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Funk, Fun, Fermentation

Watching a carboy of beer or a jar of kimchi gurgle with life or erupt from a blow-off tube is like peeking into an alternative universe. At the Fun with Fermentation Festival hosted by the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance, you can learn all about that and more. 

“There are a myriad of health benefits,” organizer Christina Sasser says of fermentation and the event. She says that folks should go “also for the culinary delight, as a way to preserve and enhance, and to become more in touch with our bodies, ancestral traditions and current food environment.”

The list of health benefits for eating fermented food is overwhelming: from anti-cancer to immune enhancement, allergy prevention, healthy hair and nail growth, to enhanced gut flora and food bioavailability. A diet rich in living foods might cause one to scratch her head before eating a slice of white bread or a pan full of greasy stir-fry ever again. But perhaps one of the best aspects of fermentation is the potential it has to bring people together in a community. The Fun with Fermentation Festival has been doing that for three years now. 

“It’s a great community-oriented gathering with an abundance of food and drink,” said Sasser. “It’s education focused with demos and workshops, and also showcases local artisan and sustainable food producers that create fermented products. It’s all part of strengthening local resiliency.” 

Fermentation is one of the oldest ways of preserving food. But be warned, that once you throw in your dietary lot with these funky yeasts and bacteria there’s little chance you’ll want to live life without them. 

The Fun with Fermentation Festival takes place 11 am-4 pm Saturday, Jan. 14, at WOW Hall; $10-$20 per person, $5 with 2 cans of food. For more info go to wvsalliance.org