Here in our home state of Vermont, summer is in full swing – verdant hills of green, blue lakes and ponds, and the sound of folks out and about in the great outdoors hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and … fermenting?
OK, maybe fermenting is best for folks looking for some indoor activities in between outdoor activities. In that case, we have the perfect itinerary for you.Vermonters and visitors alike will have multiple chances to see the fermentation revivalist himself – Sandor Ellix Katz – at multiple stops in Vermont throughout the month of July. Come see why Michael Pollan calls Katz “The Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” and why his latest book The Art of Fermentation was a New York Times bestseller and won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference. Katz kicks off his Vermont tour with a two-week intensive workshop at Sterling College up in Craftsbury. As of this writing, there were two slots remaining in this credited course (four continuing education credits). The course is part of the college’s continuing education program of two- and four-week courses that offer learning opportunities that complement the college’s focus areas. This class will offer an in-depth overview of the art and science of fermentation. Expect to learn the basics of how to ferment almost anything. Over the two weeks, attendees will make a wide variety of fermented foods and beverages, including: fermenting vegetables in many variations; beverages from seasonal fruits; kombucha, kvass, water kefir, and other lightly fermented tonic beverages; sourdough, porridges, and grain-based beverages; Asian bean ferments including Tempeh, Natto, and Dosa; yogurt, kefir, basic cheesemaking, and kishk (a Middle Eastern ferment of yogurt and bulgar wheat); and others, based upon the interests of participants. Participants will have a unique opportunity to begin fermentation projects as a group and see them through to completion, with the benefit of observing, tasting, and discussing them as they progress over several weeks. During his two-week stay, however, Katz will venture south to Barre for a public talk at the Aldrich Public Library in Barre at 6 PM on July 16. After his course ends, Katz will make his way from Craftsbury to Tinmouth where he’ll be the keynote speaker on July 20th at SolarFest, an iconic summer event that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. He then heads back north to Shelburne Farms for an evening talk (open to the public) on July 21 from 7-9 PM, followed by two full days of workshops on July 22 and 23 (pre-registration required). During the two-day intensive at Shelburne Farms, you’ll learn how to make fermented vegetables (kimchi!), beverages (including a fruit-based wine), dairy products (yogurt, cheese, sour cream, kefir, etc.), grains, legumes, and starch. The two-day program includes lectures, demonstrations, and a hands-on element. So, catch Katz one, twice, or a few times if you can.