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freestone fermentation festival and a side dose of the 50s

May 17, 2009
the baby's favorite food

the baby's favorite food

Today was quite the day. We began in Petaluma at 9am where they began a full day of a town-wide tribute to American Graffiti. The streets were closed unless you had a car from the 50s or 60s or a motorcycle. Basically if it created fumes and lots of noise, you were allowed on the streets. Lukas loved it. It was a familiar scent to me—car exhaust—since my dad collects and fixes up cars and growing up we were always holding the flashlight while he was under an old car doing something. 

Soon, however, we were on the road to somewhere that resonated a little closer to our hearts, or mine anyway: The Freestone Fermentation Festival where the sauerkraut flowed freely and the music was a little more contemporary. 

 the Cedar Enzyme Bath at Osmosis—we had our feet in this stuff at the festival!

the Cedar Enzyme Bath at Osmosis—we had our feet in this stuff at the festival!

Freestone, a beautiful tiny town in a beautiful landscape. I brought Lukas in the carrier and then let him crawl around after a while on the playgrounds and grass. We sampled a bunch of different fermented items, including a lemon verbena soda, various cheeses, breads, and sauerkrauts, (which, it turns out, is one of Lukas’s favorite foods. Who knew a one year old would love sauerkraut?) We saw our wonderful friend Kat and ate lunch while we talked about babies (hers are 31 and 29 now). Lukas and I played in the playground, we listened to music, we sat in a Cedar Enzyme Bath together next to our friend Shepherd and talked about chickens and eggs and gardens. We drank some miso soup and socialized with Lukas’s little friend Talise, (2 years old) who poured wood chips on him while they played on the climbing steps, and her parents Deb and Djubaya, whom I haven’t seen since last summer.

I learned a little more about fermentation, which always seems a little mysterious, eating things that should have gone bad but, instead, didn’t. I always wonder how you KNOW they didn’t. It is supposed to be very good for your health to eat fermented foods on a regular basis, probably because we evolved eating them. I have to say they really do taste good, and the stronger flavors are a good way to add some taste to your meal without adding fat. Here is some info about fermented foods from the FFF website: 

“The process of fermenting foods is as old as humanity. From the Tropics – where cassava is thrown into a hole to soften and sweeten – to the Amazon where, over 2,000 years ago locals harvested ripe cacao seedpods and allowed them to ferment spontaneously, enriching the color, flavor, and aroma that we now know as “the food of the gods,” fermented foods are valued for their health benefits and complex tastes. From the first successful batch of fresh baked bread to that sublime taste of carefully cultivated wine, the practice of fermentation is one of connection with and reverence for microscopic life.”

We had a beautiful day hanging out in the sun with friends new and old. Lukas had a GREAT time and was in a GREAT mood. We left with a  jar of sauerkraut and  book on fermentation that Kat said she had been looking forward to reading. I think we picked up the last copy they had.

imagesThen back home to Petaluma where we had a fresh dinner of salad and asparagus outside, then took Lukas for a walk downtown, where the cars thing was STILL GOING ON. In fact, it was at its peak. They had  recreated Mel’s drive-in at the McNears parking lot where you could buy a $7 hamburger and there were lots of people dressed up in 50s wear. Lukas saw a little red kids’ car and started freaking out because he wanted it. I was in such a good mood that I just thought it was cute that he had a little toddler meltdown over something like that! We heard 50s music and saw an older lady in a cigarette girl uniform selling “tasty cakes” from a little cart. Those little cupcakes looked as if they would NEVER ferment. So the American Graffiti tribute was like the parentheses around our day in the sun at Freestone. An odd combo, but somehow it worked.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. dorisgoat permalink
    May 18, 2009 1:01 am

    Home fermentation is a riot–you start with basic, familiar substances. Give it patience and time and let the critters do their work, and you’ve got cheese, creme fraiche, sauerkraut, yogurt, vinegar, and, of course, pickles! It’s cheap, too.

    • karenhess permalink
      May 18, 2009 3:13 am

      Thanks for the encouragement! I started reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon last night and I can’t wait to start some sauerkraut! I have made yogurt before and was surprised at how easy it was. I have some leftover champagne sitting around. I wonder if that is becoming vinegar or something else?

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