On Friday October 19, our guest host Kia Karlen spoke with Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, Donna Neuwirth, co-founder of The Wormfarm Institute, and Jonny Hunter, founder of the Underground Food Collective, about the Reedsburg Fermentation Fest.
The Fermentation Fest, running from Oct 12 – 21 and taking place in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, is produced by the Wormfarm Institute. Donna Neuwirth, co-founder of the institute, explains more about the unique festival, “It is a live culture convergence, and it focuses on fermentation in all its form. It’s a fifty mile self guided tour through beautiful farmland of north west Sauk County.” The festival will begin and end in Reedsburg, but will pass through three different towns, “all of which have little restaurants, little taverns, antique stores… no chain restaurants there.” There will also be art installations: sight-specific temporary installations as well as ‘field art’, interpretive materials that speak about the agriculture of the region.
Sandor Katz will be teaching two of the thirty classes offered this Saturday, “The Art of Fermentation” and “Fermentation Evolution, Culture, and Community.” There will also be a book signing. This will be Sandor’s first time participating in this festival. He explains the prevalence of fermentation in all human cultures, “sometimes when I point out to people that almost every person on this planet eats fermented food, they are surprised [to hear] that… Bread, cheese, salami, and all the condiments we put on that sandwich are produced by fermentation. Fermentation is so critically important to each tradition all around the world many of our most basic foods…are products of fermentation…One third of all the food we eat are produced by fermentation. In the aggregate, the fermentation industry collectively amounts to one of the largest industries in the world.”
Johnny Hunter, of the Underground Food Collective, speaks to Sandor about the prevalence of the fermentation process used in restaurants today. He has observed that an increasing number of restaurants have taken on the fermentation process. Sandor affirms this observation,“more and more chefs are recognizing that it is an important part of the cuisine they are serving…they can’t just serve foods that have been fermented somewhere else.” The Underground Food Collective offers classes in Madison, including whole animal breakdown and Rillete making, the classic French potted meat.
To sign up for classes at the Fermentation Fest, visit fementationfest.com.
Listen to the interview here: