We recently spent a few days with Chef’s Collaborative in Charleston South Carolina. We ate delicious meals, met other locavore chefs, and arrived back in Boston with fermentation on the brain. It all started at a demonstration and talk with fermentationsuperstar Sandor Katz. Whose books Wild Fermentation, and The Art of Fermentation, helped educate the masses on the benefits, and techniques for how to ferment almost anything.
We learned about exciting business models, like Portland’s Oly Kraut who run a groundbreaking kraut CSS. Similar to a vegetable CSA model, customers pay up front, and then pick up their fermented cabbage weekly throughout the winter.
One presentation that got us thinking about the possibility for local food innovation came from the microbiologists at Harvard’s Food Lab and the culinary creative’s from Momofuku Fermentation lab. We happily sampled their work through items such as pistachio miso and farro tamari. We’re planning to follow up on our excitement by attending David Chang’s upcoming talk, “When Rotten Goes Right” as part of Harvard’s Science and Cooking lecture series on Monday, November 18.
While we found learning about the business side of fermentation fascinating, we appreciated the refresher on the benefits of fermented foods. Like aiding in good digestion, while supporting microbial diversity in our bodies—which some argue that the overuse of hand sanitizers, and antibiotics has compromised.
As a catering business we can’t ferment commercially, but we can support certified businesses and experts. Lucky for us, we’ve no shortage of local companies using local products to create delicious fermented options in New England. Real Pickles, located in Greenfield, MA offer a variety of lacto-fermented products, including sauerkraut, dill pickles, and ginger carrots.
If you’d rather drink your fermented goods, give Katalyst Kombucha a try. This fermented tea tastes great, while boasting loads of good bacteria and vitamins. We’re lucky to have no shortage of delicious local wine and beer options, but consider a different alcoholic beverage this holiday season and drink Green River Ambrosia. This company offers an impressive array of mead made with honey sourced from Deerfield, MA, and we can’t get enough!
It’s not just businesses and scientists fermenting in Boston. This past September, the Egleston Farmers Market held its first ever Fermentation Festival. This festival showcased fermenting enthusiasts as varied as local restaurants, farms, and area expert Alex Lewin, author of Real Food Fermentation.·
If you’re interested in gaining some hands on knowledge and fermentation know-how, get yourself a handmade crock from local artist Jeremy Ogusky, and keep an eye out for classes at NOFA Mass and local Urban Agricultural center Relish.