Farmers' Kitchen—Farm & Ferment
Written onDecember 02 , 2012
Our farm is centered around regeneration, inspired by Rudolf Steiner and more recent developments in the rebuilding of high-functioning soils and plants. We regard our farm as a self-contained entity, with its own organ systems (microbes, fungi, cattle, etc.), character, economic, social, and ecological life. Its relation to the greater cosmos is important; we choose the times for planting and harvesting by the position (influences) of the sun, moon, planets, and constellations. The ebb and flow of the tides and swirls of currents are more overt examples of influential forces.
We believe the nutrient density of food is a product of vibrant soil life, which is created through both remineralization and the rebuilding of a variety of complex soil carbon structures. Plant communities such as pasture and cover crops provide energy, carbon, and nutrients to soil organisms, which are central to the development of high-functioning soils. Higher-functioning soils result in fermented vegetable products that are abundant in minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and other health-giving substances, along with masses of necessary bacteria.
How do we know when fermented vegetables are healthier? They taste great! Great taste reflects energetic and nutrient density, which attracts eaters, nourishing and delighting them. For millennia, foods containing diverse lactic bacteria at high densities—in particular, fermented vegetables and cultured milk—were the core of human health and are sorely lacking in modern diets. They are still used in many non-industrialized cultures as condiments to aid digestion, as life giving elixirs, sandwiched with meat, added to salads, and so on.
In 2000, when our kimchi (spicy, pickled cabbage and the national dish of Korea) appeared in stores and on our website, inquires came from all over the United States. Instead of shipping, we chose to remain local and to share our knowledge and methods through mentoring. We invite people every fall to help us make lacto-fermented foods—sauerkraut and kimchi—on our Franklin County farm and to join us in a festive lunch of diverse farm-raised foods. Visitors, as helpers, come from the west coast and everywhere in between. Doug enjoys speaking to audiences about traditional diets and nutrient-dense farming.
Recently, our friend Ernst Michel, raised in a traditional Swiss village, prepared an elaborate meal on our farm for 18 people. It integrated sauerkraut into numerous dishes such as kraut tarts, pork chops, roasted sausages and goulash. Here is one of his recipes: Sauerkraut Tart