Portland Fermentation Festival 2016 Redux

November 2nd, 2016
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 this business stopped by for a minute but she'd been up the night before until 4am making kimchi so she was a little tired. Matt was on last year's and this year's Panel of Fermentation Experts.

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 spit that this traditional Peruvian corn drink is made of. You read that correctly -- they essentially drank Nat's spit. Nat always brings something wildly experimental to the fest every year and we love him so much for it.

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).

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.

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 doors opened for the first of the night's two tasting and madness ensued. A fun, yummy, wild ferments madness.

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. Thank you for making this year's fest so fun and special!

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 fermented Mongolian milk wine and the year before that LEG OF LAMB cider! Wacky and awesome.

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.

Super cute couple 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 (New Seasons, Green Zebra, Peoples Food Coop ++) and they're soooo yummy!

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 pickle brine. YUM!!

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.

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 from San Diego did this fun and DIY kimchi and gochujang making demo.

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 and sour and smooth. She's currently working on a book all about vegan cheeses. Her 1-Hour Cheese cookbook came out...

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.

Heidi Nestler owner of Pickled Things sampled her sticky tasty natto at this year's fest and...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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/

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.

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.

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...

A little closer…

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

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.

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.

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 Ecotrutst roof.

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. My very, very, very favorite hard cider maker.

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.

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 honors ;)

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!

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
Gazpacho
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
info@portlandfermentationfestival.com
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!