I delight in all types of homesteading skills: canning, sewing, cooking, and raising chickens, etc.

But until a few weeks ago, fermenting wasn’t something I gave much thought to.

Why the sudden interest? I went to the Farm to Fermentation Festival, held in Santa Rosa. Now in its 4th year, this festival is much more than the standard commercial food festival. It’s a day-long celebration of all things fermented. A day filled with informative lectures and demonstrations covering a wide range of fermentation topics, such as “Your Digestive Health”, “Making Healthy Sodas,”, “Making Your First Batch of Kimchi” and “Making Miso at Home”.

I sat in on a few lectures. At “Small-Scale Lactofermentation” by Nicole Easterday from FarmCurious I learned how easy it is to ferment veggies using an airlock on a mason jar. In between lectures I browsed and shopped in the exhibit hall and checked out the latest fermenting wears. There were hand thrown pottery crocks and jugs, airlocks, books, culture kits and and more. Not to mention the new Kraut Source – an inventive stainless steel set of a press and water moat that fit on a mason jar.

My favorite part, no surprise, was all the samples! Local and regional vendors offered tastes of a wide range of fermented goodness. So most of the day was spent tasting cucumber pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, cheese, bread, beet kvass, kombucha, wine, beer, mead and cider to name a few. I somehow resisted buying everything I tasted and came home with only a jar of very unique ‘cheriboshi’, which are fermented then dried cherries.

Armed with my new supplies and excitement, I’ve already started a jar of fermented salsa and have a plan for getting a jar of carrots started soon!