Regardless of what you know about fermentation, there’s a good chance you already love it. From freshly baked sourdough, to crisp craft beer, fermented foods are downright delicious. But alas! Did you know they are also exceedingly nutritious?
Eating fermented foods introduces beneficial bacteria into your digestive system, and having a healthy balance of bacteria and enzymes in your gut helps you absorb more of the nutrients from the foods you eat. Best stated by Fermentation Festival Co-Founder Katie Hershfelt, “It’s the holistic approach to reinvigorating your body’s microbiome.”
Five years ago, Katie and her mother, Lynn Hartman, hosted a small gathering on Tom Shepherd’s farm in Carpinteria, CA. Expecting an intimate discussion, over 75 people showed up eager to learn about the value of introducing fermented foods into their diets. This sparked something inside of the mother-daughter team; people were actively seeking information about fermentation, and they wanted to provide an avenue for local and regional experts to share that knowledge.
The Fermentation Festival has grown year over year, but stays true to its central mission: to revitalize traditional food preparation and promote local food and farming by showcasing local and regional experts on the history, benefits and how-tos of fermented foods.
- The Los Angeles Fermentation Festival was held on June 12, 2015 at the Venice Arts Plaza.
- The Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival will held on September 20, 2015 at the Rancho La Patera & Stow House
Keeping It Intimate
Due to previous sell-out crowds at the Santa Barbara Festival, it became apparent that a game-plan was needed to accommodate the growing demand. With a good number of festival attendees making their way north from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, the natural evolution was to expand south.
“The festival is meant to be an intimate, hands-on learning experience,” Katie shared. “We want attendees to walk away with the knowledge to make these foods at home, which is just not possible with too large of a crowd.” Thus the LA Fermentation Festival was born to give Los Angelenos an easily accessible educational experience.
The first annual Los Angeles Fermentation Festival was held on July 12 at the Venice Arts Plaza; the fifth annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival will be held on September 20 at the Rancho La Patera & Stow House.
This all-ages, experiential event celebrates the art of making traditionally fermented foods and beverages such as kimchi, kombucha, kefir, pickles, beer, sauerkraut, wine, cider, cultured vegetables, and sourdough bread, empowering you to make these foods at home. Not too worry though, both festivals offer similar highlights. In addition to being able to sample more than 75 different types of traditionally fermented foods and beverages, here’s what to get excited for!
- Pickled Pavilion – Featuring fermentation experts speaking on a variety of topics.
- Fermentation Station -Follow along with our fermentation experts and learn first-hand how to make your favorite ferments at this hands-on experiential stage.
- Farm-to-Bar Area – 21+ attendees can enjoy a variety of traditionally fermented libations, including wild ale, mead, cider, jun, fermented cocktails, and more.
- DIY Pickle Station – Step up your pickle game – Learn how to make fermented vegetables of all kinds at our DIY Pickle Station. This hands-on experiential learning zone features in-season, local, organic produce, and teaches attendees how to use a simple brine to preserve and ferment their favorite produce.
- Culture Petting Zoo – Touch and learn about your favorite starter cultures
- Bacteria Buddy Passport Program – For our youngest bacteria farmers, ages 3-12, the Bacteria Buddy Passport Program provides families the opportunity to tour the festival and experience hands-on fermentation activities and learning sponsored by a variety of festival exhibitors. Children who complete the passport by stopping at each location are entered to win a very special raffle prize!
- Screamin’ Pickle Contest – The now famous amateur Screamin’ Pickle Contest gives home fermenters the opportunity to bring their ferment to the festival to be judged by a panel of fermentation experts.
If you are looking to engage with local and regional experts about the benefits of fermentation, this day is for you. Come out to learn all about how fermentation can positively influence your life and leave with a new appreciation for this ancient art!
The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Fermentation Festivals are produced by Cultivate Events. LoaTree is a proud festival sponsor.