We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Farm to Fermentation Festival in Sonoma County and Small Batch Fermented Veggies

My Traveling Tales by Linda

"We must remember, rediscover, and reclaim our ancestors, however we can, and honor, protect, and perpetuate their gifts, including tangible ones such as seeds and fermentation processes. Cultural revival is necessary in order to maintain their great legacy to us. Keeping it alive is the ultimate in ancestor worship."   — The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Scenes from the 2015 Farm to Fermentation Festival held in Santa Rosa this past Saturday.
A couple of lovebirds pose for me in front of Red Horse Pizza from Sebastopol.

   After a few years of missing the Farm to Fermentation Festival held in my neighboring city of Santa Rosa, California for the past few years, I finally managed to get the event on my calendar and purchase VIP tickets (which included access to the beer, wine and cider vendors) for this popular and casual bash which this year was held for the first time at the large Finley Community Center in order to accommodate the increasing number of enthusiastic attendees.

Woodfour Brewing Company located in the beautiful town of Sebastopol, California.
   America's increasing awareness and love of fermented foods and beverages is something that is exciting to me. I have been extolling the virtues of fermented foods for many years now, and it is great to see that the once nearly forgotten art is gaining in popularity, and people are fermenting all kinds of things in their home kitchens again, as they once did not so very long ago. I have written about how my own father enjoyed stopping by his grandparents' house on his way home from school for a dish of homemade sauerkraut, which he says that he "would rather have than a dish of ice cream".

Foxcraft Hard Ciders were delicious — I especially liked the Blood Orange cider.

Baeltane Brewing out of Novato was serving up delicious artisanal beers.
From Sandor Katz, one of the world's leading proponents and authorities on the art and benefits of fermentation:
Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms – our ancestors and allies – transform food and extend its usefulness. Fermentation is found throughout human cultures. Hundreds of medical and scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods help people stay healthy.
Many of your favorite foods and drinks are probably fermented. For instance: Bread, Cheese, Wine, Beer, Mead, Cider, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Pickles, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Salami, Miso, Tempeh, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha.

Jeff Wilson of Bubbies® spent a great deal of time with us sharing info on large scale fermentation.
The beautiful fermentation crockery on the left is available from Architectural Ceramic Design.
   Mark and I happily wandered through the exhibition halls and tents, both of us sampling a huge array of fermented foods and chatting with the producer/vendors. The biggest surprise for me was just how many craft ciders are being produced. We live in what used to be prime apple-growing territory, which sadly declined in popularity when imported apples from other countries and states caused the price to drop substantially and unfortunately put many apple growers out of business in Sonoma County. It is really nice to see these old orchards reviving with the increasing popularity of hard ciders which are truly delicious. Each cider maker is putting their own spin on their creations—from fruit and herbal additions, to the types of barrels that they are using for aging the cider.

Angela Wooten of Taylor Maid Farms serves up some nitrogen draft tap cold-brewed coffee to Mark. I already had my quota of caffeine for the morning, but I did take a sip. 
Wow... absolutely delicious!
The San Francisco Microscopical Society provided several microscopes 
and slides for attendees to check out. Beneficial bacteria rules!
   We managed to hang out and be entertained for almost the full six hours. The different array of products and knowledgeable people present was truly amazing. We also participated in a fermenting class unexpectedly, when seats became available. More about that with this week's recipe at the bottom of this post.

Sonoma Brinery's handmade sauerkrauts and pickles are delicious and always in my fridge if I am between batches of my own sauerkraut or pickles.
Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli of Tilted Shed Ciderworks. The Barred Rock Barrel-Aged Cider
is aged in Tennessee Bourbon barrels. Yum!!
Ciders from Specific Gravity Cider Company and mead from the San Franciso Mead Company.
   Along with cider, mead, which is made with honey, is where fermented beverages began in human history. In other words—it is ancient and growing in popularity. Our friend, Carly Verhey was representing for Heidrun Meadery located in Point Reyes Station. Check out my visit to Heidrun by clicking here.

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made with vegetables and a variety of seasonings. Current research has shown that it has antiviral properties.
Aruna Lee of Volcano Kimchi—a San Francisco-based producer of quality handmade kimchi.
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider, The Bone Broth Company and Revolution Bread.
Happy Girl Kitchen Co. and Kraut Source—from whom I purchased new fermenting supplies.
Russian River Brewing Company — famous for its elusive Pliny The Elder
and other traditional "hopped-up" brews. These guys were a lot of fun.
Beer Belly Fermentation Supply was brewing right out of the nearby fountain.
   We couldn't have asked for a better day, and there was just too much to fit into one afternoon with all the classes, producers to talk to, and samples to try. We will be going back next year for sure!

Mark and I each came home with a jar of veggies to ferment from the class we attended. We are each trying out a different top that we bought at the festival. Check out the simple recipe below.

Small Batch Femented Vegetables

   While Mark and I were signing in for the day, a couple of young women came out to the line of folks waiting to get in and announced that there were still a few seats available for a class on fermentation. I impulsively jumped at the chance, and before Mark knew what was happening, we were both seated at a table. In front of each of us was a cutting mat and serrated knife, with an array of colorful just-washed vegetables placed in front of us on paper towels. What a great way to start off our day. 

   Our teacher for the class was Nicole Easterday from Oakland, California. Nicole is an urban farmer who teaches urban homesteading classes and offers DIY food demonstrations at the homes of urbanites hoping to reconnect with their food. Each demonstration includes an explanation of why a connection with our food is important, instruction on how to rekindle that connection and innovative products to help get the group started growing and processing their own food at home in an urban environment.

A radiantly pregnant Nicole from FARMcurious poses for me at her booth at the festival.
   My personal issue with fermenting at home, is that the beautiful fermentation crock that I use  makes a very large quantity of fermented food—which is way too much for just two people. We also would like a variety of different fermented items. This problem is solved by a little gadget that Nicole sells through her company, FARMcurious. The shop on FARMcurious sells a cap that will fit on an ordinary wide mouth Mason jar, therefore allowing small batches of things to be made quickly and easily. When finished fermenting, place the original lid on the jar and store in the fridge. Genius!

Special Equipment:

Wide mouth and impeccably clean canning jar
Recap fermenting lid—also washed


Assorted vegetables such as—beets, radishes, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, garlic, scallions and carrots
Herbs such as—fresh rosemary or thyme, and dried bay leaves dill seeds, mustard seeds, etc.

Brine recipe:

For each cup of filtered water add
1 level Tablespoon of sea salt (not coarse) or Kosher salt—do not use iodized salt. Since I believe in the magical properties of sun-dried Celtic sea salt, that is what I use.


Make as much brine as you will need for the quantity of jars you will be making in a large pitcher or vessel. Stirring the water and salt, allow the salt to dissolve in the water. Wash all the vegetables well and then dry them. Cut the veggies into a large dice and layer into your jar. Things that will float to the top like the herbs should be weighted down in the middle by the heavier vegetables on top.

When the jar is filled just under the filling line at the top of the canning jar, fill the jar with the brine solution to cover the vegetables completely. Read the instructions for capping the jar, depending on which top you choose. Allow to ferment anywhere from three to six weeks. When ready, cap veggies with the original lid that came with the jar and refrigerate. Enjoy by themselves or as a side dish with just about anything. Remember—gut health promotes mental health and immunity.

The jar on the left below is capped with a fermentation top sold through Kraut Source.
The one on the right is the cap sold by FARMcurious.


  1. Actually the Farm to Fermentation Festival has been at the Finley center for 3 years now. Great write up other then that.

  2. Sorry for the error... I thought so, too, but wasn't sure since I hadn't been before, so I double checked the event website for 2015. They state that this year was the first time it was at the Finley, so that is what I went with. Glad you enjoyed my account and photos of the day. :-)

  3. Visited there last weekend with a group of friends, and had all the fun we could handle. I really like the ambiance at New York venues. There's a decent draft beer selection at a reasonable price and the bartenders are good at what they do.


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