Fermentation: One of the World’s Greatest Farm Arts

Fermentation and farming have gone hand and hand for us, always. As a fresh food lover and lover of food alchemy, fermentation is as deeply satisfying an art form as farming–at least for me. But the two seriously go together. For farmers that don’t have/can’t afford cold storage–and have a tiny fridge for ourselves that is already filled with ferments–we use fermentation partially as a means of waste diversion by allowing as much perfectly good produce, that had only one opportunity to find a home (market) but didn’t, to be preserved and glorified by the all magical lactobacilli.Image

 

Sometimes at Elder Fire we grow things specifically with the intention to lactoferment it: this year, it was primarily cabbage, more cabbage, pickling cucumbers, kohlrabi, turnips, hot peppers, and radishes that were sown with the intention to ferment. Most times we work with whatever is leftover from market, or whatever we have an abundance of in the field, in addition to produce from other growers that inspire us (like garlic/garlic scapes from Heron Homestead, yum)–but there is no end to the experimentation and plant food combinations, and some of the best ferments came about by chance or a wild and crazy idea. ImageWell, I’m here to tell you the joy and art of fermentation is not just ours as growers, though having an abundance of fresh veggies certainly initiates the process, it’s, of course, all of ours, as locavores and foodies and health nuts and artists and alchemists–nothing fancy or doled out or sold by the FDA is necessary to make delicious and perfectly safe lacto fermented food.ImageAs of several weeks ago, we started bringing fermented veggies to market, and have had great feedback!    With new ferments being made every week, new ones are then ready every week; it’s an exciting venture for us to have something new to add to the palate every couple of days. Here’s a list of some of the ferments we’ve brought so far:

Chipotle Kraut, Farmer (kim) Chi, Fennel Relish, Fennel Kraut, CROCK pickles, Mixed Veggie Pickles, Garlic Scape Chipotle turnips/radish, Sweet Chili Sauce, and Fire and SMOKE hot sauce. 

This week we’ll have new ones to share–so stop by for a sample and see what we’ve been up to. Oh, and there is a farm to fermentation workshop in the works out at the ole Elder Fire–so stay tuned, and in the meantime, eat some ferments.

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