Wild Microbes and Wild Weather at the San Diego Fermentation Festival

Written by Curt Wittenberg. Reprinted with Permission.

Mead, beer, cider, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cheese were all in full bloom, blowing in the wind and dancing between the raindrops at the 2nd Annual San Diego Fermentation Festival on January 31, 2016.

Large tents with demonstrations, lectures and live music were very popular, especially with the blustery weather.
Large tents with demonstrations, lectures and live music were very popular, especially with the blustery weather.
Chris Banker explains how to make cheese at home and promotes Queso Diego to passerbys our booth at the San Diego Fermentation Festival.
Chris Banker explains how to make cheese at home and promotes Queso Diego to passerbys our booth at the San Diego Fermentation Festival.

The Queso Diego booth was located front and center. As visitors entered the festival they encountered our volunteers who enthusiastically explained the steps of cheese making and promoted the club as a place for cheese education and culinary experience.

Close by were other booths demonstrating pickling vegetables and fermenting kombucha, explaining the benefits of probiotics, and even promoting The American Gut Project, an ongoing study of the human gut microbiome.

The kombucha SCOBY petting zoo. Need I say more?
The kombucha SCOBY petting zoo. Need I say more?

The standing-room only keynote presentation was by Rob Knight from UC San Diego, leader of the international Human Gut Project.  Many other presentations explained various aspects of fermentation and microbes, and expounded upon their virtues.  Although the weather wasn’t optimal for the event, which had to be shut down about three hours early, about 500 people managed to enjoy themselves, many aided by fermented beverages in the Ambrosia Garden where beer, wine, mead, kombucha and cider were served.

 

The popular booth of Masontops, one of several companies promoting Mason jar tops designed just for fermenting. Visitors learned how to ferment vegetables and went home with a Mason jar of vegetables of their choice topped by a Masontop.
The popular booth of Masontops, one of several companies promoting Mason jar tops designed just for fermenting. Visitors learned how to ferment vegetables and went home with a Mason jar of vegetables of their choice topped by a Masontop Pickle Pipe.

Thanks to all who braved the weather and helped out with promoting Queso Diego.  Visitors to the booth were impressed and very enthusiastic about making their own cheese at home.  It looks like we will have some new club members soon.

Stan Sisson and his daughter Amy Matson, waiting to serve Julian Ciderworks ciders to appreciative visitors of the Ambrosia Garden. Also in the Ambrosia Gardens were other local fermented beverage makers including San Diego Brewing Co., Modern Times and Culture breweries, Vinavanti and Vesper wineries, Golden Coast Mead, and others.
Stan Sisson and his daughter Amy Matson, waiting to serve Julian Ciderworks ciders to appreciative visitors of the Ambrosia Garden. Also in the Ambrosia Gardens were other local fermented beverage makers including San Diego Brewing Co., Modern Times and Culture breweries, Vinavanti and Vesper wineries, Golden Coast Mead, and others.
A nicely designed and implemented Mason jar based fermentation system from Kraut Source. This one is all stainless steel with a spring loaded pressure plate to keep your fermenting foodstuffs submerged.
A nicely designed and implemented Mason jar based fermentation system from Kraut Source. This one is all stainless steel with a spring loaded pressure plate to keep your fermenting foodstuffs submerged.

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