Cary, NC – Humans have been fermenting their foods and drinks for more than 10,000 years, but today, few people try to do it on their own. A new festival in Cary is celebrating fermented foods while also teaching people how they can create it at home.
First Fermentation Festival
The Triangle Fermentation Festival takes place at Chatham Hill Winery on Chapel Hill Road on Sunday, October 13, 2019, with food and drink vendors, hourly giveaways and classes on how to make fermented foods and drinks at home.
Festival founder Kerry Mead said one big reason she wanted to create this festival was to share information about fermented food’s health benefits with people in the Triangle.
“With all of the research about the micro-biome and its benefits, I felt like that was something people should know about,” Mead said. “And I wanted to help people realize they can make it at home. You don’t have to go out and buy a $3.50 bottle of kombucha.”
To teach people about making fermented foods and drinks, the Triangle Fermentation Festival includes classes by Triangle chefs and brewers. This includes Lionel Vatinet from La Farm Bakery leading a workshop on making sourdough bread, Southern Peak Brewery’s Sarah Michalski teaching a class on making kombucha and Chapel Hill chef Mama Kwon holding a hands-on class to make kimchi.
Kimchi is a very popular Korean dish, made with spiced fermented vegetables, and is so essential in Korean cooking and dining that many homes will have a special refrigerator just for kimchi.
“Usually it’s eaten on the side, as a condiment,” Mead said. “It’s getting more and more popular here in the United States.”
While the festival includes foods and drinks from many different cultures, there will also be a literal “culture swap” with people exchanging different cultures and yeasts to create distinct foods and tastes.
Additionally, there will be giveaways with fermentation products and starting cultures so people can make their own fermented foods and drinks at home.
Learning about Fermented Foods
While fermented foods and drinks can be seen all over the world, from yogurts, kombucha, fermented vegetables and kefir drinks, Mead said it has lost its popularity in the United States.
“When refrigeration started spreading in the United States, fermented food got less popular,” Mead said. “But we can see it’s coming back more and more each year.”
To teach people about fermentation and its safety, there will also be a presentation at the festival by Fred Breidt, a microbiologist from North Carolina State University who also works with the USDA.
Mead said her goal is for people to not only learn about fermented foods and drinks but also learn to share resources and learn about the fermented food producers in the Triangle.
“I want people to support local businesses in this field,” Mead said. “And I hope this takes off and it becomes a regular festival.”
Chatham Hill Winery, 8245 Chapel Hill Rd.
Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 1 to 5 PM
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Kerry Mead.