There is a growing interest in fermented products. As evidence, last Saturday the Finley Center in Santa Rosa bubbled with energy as practitioners of the ancient art of fermentation shared their knowledge and sampled their products with a huge crowd of Sonoma County residents. And it wasn’t just wine and beer that folks were interested in tasting. All sorts of fruit and vegetables strutted their pro-biotic best at the 6th Annual Farm to Fermentation Festival – the brainchild of Jennifer Harris, self-described bacteria advocate and well-known fermentation and pickling expert and teacher.
When I showed up mid-afternoon the center was packed. Purveyors of kombucha, kefirs of all sorts, kimchi, fermented chocolates, gluten-free breads and many more exotic foods manned the tables that lined the walls an filled the main hall.
I was there to see how Steve was bearing up at the Bubbies booth. Steve’s been doing the marketing for Bubbies for more than 20 years and, of late, has created a web Video show for them, titled Spoiled to Perfection, that featured Jennifer Harris as the first guest. By the time I arrived, Steve and Jeff Wilson, the number two man at Bubbies, had given away more than 600 samples of Kosher Dill pickle and Sauerkraut. Garrett Martin, host of Spoiled to Perfection, was there enjoying his new found celebrity as a Minister of Culture.
It was a bit of a Rustad family affair as our youngest, Jennifer, was there in her capacity as social media documentarian for the show. As the most adventurous of our kids, it’s not surprising that Jennifer has really taken to fermented foods and Kombucha has become a household term. If she weren’t about to head off to China, we’d be nurturing a scoby – that’s the starter culture for Kombucha which is not to be confused with Scooby – in our refrigerator.