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!

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!

Homemade Fermented Food and Drink

July 25th, 2011

Hard cider bottling of the Newton pippin cider that I pressed with Nat West last winter. Really good this year -- much better than last's. The dandelion wine is bottled on the left...

Ever since I bought a copy of Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation shortly after moving to Portland I’ve been a food fermentation freak.

I love everything about home food fermentation. I love the DIY aspect of crafting foods that I love such as sauerkraut, wine, and miso. I love the time and patience involved in creating these foods and drinks — most ferments I make take anywhere from a few days to a year. I love the full flavor of food ferments — from pungent and sour to salty and spicy to sweet and effervescent. I love that fermented foods and drinks are inherently good for me because of the live micro-nutrients they contain. I love that I’m carrying on food traditions born well before refrigeration, artificial preservatives, and pasteurization. The list goes on and on.

In January 2009, I got to travel to Nashville to meet one of my heroes — Sandor Ellix Katz — and interview him for The Sun Magazine. In October of 2009, we got him to come out for the inaugural Portland Fermentation Festival that David Barber, George Winborn and I organized and continue to organize every year. The date is still TBD for this year’s and I’ll let you know soon when/where it will be.

For now, I’ve got a bunch of home food and drink ferments that I’ve been checking on, bottling and eating up lately to share with you here. This weekend I started a sour cherry wine with fruit collected from a neighbor’s tree. I’ll post about that soon.

I’ve got two batches of miso going right now that I started in November — soybean miso and red bean miso. Here’s what they’re looking like now after several months of fermenting…

I scraped the salt off the top of this red bean miso and it's looking pretty and already tasting DELICIOUS. Going to be patient though and let it ferment until fall. At least.

The soybean miso is looking and tasting great too. Did the same and scraped off the salt and mold, repacked with a nice layer of sea salt, covered and put back in the utility room till fall.

Yes, you have to be very generous with the salt so you don't get too much mold.

This year's three gallons of Brooks plum wine has finished fermenting and is now bottled. It's so good. It's tart and off-dry and tastes like a perfect plum. The alcoholic kind.

These petals and more went into this year's gallon of dandelion wine. We bottled last year's and it's delicious as always, a little more flowery this year too which is nice.

If you’ve never done any home food/drink fermentation I recommend starting with saurkraut or kimchi. They’re both quick and easy ferments that pack a lot of flavor. I can’t recommend Sandor Ellix Katz’s book Wild Fermentation enough. I use it all the time. Happy fermenting! Let me know what you make.

Happy Anniversary Blog: Two years and counting

February 22nd, 2011

It’s been two years since I started this blog as a sort of companion piece to my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland. Since the beginning I’ve aimed to keep my posts short and sweet and informative for Portland food folks and visitors. I hope it’s been helpful.

This time last year I celebrated one year of blogging with a sort of year-in-review. It was a nice way to take stock so I’m doing it again for the two-year marker. Thanks for stopping by now and again. Thanks for chiming in now and again. Thanks to each and every one of you out there who celebrate our local food scene in Portland and beyond. Here are some blog highlights from the past year…

I started off February 2010 with our semi-annual Cincinnati chili feed. Can’t beat Gartner’s dogs, spicy Cincy chili and finely grated Tillamook cheddar…

Sometimes 3-ways are sloppy. Cincinnati chili 3-ways that is...

Portland International Film Festival followed shortly after. PIFF is my favorite local film fest and we always do PIFF + Pizza. Was going to giveaway some tickets here for this year’s now in its final week but unfortunately got too busy. Go to PIFF while you still can!

Cheese followed by egg...

I won an Excalibur Food Dehydrator and made my first batch of spicy beef jerky late March. It was amazing and I’ve made it many times since…

Thin sliced tri-tip ready to marinate and dry...

In May I had my first interview in The Sun Magazine with one of my favorite people — Sandor Ellix Katz

I never thought this day would come...

Several weeks later I had a kick-ass book launch party for Food Lover’s Guide to Portland the day it came out — July 1st, 2010…

The best celebration I could have hoped for. So much fun.

At the end of summer my boyfriend and I went on a magical 10-day sailing trip around the San Juan Islands and I blogged about our DIY galley cooking in three installments…

We have a stainless grill too but most of what we cooked on the boat happened here.

In the fall we put together a filled-to-the-gills second annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust…

Biwa's rocking kimchi with big chunks of daikon and lots of fire.

Late December I got to press hard cider with our friend Nat and he gave me a carboy of the stuff to take home and ferment myself…

Nat sorting through one of the last Newtown Pippin apple bins.

And just in time for the new year I made miso for the first time. In a month or so I’ll be checking on it…

After mashing the soybeans you mix that with the brined koji...

THANKS FOR ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!

Eat, drink and be hairy!

Hard Cider Pressing with Nat

December 27th, 2010

Nat sorting through one of the last Newtown Pippin apple bins.

In early December I got to help out a friend with the last cider press of the apple season. Our friend Nat West has been crafting his own cider and hard cider for a few years now from gleaned, traded and orchard picked local apples and this year was the biggest. He thinks his total apple haul this year clocks in at about 5,800 pounds, which translates to roughly 500 gallons of cider.

This year’s apples included a mix of Newtown Pippins, Lady, Jonagold, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill, Brown’s Apple, Hereford Redstreak plus about 1,000 pounds of mixed varieties gleaned from various local spots. I helped out with the last of the Newtown Pippins — about 250-300 pounds.

The agreement was (and is with a lot of Nat’s friends) that in exchange for helping out for a shift of apple milling and pressing I’d get to take home a carboy of that day’s cider. I thought that sounded great and I was really happy to get to work with and learn more about Nat’s awesome set-up.

Basically, Nat mills his apples with a retrofitted garbage disposal and presses them with a hydraulic press in his garage. Apples are stored and rinsed in bins and buckets in the driveway and once the juice is pressed it’s kept in 55-gallon drums in the basement during fermentation and then stored largely in kegs. Nat lets his cider go anywhere from six to eight months.

Nat doesn’t sell his cider he just drinks it and trades with it. Really good stuff. Here are some photos…

Nat rinsing the apples before I put them through the apple mill aka retrofitted garbage disposal in the garage.

I filled bucket after bucket with apple pumace shown here. It oxidizes pretty quickly while in queue for the press.

Nat's awesome hydraulic cider press.

Hard cider fermenting in the basement in 55-gallon food grade barrel.

Most of Nat's cider goes directly into kegs but he bottles some for friends.

Read about my cherry wine here.

Ready about my plum wine here.

Read about my dandelion wine here.

Portland Food Co-ops’ Local Farm Event June 6th

May 10th, 2010

Strike a pose. Mustard Seed Farms.

Portland has great food cooperatives and on Sunday, June 6th all three of them are joining forces for a day-long local farm tour — Alberta Cooperative Grocery, Food Front Cooperative Grocery, and People’s Food Co-op.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for youth below 14 years old, and low income tickets are available. Ticket price includes: lunch, wine tasting admission, bus transportation, entrance into raffles, drinks and snacks. To register, contact your nearest co-op for details.

From the press release:

3 CO-OPS, 2 FARMS, 1 CIDERWORKS

On June 6th, the three Portland food co-ops will be joining together to offer a day long farm tour. Community members from Alberta Co-op, Food Front Co-op, and People’s Co-op will spend a relaxing day together in the rural farmlands of Oregon visiting two farms and a ciderworks.

Sunbow Farm

The farm tour will began with a visit to Sunbow Farm in Corvallis to meet “the father of organic farming”, Harry McCormack. MacCormack established Sunbow Farm in 1972 to be an organic market garden. The farm is now home to six greenhouses, several barns, a bath house, and the Institute of BioWisdom, an education center focused on building hands-on organic farming and life skills.

For lunch, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks will host the tour for a seasonal local meal and cider tasting on their 280 acres of land. Just outside Salem, Wandering Aengus grows organic apples that are crafted into cider using a low intervention technique that showcases the delicious taste of their heirloom apples. With Willamette Valley Cheese Company just across the road, tourers can also expect to be treated to a little cheese with their cider.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

The final stop will be at Mustard Seed Farms in St. Paul, where Farmer Brown and his wife Nancy will show off their diversified vegetable farm that supplies all three co-ops with beautiful, year-round nutrition. Known for their fall pumpkins, Mustard Seed Farms grows a large variety of organic produce, from lettuce in the spring to over-wintering cauliflower. By working with local communities and organizations, farmers David and Nancy Brown have been able to maintain what may seem impossible…a small working family farm.

About the Cooperatives:

All three co-ops are community-owned grocery stores focused on providing customers with high-quality organic local food. Alberta Cooperative Grocery at the intersection of 15th Ave. and Alberta St. was founded in 2001 and serves as a community resource and gathering place, while providing fresh, high-quality, affordable food to the diverse members of North and Northeast Portland.

People’s Food Co-op, located on SE 21st between Division and Powell, has been thriving since 1970 and will celebrate its 40th birthday this year. From cob walls to living rooftops, a weekly farmers market to relationships with over 50 farmers and producers, they are dedicated to nourishing the Portland community.

Food Front Co-op was founded in 1972 in NW Portland. It opened its second store in the Hillsdale neighborhood in 2008. Food Front treasures the relationships they’ve built with local farmers and food producers who provide them with the freshest and the finest.

Sunday, June 6th
All day local farm tour hosted by PDX food cooperatives

***Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for youth below 14 years old, and low income tickets are available. Ticket price includes: lunch, wine tasting admission, bus transportation, entrance into raffles, drinks and snacks. To register, contact your nearest co-op for details.***
 

Moving Right Along

September 10th, 2009

At 7pm on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 a book was born. It’s got some baby fat (10,000 words longer than contractually agreed) and it needs help with, well, everything but I did it and I feel great. To celebrate on Tuesday I went to EaT Oyster Bar with friends.

I’d heard that every Tuesday night EaT offers one or more types of raw oysters at $1 a piece but I hadn’t been by for that although I’ve been to EaT a fair few times. I started with a sazerac and six oysters on the half shell — petites from Oregon and Washington. 18 delicious raw oysters and a couple glasses of muscadet later I was on top of the world.

Yesterday I slept in and after I had a cup of strong coffee in my not-typing hands I stepped outside to see what was going on in the garden. The past couple weeks I only watered a couple times since my focus was elsewhere. Lucky for me we’ve had some heavy rain recently so rather than meeting a bunch of withered and neglected plants I got this…

My garden loves me

My garden loves me

And if that’s not good enough last night my boyfriend came home with a 5-gallon carboy of freshly pressed cider, a bottle of homemade hard cider and a bottle of fresh apple juice all from a fellow who’s a client at my boyfriend’s tattoo shop. We talked with this man at the Portland Fermentation Festival and it turns out he has a pretty awesome home set up for juicing apples that involves a big stainless sink and a garbage disposal just for that purpose. Anyway he just got done with his fall pressing and generously gifted us 5 gallons of the sweet, golden stuff to ferment into hard cider. All he asks is that we save him a bottle or two of the bubbly in the spring. What a guy. We cracked open the hard cider last night and the celebration continued.

Up next on the blog — DIY cheese in Portland…

EaT Oyster Bar
3808 N Williams
503.281.1222
www.eatoysterbar.com

Homemade Hard Cider Pt. 2

April 15th, 2009
Rack it

Rack it

A quick recap: We rented a mill from F.H. Steinbart Co. in Southeast early November and supplemented our meager backyard apple supply with some heritage reds from Woodland, Washington. After a day of rinsing, halving, milling and pressing we filtered the cider, added some champagne yeast and then funneled it into a 3-gallon carboy. We let the carboy sit in the utility room to for a few months and do its thing.

That’s where we left off.

Come January we racked off the cider which means we siphoned it into a clean carboy. Well, in our case we siphoned the cider into a food-grade bucket, cleaned the carboy and then siphoned it back in. Before cleaning the carboy we poured the yeasty sediment in the bottom into a stainless bowl and then wondered what to do with it.

According to the great SandorkrautSandor Ellix Katz author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Micorwaved:

When you rack and bottle wines, you are left with yeasty sediment at the bottom of the fermenting vessel. This sediment is not pretty, so generally it is not bottled or served. But all the deceased yeast is full of B vitamins. If you’ve ever used nutritional yeast, it is essentially the same thing as this.

Wine dregs make a rich and flavorful soup base. Try following a recipe for French onion soup, substituting wine dregs for one-quarter of the liquid. Be sure to boil it for awhile to cook off the alcohol. Inhale the fumes for an intense sensory experience!

Deceased yeast

Deceased yeast

Over at the food website Culinate I also got some advice from a site member to marinate some fish in the cider lees. I meant to do that but the only thing I did with the lees was add a few tablespoons to some braised greens. Then it started to make the kitchen ripe so I tossed it in the compost. Next time…

Racking gave us a chance to give the cider a taste (the only other time we’d tried it was at press) and it was already pretty good — fresh, slightly sour, subtly sweet. Much better than we thought it would be considering we didn’t use very complex apples. Typically hard cider includes some tannic, sour and not-so-good-to-eat-fresh apples.

So we racked off the cider and set it back in utility room to do its thing. The cider was fairly clear at this point, as opposed to how hazy it was when we first pressed it, and getting more and more golden by the week as tiny particulates continued to sink to the bottom of the carboy.

Come mid-February we added a final jump of sugar, corn sugar to be exact, for natural carbonation. Prior to this the yeast had been feeding solely on natural sugars — no sugar added. We did this as we bottled — adding a half teaspoon to each bottle — while siphoning the cider and then capping the bottles with an old capper I found at an estate sale.

We kept the twenty-some bottles in a corner of the kitchen until a beer and mead brewing friend told us that would kill off the remaining yeast needing to carbonate it. He recommended a warmer spot for the final ferment so we moved the bottles upstairs next to a small wall-mounted heater and waited.

A month later at our first barbecue of semi-spring we cracked open a few bottles of the cider with our friend. It was crisp, light and effervescent, slightly sweet, and the essence of autumn apple. In other words, it was delicious. We were happy that we hadn’t botched the mild carbonation by keeping the cider in our cold kitchen for a few days after bottling. In the end we had less than 30 bottles from about 80 pounds of home-pressed apples.

Will we do it again? Yes. This year? Maybe. I’m making dandelion wine for the second time this weekend but hard cider requires a lot more time, energy and equipment. It was worth it but I’m thinking it may be more biennial for us.

Almost ready and waiting

Almost ready and waiting

Hard Cider Part One…

Homemade Hard Cider Pt. 1

March 25th, 2009
Heritage reds from Woodland, Washington

Heritage reds from Woodland, Washington

Last fall my boyfriend and I decided to finally make good use of the apples from the ancient apple tree in our backyard. I’d heard that F.H. Steinbart Co. rented out one of their cider mill/presses every weekend in the fall for $20. I called as soon as I found out last summer when our apple tree was set with loads of good looking fruit. I thought it would probably ripen around late October just as it had the previous fall so I reserved the press for the first weekend of November. That happened to be a very busy weekend — Wordstock, my first face-to-face with my publisher, an all-day rain garden/stormwater management class for the Organic Gardening Certification Program, and cider making 101.

Two things happened that had a huge effect on the latter. First, we lost a major limb of the apple tree mid-summer, which completely obstructed the street behind our house and sent tennis-ball-looking, unripe apples all the way up and down the street. Because of that we had to do some major emergency pruning to save the tree. The next impediment to our home cidery: the slim-pickings apples that remained ripened early. Very early. Most were good to go by early September. Although apples keep well — two months was pushing it and to be honest there just weren’t that many still on the tree. Our cider press reservation was firm, however, and no other weekends were available. I started hunting for apples.

I surfed Craigslist and found a man with a small home orchard in Woodland, Washington with ripe heritage red apples (not a variety just a description — he’s not sure what kind they are) ready to sell for a good price that sounded like they’d make a decent, but probably not great, hard cider. I was ok with a small batch of decent cider for a small chunk of change. It’d be good practice for our future bumper crop cider. I drove out with my puppy picked up the loot and headed home. The apples had been sweated (stored for a couple weeks so that they’d ripened into peak flavor and sweetness) and were ready for cider. We rinsed them, halved them and threw them into the apple mill/grinder — stems, seeds and all…

Into the mill

Into the mill

After milling we put the apple pomace (the resulting bits and chunks) into the press and then started hand cranking the juice. That took the most time.

Pressing the cider

Pressing the cider

Cider Falls

Cider Falls

As you can see a lot of bits made it into the cider. That didn’t matter because before pouring the cider into the carboy, with a packet of champagne yeast, we filtered it through cheesecloth. Apple Bits was a nickname my friend Mary Ellen gave me in grade school. If only she could see me now.

80-plus pounds of apples became a mere 3 gallons of cider. Our how-to book Cider Hard & Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own by Ben Watson for The Countryman Press doesn’t suggest an apple to juice ratio but surfing around online it seems like the consensus is that roughly 15 pounds of apples usually translates to about a gallon of cider. Either we need to do some push-ups in prep. for this fall or our apples weren’t exactly up-to-snuff juice wise.

Cider's home for a few months

Cider's home for a few months

After all that, which took the better part of a day, we had three gallons of cider in a carboy with a purge tube stoppered to the top leading to a half-full bottle of water. This way nothing noxious or foreign could travel into the cider but if the fermentation got particularly feisty and bubbly the cider would overflow into the bottle of water. We kept it in the utility room and checked on it every few hours at first and then every few days. Once the initial fermentation was over, about a week or two I think, we removed the tubing and topped the carboy with a regular fermentation lock. Then we left the cider largely unattended until January.

Hard Cider Part Two…

Good to know: F.H. Steinbart, Portland Nursery and heirloom beans

February 23rd, 2009
Magic beans?

Magic beans?

Over the weekend I stopped by F.H. Steinbart Co. to pick up a small sack of corn sugar/dextrose for the hard cider we pressed this fall. It was my fastest in-and-out ever at Steinbart mainly due to weather. Saturday was so sunny and nice it felt wrong to be inside.

After resisting a long look at Steinbart’s wine, beer and soda supplies, where I would not have been alone — I counted almost 20 molasses-speed people scooping malt, handling carboys and discussing the pros and cons of cork versus rubber — I made my way east on Stark toward Portland Nursery. I found most of the seeds I still needed there — several varieties of tomatoes, pickling cukes, arugula, watermelon radish and more — but was sad to find that they’re already out of Ananas Noire tomatoes. Anyone know of a local nursery that still has this seed?

At PN I also picked up some Amber’s Heirloom Beans from Red Truck Farm (if you follow this link be sure to scroll down till you get to “Dry Beans Available”). These heirloom beans — produced by Amber Baker a former intern at Sauvie Island Organics — are going for $3.49 per packet and they’re going fast. I picked up a packet of the Golden Appaloosa and Peregion, both bush beans that I’ve never tried that sound delicious. The packets tell me to sow them in May-June and to harvest them when plump. Easy enough.

A couple more weekend finds:

While I was wandering PN picking my asparagus crowns and gathering seeds, I heard on the intercom that Vern Nelson of the O was about to host a free class on crop rotation in greenhouse two. I went, I learned, it was great. Apparently there are loads of free classes offered at Portland Nursery. Good to know.

Mirador Community Store is having a 25% off book sale through February. I bought a food preservation cookbook and a root cellar how-to book.

People’s Food Co-op is hiring. Check out what for here. They’re accepting applications until this Sunday, March 1st.

A half teaspoon of that corn sugar from F.H. Steinbart went into each of these bottles of hard cider.

A half teaspoon of that corn sugar from F.H. Steinbart went into each of these bottles of hard cider.