Eighth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival 2017

September 14th, 2017

Portland Fermentation Festival attendee 2016, “I can’t get the sound of the wailing, howling pickles out of my head! Never again. Those poor pickles.”

Online tickets are on sale now for $10! A limited number of tickets will be available at the door the night of the festival and will be $12/cash only.

Well, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler AND the pickles are getting longer. Wait, what?! The date for the EIGHTH 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 yet again this year on Thursday, October 26th from 6-9:30pm.

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


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

Heidi Nestler
heidi dot nestler at gmail dot com

Eighth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
Thursday, October 26th 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 advance, $12 cash at door
Children 12 and younger attend for free

Tickets on sale!

Please join us on the evening of Thursday, October 26th at Ecotrust for Portland’s annual, open-to-the-public, all-ages celebration of fermented food and drink. Bring kimchi, try kimchi. Bring miso, try miso. Come out for Portland’s fermented food and drink skill sharing, recipe sharing and tasting event of the year.

Come celebrate pickling season at the eight 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 more than 400 attendees in 2016. 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 natto, to cheeses, hard cider and kombucha. We *just* learned that Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider is making okolehao for the festival this year! Nat always tries his hand at something awesome and experimental year after year for the festival. Check out the chicha he made for last year’s festival!

Admission for the 6pm or 7:30pm Thursday tastings and fermentation demos is $10. Enjoy rooftop music by DJ Jimbo, food and drink from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Bingo Sandwiches and others TBD.

Festival coverage past and present:


Photos from last year’s festival Food Lover’s Guide to Portland

Cooking Up a Story

KBOO Food Show

Portland Monthly

Willamette Week

Portland Mercury


Twitter: @PDXFermentFest
Facebook: Portland Fermentation Festival

Cooking the Toro Bravo Book Party Pt. 4

January 12th, 2015

Loly with one of the crunchy delicious Toro fried anchovies.

I finally got to host our Toro Bravo cook the book party last night (check out the first, second and third here) and it was really nice to do it in my newly remodeled kitchen. My kitchen has been pretty much done since early November but there were a couple final details and now it’s complete! It’s a beauty and I’m going to post about it here soon. I couldn’t be happier with it. My friends Brian McVay, Clarence Jacobs and Rude Graves of St. Johns Design Build are so incredibly talented. And you’ll know they’re good people when I tell you this — I was genuinely sad to see them go when my kitchen was complete. I truly enjoyed the entire remodel process and having those awesome fellows in my home. I miss having them see me in my pajamas. Wink.

It was really, really fun to have a whole bunch of friends packed into my kitchen last night for our fourth eat, drink and be merry cook from book party for Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. We’ve now passed the halfway point having cooked 60-plus recipes from the book. I’m guessing we’ll complete the book after three more dinners. Quite the feat. We’ve even started talking about which book we’ll cook through next. Potentials discussed: Yottam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Jerusalem and the Pok Pok cookbook. I mentioned that I’d love to cook through a comprehensive Southeast Asian cookbook. Unfortunately I think Pok Pok requires a bit more pantry building than our group is up for.

Another sweet thing — Shane Welch founder of Brooklyn’s Six Point Brewery recently moved to Portland and he gifted us (he’s friends with my friend and contractor mentioned above — Brian McVay) some of his Bengali IPA for the party which is super tasty. Really sweet of him. We also poured a lot of cava, various Spanish wines and we drank some of my early plum wine that I pulled off over the weekend while racking it. So crisp and tasty.

Anyway, I’ll let the photos tell the tale as usual. Happy 2015! I hope you’ve been cooking and eating well. I bet you have.

Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. dinner party menu

Toro Martini and Fried Anchovies, Fennel and Lemon with Romesco
Charred Bread with Chanterelles in Sherry Cream
Chard and Eggs
Chicken and Clams Cataplana
Lamb Ragu with Eggplant
French Kisses and Pickled Beets and cheeses
Sherry Chicken Liver Mousse
Apple and Pear Clafoutis

NO ONE in Portland is carrying fresh anchovies at the moment so the super sweet John Gorham gave me a pound from Toro for the Fried Anchovies, Fennel and Lemon dish from the book.

They were deeeeelcious with Toro's romesco.

We started the night off right with my piping hot anchovies and chilled Toro Martinis. Not too shabby.

Next up was Nancy's super yummy Toro gazpacho.

Really nice to have so many friends around the kitchen table.

Alec charring the bread for...

Toro's Charred Bread with Chanterelles in Sherry Cream.

Dana cooking up Toro's...

Chard and Eggs.

Sara and I in our animal shirt finery -- giraffes and stags.

Loly and Faulkner cooking up Toro's Chicken and Clams Cataplana.

Soooooo good! With Olympic Provisions cured meats.

Left to right: Loly, Nancy, Faulkner and Jim. The best.

Super Tasty Six Point Bengali IPA. YUM!

Tom and Heather's (just engaged!!) deeeelicious Lamb Ragu with Eggplant.

Chris assembling Toro's French Kisses -- foei gras torchon stuffed brandy-soaked prunes. Perfect.

Tom overseeing. He approves.

Dana and Oliver's apple and pear clafoutis. Mmmmm.

Aaaand the final dessert plate -- Sara's sherry chicken liver mousse, Chris's French Kisses and Spanish cheeses. We are so lucky.

Cheers to 2015! I hope you are in good company and having a fine time of it.

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

Portland Fermentation Festival 2011 — Save the Date!

September 12th, 2011

Save the date!

I’m so happy to announce that we’ve set a date for the third annual Portland Fermentation Festival — Thursday, October 20th 6-8pm at Ecotrust! Thank you SO much Ecotrust for kindly allowing us to stink up the space yet again! We couldn’t do it without you.

And we couldn’t do it without YOU! We hope that you will come out and celebrate the wide world of fermented food and drink with us this year. More than 500 of you did last year so maybe you’ll each bring a friend and we can double attendance. Actually, that might be a little too crowded.

If you don’t know about the Portland Fermentation Festival listen up. At PFF you get to hang out with fellow food/drink fermenters, exchange cultures and recipes, get advice from local food fermentation enthusiasts, and sample everything from sour pickles, miso and kefir to cheese, hard cider, and mead. Good stuff.

We’ll be getting more details out in upcoming weeks here and over at the official website but for now the main issues to attend to are 1.) Sign-up to sample fermented food and drink at the event here 2.) Shoot us an email if you’d like to volunteer at the door or for set-up/clean-up at info at portland fermentation festival dot com. In exchange for volunteering you’ll get good things, we promise.

Check out some previous Portland Fermentation Festival coverage:

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2010
Willamette Week 2009
Willamette Week 2010
KBOO Food Show 2010
Mix Magazine 2010
Learn to Preserve 2010

More details soon!

Third Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
Open to the public, all ages

When: Thursday, October 20th 6-8pm
Where: Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center on the second floor, 721 NW 9th Ave., #200, Portland, OR
What: Sample and learn about all sorts of food and drink ferments
Cost: $5 at the door
Twitter @PDXFermentFest
Facebook Portland Fermentation Festival

Portland Fermentation Festival 2010 Revisited

October 21st, 2010

Biwa sous chef Ed Ross serving up a rocking kimchi with big chunks of daikon and lots of fire.

Another year and another briny, stinky, lovely and amazing Portland Fermentation Festival! Thanks to everyone who came out and thanks to all of you who made it happen — especially those who generously sampled their fermented food and drink. You’re amazing.

Thanks also to awesome coverage in Willamette Week, Laura McCandlish’s KBOO Food Show and thanks to all the other publications that helped get the word out! Thank you so much Ecotrust for putting up with us (we’re stinky) for yet another year. We couldn’t have done it without you.

For now, I’m just going to post some photos from last night. I’ll probably follow that up soon enough with even more words, thoughts and photos. (It was an amazing event so it deserves a lot of show and tell.) For now a fermenty feast for your eyes…

Even though we had Mr. President to contend with the crowd was thick.

Peg Butler with her sour pickles and home captured sourdough starter rye bread.

PFF co-organizer extraordinaire George Winborn demo'ing kraut.

PFF co-organizer (also extraordinaire) David Barber and Bonesaw Wilson serving up crunchy delicious Picklopolis pickles.

A lot of people's favorite of the night was Kate Patterson's awesome fermented salmon.

Linda Swanson-Davies' puckery delicious fruit kefir.

Norrie and Anna Gordon's fermented goat cheese, goat butter and then some.

Biwa chef-owner Gabe Rosen and sous chef Ed Ross sampling kimchi.

Anne Berblinger's spicy delicious fermented chiles.

Dan MacDonald serving up his sour radishes and whole cabbage kraut. His radishes were kick ass.

A close-up because Dan's ferments were picture perfect.

I guess I just like butts.

The lovely Tressa Yelig of Salt, Fire & Time shared rocking pumpkin yogurt, green tea kombucha and cortido.

Tressa's super yummy cortido.

Heidi Nestler chopping up garlic for kraut.

Krista Arias and Jeanne sampling cortido.

I'm sad that when I was photographing I didn't catch Chris Musser of Lost Arts Kitchen. These were her supplies for homemade fermented chock-full-of-clove ketchup, mayonnaise and more.

This year we even had merch!

Portland Fermentation Festival 2010

October 15th, 2010

Come get stinky!

Last year’s first annual Portland Fermentation Festival in late August at Ecotrust was a screaming success. More than 500 people turned out to sample everything from natto, kefir and potato cheese to hard cider, kimchi and kombucha.

A big draw last year was the Mr. Sandorkraut himself — special guest Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. I had interviewed Sandor several months prior for the May 2010 issue of The Sun and it was an honor to have him visit Portland for the inaugural PFF.

Although Sandor won’t be at this year’s PFF we hope you will. Event details can be found below but all you really need to know if you love fermented food and drink is when and where. We’re honored that Ecotrust has agreed to host the funky fest again this year because let me tell you that a room full of fresh ferments is, how do I put it, well, a little ripe. We’re very grateful that they’re willing to put up with the stink.

So if you don’t love the smell of dill and garlic slapped sour pickles, tart and punchy kombucha, sweet and sour fruit kimchi, or mild and tart kefir don’t come. There will be more to sample for the rest of us. That’s what the event is all about — sampling ferments, talking with those who made them and skill sharing.

If you didn’t get a chance to sign up as a presenter don’t worry. You can still bring your ferments to share. You won’t have a table and set-up but that’s ok. The more the merrier. So, please, come out for the wild, funky, stinky and delicious Portland Fermentation Festival 2010!

Second Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
When: Wed., October 20th 6-8pm
Where: Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th Ave., #200, Portland, OR
What: Sample and learn about all sorts of food and drink ferments
Cost: $5 at the door

Dan Akroyd Wants You to Drink Vodka…

September 27th, 2010

Dan Akroyd will sign one of these for you today in Vancouver. No lie.

His vodka to be exact — Crystal Head Vodka. And as strange as this might sound, he’ll be in the ‘Couv today from 3-5pm signing bottles of his strange looking hooch at Stateline Liquor Store.

I’ve scheduled this blog post because, as you might already know, I’m under sail in the San Juan Islands. I’m thinking that you, however, might just want to go shake hands with Dan Akroyd this afternoon.

I haven’t tried the stuff, although samples are on the way. The press release for this vodka was one of the strangest ones I’ve gotten in awhile. Check part of it out below.

If I was in town I’d be heading to Vancouver this afternoon. I don’t think I could resist meeting Akroyd and asking him about his vodka, which according to the press release is, “triple crystal filtered through Herkimer diamonds.” It’s your supernatural world Mr. Akroyd, I’m just in it.

Here’s some more info. straight from Akroyd’s PR peeps about his vodka:

The Ghostbusters and Blues Brothers star himself, Dan Aykroyd, will be in town on Monday, September 27th to promote his popular vodka, Crystal Head Vodka. He will visit Stateline Liquor Store at 1109 North Jantzen Drive from 3–5pm for a bottle signing.

Aykroyd, known for his work on Saturday Night Live and in films including Trading Places, Ghostbusters and Driving Miss Daisy, has been involved with producing and distributing wine and spirits for seven years. He recently created Crystal Head Vodka as a result of his fascination with the supernatural.

The super-premium vodka is made with water from a deep aquifer in Newfoundland, Canada, blended with selected grains for a creamy and slightly sweet finish, and triple crystal filtered through Herkimer diamonds, which, according to New Age belief systems, embody positive energy and goodwill. Crystal Head Vodka is available wherever fine wine and spirits are sold.


Feast your eyes on this weirdness…