I spent this past Sunday at the Boston Fermentation Festival and it was a blast! I did a demo, signed some book plates (because my book, Ferment Your Vegetables, won’t be out until NEXT WEEK!), manned the help desk with a popular Boston blogger and just generally immersed myself in the loving, supportive fermentation community.
If you are a Phickle fan who came out to my talk, thank you so much for being there and for being so enthusiastic and supportive. It meant a lot to me. Your questions were wonderful, you were a wildly engaged and engaging group, and it was so fun to meet so many of you throughout the day.
The way the event was set up at the Boston Public Market, many people who potentially hadn’t planned to attend or even known about the Fermentation Festival ended up tasting vendor samples, attending fermentation workshops, joining the kraut mob or stopping by the AMAZING Farm and Fable table to peruse and buy fermentation books. (PS, Boston, if you don’t know Farm to Fable or its wonderful proprietor, Abby, I recommend that you make it there, ASAP. Or maybe wait until the 16th when you can buy my book there :-). It was a very inclusive and typically lovely, due not in small part to the amazing community of fermenters who attended and organized the event.
It was pretty badass. People came from around the world (for real!) to celebrate fermentation. Cheers to the many people I met from all over the place, like the lady who flew in from Melbourne just for the festival, the NYC fermentation meetup crew, and the multiple Minnesotan preservers who wound their way there.
When I wasn’t on official business, I was scoping the goodies at the market, eating lots of pickles and krauts from the vendors, schmoozing with super cool people, including Karen Solomon (author of one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Asian Pickles), Cheryl Sternman-Rule (author of Yogurt Culture), Alex Lewin (festival organizer and author of Real Food Fermentation) and Ben Wolfe (Microbiologist and Science Translator Extraordinaire).
If you ever doubt that fermentation is all about community, communities of microbes and communities of people, go to a fermentation festival. Joy and faith in community (and our microbial friends) will be restored. If you’re considering planning a fermentation festival of your own, I highly recommend copying some Boston Ferments.
- Kraut Mob – Loads of veggies and salt, plus cutting boards, knives, big cutting boards and knives. Volunteer instructors guided noobs through the process, but more experienced fermenters participated too. So cool.
- A Book Selling Table – Local Bookseller and promoter of the culinary arts, Farm and Fable, was on hand to sell books written by the speakers and others (like vintage pickling cookbooks!). It was a great place for us all to connect with readers and sign books.
- Great Speakers – Although the popularity of the talks meant that I wasn’t able to get in (boohoo!) people who did attend were raving about the talks when I spoke to them later.
- A Help Desk – A couple experienced fermenters hung out at the table all day. Anyone with questions could come by and get some expert or semi-expert advice
- Lots and Lots of Fermented Food Sellers – If you like fermented foods, especially fermented vegetables, you would have been in your glory. The most ferment makers I’ve ever seen in one place were line up outside the market. The photos you see here were taken at the very tail end of the festival, when people were already getting packed up. The rest of the day it was a legitimate mob scene out there. Tons of people buying fermented veg and drinks.
- Science People – Ben Wolfe was there, you guys. Ben Wolfe. AND, he brought cheese molds and a microscope. I talked to him about how kombucha isn’t probiotic and everything.
- A Community – The most important aspect of this festival was the spirit of the people planning it and the people attending. There was some serious fermenty love here, accompanied by a healthy dose of good vibes (and good bacteria, of course).
If you were there, I’d love to hear the highlights of your experience in the comments. I’m sorry I don’t have more and better photos. I was too busy speaking, signing, help-desking and most importantly, having fun with fermenty friends to focus on photos.
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