We couldn’t think of a better way to welcome in the festive season and finish off a very full year than holding a Fermentation Fest… And so we did, with 20 fine and keen folk exploring the ways of sourdough bread, summer wine, tempeh and more. We did it all, and focused on wild fermentation – the low-fi, accessible and easy ferments which anyone can do with out buying unnecessary ‘gimicks’…. And this is what it looked like.

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Sourdough bread – an absolute staple in the fermenter’s diet. Local bread whisper, Margaret Steadman, stepped us through her simple technique and then kindly shared her 10 year old starter with the group. Everyone went home with a little jar of ‘Fern’ (the starter’s name) to continue her life across Tasmania.

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IMG_1780Dill pickle is one of our favourite wild ferments which we make all through the warmer months, when cucumbers are in season. All you need to make is a brine (water and salt) to which you add garlic, dill seed, garlic and grape leaves which help keep the cucumbers crunchy.

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Country wine (aka summer wine), seasonal fruit, water, sugar and a bit of time on the kitchen bench. Works best when you choose ‘fleshy’ fruits like plums, raspberries, cherries and blackberries. We used cherries (from a local farm) and raspberries and one currant (we ate the rest) from our garden. Our friends at Milkwood did a great blog about how to make your own here.

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We served good ol’ fashioned home made non-alcoholic ginger beer with lunch. Although Anton thinks that perhaps there was a bit of alcohol in there as he felt a bit light headed after lunch… Oops. It tasted really good is all I can say.

Lunch featured some of our home made yoghurt, tempeh (below) and our pink pickled eggs plus assorted goodies from the garden (of course). Eating good food together is always a wonderful idea on these types of workshops – providing a chance for people to connect, share stories and recipes.

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Real tempeh – you can’t beat it. We demonstrated how to make it from scratch and then cooked up a whole bunch we made before the day as part of our lunch. Words cannot describe how fantastic it is compared to the lifeless, wet spongy stuff you buy from the shop. We made sure that everyone went home with a bag of soy beans and tempeh starter (spores) as we’re a bit obsessed with hooking up people with this good stuff. We’ll do a blog specifically on this in the near future so you can make your own too.

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And of course it wouldn’t be a Fermentation Fest without making a whole bunch of kim chi and sauerkraut. Local fermenter, Garth Coghlan, bought in an array of cabbage/vegie delights he’d made to taste test and then stepped people how to make their own. We then got busy making our own, each person tailoring their ferment to their taste with chilli, ginger, garlic and more – there were some VERY strong smells going down.

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Ian wins ‘photo of the day’, his delight in learning the ways of kim chi was glorious and contagious! Thanks to everyone who came along and for the many good conversations over a delicious lunch, we love sharing useful know-how with folk, skills that will stay with people for the rest of their lives. Skills that increase good health, reduce/elimate waste, preserve crops and bring you unlimited joy. There is no loosing with fermentation.

Our next Fermentation Fest is due to happen in late 2015, you can register your interest by emailing us at hello@goodlifepermaculture.com.au.

And finally, a special shout out to Sandor Katz – international fermentation guru, who we’ve gleaned an enormous amount of inspiration and recipes from. You can check out him and his books here.