Echigo Farm's fermentation workshop

Our homemade kimchi

Our Fermented Foods Workshop

Fermented foods have many health benefits, but they are not simply a health food. We believe fermentation represents a perfect balance of human knowledge, healthy, local produce and meats, and the microorganisms and climate of a place. The workings of the microorganisms provide both health and security. Fermented foods are particularly suited and inevitably tied to a place—the natural food products, the climate, the microorganisms, and the human wisdom and ingenuity of that place.

Kumiko and I studied traditional fermenting methods in Japan, and also observed fermenting techniques of Korea and China as well. After twelve years in Japan, I can say that whatever small understanding I may have of that culture is thanks to my encounter with fermented foods.

Fermented food is participatory food, the base of family and community food customs and history. The sauerkraut or kimchi or bean paste that you create together with your family, your friends, your church, your neighborhood, becomes part of that community, part of your shared history and future. Fermented foods tell the story of people firmly rooted in and committed to a place.

We would like to host a hands-on seminar in making all kinds of fermented foods, including sauerkraut, Korean kimchi, wheat and rice bran fermentations, koji fermentations such as miso bean paste, and soybeans fermentations including natto and tempeh. We envision a class where participants can join with us in creating many kinds of fermented foods, but more than that, to come away with the knowledge and tools to continue on their own. The class will also include many materials on the history, culture, health benefits of and many recipes for the foods we create.

Participants will leave the class with fermented foods that they have made, as well as the knowledge and experience to continue making them on their own. We hope the course will give birth to many family and community fermentation traditions here in the Ozarks!

If you are interested, please let us know. The seminar will meet 3~4 times (or more, depending on participant interest). We are thinking of having the classes here on our farm (in Seymour), or, more conveniently, in Springfield if a space is available. As for time, how about a weekday evening or Saturday anytime?