Portland Fermentation Festival 2016 Redux

March 20th, 2017

Perennial festival favorite — Choi’s Kimchi. Co-owner Matt Choi on the right and family and business friend Moah Son on the left. Matt’s mom Chong — co-owner of Choi’s Kimchi stopped by for a minute but she’d been up the night before until 4am making kimchi so she was a littttttle tired and headed home. Matt was on last year’s and this year’s Panel of Fermentation Experts.

Well, we did it again — another wild, stinky and super fun Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust! This year’s Seventh Annual fest was chock-full of tasty funky fermented foods, smarty-pants exhibitors and attendees, an excellent Panel of Fermentation Experts, all sorts of fun DIY demo’s, rooftop good vibes thanks to DJ Jimbo (check out his festival playlists here and here) and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider and much much more. Thank you all for coming out for it and joining the stink!

We put the Portland Fermentation Festival together every year with a shoestring budget + heaps of volunteered hours (thank you sooooo much to all of our kick-ass volunteers!) and as always we’re so grateful that Ecotrust puts up with us year after year. Thank you again Ecotrust! We love you.

We had some great coverage this year including this segment on KGW News with Cassidy Quinn. We’ve posted most of the other coverage on social media. If you’d like to keep up with local fermenty goings-on please check out Facebook and Twitter pages.

Below are a whole bunch of photos from this year’s Stinkfest! If you have some great ones too please post them to the Facebook page or Twitter them with the hashtag #pdxfermentfest.

Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you all again next year we hope! Stay stinky! Oh, and please let me know if I attributed anything incorrectly. Thanks!

Pre-fest KGW News coverage thanks to Cassidy Quinn. She, Nat and Claudia tried Nat’s chicha on camera AND Nat chewed and spit up some of the corn mash that this traditional Peruvian corn drink is made of. You read that correctly — they essentially drank Nat’s spit! (I did too and it was actually pretty good — light, sweet and slightly roasty smoky) Nat always brings something wildly experimental to the fest every year and we love him so much for it.

We kicked off this year’s fest with a super inspiring and informative Panel of Fermentation Experts with left to right: Tara Whitsitt (Fermentation on Wheels), David Barber (Picklopolis), Matt Choi (Choi’s Kimchi), Nat West (Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider) and Claudia Lucero (Urban Cheesecraft).

A little bit closer. Such a great panel! We ended it on each of their best pieces of advice for the beginning fermenter. The general gist: just do it. You don’t need fancy equipment or lots of know-how, this is a born of mistakes primitive way of preserving food. Tap into that and have fun. Kick your intimidation to the curb.

Once the panel concluded the doors opened for the first of the night’s two tastings and madness ensued. A fun, yummy, wild ferments madness.

Portland Fermentation Festival co-organizers left to right: David Barber, me, George Winborn. We love you!

Nat West serving up his Peruvian chewed/spit fermented corn drink. Nat always makes really unusual experimental ferments just for the fest. Last year he sampled his Mongolian milk wine and the year before that he brought his fermented LEG OF LAMB cider! Wacky and awesome.

Connie and Brian Shaw of Hood River’s Oregon Brineworks always bring the most delicious spread of their ferments. This year was no different. You can find their ferments all over Portland (at New Seasons, Green Zebra, Peoples Food Coop ++) — they’re soooo yummy!

Owner Sash Sunday of Olympia’s OlyKraut serving up all different kraut samples (also available in Portland markets) AND pouring shots of spicy spectacular pickle brine. YUM!! Next level ingredient for rad Bloody Marys.

George Tsesoukas of Soma Kombucha (based in St. Johns) pouring up tart and tasty kombucha samples. So many different tasty flavors.

Out on the mezzanine we had three demo’s throughout the night. Austin Durant of the Fermenters Club (he came up all the way from San Diego!) did this fun and inspiring DIY kimchi and gochujang making demo.

Right across the mezzanine at the same time Claudia Lucero led a fermented nut cheese demo. I definitely am going to try my hand at these now. So yummy, tart, smooth and creamy. She’s currently working on a book all about dairy-free cheeses! Her excellent One-Hour Cheese cookbook came out in 2014.

Festival veteran Heidi Nestler, owner of Pickled Things, sampled her sticky tasty natto at this year’s fest and…

Heidi also led a demo on pickled Japanese vegetables — — nukazuke, misozuke and kojizuke. I really wish I could have gone to that one.

While Heidi did her demo festival volunteer superstar Marty handed out natto samples at her table. Jimbo got to try natto for the first time! He loved it.

I’m bummed I didn’t get any photos of the lovely ticketing ladies in the atrium this year but I did get this one with three of them. Left to right: Michelle, Stacy and Loly. All dear friends.

Lion Heart Kombucha! I asked one little boy at the fest this year what his favorite festival sample was and he said, “ALL the kombucha!” Love it.

Tim Root’s incredible festival poster this year! We’re so lucky that he continues to do our poster year after year. So creeeeeepy awesome.

Colin Franger of Blue Bus Cultured Foods in Bingen, Washington. Colin has been coming to the fest for years sampling his yummy ferments and you can find a lot of them in Portland at New Seasons, Whole Foods, various co-ops and other markets. That’s his green bean kimchi — got more than one sample 😉

Careen Stoll — another festival veteran — brought her gorgeous handmade crocks and mortars and pestles again this year. Check out her goods online http://www.fire-keeper.org/

While Claudia Lucero did her demo folks sampled her awesome fermented nut cheeses.

Jon Westdahl and Julie sampling all different Squirrel & Crow tasty tempehs, misos and one of my favorite festival tastes this year — cultured vegan butter. So good.

A little closer…

Festival co-organizer David Barber of Picklopolis sampling his always delicious sour dills. One of my favorite pickles on the planet.

My good friend and super talented animation artist Stephen Bodin put this cool image together for us to announce the festival a few months ago. Love it so much.

First time fest exhibitors Sue and Wendy of NW Ferments (they sell all sorts of fermentation starter cultures) sampling their tasty kombucha.

Rooftop good vibes (and tunes) were provided by DJ Jimbo and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. Crazily enough we were rain-free yet another year. The Fermentation Fest is always on a beautiful night. Really pretty view on the Ecotrust roof.

Grant from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider poured cider on the rooftop all night long. Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider’s is my very, very, very favorite hard cider maker.

Matthew of Eva’s Herbucha (one of Portland’s first commercial kombucha makers) poured yummy kombucha from their tap to thirsty festival goers.

I always end these posts with a photo of festival co-organizer George Winborn (in the background) in the jetpack vacuum cleaner but this year David got the honor 😉

Thank you to every last one of you who came out and were a part of making this year’s SEVENTH annual Portland Fermentation Festival so special. Love, love, love you!

Seventh Annual Portland Fermentation Festival 2016

August 23rd, 2016

thatsApickle_v02
(Photoshop wizardry by my friend Stephen Bodin.)

Here we go again! The date for the SEVENTH Annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust (as always — we love Ecotrust!) has been set and we’re happy to let you know that it can serve to jump start your Halloween weekend this year on Thursday, October 27th from 6-9:30pm. We also encourage you to come out and sample a lot of briny and full of flavor food and drink to help brighten your mind and outlook so that you get out and vote on Election Day less than two weeks later. Do it!

Below are all the details from the press release that we have set so far for this year’s stinky good time!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Organizers & Media Contacts:

Liz Crain
lizcrain at gmail dot com

George Winborn
gw.winborn at gmail dot com

David Barber
briney at picklopolis dot com

Seventh Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
Thursday, October 27th 6-9:30pm
Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center
Rooftop food and drink sales and music curated by DJ Jimbo
721 NW 9th Ave. Portland, OR
All ages, open to the public, $10-$20
Children 12 and younger attend for free

Please join us on the evening of Thursday, October 27th (Just days away from Election Day! Vote! Please encourage others to vote!) at Ecotrust for Portland’s annual, open-to-the-public, all-ages celebration of fermented food and drink. Bring miso, try miso. Brink sour pickles, try sour pickles. Come out for Portland’s premier fermented food and drink skill sharing, recipe sharing and tasting annual event.

Come celebrate pickling season at the Seventh Annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust. Taste and share live, fermented foods and drinks made by professionals and home fermentation enthusiasts at the annual festival that brought out 600-plus attendees in 2015. This year’s special pre-tasting event will be a panel of fermentation experts including Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (He’s bringing chicha to sample at this year’s festival! All of the corn will be chewed pre-ferment!) and other local food and drink fermentation experts soon to be announced.

Admission for the 7pm or 8pm Thursday tastings and fermentation demos is $10. For $20 attend the 6pm panel of experts on all things food/drink fermentation in addition to the 7pm tasting and fermentation demos. Enjoy rooftop music, food and drink from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Bingo Sandwiches and others TBD.

Festival coverage past and present:

KGW
Photos from last year’s festival at Food Lover’s Guide to Portland
Cooking Up a Story
KBOO Food Show
Portland Monthly
Willamette Week
Portland Mercury
OPB

Twitter: @PDXFermentFest
Facebook: Portland Fermentation Festival

Portland Fermentation Festival 2015 Redux

November 9th, 2015
The Dapper Foodists -- Portland Fermentation Fest co-organizers George Winborn, me and David Barber right before the Panel of Fermentation Experts.

The Dapper Foodists — Portland Fermentation Fest co-organizers George Winborn, Liz Crain and David Barber right before this year’s panel of fermentation experts that kicked the festival off.

I was out a town for a week right after this year’s Portland Fermentation Festival so I apologize for the delay in putting this post together. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came out a couple weeks ago and made the SIXTH annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust a huge stinky success!

This year we had all sorts of new tasty treats including our first international neighbor to the north exhibitor. Todd Graham of HandTaste Ferments came all the way from Vancouver B.C. to take part in the fest, we also welcomed our first New York Times covered guest — panel of fermentation experts participant Tara Whitsitt of Fermentation on Wheels and we had our first festival playlist curated by my favorite fellow — D.J. Jimbo!

We put the Portland Fermentation Festival together every year with a shoestring budget + heaps of volunteered hours (thank you sooooo much to all of our kick-ass volunteers!) and as always we’re so grateful that Ecotrust puts up with us year after year. Thank you again Ecotrust! We love you.

We had some great coverage this year including this spot on KGW News Live at 7 segment with Cassidy Quinn. We’ve posted most of the other coverage on social media. If you’d like to keep up with local fermenty goings-on please check out our website, Facebook and Twitter.

Below are a whole bunch of photos from this year’s Stinkfest! If you have some great ones too please post them to the Facebook page or Twitter them with the hashtag #pdxfermentfest.

Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you all again next year we hope! Stay stinky! Oh, and please let me know if I attributed anything incorrectly. Thanks!

We had to switch the initial Portland Fermentation Fest date when we found out that Neil Young was coming to town that very night. My good friend Steve Bodin made me this image for that press release. Let's just pretend Neil came to the festival and rocked out on an electric pickle.

We had to switch the initial Portland Fermentation Fest date this year when we found out that Neil Young was coming to town that very night. My good friend Stephen Bodin made me this image for the resulting date change press release. Let’s just pretend Neil came to this year’s Portland Fermentation Festival and rocked out on a guitar pickle.

Festival cuties working the door at Ecotrust. My good friends left to right Wendy Wilson, Loly Leblanc, Kelli Brandt and Jimbo Sandberg.

Festival cuties working the door at Ecotrust. My good friends left to right Wendy Wilson, Loly Leblanc, Kelli Brandt and boyfriend Jimbo Sandberg.

Before the fest I got some pics of exhibitors including festival royalty Nat West and Sarah West of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider.

Before the fest I got some pics of exhibitors including festival royalty Nat West and Sarah West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider.

Aaaaand festival royalty Matt Choi of Choi's Kimchi.

Aaaaand festival royalty Matt Choi of Choi’s Kimchi.

We're so lucky that super talented Portland artist Tim Root makes the festival poster every year. Love, love, love this year's poster!

We’re so lucky that super talented Portland artist Tim Root makes us a poster every year for the festival. Love, love, love this year’s poster!

We kicked off the festival again this year with an hour-long panel of fermentation experts.

We kicked off the festival again this year with an hour-long panel of fermentation experts.

Festival co-organizer George Winborn was the moderator and on the panel left to right was Tara Whitsitt, Matt Choi, Nat West, David Barber and Tressa Yellig. AKA all of the fermentation smarty pants.

Festival co-organizer George Winborn moderated and on the panel left to right was Tara Whitsitt, Matt Choi, Nat West, David Barber and Tressa Yellig. AKA all of the fermentation smarty pants.

After the panel we stacked the chairs and in came the crowd of hungry folks for the first tasting. Eat or be eaten!!

After the panel we stacked the chairs and in came the crowd of hungry folks for the first tasting. Eat or be eaten!!

Cuties Connie and Brian Shaw from Hood River's Oregon Brineworks brought an incredible spread just as they did last year.

Cuties Connie and Brian Shaw from Hood River’s Oregon Brineworks brought an incredible spread just as they did last year.

Including their garlic dills, beet kvass, ginger gold kvass, fermented hot sauce, fermented ketchup and more. So good!

Including their garlic dills, beet kvass, ginger gold kvass, fermented hot sauce, fermented ketchup and more. So good!

Cassidy Quinn of KGW News came and interviewed us at the beginning of the first tasting and she tried some of David's Picklopolis black pepper fennel kraut. She loved it of course.

Cassidy Quinn of KGW News came and interviewed as at the beginning of the first tasting and she tried some of David’s Picklopolis fennel kraut. She loved it of course.

Emily Squadra's spicy Mexican kimchi and Korean kimchi were both spicy full-flavored hits.

Emily Squadra’s spicy Mexican kimchi and Korean kimchi were both tasty, full-flavored hits.

The loveliest Allison Jones of Portland Monthly checking in on the media list and my good friends Koko Wadeson, Jess Bull and Loly Leblanc rocking their door/ticketing shift.

The loveliest Allison Jones of Portland Monthly checking in on the media list and my good friends Koko Wadeson, Jess Bull and Loly Leblanc rocking their door/ticketing shift.

Todd Graham of HandTaste Ferments in Vancouver B.C. handing out samples of the awesome chickpea tempeh that he demo'd on the mezzanine.

Todd Graham of HandTaste Ferments in Vancouver B.C. handing out samples of the awesome chickpea tempeh that he demo’d on the mezzanine.

Jenny Hogan of NuCulture Foods with her crazy tasty and creamy cashew spreads. A lot of markets in town carry them. Try them -- so good!

Jenny Hogan of NuCulture Foods with her crazy tasty and creamy cashew spreads. A lot of markets in town carry them. Try them — so good!

Festival alum and sweetheart Claudia Lucero, proprietor of DIY Cheese Kits by Urban Cheesecraft and author of  One-Hour Cheese doing her labneh cheese demo. Really popular demo.

Festival alum and sweetheart Claudia Lucero, proprietor of DIY Cheese Kits by Urban Cheesecraft and author of One-Hour Cheese doing her labneh cheese demo. Really popular demo.

Olive Evelyn Bailey of Lion Heart Kombucha serving up all kinds of delicious fruity kombuchas. I tried the raspberry and it was deeeeelicious!

Olive Evelyn Bailey of Lion Heart Kombucha serving up all kinds of delicious fruity kombuchas. I tried the raspberry and it was deeeeelicious!

Tabor Bread baker and baking teacher Sarah Black with gratis sourdough cultures and yummy YUMMY natural starter whole grain rye bread.

Tabor Bread baker and baking teacher Sarah Black with gratis sourdough cultures and yummy YUMMY natural starter whole grain rye bread.

My friend Kelli Brandt in the foreground trying Colin Franger in the background's Blue Bus Cultured Foods super tasty Shakedown Beet and Kraut-chi.

My friend Kelli Brandt in the foreground trying Colin Franger in the background’s Blue Bus Cultured Foods yummy Shakedown Beet and Kraut-chi.

And then the second tasting commenced! My friends womaning the door left to right -- Stacy Goodwin, Loly Leblanc, Michelle Gilmore and Michele Knaus.

And then the second tasting commenced! My friends womaning the door left to right — Stacy Goodwin, Loly Leblanc, Michelle Gilmore and Michele Knaus.

The rooftop in full swing with tunes by D.J. Jimbo, cider from Reverend Nat's Hard Cider and sandwiches from Bingo Sandwiches. Beautiful night. Beautiful city.

The rooftop in full swing with tunes by D.J. Jimbo, cider from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider and sandwiches from Bingo Sandwiches. Beautiful night. Beautiful city.

Me and my fine fellow D.J. Jimbo.

Me and my fine fellow D.J. Jimbo who put together this year's rooftop festival playlist.

Another rooftop festival cutie -- my good friend Jess Bull.

Another rooftop festival cutie — my good friend Jess Bull.

Crock maker Jon Westdahl on the right, Dario Barone of Sacred Summit and Julie of Squirrel and Crow.

Crock maker Jon Westdahl on the right, Dario Barone of Sacred Summit and Julie of Squirrel and Crow — all having no fun at all.

Yummmmm!

Yummmmm!

Lovely Sasha Sunday and her crew with all kinds of OlyKraut tastiness including Smoke & Kale, Cumin Jalapeno and Sea Vegetable krauts.

Lovely Sasha Sunday and her crew with all kinds of OlyKraut tastiness including Smoke & Kale, Cumin Jalapeno and Sea Vegetable krauts.

Another festival royalty -- Queen Heidi Nestler of Heidi Nestler Cooking Classes doing her always well attended natto demo on the mezzanine.

Another festival royalty — Queen Heidi Nestler of Heidi Nestler Cooking Classes doing her always well attended natto demo on the mezzanine.

The super sweet duo from Eva's Herbucha in the eye of the storm.

The super sweet duo from Eva’s Herbucha in the eye of the storm.

My good friend Loly Leblanc made a bunch of friends of the festival these awesome fuzzzzzzzy pickles to wear this year!

My good friend Loly Leblanc made a bunch of friends of the festival these awesome fuzzzzzzzy pickles to wear this year!

Beautiful Careen Stoll of Careen Stoll Ceramics with her beautiful handmade crocks.

Careen Stoll of Careen Stoll Ceramics with her beautiful handmade crocks.

Nat West of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider sadly packing up his milk wine. Every year Nat pushes the fermentation boundaries and brings something wacky that you can only try at the festival. Last year he brought LAMB cider. This year MILK wine. Weird and wonderful.

Nat West sadly packing up his milk wine. Every year Nat pushes the fermentation boundaries and brings something truly wacky (and often frightening) that you can only try at the festival. Last year he brought LAMB cider. This year MILK wine. Weird and wonderful.

Closing time with my lovely ladies -- Loly Leblanc, Kelli Brandt, me and Michelle Gilmore. Most fun!

Closing time with my lovely ladies — Loly Leblanc, Kelli Brandt, me and Michelle Gilmore. Most fun!

Every great Portland Fermentation Festival concludes with George donning his jet pack. All stinky things must come to an end.

Every great Portland Fermentation Festival concludes with George donning his jet pack. All stinky things must come to an end.

Thank you to every last one of you who came out and were a part of this year’s sixth annual Portland Fermentation Festival. We love you!

Sixth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival 2015

August 20th, 2015
Keep on rockin' in Neil's free world and in our fermented world.

Keep on rockin’ in Neil’s free world and in our fermented world.

Since 2009 my friends David Barber, George Winborn and I have put on the annual Portland Fermentation Festival with/at Ecotrust and every year it gets bigger and better. This year we’d set the date for Wednesday, October 7th until earlier this week when Neil Young announced his tour dates for his October tour of The Monsanto Years album. When is he playing Portland for it you ask? Wednesday, October 7th! (Tickets on go on sale for the University of Portland show tomorrow at 10am PT!) So we did what any Neil loving fans would do — we changed the date so we and YOU can go! Below are all the details for this year’s stinky good time — the 6th Annual Portland Fermentation Festival.

FULL PRESS RELEASE

Organizers & Media Contacts:

Liz Crain
lizcrain at gmail dot com

George Winborn
gw dot winborn at gmail dot com

David Barber
briney at picklopolis dot com

Sixth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
NEW DATE!! Tuesday, October 27th 6-9:30pm
Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center
Rooftop food and drink sales and music
721 NW 9th Ave. Portland, OR
All ages, open to the public, $10-$20
Children 12 and younger attend for free
www.portlandfermentationfestival.com

Earlier this week Neil Young announced the October tour dates for his The Monsanto Years album and guess when he’s going to play in Portland? Yep, on Wednesday, Oct. 7th at the University of Portland — the very night we had planned to host this year’s Sixth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust. As lifelong fans of Mr. Young we have a strict no-compete clause with him in our heart of hearts so we’ve changed the Portland Fermentation Festival date so that no one in Portland has to choose between rockin’ in Neil’s free world and rockin’ in our fermented world. You’re welcome. Tickets for Neil’s tour go on sale this Friday at 10am by the way. See you at the PDX show!

So, please, please join us now on the evening of Tuesday, October 27th at Ecotrust for Portland’s annual, open-to-the-public, all-ages celebration of fermented food and drink. Bring kraut, try kraut. Bring miso, try miso. Come out for Portland’s fermented food and drink skill sharing, recipe sharing, and tasting event of the year. We are very pleased to announce that this year’s special pre-tasting event is a panel of fermentation experts soon to be determined.

Come celebrate pickling season at the Sixth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust. Taste and share live, fermented food and drinks made by professionals and home fermentation enthusiasts at the annual event that brought out more than 600 attendees in 2014.

Talk to fellow fermenters, exchange cultures and recipes, get advice from local food fermentation enthusiasts, attend fermentation demo’s and sample everything from sour pickles, miso and kefir to cheese, hard cider, and mead.

Admission for the 7:00 or 8:00pm Tuesday tasting sessions and fermentation demos is $10.
For $20 attend the 6:00pm panel of experts on all things food/drink fermentation in addition to the 7:00pm tasting and fermentation demos. Enjoy rooftop music, food and drink from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider and Bingo Sandwiches and others TBD.

Visit http://portlandfermentationfestival.com/ for more information.

Festival coverage past and present:

KGW
http://www.kgw.com/media/cinematic/video/15892130/pdx-tonight-fermentation-festival/

Photos from last year’s festival Food Lover’s Guide to Portland
http://www.lizcrain.com/foodloversguidetoportlandblog/2014/10/portland-fermentation-festival-2014-redux/

Cooking Up a Story
http://cookingupastory.com/annual-fermentation-festival-opens-world-ferments

KBOO Food Show
http://kboo.fm/node/24469
http://kboo.fm/content/foodshowon10151983

Portland Monthly
http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/eat-and-drink/articles/four-reasons-to-get-excited-about-the-portland-fermentation-festival-september-2014

Willamette Week
http://wweek.com/portland/article-18099-how_to_pickle_almost.html

Portland Mercury
http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2014/10/15/fermentation-fest-what-microbobes-can-do-for-you

OPB
http://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/portland-fermentation-festival-offers-diy-techniques-tips

www.portlandfermentationfestival.com
Twitter @PDXFermentFest
Facebook Portland Fermentation Festival

Portland Garagistes Pt. 1

September 3rd, 2012

There are many ways to use a garage...

When I was a full-time freelance food writer I got used to rejection. If you can’t accept the lack of a timely response too often eventually followed by rejection then you shouldn’t freelance because that’s unfortunately the nature of the beast most of the time. I learned how to spin very different pitches for the same story as well as restructure stories for numerous local and national publications. Now that I’ve published a book, am working on another book due out fall 2013 and am editor and publicity director at a publishing house I have less patience for that process so I mostly just write stories that I’m asked to write or put things that I’m interested in up here on my blog.

A while back though I met one too many people in Portland crafting delicious foods and drinks in their garages and decided I should write a story about it. I set up interviews and spent a good amount of time in garages throughout Portland talking with folks about the delicious foods and drinks that they craft in them — a dessert maker, a cider maker, a winemaker, a beer brewer and a Persian pickle maker. I learned a lot and had a great time.

When it came to pitching the story the process took much longer than I remembered. I know that editors are very busy and receive an never ending, steady supply of pitches — some good, many bad — so I understand their often delayed responses to a certain degree. This is all a long way of saying that I tried and failed a few times to get this story published nationally and locally and I don’t want to try to spin it any more. I’m doling it out to you in five installments here over the next several weeks because I love these people and think what they’re doing is inspiring and important and, of course, delicious. I should have put this up here in the first place because it would have been a longer, more developed story if I hadn’t tailored it so much. Stop complaining. Without further ado…

Portland Garagistes

In the Bordeaux region of France the term “garagiste” was coined in the mid 1990s when a group of winemakers began a movement of small batch wines, often made in their garages, that bucked the Bordeaux standard. I like the name “garagiste” and think it fits in spirit with what the five Portlanders featured here are doing — making tasty stuff in their garages.

Sure, a kitchen is for cooking but they can get cramped and sticky hot — especially when you’ve got a five-gallon homebrew pot simmering on the stove top for hours. I don’t cook anything in my garage but in the past several years I’ve moved a lot of my food and drink ferments into the utility room at the back of the house. That’s where I make and store crocks of miso, carboys of homemade fruit wines and hard ciders and buckets of kraut and sour pickles. More and more Portlanders are taking that kitchen extension one step further and into their garages.

I spent time with five such folks checking out their set-ups (all of their garages are average-sized at 250-350 square feet) and tasting what they make. Some are crafting commercial products and see their garage as an affordable space to work with while others just enjoy the larger square footage and freedom to be a little dirtier, a little scrappier, and a more isolated and less distracted by the outside world. Portland is fairly temperate so the home garage never gets too hot or cold. Nothing a couple space heaters or fans can’t fix.

Stay tuned for Portland’s “Garagistes” to be featured in five upcoming installments:

Pickler Charles Attarzadeh
Sweetmaker Cheryl Wakerhauser
Cidermaker Nat West
Homebrewer Aaron Cohen
Winemaker Jan-Marc Baker