Good Food Festival Images from 2013

Good Food "Ferment" Festival

Are you going to the Good Food Festival this year? You should if you live near Chicago. Not only is it the 10th Anniversary of a festival and conference advocating delicious, healthy, and accessible food, but it is also full of fermentation this year!

There are so many fermented food workshops and sessions that the Good Food Festival is quickly becoming the Good Ferment Festival. Be sure to stop by any one of the three sessions that I’ll be teaching or try to catch me while I’m running around searching for fermenters to interview for a FermUp segment.

In the wake of last year’s Kimchi Competition and headliner Sandor Katz comes a more covert fermentation operation this year. But we fermenters will still be there, lurking amongst the fresh, ready to inoculate the minds of passersby and participants. Come support the Good Food Festival and stay for a fun filled day of ferments.

The following are listed based on time so that you may plan your entire day around fermentation. There is some overlap, so choose your ferments wisely.

Master Class: Home Butchery and Curing

presented by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
9:00AM to Noon

This class may be a stretch to add to the fermentation list. It may or may not include much talk of fermentation. It is a three hour course, but much of that time will likely be spent walking through the butchering process. Even if there isn’t much fermentation in this course, you are sure to learn a few things about butchering and therefore be more prepared for fermenting your own meat at home. You must pre-register for this class; signup here.

Kimchi Basics & Improv

presented by me: Branden Byers
11:30 to 11:50AM

Here’s the first session I’ll be teaching at the festival. Learn the basics of kimchi vegetable fermentation, how to improvise your own flavor creations based on available ingredients, and then learn a few ideas on how to incorporate kimchi into your regular cooking/eating habits. There is a lot to cover, but I will keep it simple so you can go home and work your own kimchi magic. Stop by and say hi but you will probably have to follow me over to the DIY Heirloom Yogurt session because I’m booked back-to-back for these Good Food Commons sessions.

Using Sourdough Starters & Freshly Milled Whole Grain Flours

presented by Crumb Chicago and Sauce and Bread Kitchen
11:30 to 11:50AM

While all leavened bread is a form of fermentation, I’m biased when it comes to thinking of bread and fermentation. It’s all sourdough for me. And if you’re not already using sourdough starters, then this Good Food Commons session under the Make Your Own track is sure to give you an introduction.

DIY Heirloom Yogurts

presented by me: Branden Byers
Noon to 12:20PM

That’s right, if you haven’t heard me talk enough about heirloom yogurts on the FermUp podcast, then this session will give you another fix. This mini-session will provide an overview of the broad range of heirloom yogurts available and how to make them at home. It’s a part of the Good Food Commons Make Your Own track so general admission is all you need to attend. See you there!

The Locapour’s Cocktail Bar

presented by Kevin West
12:30 to 1:45PM

Sure, alcohol is fermented, but, more importantly, word on the street is that this workshop may include the mixing of shrubs. In which case, if you get hooked on shrubs, you’re only one step away from fermenting your own vinegar for your new favorite drink.

Fantastic Fermentation

presented by Edible Alchemy
1:00 to 1:20PM & 3:00 to 3:20PM

I’m certain these vegetable fermentation sessions will be fantastic. And there are two of them so you have no excuse to miss the content! Plus, it’s being taught by Andrea Mattson-McGaffey, whom, if I remember correctly, was one of the judges of the Kimchi Competition at last year’s festival. She’s a vegetable fermentation pro so you’d best go!

Kombucha & Kombucha Mocktails

presented by Arize Kombucha Tea
1:30 to 1:50PM

If you aren’t going to be at the full Kombucha workshop later in the day, then this one might be just what you’re looking for. Of course, you might as well attend both because this mini-session will be introducing you to kombucha cocktails.

Introduction to Cheese-making

presented by David Arfa & Elsa M Jacobson
1:30 to 1:50PM

I’m not certain what kind of cheeses will be presented in this session. So it could be all fresh acid-coagulated cheeses, in which case, it’s not actually fermented. But check it out if you’re interested in cheese.

Cheesemaking with Goat’s Milk

presented by Angelic Organics Learning Center
2:30 to 2:50PM

As with the other cheese making session, I’m not certain if this will include any fermented cheeses. But even if they are only acid-coagulated cheeses, they still are made with goat’s milk, which is delicious, so check out this session in the Good Food Commons if you have time.

Master Class: Brew Your Own Beer

presented by Chicago Brew Werks
2:00 to 5:00PM

If you’ve been procrastinating brewing your own beer at home, then now is your chance to learn everything you need to know to get started. It’s a three hour course, so it is safe to assume that all of the basics will be covered with plenty of time for questions. You must pre-register for this class; signup here.

Cider, Vinegar & Hard Ciders

presented by Ellis Family Farms and Seedling Fruits
3:30 to 3:50PM

I love making fresh cider and spontaneously fermented hard cider. Sometimes I also end up making vinegar if I forget about the cider. All three ways of enjoying a bounty of apples are delicious and a perfect example of how fermentation works as an excellent preservation method. Check out this session in the Good Food Commons if you expect to find yourself with a lot of apples this summer and fall.

DIY Kombucha and Fermented Sodas

presented by NessAlla and FermUp
3:30 to 5:00PM

Inevitably this workshop is going to be blast because it brings together three Madison, Wisconsin based fermenters! Alla and Vanessa of NessAlla Kombucha will be sharing the basics of kombucha brewing at home and I will be sharing how easy it is to make naturally fermented sodas. We will also provide an overview of the differences and similarities between non-alcoholic fermented beverages. Make sure to get a Workshop Pass for admission to this and all other workshops.

You can purchase general admission (includes all mini-sessions) or Workshop Passes (includes all workshops except the two Master Classes) online. See you at the Saturday Food Festival on March 15, 2014!