, cheesemakers, chocolatiers, ciderists, winemakers and other enthusiastic fermenters share their passion for all things preserved. Here are six reasons to get thee to the Fermentation Festival…
1. Drink Booze: Let’s be honest, beer, wine and spirits beat out pickles any day, I don’t care who you are. As one of the world’s oldest fermented foods, alcohol gets the VIP treatment at the event, with more than 20 brewers, wineries, ciderists and distilleries pouring. Some faves include Shady Oak Barrel House (a newcomer with great sours), Henhouse, Tilted Shed, Sonoma County Distilling Co., Wrangletown Cider Company, Frey Vineyards, Bear Republic and many more. (VIP tickets required for the Libation Lounge”).
2. Root Beer Floats: Triple Root Beer from The Kefiry and ice cream from Staus Family Creamery (and non dairy ice cream from Coconut Bliss) go together like, well, root beer and ice cream. Get in my belly!
3. Killer Kraut: All the cool kids are making their own sauerkraut these days, and you’ll have a chance to try plenty of them, along with kimchi, pickles and other fermented yumminess. Home kraut makers can compete to become the King or Queen of Kraut. What a crock!
4. Create Some Curds: Private classes from cheese celebrity Janet Fletcher and Julia Berner of Tomales Farmstead Cheese teach you how to turn a gallon of milk into fresh ricotta, chevre or homemade yogurt. It’s actually a whole lot easier (and cheaper) than you think. Plus, tastings!
5. Bean to Bar Chocolate: Yes, chocolate is a fermented food as well. Chocolate makers Jonas Ketterle of Firefly chocolate and Liam Blackmon of CACOCO Drinking chocolate give you a tour of the delicious world of cacao.
6. Find the Fountain of Youth: Well, okay, we might be overselling it, but the probiotics in fermented foods are proven to be powerful superfoods. Karen Diggs of Kraut Source explains why fermented foods are an anti-aging secret, Kombucha Mamma Hannah Crum talks about healthy gut bacteria and nutritionist Mary Shiela Gonnella shows why our bones love fermented foods.
Farm to Fermentation Festival 2016, Saturday Aug. 27 from 11a.m. to 5p.m., Finley Center, Santa Rosa. General admission tickets, $25; VIP Tickets, $45, children under 16, free. Tickets at the gate are $30. Additional tickets may be required for some talks, $20 each. More details online at farmtofermentation.com.
A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Sebastopol Grange Hall’s commercial kitchen upgrade.
Check out Farm to Fermentation Festival organizer Jennifer Harris on the web series, Spoiled to Perfection.
Featured photo is a still from the Spoiled to Perfection series.