We asked three fermentation experts if recent popularity of fermented foods is a fading trend or a new food movement. These industry professionals weigh in on their predictions for fermentation’s future. The fermenters include: Bri Warner (CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms, a commercially viable seaweed farm that makes kelp kraut and kimchi), Nicholas Gregory (owner of Pulp Hot Sauce, an Atlanta-based fermented condiment brand), Joshua Rood (co-founder and CEO Dr Hops Kombucha beer, a health-conscious alcohol).
Do you think the surge of fermented food and drinks is a trend will disappear or a new food movement here to stay?
Bri Warner, CEO Atlantic Sea Farms: “Now that we have a robust understanding of how good gut health effects overall health, I think fermentation is here to stay. I do think the category will continue to innovate to remain relevant, with a stronger focus on quality ingredients that are good for people, planet, and, in our case, oceans!”
Nicholas Gregory, owner Pulp Hot Sauce: “I think the current fermented food movement is here to stay. We are at an intersection of technology, science and health further than we have ever seen in human history. The internet, television, several seminal books and air travel have given us unprecedented exposure and access to information. This exposure and access to food and world cultures is more in depth than ever before. Including the food history and traditions of those cultures. Combine that awareness with a relatively intelligent and sophisticated medical system; an understanding of healthy lifestyles, a willingness to make healthy decisions, an understanding of the benefits of a healthy gut biome and how it all correlates to a longer, happier, healthier life. Along with a craving for umami and fermented funky flavors for a growing number of the population. I believe we are in the middle of a movement that shows no signs of slowing down or going away anytime soon. In fact, I see it only becoming more popular, more normal, more accepted, more diverse, more creative and more exciting in the decades to come.”
Joshua Rood, co-founder and CEO Dr Hops Kombucha beer: “As co-founder and CEO of Dr Hops Kombucha Beer, I appreciate that there is currently a powerful trend towards living, fermented foods. But answering the question of whether or not that will continue is repugnant. We here at Dr Hops are driving that trend! We are not playing the game of hoping that it will simply continue. We are committing ourselves, each day, to the life-enhancing awesomeness of fresh, authentic, fermented foods and beverages. Please join us in that! Join us in leading the health-conscious food and beverage revolution!”
“Why do some foods like chocolate, wine and cheese taste so delicious? Fermenting magically transforms their original ingredients into something more desirable. Besides upping flavor, some lactic-acid ferments, such as homemade sauerkraut, actually strengthen your immune system.”
Rebecca Wood, “Fermented Foods Strengthen Immune System“
Fermented food and beverages reigned at the 2020 Good Food Awards. The annual Good Food Awards honors American craft food producers. Over a hundred fermented brands beat out 1,835 entrants to take home top honors.
Craft food makes over $200 billion in revenue a year. The 17 categories include: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, elixirs, fish, grains, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves, snacks and spirits.
From the Good Food Foundation: “For a long time, certifications for responsible practices and awards for superior taste have remained distinct – one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates craftsmanship and flavor. The Good Food Awards recognizes that truly good food – the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities – contains all of these ingredients.”
Read our article for an overview on the fermentation brands that won awards this year.
1000 Faces Coffee – Luis Ordoñez (Athens, Georgia). With a “mission to connect the coffee consumers and coffee producer,” 1000 Faces Coffee is a coffee roaster that travels to countries of origin to work with producers.
21 Degrees Estate Cacao Farm – Kahalu`u Gold (Kaneohe, Hawaii). A family-operated boutique cacao farm on the windward side of the island of Oahu. 21 Degrees sells chocolate and offers tours.
Albemarle CiderWorks – Harrison (North Garden, Virgina). A 20-year-old apple orchard, CiderWorks makes 15 varieties of cider in their cideries, selling by the bottle or by glass in their taproom.
Aldi – VitaLife Organic Ginger Awakening Kombucha (Batavia, Illinois). The fermented tea is made by VitaLife, a brand made by the discount supermarket chain Aldi.
Allagash Brewing Company – Crosspath (Portland, Maine). This independent craft brewer sells beers using a traditional, Belgian method of spontaneous fermentation.
Almanac Beer Co – Apricot Sournova (Alameda, California). Farm-to-barrel brewing, Almanac uses mixed-culture to make their beers, which allows continuous fermentation over months with real fruit in oak barrels.
Apologue Spirited Liqueurs – Saffron Liqueur (Chicago, Illinois). A locally-sourced liquer maker that “elevate classic cocktail recipes.”
Askinosie Chocolate – Dark Chocolate & Red Raspberry CollaBARation™ Bar (Springfield, Missouri). One of Forbes’ 25 Best Small Companies In America, Askinosie Chocolate uses single origin, Direct Trade cocoa beans.
Atlantic Sea Farms – Sea-Chi (Saco, Maine). The first commercially viable seaweed farm in the U.S., Atlantic Sea Farms was founded in 2009. The clean, fresh Sea-Chi is made with raw kelp, cabbage and radish.
Backyard Beans Coffee Co. – Ethiopia Basa (Lansdale, Pennsylvania). A coffee roaster using responsibly sourced coffee beans, the light roast is an Ethiopian heirloom variety.
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company – Gera (Lee, Massachusetts). Sustainable coffee with delicate violet and blueberry aromas with fruit flavors of strawberry, peach and hard candy and soft tones of cocoa, molasses and licorice root.
Beltex Meats – Pate Forestier (Salt Lake City, Utah). A nose-to-tail, whole animal butcher sourcing regional meat, Beltex Meat’s Pate Forestier is part of the in-house charcuterie program. It’s comprised of pork shoulder and liver, chicken liver, and foie gras.
Big B’s Hard Cider – Harry Masters Jersey (Hotchkiss, Colorado). A farmstead hard cider made with fruit from the orchard and fermented in the cidery.
Big Easy Bucha – Bayou Berry Kombucha (New Orleans, Louisiana). A kombucha brand fermented with Southern flavors. Bayou Berry is infused with strawberry and honeysuckle.
Blackberry Farm – Sobrasada (Walland, Tennessee). Sobrasada is Blackberry Farm’s version of a raw, cured, fermented Spanish sausage, made from American Iberico pigs raised at White Oak Pastures in southern Georgia.
Blackberry Farm – Brebis (Walland, Tennessee). Blackberry Farm’s seasonal fresh sheep’s milk cheese.
Blackberry Farm – Hawkins Haze (Walland, Tennessee). An ashed surface-ripened sheep’s milk cheese named after the Hawkins line that runs through the property.
Blue Bus Cultured Foods – Local Cortido (White Salmon, Washington). A sauerkraut popular in Salvadoran cuisine, the organic kraut is made with cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic and spices.
Bourbon Barrel Foods – Imperial Double Fermented Soy Sauce (Louisville, Kentucky). Naturally brewed, double fermented soy sauce. It is aged in bourbon barrels and features earthy flavors.
California Fish Sauce – Koji Fish Sauce (Pleasanton, California). The first fish sauce in the U.S. that is compliant with FDA and FDB regulations, from harvesting anchovies to fermentation and finished product.
Capriole – Sofia (Greenville, Indiana). A sweet, dense, ripened goat cheese from local goats.
Cascadia Creamery – Sleeping Beauty (Trout Lake, Washington). A buttery and sharp cheese with a natural rind, aged 75 to 100 days.
Case Coffee Roasters – Ethiopia Dimtu (Ashland, Oregon). Sustainably sourced coffee from beans all over the globe. Roasted in small batches for sweeter, complex flavors.
Casella’s Salumi Speciali – Casella’s Prosciutto Speciale (Hurleyville, New York). An American made meat made using Italian tradition. Slow, on-the-bone curing.
Castronovo Chocolate – Tumaco, Colombia Dark Milk 60% (Stuart, Florida). A dark milk chocolate made with cocoa from the Pacific coast of Colombia. The cacao beans are foraged in indigenous forests, then fermented and dried in an onsite facility using solar panels.
Champlain Orchards Cidery – Honeycrisp (Shoreham, Vermont). A single-varietal cider using fresh-pressed Honeycrisp apples. All apples are pressed, fermented, and crafted at the orchard.
Champlain Orchards Cidery – Redfield – Estate Series (Shoreham, Vermont). Made with estate grown Redfield apples. These red crab apple hybrids create a fragrant, sour cherry flavor.
Chequessett Chocolate – White Lemon Thyme Bar (North Truro, Massachusetts). A white chocolate with lemon and thyme, the chocolate-making process begins with high-quality beans, then a flavor developed during fermentation.
Cherry Grove Farm – Havilah (Lawrenceville, Nj, New Jersey). Cheese from the cows at Cherry Grove Farm, a sustainable farm. Batches are aged 14 to 16 months.
Cleophus Quealy Beer Company – Frambozenbier (San Leandro, California). Sour red ale barrel-aged with raspberries. Small batches are brewed seven barrels at a time.
Compelling Coffee – Ethiopia Bedhatu Jibicho (Los Angeles, California). Beans are fermented in ceramic tile tanks filled with clean spring water for 24 hours. The beans are then fermented a second time for another 24 hours.
Creo Chocolate – Caramelized Milk Chocolate (Portland, Oregon). The fruit inside the cacao bean is fermented for 4- 7 days to bring out the flavor of the beans.
Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea – Kossa Kebena (Columbus, Ohio). From Crimson Cup’s line of Friend2Farmer direct-trade coffees, Kossa Kebena is produced from heirloom cacao beans naturally fermented on raised beds.
Cutwater Spirits – Three Sheets Cask Strength Rum (San Diego, California). Crafted from pure cane sugar rather than molasses, the rum is distilled in a hybrid pot-and-column still.
Daniel’s Artisan – Bonneville (Ferndale, Washington). Traditional, artisan cheese made through Ferndale Farmstead cheese company. Ferndale uses a seed-to-cheese philosophy, only using milk they produce from cows they raise, fed from crops they grow.
Equator Coffees – Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda Gesha (San Rafael, California). A light roast sustainably sourced from Panama, it features flavors of peach, apricot and Meyer lemon.
Falcon Spirits Distillery – Aperitivo Aplomado (Richmond, California). A blend of 26 high-quality herbs, roots, flowers and fruits with no artificial flavors. Made in small batches that take two months to create.
Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods – Salame Toscano (Berkeley, California). All natural pork made in the Tuscan tradition.
Fruition Chocolate – Spring Salted Dark Milk 56% (Shokan, New York). Seeds from pods are fermented in bins and covered with burlap or banana leaves for 3-8 days.
Fullsteam – Farm’s Edge: Barrel-Aged Ava (Durham, North Carolina). A mixed culture saison made with foraged wild grape leaves and elderflower and rested in red wine barrels.
Goat Rock Cider Company – Rosé Cider (Healdsburg, California). A fruit cider made by co-fermenting local, organic apples with Hawaiian passion fruit.
Goodnow Farms Chocolate – Special Reserve with Las Palomas Coffee (Sudbury, Massachusetts). A single-origin coffee and cacao bar, the chocolate is a fruity flavor thanks to the Guatemalan coffee beans.
Gowan’s Heirloom Cider – Macintosh Applewine Cider (Philo, California). A farm-to-table cider, the Macintosh apples used in the cider are grown at Gowan orchards to be pressed, fermented and bottled at the farm.
Gowan’s Heirloom Cider – Gravenstein Cider (Philo, California). Called summer in a glass, the cider is made using fresh Gravenstein apples from the farm’s heritage orchards.
Green Dirt Farm – Fresh – Plain (Weston, Missouri). A fresh, spreadable cheese.
Gypsy Circus Cider Company – PuppetMaster: Whiskey Barrel Vaudevillian (Kingsport, Tennessee). A wild cider aged in whisky barrels for 15 months with apricots.
H+S Coffee Roasters – Kenya Chwele (Laramie, Wyoming). A Kenyan coffee with complex flavors of raspberry, black plum, sour skin, cherry taffy, mango, tropical fruits and stone fruits.
Hemly Cider – Sloughouse Jalapeno Pear Cider (Courtland, California). Made on a six-generation farm, the cider starts with hand-picked Bartlett pears blended with estate grown Gala apples.
HOSAco – The Standard Fermented Hot Sauce (Bellingham, Washington). A condiment made in small batches with all-natural ingredients. Chiles are hand processed and fermented for a minimum of six weeks.
Idyll Farms – Mont Idyll (Northport, Michigan). Named a “Best Artisanal Cheese” by Food & Wine Magazine, the soft ripened rind is delicately painted with vegetable ash.
Incontro Cured – Salame di Bue (Richmond, California). Made from a Sanke River Farms American Wagyu.
Incontro Cured – Salame Sicilia (Richmond, California). Salame honoring the Sicilian lineage, it’s made from ingredients growing wildly throughout the Island of Sicily, Italy.
JAZ Spirits – Cold Tree Gin (Clackamas, Oregon). Inspired by the elegant old growth forests of Oregon, a spirit crafted with flavors of botanical, fruit and old tree harvests.
JAZ Spirits – Verstovia Spruce Tip Vodka (Clackamas, Oregon). A vodka foraged from the coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest, distilled with the fresh green tips of Sitka Spruce trees.
JBC Coffee Roasters – Janson Geisha Lot #109 (Madison, Wisconsin). Direct trade coffee that is named one of the best coffee roasters by Forbes.
Kickapoo Coffee – Kenya Mbeguka (Viroqua, Wisconsin). Made with a Kenyan coffee bean, the coffee is made with a dry fermentation.
Klatch Coffee – Colombia Finca La Maria Geisha Natural (Rancho Cucamonga, California). The highest-scoring coffee at the 2019 U.S. Brewing Championships, the coffee has flavor notes of raspberry, black tea and floral flavors.
KMN Enterprises – K Bloody Mary Mix (Brooklyn, New York). Made in small batches using 87% organic ingredients.
Lakefront Brewing – Beerline Barleywine (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). The nation’s first organic barrel-aged barley wine in the U.S., the beer is held for 18 months in rye whiskey barrels.
Leopold Bros – Summer Gin (Denver, Colorado). Ingredients include Spanish blood oranges, French immortal flowers, juniper berries and Australian lemon myrtle.
Letherbee Distillers – Original Label Gin (Chicago, Illinois). Gin incorporated with a blend of 11 botanical spirits.
Liberty Ciderworks – English Style IV (Spokane, Washington).Classic cider in a aroma-rich, English-style cider.
Linea – Guatemala El Injerto Reserve (San Francisco, California).Coffee from Guatemala’s first carbon-neutral certified farm.
Little Apple Treats – Strawberry + Pink Peppercorn Shrub (Sebastopol, California). Fresh, organic strawberries and fresh, organic pink peppercorn leaves and fruit combine with award-winning apple cider vinegar. It contains live vinegar mother, so it’s potent with probiotics.
Little Beast Brewing – Bes – Tart Wheat Ale (Beaverton, Oregon). Brewed with Belgian malts, Lemon Drop Hops and chamomile flower then fermented with a blend of unique Saccharomyces yeast and conditioned with Lactobacillus.
Little Beast Brewing – Golden Stone (Beaverton, Oregon). A blend of peaches, nectarines and apricots gives a luscious elegance to this farmhouse ale. Prevailing notes of vanilla, toasted French oak & juicy stone fruit.
Loma Coffee – Ethiopia Shantawene Village – Anaerobic Process (Portland, Oregon). Heirloom coffee from Ethiopia, this coffee is anaerobic fermented and tastes floral, sweet and complex.
Love Hard, Inc. – Jojo’s Sriracha – OG (Pueblo, Colorado). Handmade Sriracha made with chile peppers from small farms in Pueblo, Colorado. The chili peppers are harvested in-season and fermented for several months.
Madrone Cider – The Reserve Blend (Friday Harbor, Washington). Naturally fermented in bottle, apples are sourced from Bellevue Farms on San Juan Island, Washington. The hard cider apples are bred specifically for flavor.
Mudhouse Coffee Roasters – Moras Negras, Mi Finquita Coffee Farm (Charlottesville, Virginia). A sundried, natural processing style, the coffee features complex fruit and floral flavors.
My Artisano Cheeses – Ervie Cheese (Cincinnati, Ohio). Washed rind soft cheese with balanced cream, and yeasty notes. Amild version of Belgian washed rind cheeses.
Napili Fresh Local Organic Farm – Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric Sauerkraut (Lahaina, Hawaii). Artisanal, naturally fermented sauerkraut made in Hawaii with organic ingredients.
Napili Fresh Local Organic Farm – Gut Shots (Lahaina, Hawaii). Kimchi gut shots handcrafted in Maui.
Nettle Meadow Farm – Kunik (Warrensburg, New York). Artisanal goat cheese made on a 100-acre farm.
Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters – Carmen Geisha (Dallas, Texas). A micro-roaster, the Carmen Geisha is a small batch sourced from Finca Carmen in Volcán, Panama
OlyKraut – Eastern European Sauerkraut (Olympia, Washington). One of the most popular flavors, the caraway seeds and apple give it a distinct flavor in the live probiotic kraut.
OlyKraut – Organic Smoke & Kale Sauerkraut (Olympia, Washington). Combines smoked chiles with local kale bounty from Pacific Northwest farmers.
Olympia Provisions – Chorizo Rioja (Portland, Oregon). A Spanish-style salami with both sweet and smoked paprika, garlic and oregano.
Olympia Provisions – Rosette de Oregon (Portland, Oregon). A French-inspired salami made with all Oregon ingredients: Oregon pork, pinot noir, rosemary, juniper, and sea salt.
Oregon Brineworks – Sauerkraut (Hood River, Oregon). Naturally fermented, raw sauerkraut made with organic, lacto-fermented vegetables.
Pagosa Brewing & Grill – Cool Cucumber Wheat (Pagosa Springs, Colorado). A fruit beer infused with fresh cucumbers.
Pappy & Company – Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Maple Syrup (Louisville, Kentucky). A one-of-a-kind syrup bursting with flavors of vanilla, butter, oak and bourbon. Aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels.
Patric Chocolate – 67% Piura Peru (Columbia, Missouri). Peru cacao beans create chocolate with ruby grapefruit, toasted almonds and sun-dried wine grapes.
Pennyroyal Farm – Reserve Boont Corners (Boonville, California). Made of fresh, raw milk, it is inspired by French cheese as a means of preserving nutrients from the abundant summer milk.
Penstock Coffee – Taaroo Mill, Ethiopia (Highland Park, New Jersey). The coffee is fermented for 24-36 hours, then dried for 12-20 days. The coffee is intensely sweet with heavy fruits.
Perennial Artisan Ales – Giant Steps: Blend 2 (St. Louis, Missouri). A 50/50 blend of two distinct threads: Half puncheon fermented mixed culture saison with grapefruit zest and juice, and half barrel fermented clean saison aged on 2nd use raspberries and blackberries.
Port City Brewing Company – Optimal Wit (Alexandria, Virginia). A a Belgian Witbier style beer, Optimal Wit includes ingredients like Virginia-grown wheat, Spanish orange peels, and coriander.
Port City Brewing Company – Rivershed Ale (Alexandria, Virginia). An American Pale Ale (APA) style beer, Rivershed Ale is dry-hopped with 100% locally sourced grain.
PUSH X PULL COFFEE – Ethiopia Sidama Shantawene Anaerobic Process (Portland, Oregon). Ethiopian coffee with flavors of strawberries and tangerine.
Real Pickles – Organic Nettle Kraut (Greenfield, Massachusetts). Naturally fermented, small batch kraut, infused with Vermont nettles.
Real Pickles – Organic Beet Kvass (Greenfield, Massachusetts). Fermented infusion of beets, onions and savory herbs.
Red Rooster Coffee Roaster – Ethiopia Nansebo Worka (Floyd, Virginia). This washed process organic coffee is sourced from the Zenebe Simbret Washing Station, Flavors include honeysuckle and rose aroma, sweet ripe plum, fresh apricot and pomegranate acidity.
Reuben’s Brews – Hazealicious IPA (Seattle, Washington). An IPA with tropical fruit notes, in particular passion fruit. The stars of the show are the big, bright hops with restrained bitterness providing balance.
Reverend Al’s Bona Fide Potents – Strawberry Peppercorn Shrub (Tacoma, Washington). Reverend Al’s Bona Fide Potents are a collection of all natural, nearly mystical, alchemetical concoctions– magical bitters, elixirs, tinctures and shrubs. Made with locally grown fruits and vegetables from family farms.
Salt and Savour – Apple Ginger Sauerkraut (Dunsmuir, California). Fermented, organic sauerkraut, handcrafted in small batches.
Salute! – Vicario Amore Mio Aperitivo (Greer, South Carolina). Made with a 115-year-old recipe using “vanishing” herbs, hard to find herbal ingredients that Salute now grows themselves.
Shrub Farm – Ginger & Hawaiian Chili Shrub (Bellingham, Washington). A spicy ginger and chili shrub. Shelf stable with a living culture with the Mother of vinegar.
Sierra Nevada Cheese Company – Bella Capra Raw Milk Monterrey Jacques (Willows, California). Made with raw cultured goat’s milk, the “complex array of flavors” results from “naturally occurring healthy micro-organisms present in our fresh milk.”
SILO Distillery – Vodka (Windsor, Vermont). Made with 100% Vermont corn, gluten-free and non-GMO.
Smoking Goose Meatery – Whey Fed Dodge City Salame (Indianapolis, Indiana). Old world style of meat curing with a new world flavor. The Dodge City Salame is a pork salame of fennel pollen and pink peppercorns.
Smoking Goose Meatery – Duck Prosciutto (Indianapolis, Indiana). Moulard duck breast with star anise, allspice and orange peel.
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers – Bootleggers Black Lager (San Francisco, California). Founded in 1997, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is a San Francisco craft brewery bringing great beer from the underground to the masses. The brewery makes year-round and limited release beers.
Speckled Ax Wood Roasted Coffee – Ethiopia Jebicho (Portland, Maine). Coffee roaster in a vintage Italian Petroncini fired with local hardwood.
Spirit Works Distillery – Sloe Gin (Sebastopol, California). “Batch by batch – grain to glass.” Made with sloe berries, the crimson-colored gin has a unique sweet-and-sour taste.
Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co. – Juan Domingo / Guatemala (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Rich flavors of chocolate hazelnut and deep fruitiness.
Steady State Roasting – La Pradera Mokka (Carlsbad, California). A Colombian coffee from the mokka tree.
Stem Ciders – New Hampshire Heritage (Lafayette, Colorado). Unfiltered cider made from a blend of bittersharp and bittersweet heirloom apples from a local orchard.
Stonecutter Spirits – Heritage Cask Whiskey (Middlebury, Vermont). The Heritage Cask Whiskey is distilled in Kentucky like a bourbon, aged in Vermont like an Irish whiskey, and finished like a Scotch.
Stormalong Cider – Light of the Sun (Sherborn, Massachusetts). A citrusy, refreshing cider dry-hopped with Citra & Ekaunot hops. At the time of dry-hopping, Stormalong Cider adds guava to enhance the tropical, citrusy taste which is on the drier side.
Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind – Smoked Maple Sriracha (Londonderry, Vermont). Made with real maple syrup, this all natural Smoked Maple Sriracha has become a cult favorite in the state.
Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters – Mario Alarcon (Lakewood, Colorado). Specialty, ethical, sustainable coffee with limited release flavors, like Mario Alarcon.
The Cottage – Pickled West Indian Gherkin (Bluffton, South Carolina). Pickling cucumbers from The Cottage, a cafe and tea room founded in 1868.
The Juice Hive & Health Emporium – Shiso, Sweet Potato and Asian Sour Leaf Kimchi (Bluffton, South Carolina). A kimchi from the natural foods store.
The Juice Hive & Health Emporium – Watermelon Rind Kimchi (Bluffton, South Carolina). Another unique kimchi flavor from the natural foods store.
Top of the Hill Distillery – Organic Carolina Straight Wheat Whiskey (Chapel Hill, North Carolina). Made from North Carolina-grown wheat and U.S.-grown sugar cane. Fermented and distilled on-site in the distillery.
Treaty Oak Distilling – Ghost Hill Bourbon (Dripping Springs, Texas). Ghost Hill Bourbon is a unique whiskey made with local heirloom grains. A genuine grain to glass bourbon, it is mashed, fermented, distilled, barreled, aged 2 years and bottled on-site.
Underground Meats – Calabrian 3 Ways Salami (Madison, Wisconsin). Wisconsin-grown calabrian chillies, prepared three different ways
Urban Tree Hard Cider – Habanero Haze (Atlanta, Georgia). Spicy ginger infusion with hints of habanero zest.
Vibrant Coffee Roasters – Ethiopia Ardi Organic – Washed (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). An organic Ethiopian coffee with citrus and sweet floral flavors.
Virtue Cider – The Mitten (Fennville, Michigan). A Michigan cider blend of last season’s pressed apples, aged in Bourbon barrels for up to one year, then back sweetened with this year’s fresh pressed apple juice. The Mitten has notes of vanilla, caramel, and charred oak.
Virtue Cider – Michigan Cherry (Fennville, Michigan). Michigan Cherry blends last year’s harvest of Michigan apples from local orchards that are aged in French oak barrels. Fresh-pressed juice from Michigan cherries is then added.
Vista Brewing – Stonewall Belgian Lambic-Style Ale with Texas Peaches (Driftwood, Texas). Lambic-style ale with Texas peaches.
Volpi Foods – Heritage Prosciutto (St. Louis, Missouri). Our heritage prosciutto is hand-rubbed, salted & air dried for a perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Waialua Estate Chocolate – Hawaiian Milk Chocolate (Wahiawa, Hawaii). Waialua Estate’s Hawaiian cacao is grown along the banks of the Kaukonahua stream. Flavors include banana and pineapple notes, and flavors of dark cherry, berry and raisins.
White Label Chocolate – 58% Brown Butter Milk (Santa Cruz, California). Single origin chocolate bars fermented in a pair box design.
WildCraft Cider Works – Pisgah Heritage (Eugene, Oregon). Traditional farmhouse cider made with apples and English Hawthorne berries & blossoms.
Wise Goat Organics – Super Green Kraut (Hollister, California). Probiotic rich and full of raw, live cultures. Super Green Kraut is full of organic greens: cabbage, nettles, cilantro, morenga, spinach, parsley, chickweed and dandelion.
“Science is here to explain why fermenting vegetables is not only perfectly safe but also surprisingly easy and rewarding. Spoiler: Microbes do most of the work.
In our hyper-Pasteurian, expiration date-driven era, it might be difficult to relinquish control over our food to these mysterious forces. But a small measure of understanding yields rich rewards: crisp classic sauerkraut, warmly tart beets, bright preserved lemons and just about anything else you can dream up.” Katherine Harmon Courage writes in her article for the Washington Post “Eat Voraciously” section that fermentation adds a depth to fruits and vegetables. Harmon Courage, author of the book “Cultured: How Ancient Foods Can Feed Our Microbiome”
Read more (Washington Post)
Americans with German and Eastern European descent make sauerkraut part of their Thanksgiving tradition. The Baltimore Sun highlights Baltimore-based Hex Ferments that produces a few tons of sauerkraut a month, in multiple varieties. Sales are going so well (Hex Ferments makes kombucha and kimchi, too) that they’ll be expanding to a bigger production facility in 2020. Hex Ferments cofounder Meaghan Carpenter said: “I think sauerkraut can save the world.”
Read more (The Baltimore Sun)
The New York Times asks: are there benefits to drinking kombucha? The article explores hard kombucha and the health claims of drinking the fermented tea. “But for those interested in integrating a variety of microbes into their diet, Dr. Emeran Mayer, author of ‘The Mind-Gut Connection,’ recommends doing so naturally. ‘I personally drink it occasionally,’ he said. Instead of using pills or supplements, he said, alternate different fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kimchi, cultured milk products, and, yes, kombucha.
Read more (New York Times)
If just 10% of the population chooses to eat fermented foods, could the food industry be disrupted? Fermentation guru Sally Fallon says: absolutely.
“With fermented foods, you could get rid of all this huge medical industry selling you antacids and digestive aids, and this huge industry that’s grown up around IBS and celiac disease. We can destroy that industry by eating the right foods, and that means eating fermented foods,” Fallon says. The author of cookbook and nutrition guide “Nourishing Traditions” is often credited with bringing ancestral diet methods back into vogue.
Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, founder of A Campaign for Real Milk and author of the new book “Nourishing Diets,” discussed fermentation during The Fermentation Summit. Below, selected highlights from Fallon’s interview with Paul Seelhorst, host of the summit.
Seelhorst: Tell us more about yourself and how you got into the fermentation topic.
Fallon: Well, when I was writing “Nourishing Traditions,” I wanted to make sure I was really describing traditional diets and not something people just think they are. I was very fortunate to find a book in French about fermented foods. I had never read about these before, lacto-fermented foods.
Recipes were very complicated – keep them at certain temperature for this many hours, then switch temperature for another few hours.
I kind of took this principle and worked out a way that was easy and fool-proof, using glass jars, we use way of innocuous so they don’t go bad while they’re starting to ferment.
Tried all these recipes, experiments, made children try – kids have funny stories about trying all these
The neat thing about fermentation is that it is a practice that’s traditional. When you ask traditional people why they do this, they wouldn’t know what to say or how to answer you, they just do it. But it totally accords to modern science. We have seen a complete paradigm shift in the last 20 years. In the past, bacteria were evil and they attacked us and made us sick. Now we realize that bacteria are our best friends, and we need at least 6 pounds of bacteria lining our guts in order to be healthy.
The way traditional people made sure that they had plenty of this good bacteria restocking everyday was to eat these raw fermented foods full of this healthy bacteria. They ate them in small amounts with the rest of their meals. This is how they did it, they had really healthy guts. We know when you have a healthy gut, everything goes better in life. You feel better, you digest better, you have more energy.
I recently wrote this book called “Nourishing Diets” which is about diets all over the world and what really struck me was the fermented foods. Every single culture in the world without exception eats fermented foods. Now some of these foods are pretty weird – like fermented seal flippers. Africa is the land of fermented foods. Almost everything they eat in traditional culture is fermented in Africa. They’ll kill an animals and ferment every part of the animal — the blood, the bones, the hoofs, the skin, the organ meats, the fat, the urine. Everything is fermented when they kill an animal.
Seelhorst: That’s pretty easy because its warm?
Fallon: Its warm, the bacteria like it. They have a saying – a rich man needs 10 animals to feed the wedding feast because he feeds everything fresh, but a poor man can feed the same feast with one animals because he ferments everything
Seelhorst: Do you know what they make out of urine, like a probiotic lemonade?
Fallon: I don’t know, they didn’t say. There’s two wonderful books on fermented foods – one is the “Handbook on Indigenous Fermented Foods” by Keith Steinkraus. He was at Cornell and is retired now. I fortunately talked to him while I was working on “Nourishing Traditions” and what he shows, he has a bunch of students from all over the world, especially Africa, and they do studies on the food. For example they take a food like cabbage and they’d measure the Vitamin c and the amino acids then they’d ferment it and measure it again. The vitamins goes way up – some 10-fold increase – and the amino acid increase.”
The other thing fermentation does with grains and meats, it releasees the minerals so they’re easily available.
There’s another wonderful book called “The Indigenous Fermented Foods of the Sudan: A Study in African Food and Nutrition.” The author was a student of Dr. Steinkraus. He reminds me a lot of Weston Price – he’s going to these traditional people not to, you know, lord over them and tell them how superior Western culture is. He goes with hat in hand saying “You guys have the secret here. You know how to eat; you know how to prepare food. Not only that, these foods can be done at the homestead, they can be taken to the market and sold, they are a good income for millions of people.” So he’s not pushing the industrial system, he’s pushing artisan food.” I just thought what a wonderful man, how humble. That’s how we need to come to these traditions – not how to make millions of dollars on them, but how to make a decent living for thousands of people and provide a healthy food for millions of people.”
Seelhorst: What I also like about fermentation is the sustainability aspect. People can make food sustainability and do not need fridges to keep the food good and not get it moldy.
Fallon: Foods like grains are impossible for humans to digest unless they are fermented. So many people can’t do grains, they’re sensitive to gluten. But when you ferment, as in the case of a sourdough bread or soaking your oats or pressed cakes all over the Southeast and Africa, these are fermented grains pressed into biscuits, this takes a food where most of the nutrients are unavailable to us and makes it readily available.
Seelhorst: Nowadays, people have fancy equipment to
ferment food. How did people ferment food back in the day?
Fallon: Usually they did it in large terracotta pots. And the culture was sort of in the holes of the pots, they didn’t have to add a culture, it was just hanging out there. When I started this in the late 1990s, this book I read in French was talking about these big pots. You couldn’t get these pots in the states when I was writing this book. I thought this isn’t going to work, the pots are heavy they’re expensive and they make a very large quantity which you may not be able to use. I thought we need a different method for the modern house wife or modern father. I thought “Let’s try to do this in Mason jars, the big quart jars with the wide top. Instead of having the culture hanging out in the holes, we didn’t have that. You had to add something in your culture, so that’s where we came up with adding whey. You have your cabbage or pickle or carrots or whatever it is you want to ferment, you put them in a bowl, you toss them with salt and a little bit of whey. You toss them, pound them a little bit, push them in the jar, push down heavily so the liquid comes and covers the top, this is an anerobic fermentation. Leave it at room temperature for a few days and its done.
Seelhorst: Where do people get the whey from?
Fallon: We teach people how to make it. You start with yogurt or with raw milk or something fermented like yogurt or kefir and you poor it through a fine cloth and the whey will drip out. From a quart of yogurt, you get about two and a half cups of whey. You’re only using a little bit at a time – a tablespoon or two – so that will keep a long time in the fridge. That’s your culture. There are other cultures, too. People are selling powders in culture. The only thing I would warn you is don’t try to do this without salt. Because the only time I heard about someone getting sick from fermented foods is when they didn’t use salt.
Seelhorst: Simply put – what happens during fermentation.
Fallon: What happens during fermentation is lactic acid is created by the fermentation. And in some foods, the lactic acid is already there. Like cabbage, cabbage juice is full of lactic acid. This makes whatever you’re fermenting get sour, it lowers the pH to under 4 and no pathogens can exist at a pH under 4. It makes the foods very safe and they don’t spoil after that. Lactic acid is a preservative just like alcohol is a preservative, but lactic acid doesn’t make you drunk. So, at the same time, these bacteria that are fermenting in there, they’re creating vitamins. Vitamin C, b vitamins. They’re breaking down what we call anti nutrients that block the simulation of minerals. They’re creating digestive enzymes that help you digest your food. The interesting thing is these bacteria and these enzymes do get through the stomach, they do get through and are passed into the small intestines where they are really useful. We’re not sure how that happens, they’re buffered in some way, but we do know these bacteria do get through
Seelhorst: How do you think fermented foods can fit into a modern diet.
Fallon: You can include them every day. One of my favorites foods is a fermented beet juice, I first noticed it in Germany, it’s called beet kvass. I have that every morning for breakfast. Sauerkraut is a really easy way, that’s the way most people do it, they just have sauerkraut with their meal. And then the fermented dairy foods like yogurt or kefir, those are wonderful fermented foods. You have a little bit with every meal.
Seelhorst: Are those the oldest fermented foods that we ate?
Fallon: In Europe, yes. We don’t have a tradition of eating fermented bones or fermented blood. But we definitely had fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, that dates to Roman times at least. And also fermented fish, the fish sauce, the universal seasoning, they found it in the ruins of Pompei where they were making it.
Seelhorst: What’s the difference between industrialized and self-made fermented food.
Fallon: once you industrialize something, they start to take shortcuts because they want to lower the cost. Typically, what they’ll do is eat something. So they’ll heat the sauerkraut and package it in plastic bags or something horrible or they’ll can it. So it will last forever and be shelf stable. Typically, the industry has not done genuine fermented foods because its not something that lends itself to an industrialized process. The things we consider true fermented foods in the united states, they’re being made by small companies.
Now the one exception to that might be yogurt. Yogurt is big business, it’s made by the big conglomerates. I would never even eat that yogurt because apparently the cultures are not even any good and the milk has been pasteurized.
Seelhorst: What’s your favorite fermented food.
Fallon: Kombucha. I make my own kombucha. I have a 30-day kombucha, I call it kombucha like fine champagne. It gets these tiny, tiny bubbles in it, it gets really, really sour and a little thick. I also make sauerkraut. It’s interesting – I’m a lot busier than I was when I wrote my book, I don’t have as much time as I used to have, but I still make my own fermented food. I do carrots and cabbage, I’m just about to pull some carrots and make some fermented cabbage.
I forgot to mention cheese. And cheese. Cheese is a fermented food. Here on our farm, we make cheese. I’d have to say cheese is my favorite fermented food. And also, traditionally made salami. A charcuterie is fermented. They hung these sausages up and fermented them. So they are fermented foods, they’re full of bacteria, good bacteria. They should be kind of sour, they’re very good for you.
Seelhorst: Do you want to add anything for people that just found the Fermentation Summit and may not know what fermentation is, they want to try it
Fallon: I will say this – you don’t have to make it yourself, there’s a lot available, in the states there’s now hundreds of artisan producers making sauerkraut. I love to see that – I love to seen an individual be able to start a little business without a big capital investment and make food that’s really good for people and make a decent living. Here on our farm, we have a store and we sell sauerkraut made by a Russian lady who has just made a wonderful living doing this. I love to see that. Just like artisan cheese. I love see small production of cheese; I love small production of fermented goods. Bread is another one, we now have a lot of artisan bread makers. This is the future of food – its sustainable food, its moral food, its food that makes you healthy, its good for the economy, it keeps the money in your community. I think people need to realize that every morsel of food they put in their mouth is a political act. It’s a decision they make. What are you going to support? Are you going to support Monsanto and Kraft and Unilever? These huge corporations who don’t care about you at all, all they care about is making a profit. Or are you going to support local artisan producers? People just like you making a decent living and providing a healthy food. And you’re also deciding whether you’re going to put something healthy or unhealthy in your body and in your children’s bodies. The traditional cultures, they had no choices in what they ate. They ate what was there, they ate according to their traditions. Today, we are not traditional people. We have left all that behind. We have to think what we eat, everything we eat is a choice. They didn’t have a choice, they just had healthy food. Now we always have this choice between healthy artisan food and unhealthy corporate food. So what kind of society do you want to live in?
The Washington Post writes: “From common to cool: The lowly cabbage has become a star.” Paul Kaham, an award-winning chef in Chicago, said “It’s all about how it is prepared, how it is elevated.” The article details how fermented cabbage dishes are a staple to many countries cuisine, like kimchi in Korea and sauerkraut in Poland, Germany and Eastern Europe. Produce stores note consumer’s increasing demand for cabbage, too, specifically the Napa cabbage variety which is often used for fermentation and pickling. Once a staple in Asian groceries and restaurants, Napa cabbage is gaining popularity in non-Asian grocery stores as well.
Read more (The Washington Post)
More fermentation brands are creating ways to connect with their customers, face-to-face. Harvest Roots Ferments started in 2012 as a small farm in Birmingham, Ala. “At the time, Lindsay was fermenting kraut and kombucha for our farmers market table. Our customers wanted ferments way more than kale,” said Pete Halupka, who runs Harvest Roots Ferments with Lindsay Whiteaker. “About three of four years ago, we committed fully to fermentation. Now we produce kombucha, kraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables and sell them across Alabama.” Now Harvest Roots Ferments is opening Birmingham’s first kombucha taproom. No longer traditional farmers (they source from local farmers, buying 75,000 pounds of produce since 2015), Harvest Roots Ferments is looking to build and connect to the Birmingham community that has helped their business grow. Halupka continues: “We love community in all forms—from the microbial community in action fermenting our products to the community found in our Southern forests and our human community across Birmingham—and we want our space to be a reflection of this.”
Read more (BHam Now)
Farmhouse Culture is retooling their packaging, moving away from what the CEO calls “natural food cliches.” Using consumer research as their guide, the fermentation brand is using “always organic” on their labels, indicating quality to shoppers. Farmhouse Culture is also decreasing their emphasis on probiotics because, though shoppers want products with digestive health benefits, they’re confused over how to achieve digestive health. The Wisconsin-based brand makes sauerkraut, fermented veggie drinks and sauerkraut chips.
Read more (Nosh)